3331 - Cubans in Copenhagen: Narratives of Love and Specters of Instrumentalism

Since the 1990s an increasing number of Cubans have been emigrating by marrying foreigners, forming populations of Cubans in unlikely places. This new phenomenon of marriage migration is a direct outgrowth of the expansion of tourism in Cuba, and while scholars have paid much attention to sexual encounters between tourists and Cubans little is known about the marriages that can emerge from these casual beginnings. This paper focuses on Cuban marriage migrants in Denmark and explores how intimacy, race and gender figure in the global processes of marriage migration. The age, race and gender configurations of the Danish/Cuban couples challenge the patterns documented in most cross-border marriages which involve older Northern men marrying younger women from the global South. The Danish/Cuban couples' narratives of love are set against current conditions in Cuba where materialism is perceived to be filling the cracks in the failing socialist system, and Denmark's restrictive immigration policies. This paper shares some empirical findings on the experiences of these couples and the transnational processes of mestizaje they are creating.

Keywords: Cuban diaspora, marriage migration, romance tourism

Author: Fernandez, Nadine (SUNY/Empire State College, Denmark / Dänemark)


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