Growing Up Cuban in Miami:
History, Storytelling and the Politics of Exile


Myra Mendible

Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers FL

Copyright © 2001 by Myra Mendible, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.

    Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other . . . Living on borders and in margins, keeping intact one's shifting multiple identity and integrity, is like trying to swim in a new element, an "alien" element . . . not comfortable but home.
    --Gloria Anzaldúa

  1. For those of us accustomed to navigating the fluid borders dividing our "Cuban" and "American" cultural identities, the condition of being both and neither at the same time is indeed not comfortable but home. We are, in Gustavo Perez Firmat's catchy phrase, "born in Cuba, made in the U.S.A." We are members of that group referred to as the "one-and-a-half" generation, a designation that, like "Generation X" or "Baby Boomer," reduces some aspect of human experience to a ready sound bite. The phrase attempts to capture the "in-between" status of cubanos/as who immigrated to the States as children or adolescents and have lived, as Firmat calls it, "on the hyphen." As part of that "in-between" generation, I came to understand that how I see myself -- how others classify me -- fluctuates according to context and perspective. I am Cuban-American, exile, refugee, naturalized citizen, ethnic, immigrant, gusana.[1] To native-born Americans, I am simply Cuban; to Cubans on the island, I am too Americanized to be genuinely Cuban. The "in-betweens" cohabit two or more identities at once; we are insiders/outsiders, both Cuban and American and yet neither simultaneously. We navigate waters as turbulent and treacherous as the Caribbean Sea itself, but they are our waters and our familiar shores bordering the distance.

  2. This essay registers my attempts to chart a course through these treacherous waters, to make sense of the passionate polarities that have divided Cubans on the island and throughout the diaspora for decades. In many ways, it is about the difficulty of establishing a grounded identity and social space in the midst of a high-pitched ideological conflict between Havana's and Miami's vociferous elites. But just as importantly, this essay speaks to the power of memory in shaping images of self and community that can transcend factionalism. It talks back to those who have been empowered to speak for me and for all Cuban exiles, and in doing so attempts to recover our stories. For it is through storytelling that an exiled people endure and remember, strive and connect.

  3. Given the intensity of debates dividing US Cubans on such issues as diálogo (initiating dialogue or negotiation between Cuban government representatives and U.S. Cubans) and the appearance of Van Van in Miami (a Cuba-based band invited to perform in Miami, which resulted in volatile protests and threats), the challenge to locate and pursue this elusive thread of connection is no less urgent than it was four decades ago. Many of the "in-between" generation remain separated from Cubans on the Island by a sea of silence, and from each other by misunderstanding, frustration, hostility or indifference. I have heard fellow Cubans in the U.S. dissociate themselves from the identity essentialized as "Miami Cubans," and Cubans in Miami denigrate marielitos.[2] I have seen the images through which Cubans in the US are gazed at and judged, and have encountered the distortions and prejudices these images support. In contributing these few pages to the theme, "Growing up Elsewhere," I therefore highlight the importance of collective memory in articulating and mediating exile politics. My discussion is founded on the belief that history and memory share much the same function in shaping community: both employ imagination and experience to look into the past; both are subject to revision; and both intermix personal and public consciousness. Most importantly, both are indispensable for knowing one's personal and national identity.

  4. Growing up in Miami, the Mecca of most Cuban exiles, I learned to understand the nuances of exile politics and thus negotiate a place for myself. For much of my early life, I was oblivious to the petty divisions and antagonisms that could turn even "insiders" into outcasts. As one of over two million Cuban immigrants who settled in the South Florida area following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, I was raised a mere ninety miles away yet a world apart from my homeland. Growing up Cuban in a U.S. city where Cubans are in the majority meant that I could be an insider, could feel at home anywhere in Miami where my food was served and my language spoken. It meant that while I was part of a minority by national standards, I grew up as just one of the family in Cuban Miami, spared many petty prejudices that minorities often face. As a teen, I was adept at crossing borders, at being both the cubanita next door and an Americanized young woman who loved rock music, went braless, and straightened her hair. My friends and I spoke our own hybrid tongue, the Spanglish that even American girls in Miami learned to use in intimate chatter. Only later, in my adult travels beyond the city's borders, would I recognize the mutability and relativity of that "insider" status: I did not have to go far to become the outsider, an object of suspicion or curiosity. I could travel a mere hundred miles south or north or west of Miami and encounter looks that said "go back where you came from." Yet these figurative boundaries were more fluid still: during a return visit to Cuba, I was shocked to discover that I was an outsider in the land of my birth as well.

  5. Growing up Cuban in Miami meant that my birthplace remained a living memory. It was alive on the streets of calle ocho in Little Havana, in the language we spoke at home, and in the stories that nurtured my childhood. We had fled Cuba just two months after Fidel Castro and his Revolutionary Army occupied Havana, settling in Miami for what my parents regarded as a brief sojourn. Year after year, my mother safeguarded our property titles in a small metal box, convinced that someday we would reclaim the life left behind. My father's loss was less tangible; his memory served as his metal box, and it stored a wealth of stories rich in detail and drama. Years of exile never faded my father's memories of home. Although his gratitude to our adopted land was unquestionable, my father never forgot his first love. He yearned for her, idealized and idolized her; held her in his memories. She was his Havana. Eyes full of emotion, he referred to her as "the Paris of the Caribbean," a graceful, exuberant city that never slept. He knew every nook and cranny of her, and she clung to his senses -- her vibrant rhythms, pleasant and familiar smells, sultry breezes and gentle sun.

  6. Like many children of his generation, my father grew up poor and without the benefit of formal schooling. His stories told how he became a child of the city, a boy nourished as much by the sights and sounds of Havana's nightlife as by the local fondas [eateries] that often provided free meals. Havana fed his love of music and dance, as there were always impromptu gatherings where tabletoops became conga drums and work-weary men and women came alive to the rhythms of rumba or guaguanco. During these street gatherings, social and racial distinctions dissolved in communal celebration: hard-edged factory workers might recite poetry to the strains of a Spanish guitar while teary-eyed old women puffed contentedly on their husbans' cigars; the young could be initiated into a Cuban ritual through the "Guantanamera," a ballad-style melody comprised of a traditional refrain interspersed with improvised verses. My father told how by joining the circle of adults, he learned to compose his own lyrics on cue and thus participate in a communal song that had endured for generations. To me, those tales of home were like a lifeline to my Cuban identity. They provided a personalized history that helped to counter the less forgiving, sometimes hostile images later reflected by my public world. To my father, those stories were the only way he knew to cross the boundaries of time and place, to unite me -- his Americanized cubanita -- with her heritage and her birthplace.

  7. My parents would never set eyes on their homeland again, but both kept their respective metal boxes intact: mami sifting through her faded titles as a way to retain her dignity during years as a hotel maid on Miami Beach, papi sorting out tales to impress and instruct his increasingly alien offspring. Growing up elsewhere -- away from the "home" I knew only through pictures, legal documents, and stories -- I came to understand that my mother's obsession with property titles and my father's preoccupation with storytelling shared a purpose. My parents' "metal boxes" were meant to safeguard my inheritance, the legacy they hoped I would claim. Each contained the only assets my parents believed they could offer: mami's promised the financial security that eluded them as immigrants; papi's offered a history I would not otherwise learn. In the end, my mother's tangible assets would prove the more illusory and immaterial, while my father's stories served as a lifeline to the Cuban half of my identity. These shared memories fostered in me the sense that I belonged to a colorful, sometimes dysfunctional, sometimes extraordinary extended family. I realize now that my father's many stories were meant to safeguard not only our family's but an entire culture's history in exile.

  8. As a carryover of my Cuban heritage, these memories were fundamental to the ideological formation of my identity. Kept alive in exile through stories, myths, hearsay, and gossip, cultural memories shape and sustain collective values, forge a communal and individual sense of self, and transmit a vision of the past that can guide us toward the future. History -- and its offspring, cultural memory -- is among the most powerful forces shaping our perspective and marking our boundaries. Here let me distinguish between the concept of History as an authorized, objectified, and fact-based reconstruction of the past, from history as a body of communal and personal memories transmitted through time and subject to reinterpretation and reconstruction. This secularized conception of history is certainly more fluid and tricky, more tangential, anarchic, and subjective. Yet it is no less powerful in its didactic significance or formative function. Maurice Halbwachs argues that collective memories help define our membership in a particular group. These memories are born in the lived experiences of individuals who then bear witness to events through storytelling. Recounted and remembered, events are "kept alive" and granted authenticity (if not accuracy); the past is given shape, accorded value, and preserved. That storytelling was more than an entertaining pastime, that it was part of an oral tradition linking generations of displaced and fractured communities across time, was a history lesson that I would learn later.

  9. Given the primacy of oral histories in the formation of national identity, it is not surprising that competing groups tinker with the past to fashion a positive, self-serving collective identity based on history but creatively embellished by memory; during periods of nation building and transition, empowered groups interpret and ritualize historical events in ways that build solidarity in the present and an agenda for the future. As historian Charles Maier points out, memory "mingles private and public spheres . . . [and] conflates vast historical occurrences with the most interior consciousness" (149). This fusion of public and private history articulates aspects of Cuban exile group identity and contains the seeds for both discord and solidarity. For it is a richly textured and polyvalent voice that speaks to us through these collective memories, a chorus of conflicting and incoherent stories that deny us the comfort of tidy, imperious History. Personal memories, like the shards of a collective history, can reconfigure and revitalize the past in ways that help a community reclaim the present. Through this sharing of memories and telling of stories, we redefine our sense of community and foster our connection through blood and history.

  10. So it was that as a teen growing up in Miami, I identified with the Cuban exile community. I shared the memories of loss that haunted my parents and other Cuban-born adults. I understood the rage, the mourning, the painful longing that fueled public protests and other expressions of Cuban exile identity. I moved between this familial world defined by exile and the world I shared with my American friends, who regarded my family's preoccupation with politics with curious bewilderment. They could not understand why so many Cubans in Miami did not simply move on, live in the present as Americans and shed their obsession with Cuba's past and with Fidel Castro. How could they know that lives had been forever changed and a people radically divided by events in 1959? How could they relate to the passionate displays of patriotism and fiery rhetoric that shaped Cuban exile politics in Miami? To the inhabitants of the world outside this exile enclave, politics had very little to do with daily life, while to me, it was intimately personal. In my familial world, Castro's latest words or deeds informed dinner conversations, and news flashes about Cuba sparked impromptu street demonstrations or heated arguments among friends and family. In my home away from home, Cuba was always an absent presence, the subject of gossip exchanged over café cubano at the ubiquitous coffee stands and the object of passionate emotions vented on local radio talk shows and news editorials. It was a world where the butcher bore the scars of torture endured during twenty years as a political prisoner and my neighbor's brother had been executed by a pro-Castro firing squad. This was not a world where politics was just about an occasional election.

  11. An exile community's historical consciousness is deepened by two kinds of experience: direct participation in the events or emotional engagement through oral testimonies, memoirs, autobiographies, familial lore, and imagination. Since I left Cuba at the age of five, I possessed few memories borne of my own reality. Instead, I relied on the many stories I remembered, the diverse people I met who shared their private memories of Cuba's past. At home and on the street, I heard stories fueled by rage and disappointment. For example, there was Raul down the street, who'd spent fifteen years for venting his anger against Fidel on a field of sunflowers. The sunflowers had been planted on Fidel's orders -- one of his many "agricultural reform" schemes. Raul and his friend, frustrated with the government's authority and reckless in their youthfulness, took machetes to the slender stalks during the night. By morning they had been arrested. My neighbor was just 17 at the time, so he received a life sentence, which Fidel later reduced in a display of leniency for the Carter administration. His twenty-two-year-old accomplice was shot. Raul lost his youth, and after excaping Cuba during the Mariel boatlift in 1980, lost his ailing parents as well. In these stories, Cuba a nation violated -- her people scattered, oppressed, imprisoned, executed, or lost at sea. She was the Republic whose possibilities had been cut short by comunistas, by traitors and despots. Later, my university studies offered other versions as well. If conditions in Cuba were so ripe with potential; if the island had sustained a healthy, vibrant economy; if there was little evidence of discontent -- then why did the Revolution happen? To my adult mind, my father's stories seemed unreliable, like memories filtered through the eyes of a lover. I began to question contradictions, inconsistencies, partial truths. I longed to know "the real story."

  12. The problem is that growing up elsewhere also meant that my view of Cuba was filtered through multiple lenses, each casting doubt on the other and evoking conflicting emotions and conclusions: shifting my perspective from Cuban to American or vice versa could destabilize any conviction or cast doubt on any opinion. Personal histories avowed in private circles crumbled under public scrutiny, as newspaper and television accounts often conflicted with local images of self and community. Like others of the "in-between" generation, my knowledge of Cuban history stemmed from secondary, often contradictory sources. It was mediated by my parents and later filtered through an educational system that measured Cuban history only in relation to its own cultural myths and perspectives. On those rare occasions when Cuba was mentioned during my formal schooling, it was as representative Communist Other to Democratic America -- as an island nation defined by loss and lack. Cuba's complex history, filtered through this narrow lens, served to affirm the virtues of capitalism or to admonish young Americans who may be lured by pop culture images of el Che or Fidel. The U.S. stood as an example of democracy and justice defined against its Other: Latin America. Understandably, my view of Cuba from that perspective was that it had always been a "banana republic," its history simply a string of strongmen dictators, racists, and regressive initiatives. In this version, Cuba's long war for independence from Spain is named the "Spanish-American War," obscuring the fact that a generation of Cubans, led by a military leadership comprised of 40% Afro-Cubans, paid for that victory with their own blood. This script calls for the U.S. to play enlightened democracy to Cuba's "Third World" role. It ignores the U.S. government's role in imposing their own segregationist policies on Cuba's military during its occupation, and neglects to mention the fact that unlike the U.S.'s War of Independence, Cuba's articulated a vision of racial equality and harmony.[3]

  13. Yet for years I felt destined to carry these remnants of a tattered and dishonored heritage like an albatross around my neck. Stuart Hall's remark that identity is never simple or stable but happens over time and is "subject to the play of history and the play of difference" suggests that identity is an ongoing process of identification and association. In this sense, my cubanidad became as much a political choice as a question of birthplace or native language. But it was a choice implicated by the stories I internalized as my own -- personal and cultural narratives founded on family lore, personal experience, and hearsay that complicated my perspective. As is often the case with children of immigrants, these stories usurped the role of recorded history.

  14. What I am suggesting here is certainly not new. Postcolonial theory and criticism have led the way in recognizing the importance of cultural memories in national identity and reunification. While "postcolonialism" marks a contested theoretical terrain, its critics and authors nevertheless share a preoccupation with history. Postcolonial discourses are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with "official" history; as Helen Tiffin explains, postcolonialism seeks to dismantle and demystify European cultural authority "with a view to erecting a systematic alternative to define a denied or outlawed self" (171). This decolonizing project consistently involves a strategy of dis/membering the colonizer's History, of self-definition and self-critique that reclaims, in Simon During's words, "an identity uncontaminated by universalist or Eurocentric concepts and images" (114).

  15. Similarly, the condition of exile separates a people from their homeland and their history. Like colonized subjects, Cuban exiles and their bicultural sons and daughters carry fragments of a shattered history like baggage. Forty years of migration and separation have eroded and confused our memories. We cling to a thread of connection even as we feel our grasp slipping with each negative depiction of Cubans or each public incident of intolerance among our own people. As a result, I have regarded my ancestry with mixed feelings, torn between a need to reject the identity conjured by these dominant perspectives and a desire to embrace my heritage without shame. Indeed, as Margaret Ferguson has remarked, exile is "the metaphorical name for the experience of ambivalence" (277).

  16. Vincente Llorens, himself an exile from Spain, once wrote that "a life of exile assumes an essentially unstable alteration of human existence which is paradoxically and tenuously balanced between two opposing points: the present and the future" (9). Critic Michael Ugarte argues that "this 'tenuous balance' disguises the very existence of the present as it persists in blending with the past and future. Immediate surroundings have meaning only in terms of a lost geography, a place that is absent" (327). Thus exile defines the present only in relation to the past; it perceives "the world always in terms of relations: nostalgia, the fictional recreation of better times in relation to a negative reading of the present." This predicament sheds some light on an older generation of Cuban exiles who confound the "in-between" generation with their inability to act upon the present. Many are caught in this labyrinth of history where all paths lead to the past and there is no exit to the present. Any vote cast, and position taken, any alliance formed in the United States seems bound to this obsession with the past.

  17. Such a preoccupation with the past makes exiled and displaced peoples particularly keen on storytelling. They seem to sense its profound influence, its formative and instructive role in shaping identity and recording cultural memory. Perhaps, as Ugarte remarks, "to be displaced is to be obsessed with memory" (327). Communal stories of exile are often preserved and disseminated through autobiographies, testimonials, or historical fictions. They produce a body of literary texts that expresses its own poetic, "its own language, conceits, and motivations (326). Ugarte's analysis suggests that regardless of specific context, an exile's voice records the experiences of loss, absence, separation and fragmentation that seem to characterize the migratory experience. Most significantly, in both literary and social discourse exile gives rise to a polemic that "brings into play a series of ideological and historical disputes whose battle ground includes the new home as well as the old" (326).

  18. In the context of Cuban politics and discourse, Cuba's history is often reduced to a dichotomy of simplistic pro-Castro/anti-Castro scenarios. This polemic, which Frank Valdez aptly locates in elitist Miami and Cuba factions, is founded on contrasting versions of the past. It rejects the complexity of Cuba's history in favor of a singular and myopic vision. Each side constructs a notion of cubanidad founded on imagined communities past and present. In Alan Singer's words, "Desire dreams the identity of the one with the many, the plenitude of truth, the absence of difference" (57). But as Fredric Jameson reminds us, "History is what hurts, what refuses desire" (102).

  19. For the most part, the dueling factions in Miami and Havana have instigated and fueled hostility among and between Cubans since the ascension of "Fidelismo" in 1959 and the subsequent outflux of Cuban refugees. Both sets of elites have constructed unilateral and ossified versions of Cuban history that support their respective agendas. On the Island, the circles of power that authoritatively supervise all aspects of life, the government and the party, have dictated and disseminated Cuba's official story: Havana's elites, in Valdez's apt description, "have cultivated the romantic image of themselves as heroic Davids slaying -- or at least defying -- the menacing Goliath of the North" (4). From this perspective, Cubans who emigrated after Fidel's 1959 triumph are merely "gusanos" who crawled away from the homeland to the rich soil of U.S. imperialism and capitalism. Miami's elites, on the other hand, encompass a loose assemblage of business leaders and politicos who have amassed wealth or position in the U.S. and use it to further their own agenda. They are in direct opposition to Havana's elites, and as a group express an interest in "freedom" and "democracy" only to the extent that these remain abstracted enough to serve their own interests. Both factions have cloaked themselves in nationalistic fervor to invoke their cause and monopolize political power, and both have resorted to disinformation, suppression, intimidation, and even violence to control their constituencies.

  20. Of course, both sides disseminate and validate their version of Cuban history. On this side of the Cuban divide, Cuba's history reads like an echo of Milton's Paradise Lost, while on the other, present-day Cuba emerges as Paradise Found when compared to selective memories of Batista and yanquí imperialism. Of course, both sides have continued to insist on the authenticity of "their" story, rejecting any reconfiguration of Cuban identity that might destabilize or challenge their authority. These polarized and stalemated speakers have set the tone of Cuban political and social discourses in their respective domains. Instead, each side has constructed self-serving notions of cubanidad founded on imagined communities past and present. In Miami, Cuban exiles who cling to this singular vision memorialize the pre-1959 past as the moment of solidarity and communality, and only insiders to this vision may share its glory. Miami's elites have been granted access to the US's political machinery, and they wield their influence by financing pro-embargo campaigns and "representing" the Cuban exile community on the national stage. Their opinions on everything from the embargo against Cuba to whether six-year-old Elian should stay in the U.S. are the ones televised on national news programs, their views are held up by the media as representing "the Cuban exile community" or "Miami's Cuban community." It is no wonder that many Cubans of my generation have moved away from Miami and dissociated themselves entirely from the identity essentialized as "Miami Cuban."

  21. But many of the "in-between" generation have occupied the spaces between the dominant discourses of Cuban identity expressed through these elites' conflicting narratives. We have rejected the inflammatory rhetoric of both sides of the Cuban border and sought to reconcile the opposing historical perspectives these represent. For me, the many stories I remember and the memories I keep in my own "metal box" have helped to humanize the most easily demonized. They have helped to soften even the most embarrassing public displays of cubanidad and to understand that there are many sides to each story. As anecdotal and media "evidence" continues to characterize the Miami Cuban community as heartless zealots intent on destroying their compatriots on the Island, I struggle to reconcile those depictions with my own experiences or with the knowledge that "reliable estimates put Cuban-American remittances [to Cuba] at close to $1 billion per year, far exceeding the sum total of private contributions by charitable organizations to Cuba worldwide" (Portes 32). I keep listening, for I know that for every story of vengeance there is another of reconciliation.

  22. Last May I attended a conference that included a panel entitled "Cubans Without Borders." Comprised of Cuban academics with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the panel was an attempt to examine the conflicts and tensions dividing Cubans both on and off the Island. I had never met any of the panel participants until I arrived in Gainesville, though we had exchanged warm and lively emails. Seated among the fellow Cubans who would comprise the "Cubans Without Borders" panel, I discovered the extent to which all my stories converged and formed my self-image. As I sat among the wonderful people who would share their little bit of history and self and thus venture across borders, I felt like both insider/outsider to this group. It was not a distance created by discipline (I was a lit professor among a majority of law scholars). The distance I felt stemmed simply from the fact that I was a "Miami Cuban," a cubanita who had not moved away or dissociated herself from the Miami exile community. The other Cubans had long ago moved on, most rejecting the identity they associated with their Miami relatives. It seemed that years of graduate study or personal successes had not eroded the negative self-image I felt projected upon me by that association. I longed to cross the border imposed upon us by those who would control our history, who insist on "representing" our views. I wanted to vindicate my community, to humanize the demonized, to share stories that spoke of individual acts of generosity or courage or forgiveness. And most of all, I felt an absurd desire to redeem our history, to recall dreams of economic, social, and racial equality that links us across generations.

  23. I expressed my discomfort to the group and we exchanged personal memories, reaching across differences and finding that we shared intellectual, political, and emotional bonds. On that day, we aired our dirty laundry; we looked critically at notions of cubanidad that disappointed, divided or alienated us. We expressed our rage and our hopes. Terry Dehay has characterized this collective re-membering as "reclaiming and protecting a past often suppressed by the dominant culture, and in this sense, as re-envisioning, it is essential in the process of gaining control over one's life" (405). During these intimate sessions, I felt the extent to which our interpretation and understanding of Cuba's past, our experience of cubanidad, had grown out of the story of exile -- its justificatory narratives, accusations, and loss.

  24. Our exchange did not produce a coherent narrative of Cuban identity. Nor did it seek to deny the ugly aspects of our collective history or to supplant them with idealized and nostalgic personal musings. I do believe that our familial dialogue served to remind us, again, of the truism, "there are more than two sides to every story." It may also have achieved some "historical consciousness raising." Most importantly, it allowed us to see, reflected in our differences, traces of familiarity; it reaffirmed the need to engage relentlessly in a process of self-critique and self-reconstruction, of historical deconstruction and recovery. Such a process will doubtless produce more ambivalence, a more tentative and open-ended view of our own Cuban "others." But as Cubans struggling to come to terms with our differences and yet longing for connection, we can live with ambiguity. In fact, we can make it home.


    [The photograph used in the section headings is of my parents vacationing in Miami two years before the Cuban revolution.]

  1. A derogatory term for those who emigrated Cuba after Fidel's 1959 takeover. Literally translates as "worms." Back

  2. Another derogatory reference, in this case against those who migrated to the US as part of the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Castro forced boat captains to include some criminals and mentally disabled people onboard the vessels carrying family members out of Cuba. Back

  3. For an analysis of the U.S.'s role in shaping notions of race in Cuba, see Duke. See also Brock and Fuertes for a fascinating history of the racial alliances forged between African Americans and Cubans from the abolitionist era to the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Back

Works Cited

Brock, Lisa, and Digna Casteneda Fuertes, eds. Between Race and Empire" African-Americans and cubans before the Cuban Revolution. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1998.

Dehay, Terry. "Narrating Memory." Memory, Narrative, and Identity. Eds. Amriitjit Singh, Joseph T. Skerrett, Jr., and Robert E. Hogan. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1994.

Duke, Cathy. "The Idea of Race: The Cultural Impact of American Intervention in Cuba, 1898-1912." In Politics, Society and Culture in the Caribbean. Ed. Blanca G. Silvestrini. San Juan: U of Perto Rico P, 1983.

During, Simon. "Postmodernism or Post-Colonialism Today." Postmodern Conditions. Ed. Andrew Milner, et al. New York: St. Martin's P, 1990.

Halbwachs, Maurice. On Collective Memory. Trans. Lewis A. Coser. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.

Hall, Stuart. "Cultural Identity and Diaspora." Contemporary Postcolonial Theory: A Reader. Ed. Padmini Mongia. London: Arnold P, 1996. 110 - 21.

Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca NY: Cornell UP, 1981.

Llorens, Vincente. Literatura, historia, politica. Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1967.

Maier, Charles S. The Unmasterable Past : History, Holocaust, and German National Identity. Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1988.

Perez Firmat, Gustavo. Next Year in Cuba: A Cubano's Coming-of-Age in America. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Portes, Alejandro. "Morning in Miami: A New Era for Cuban-American Politics." The American Prospect (May-June 1998): 28-32.

Singer, Alan. "Desire's Desire: Toward an Historical Formalism." Enclitic 7 (Spring/Fall 1984): 57 - 67.

Tiffin, Helen. "Post-Colonialism, Post-Modernism and the Rehabilitation of Post-Colonial History." The Journal of Commonwealth History 23.1 (1988): 169-81.

Ugarte, Michael. "Luis Cernuda and the Politics of Exile." MLN 101.2 (March 1986): 325-341.

Valdez, Frank. E-mail to Myra Mendible. 15 May 2001.

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