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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Up with Cuba

Given all the brouhaha about Obama’s trip, I wanted to comment some on Cuba. I was born in Santiago (the easternmost and most revolutionary part of the island) and have been going back over the past 12 years, presenting and publishing there.

This link (translatable) has some basics about the Cuban legal system. The two main professional organizations for lawyers are the Unión Nacional de Juristas de Cuba and the Organización Nacional de Bufetes Colectivos.  The Unión seems to focus more on policy and academic issues while the ONBC includes almost all practicing lawyers who work in state-organized firms. These organizations regularly hold conference and events on legal themes. I was thinking of attending this conference on gender, at which I’ve previously seen many foreign academics.

As I see it, many Cuban-American emigrants remain in a state of complicated and belated mourning, something that will begin to end only after Fidel Castro passes away. Elsewhere I’ve argued that many in my generation suffer from the  Cuban-American Oedipal conflict. Parents and grandparents passed on their displacement trauma (no doubt justified) to their kids, who then – out of a sense of filial piety and ethnic identification – keep from engaging with Cuba (the real Cuba – not their parents’ introjected loss) so as to form their own opinions on these issues. Ironically, avoiding Cuba keeps them from more fully understanding what their families lost by leaving. (I’m an Oedipal victor, although that can seem like a pyrrhic victory :))

Posted by Jose Gabilondo on March 24, 2016 at 09:12 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


Actually I agree with Andres that property is not the most important thing that most in diaspora lost when they left Cuba. Emphasizing resolution of property claims to the detriment of these cultural losses is a mistake. I've argued for a truth and reconciliation process as a way to begin long overdue healing. I know lots of Cuban-Americans but none of them lost close relatives. Of course it happened, but certainly not to most.

Posted by: Jose | Mar 29, 2016 7:32:07 PM

Well, I guess it is an age thing at this point.

Posted by: Marcos Antonio Mendoza | Mar 26, 2016 10:47:51 PM

Having married into a Cuban-American family, I can assure the author that the chief source of Cuban-American hostility towards the regime is not the loss of a legitimate business, the loss of a beautiful home on a beautiful island, the suffering of an illegal emigration, nor the hardships suffered in a new land. The most fundamental source for the Cuban Diaspora's hostility towards the regime is found in the pain of murdered family members.

Almost every Cuban who I've heard speak against the regime has lost a cousin, a brother, a sister, an uncle, an aunt to the regime. Such losses cannot be placed on a balance sheet of embargo losses versus takings losses. Such losses cannot be repaired by visiting the island. These families did not lose by leaving. Their suffering was caused by the regime's willingness to kill people who merely spoke against it. The only solution these families will accept is the regime stepping down and those responsible for killing their family members facing justice.

The article ignores this painful reality. What restitution can pay for murdered family?

Posted by: Andres | Mar 25, 2016 11:28:34 AM

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