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The European conquest and colonization of the Caribbean precipitated massive changes in indigenous cultures and societies of the region. One of the earliest changes was the introduction of new plant and animal foods and culinary traditions. This study presents the first archaeological reconstruction of indigenous diets and foodways in the Caribbean spanning the historical divide of 1492. We use multiple isotope datasets to reconstruct these diets and investigate the potential relationships between dietary and mobility patterns at multiple scales. Dietary patterns are assessed by isotope analyses of different skeletal elements from the archaeological skeletal population of El Chorro de Maíta, Cuba. This approach integrates carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of bone and dentine collagen with carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of bone and enamel apatite. The isotope results document extreme intrapopulation dietary heterogeneity but few systematic differences in diet between demographic/social groups. Comparisons with published isotope data from other precolonial and colonial period populations in the Caribbean indicate distinct dietary and subsistence practices at El Chorro de Maíta. The majority of the local population consumed more animal protein resources than other indigenous populations in the Caribbean, and their overall dietary patterns are more similar to colonial period enslaved populations than to indigenous ones.
The nineteenth century has been called the ‘heyday’ of ‘humanitarian intervention’,1 the time from the early nineteenth century through to the end of World War II an age of ‘imperial humanitarianism’.2 The period is revisited time and again to draw lessons for the present.3 Given this use of the past, for the purposes of a history of the legal instrument, the nineteenth century might be considered as the canvas of a picture of ‘humanitarian intervention’ painted in the twentieth century. While the distinct legal concept of ‘humanitarian intervention’ did evolve late in the nineteenth century, drawing on the evolution of international law from a form of natural law to its own specific legal system, the humanitarian and legal dimensions of the historic events claimed for this development were rather marginal. It is only in writing about the nineteenth century that these events have gained their significance for the history of a legal concept.
Enslaved people sought freedom by any means possible. Most often they achieved free status through hard work, financial accumulation, negotiation, and legal confrontation. Building on slaves’ initiatives, Chapter Two looks at two legal areas in which Cuba diverged from Virginia and Louisiana: manumission and interracial marriage. Although seventeenth-century Virginians set no restrictions on the ability of a person of color to become free, or to marry a white person, that began to change toward the end of the century. By the early eighteenth century, manumission and interracial sex and marriage were restricted in both Virginia and Louisiana, unlike Cuba, where manumission never faced a serious legal challenge. Slaveholders and local authorities in Cuba resented the existence and social assertiveness of free blacks but were constrained by a deep-rooted legal order in which manumission was firmly entrenched and not tied to racial concerns. In Virginia and Louisiana, however, manumission became tied to the development of legal racial regimes that linked freedom to whiteness. In Cuba, black freedom became a contested but integral part of colonial society.
Chapter One traces the development of local legal regimes in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana in which blackness was identified with enslavement and social degradation. We demonstrate that legal and social precedents such as those invoked by Frank Tannenbaum and Alan Watson mattered deeply to the development of these new slave societies, yet not in the way traditional comparisons argued. By the time the Iberians arrived in the New World, they were familiar with the enslavement of sub-Saharan Africans, and set about immediately to establish a racially based society in Cuba. In Virginia, by contrast, distinctions of race were not systematized in law until slave status was set in stone decades after the colony’s settlement. The French arrived in Louisiana at a much later point in the development of their empire, and had already written a code for slaves and “noirs.” Across the regions, colonial legislators established a degraded status for people of African descent, but they did so much more quickly in Cuba and Louisiana.
This article examines change and continuity in the United States' recent foreign policy toward Cuba. In the context of the posthegemonic regionalism of the Pink Tide and regional disputes over Cuba's position in the interamerican system, the Obama administration's rapprochement was driven to protect the institutional power and consensual features of U.S. hegemony in the Americas. The Trump administration reversed aspects of Obama's normalization policy, adopting a more coercive approach to Cuba and to Latin America more broadly. Against the emerging scholarly proposition that the international relations of the Americas have crossed a posthegemonic threshold, this analysis utilizes a neo-Gramscian approach to argue that the oscillations in U.S. Cuba policy represent strategic shifts in a broader process of hegemonic reconstitution. The article thus situates U.S. policy toward Cuba in regional structures, institutions, and dynamics.
Identifying benthic substrates is important to researchers studying aquatic organisms in fresh and salt water systems. Benthic substrates are often not visible from the surface making it necessary to find another method to gather these data. Previous research has demonstrated that low cost side-scan sonar is a reliable way to identify hard substrates, such as rock and gravel, in a small, freshwater stream. In this study, the reliability of the side-scan sonar to accurately identify softer substrates such as grass and mud was tested in a large, brackish lagoon system. A total area of 11.55 km2 was surveyed with the sonar. Videos and pictures were taken at various points to groundtruth the sonar images and provide a measure of accuracy. Five substrate types were identified: dense seagrass, sparse seagrass, mangrove soil, mangrove soil with rock, and silt. Unidentifiable substrates were classified as unknown. A manually zoned benthic substrate map was created from the sonar recordings. Dense seagrass was most accurately identified. Sparse seagrass was the least accurately identified. A bathymetric map was also created from the sonar recordings.
After a series of brutal and costly colonial wars in German Africa and legislative impasses in the Reichstag, Chancellor Bülow called new elections in 1906 to forge a stable legislative bloc of liberal and conservative parties. This chapter analyzes how Schmoller, Sering, and the other fleet professors mobilized for this election campaign to support the colonial reform program of the new Colonial Director Bernhard Dernburg as a new prong of “World Policy.” This campaign generated much new imperialist propaganda that would have a lasting impact in Germany. As the colonial crisis subsided, the Baghdad railroad faced new financial and political challenges that Karl Helfferich was called to surmount. Formal professor exchanges between the United States and Germany were initiated to help improve deteriorating relations with the United States, with Hermann Schumacher serving as the first Kaiser Wilhelm Professor to Columbia University from 1906 to 1907. The United States was now an imperial power, and Schumacher’s extensive travel through the country and to Cuba revealed its vast potential but also its challenges to Germany. Strong parallels were suggested with Russia, reinforcing more Eurasian aspirations for German “World Policy.”
Revolutions are traumatic experiences for individuals, their communities, and the larger society of which they are a part. This chapter focuses on society, analyzing those trends and dynamics within post-revolutionary societies that give the entire polity – not just the state but non-state actors as well – the peculiar characteristics that they acquire after revolutions. The chapter examines the changing nature of state–society relations in the aftermath of revolutions. In specific, the chapter focuses on how the emerging leaders of the new state impose their own vision of the revolution on social actors, not all of whom may share the same vision. New state leaders often suppress or altogether eliminate nonconformists while at the same time continuing to keep the momentum of revolutionary mass mobilization going. This has consequences for the emerging political culture, which is often polarized, revolves around zero-sum assumptions, and is therefore anti-democratic. The ingredients for political opposition are abundant and often extremist, though the prospects of yet another revolution are dim.
This chapter examines planned revolutions, which emerge from deliberately organized and orchestrated rebellions. Planned revolutions contain several key, interrelated elements. First, regardless of their declared ideological beliefs, all self-declared revolutionaries are essentially nationalist. Two other, related elements characteristic of planned revolutions are those of leadership and the party. Planned revolutions will not appear unless several highly dedicated individuals commit themselves to planning, organizing, and leading a takeover of power. Sooner or later, the cabal gives rise to a political party or a guerrilla organization whose chief, often only, mission is to lead a revolution. The party sees itself as the revolution’s vanguard. Among the planners involved in this vanguard, usually an individual with greater ambitions, or better organizational skills and opportunities, or through sheer chance, emerges as its leader. While planned revolutions cannot succeed without the work of an organized revolutionary party, the party’s leader becomes the face of the revolution, and, if the revolution succeeds, he then becomes the leader of the country. The October 1917 Russian revolution, and the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cuban revolutions belong in this category. As starkly evident by Che Guevara’s failed movement in Bolivia, not all attempts at revolutionary capture of power succeed.
The collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was felt across the world. The very idea of the victory over Communism, and of the natural congruence between liberal democracy and the market that Eastern Europe’s transformation embodied, became central to the post–Cold War constitution of the West. Such ideas became embedded in the everyday practice of politics: in the enforcing of new forms of conditionality that stressed democracy, rights, and a smaller state on Africa and in the continued belief in the export of this model – sometimes by force – to the Middle East, Africa, and post-Soviet space. Some Eastern European elites adopted such interpretations and practice as part of the projection of their region’s geopolitical identity. Yet 1989 would be interpreted elsewhere very differently, particularly in those authoritarian socialist states where transformation did not happen: in China, 1989 became a decades-long warning about the excesses of reform and the Western understanding of global transformation rejected. From Cuba to North Korea to Africa, the Eastern European revolutions were rather seen as the revival of a traditional Western imperialism and the reconstitution of a white Global North.
In 2017, Cuba was pummeled by Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest and most devastating Atlantic basin hurricanes in history. Twelve of Cuba’s 15 provinces and 90 percent of the population were affected, and there was island-wide loss of electrical power. Despite the significant damage, ongoing economic hardships, and the political realities that required Cuba to handle the situation without response support from other nations, Cuba’s recovery was swift and effective. Cuba’s disaster self-sufficiency and timely response to Hurricane Irma was grounded on 5 decades of disaster planning coupled with ongoing evolution of disaster risk reduction and management strategies. While the central command center, with local dispatch response teams, and mandated citizen engagement are features unique to Cuba’s political structure, in this study, we highlight 5 defining attributes of Cuba’s hurricane response that can constructively inform the actions of other island and coastal nations vulnerable to Atlantic tropical cyclones. These attributes are: (1) actively learning and incorporating lessons from past disaster events, (2) integrating healthcare and public health professionals on the frontlines of disaster response, (3) proactively engaging the public in disaster preparedness, (4) incorporating technology into disaster risk reduction, and (5) infusing science into risk planning. In terms of hurricane response, as a geopolitically isolated nation, Cuba has experienced particular urgency when it comes to protecting the population and creating resilient infrastructure that can be rapidly reactivated after the onslaught of storms of ever-increasing intensity. This includes planning for worsening future disaster scenarios based on a clear-eyed appreciation of the realities of climate change.
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.
This paper aims to recover the history of the Congress of Latin American Women held in Santiago de Chile in November 1959, using it as a snapshot to illuminate the various political currents within the Cuban delegation. At a time of rapid polarization and shifting alliances, the ideal of transnational, Latin American solidarity appealed to women activists from both Cuba’s “Old,” Marxist Left and the “New,” insurgent Left, despite their many differences. This common ground helped establish elements of cooperation between some women of the 26th of July Movement and women affiliated with the pre-revolutionary Communist Party. Although the well-known Federation of Cuban Women was established as a result of the alliances developed through participation in the Congress, these transnational, “Latin Americanist” origins of the FMC have largely been forgotten.
This article draws on an international assemblage of sources to recover the history of the involvement of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) in the Cuban missile crisis. It argues that, through the mechanisms of the OAS and the UN, Latin American citizens and officials helped shape the peaceful outcome of the crisis. This article challenges dismissive portrayals of both Latin American countries and multilateral organisations and, in so doing, joins the growing literature on how supposedly weak Latin American countries have used international organisations to influence world affairs.
This article studies the ideological reactions of communist regimes to the advent of a post-communist world. It examines two cases of reformed communist regimes (China and Vietnam) with two relatively unreformed cases (North Korea and Cuba) to understand different legitimation strategies employed during and after the downfall of the Soviet Union. Theoretically, the article compares two ideal-type approaches to ideology in autocratic regimes. The first approach emphasizes semantic ‘freezing’ over time. The consistency and coherence of ideology is underlined. The second approach argues that the success of an ideology lies in its ability to be a dynamic, adaptive force that can react with changing circumstances. Four parameters help to distinguish the freeze-frame end from the adaptation pole: (1) the autonomy over semantic changes, (2) the timing, (3) the velocity and (4) the distance that an ideology moves. Using qualitative case-based analysis that is enriched with quantitative text analysis of communist party documents, this article compares these contending conceptions of ideology with each other in the four cases. Sharing similar starting conditions in the 1970s, the article shows how China and Vietnam harnessed a flexible legitimation strategy while North Korea and Cuba adopted a comparatively rigid legitimation approach.
The announcement by Presidents Obama and Castro in December 2014 of a major step towards normalisation of inter-state relations was part of what is primarily a political process, but normalisation implies a return to peaceful inter-state relations based on respect for fundamental principles of international law. This commentary explores the role that those principles have played in helping shape the confrontation between the United States and Cuba since the revolution of 1959, which has been underpinned by an economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba by the United States. This commentary argues that, from being an integral part of the bilateral dispute, international law can, at key moments, shift to form part of a solution. The changing political landscape raises the prospects of the parties turning to international law as a means of restoring normal relations between them resulting in, amongst other changes, the demise of the embargo.
This article studies the reformulation of Black Legend, Middle Passage and convivencia discourses in nineteenth-century narratives published by Cubans sent to Spain's de facto penal colony on Fernando Po. Contextualised with archival sources, this reading highlights how deportees condemned Spain's perpetuation of the slave trade while struggling to negotiate their own positioning within the racially-stratified practices of late-imperial space. Those negotiations often exacerbated traditional divisions between different communities within the Spanish colonial system. In some instances, however, the deportees’ encounters with citizens and colonised subjects from distant territories may have bolstered and expanded intra-imperial identification and solidarity.
In the 1960s, the initial decade of the Cuban Revolution, policies of proletarianization of culture intersected an economic model built upon the heroic labor of the New Man—the ideal revolutionary and communist worker. Adapting the practice of ballet to this Marxist context, ballet dancers took their art to the working classes through popular performances and outreach events in farms and factories. Given the centrality of manual work to the revolution's ideology, dancers drew upon their own physical labor both in ballet and agriculture to establish an even stronger association with the working classes and embody the New Man's morality. Known for their strict work ethic, Alicia Alonso and other ballet dancers became public examples of hard work for the nation—one way of fulfilling the politico-pedagogical role that the state expected from artists. At the same time, media representations of female dancers’ labor enabled formulations of the New Man's gendered counterpart: the New Woman.
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 ushered in many radical changes, both socio-economic and political. Yet the macropolitical upheaval of the period also manifested in concrete ways in the lives of ordinary Cubans. The sudden scarcity of everyday medications, closely linked to diplomatic tensions with the United States, was one such outcome. This article traces the transnational battles provoked by the sudden disappearance of US prescription drugs from Cuban shelves. It seeks to understand pharmaceutical shortages not only as a political side effect but also as a social reality, which provided a venue for the articulation of new forms of sociability and body politics.