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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

2 - Identity, Class, and Nation


This chapter examines the migration of nearly 200,000 Caribbean immigrants – from Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, and Curaçao – to Cuba in the 1920s and early 1930s. Jamaicans and Haitians, more than others, were perceived as threats to Cuban culture and national security, and between 1925 and 1933 the Gerardo Machado government encouraged the expulsion of Antillean workers and the nationalization of labor. Caribbean immigrants played a surprisingly important role in the organization of workers in the sugar industry and had a significant role in the sugar worker mobilizations of the early 1930s that culminated in the 1933 Revolution. The young Cuban Communist Party made great efforts to recruit and address Haitian and Jamaican workers, and West Indian immigrants were strikingly visible in labor agitation and resistance as well as in the strikes and mill occupations that accompanied the Revolution of 1933.