10000 - Cuba - Una nación "latina-africana"? Racismo, discurso nacional y participacíón política (1912-2012).

After 1959 the revolutionary government continued with the exclusive discourse of national unity established after independence, silencing the racial diversity of Cuban society. The only time in the 20th century when this silence was temporarily broken was between 1909 and 1912, due to the existence of a Colored Independent Party that demanded equality and political participation but was extinguished in a racist massacre in 1912. Racial discrimination persisted and was prohibited after the Revolution. Equality was then intended to be created through redistributive programmes and education. In 1975 at the beginning of the largest Cuban military and civil cooperation project to support independent Angola, Fidel Castro publicly addressed racial diversity for the first time and defined Cubans as belonging to a “Latin-African Nation”. With this announcement he did not intend to change the politics of national unity, but wanted to justify the engagement in Angola and other African countries in terms of racial bonds between the island and African continent. Nevertheless it seems that the massive deployment of hundreds of thousands of Cubans in Africa until 1991 has left its traces in the collective consciousness and moulded new expressions of identity and belonging within the population. Together with the economic crisis that plagued the country since the early 1990s and that produced a growing social and racial polarization, many cultural and religious expressions of Cubans of African descent arose and more Afrocubans participated in higher positions in national politics. These developments represent not only important distinctive marks of cultural identities but seem to be able to break the silence on racial discrimination again. The presentation will raise the question of a possible correlation between the African experience of Cubans and the outlined social, political and cultural transformation processes.

Keywords: Cuba, Revolution, Africa, Race, Identity Politics

Author: Hatzky, Christine (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Historisches Seminar, Germany / Deutschland)


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