My argument is not that Cuban stepped outside of the ideological implications of filibustering as a U.S.-based movement. Most compromised on the question of slavery in Cuba's future in an effort to build a military movement. Rather, I emphasize that the Cuban embodied the contradiction of protonationalist (Cuban) discourse and U.S. expansionism. In other words, the antimonarchical position of exiles was intertwined with the position of U.S. expansionists who relished the thought of roping Cuba into the Union. Why did some Cuban writers accept annexation as an option in the island's future? Historian Gerald Poyo argues that annexation was a calculated antinationalist solution based on economic and political necessities. Some of the exiles were slave owners who sought to protect their economic interests by having Cuba join the Union as a slave state. Exiles also believed that if Cuba became a U.S. state, it would not face the political upheavals that had shaken many independent Latin American nations. As I show in chapter 2, annexation as an option for Cuba's future clashed with a sense among exiles that the people of Cuba and the island itself formed a distinct place with democratic rights. A careful reading of newspapers shows that for writers, a disjunction emerged between the hemispheric ambitions of the U.S. government and what writers believed America as a hemisphere meant for liberation movements. In other words, writers were inspired by America's promise of equality and freedom even as the United States instituted expansionistic military and economic practices at the expense of self-determination for indigenous and Latin American populations in the Americas. To reconcile the contradictions of opposing one empire while lining up behind another, Cuban exiles argued that Cuba's economy and public institutions would benefit from annexation.
Cuban Writers on and off the Island
And a Cuban writer had to also be a social being with sufficient class consciousness, both of the historic moment and of the intellectual’s responsibility in society, which was to write what one was supposed to write. In short: a compañero was someone capable of handling with skill the castrating art of self-censorship to avoid the insult of being censored.
Famous Cuban Writers | List of Writers from Cuba
But (due to fortuitous cosmic conjunction or a simple historical-concrete necessity) the 1990s would be my decade of real and definitive transformation into a writer who was Cuban, of course, and who would live in Cuba, ending in the culmination of my becoming a professional writer in 1995. In addition, that period would coincide incidentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the teetering and collapse of its sister Soviet Union, and the most critical times of the Período Especial (special period). If in the middle of those catastrophes that had such direct effects, like the shortage of electricity, food, and transportation, and the paralysis of the country’s cultural and publishing industries, if in the middle of so many uncertainties, perhaps I was able to continue being a Cuban writer who lived in Cuba because the first of the questions that obsesses me—that is, Why am I Cuban?—placed on the scales of possibility all its inner weight through a feeling of belonging. Perhaps I was able to continue because I was already a Cuban writer whose intention was to write about Cuba with the greatest possible freedom and sincerity, determined to reflect the conflicts (at least some of them) of my society and assuming the risks inherent in such an effort. And because I was both tied to my belonging and determined to achieve that literary purpose, I decided, soberly and consciously, to remain in Cuba and to write about Cuba, in spite of the shortages and uncertainties that knocked on almost everyone’s door.
Theater's 2015 CROSSING BORDERS Festival Spotlights Cuban Writers