Why Cuban landholders keep losing

February 12, 2018

Earlier last month, Cubans Americans held their breath as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contemplated what would become of Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act.  Eventually passing the responsibility off to Thomas Shannon, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, it was decided that the measure would be suspended another six months, to the dismay of thousands who believed the Trump administration would upend the long disputed bill (Torres 2018).  

At the Postnational Table: The Forgetting and Nostalgia in Cuba’s National Cuisine

August 18, 2017

On February 7, 1962, the White House imposed an embargo on Cuba that included food as a punishment for communist Cuba’s support of the Soviet Union. The embargo was eased on several occasions. Most recently in 2014, when President Barack Obama announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the island and a series of actions aimed at reinitiating transactions between the two countries. Soon after, food products from the US started to be exported to Cuba.

“Jesús Díaz, 1941–2002: The Unintentional Deviationist.”

March 28, 2017

My article on Cuban writer and filmmaker Jesús Díaz (1941-2002) is part of a broader research project on cultural policy, participation and censorship in Cuba.1 I raise two questions. First, what is the role of cultural agents in the production of both stability and change in Cuba, and concomitantly, what does the regime do to coopt actors and control the production of politico-cultural forms? Second, when and how do writers and artists actually push for more ‘space’ and deploy their expressive powers in a way that challenges the statu quo?

Column by Carmelo Mesa Lago: “The Legacy of Fidel: Social Economic Balance in 2016”

February 16, 2017

Upon the death of Fidel Castro, the global media praised his legacy of political sovereignty and his role as an internationalist, as well as the notable improvements he made in education and health, although the judgment is usually negative in regards to the economy.

No More Wet Foot, Dry Foot: Implications for the Future

February 2, 2017

As one of his final acts as president, and as part of his effort to thaw relations with Cuba, Barack Obama officially ended America’s Wet Foot, Dry Foot policy. This 22-year old mandate granted asylum to Cubans who landed on US soil, allowing them to become legal permanent residents after one year. Cubans intercepted in the ocean coming to the US were apprehended and returned to Cuba. Although beneficial to Cubans fleeing their homeland, this policy was seen as a way to subvert the Cuban government.

Demystifying Santería, One of Cuba’s Liveliest Religions

January 26, 2017

Walking down the cracked sidewalks of a hot, palm frond-shaded street in Vedado, Havana’s western upper-middle class neighborhood, you pass two women. One of them, younger and taller, is dressed entirely in white—from her white umbrella and white hair wrap down to her white high-heeled shoes. When she notices you staring at her trailing white dress, she smiles and looks down. Her older companion speaks loudly and emphatically to her as they pass you by.


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