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Race in Cuba

Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality

Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality
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244 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-58367-320-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-58367-321-8
February 2013
Also available as an e-book

Price: $19.95

Read an excerpt in Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal

As a young militant in the Student Youth movement, Esteban Morales Domínguez participated in the overthrow of the Batista regime and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The revolutionaries, he understood, sought to establish a more just and egalitarian society. But Morales, an Afro-Cuban, knew that the complicated question of race could not be ignored, or simply willed away in a post-revolutionary context. Today, he is one of Cuba’s most prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals and its leading authority on the race question.

Available for the first time in English, the essays collected here describe the problem of racial inequality in Cuba, provide evidence of its existence, constructively criticize efforts by the Cuban political leadership to end discrimination, and point to a possible way forward. Morales surveys the major advancements in race relations that occurred as a result of the revolution, but does not ignore continuing signs of inequality and discrimination. Instead, he argues that the revolution must be an ongoing process and that to truly transform society it must continue to confront the question of race in Cuba.

The appearance of these essays in English translation is an important milestone, because Esteban Morales Domínguez is one of the most important and influential commentators on Cuban race relations today … Morales takes complex, thoughtful, and sometimes unexpected positions; his is a voice that ought to be heard in North American discussions about race … Essential.

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Of all the challenges confronted by the triumphant Cuban revolution in 1959, none has proven to be as intractable as the issue of racism. In a thoughtful and honest fashion, Esteban Morales lays bare the myths and realities of race relations in twentieth-century Cuba. An informed reader would be well served to approach the subject of race in Cuba through the insights offered by Morales.

—Louis A. Perez, Jr., professor of history and Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of North Carolina

Esteban Morales Domínguez, a proactive, democratic voice living an integrated social-professional-Communist Party cadre life in Cuban socialism, straightforwardly posits skin color and racism as transversal life-defining subjects that require conscious social science research and special policy attention to renovate and advance Cuban socialism as a full participatory democratic project with equitable material and spiritual development for all citizens.

—James Counts Early, Director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution

Esteban Morales Domínguez (born in Matanzas, Cuba, 1942) has been an active participant in the Cuban revolutionary project for the past fifty years and is one of Cuba’s most prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals. He is a member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, has held numerous academic posts, and has been awarded three times by both the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Higher Education. He is the principal or co-author of fifteen books and has published more than a hundred theoretical articles; his 2007 book, Desafios de la problemáticas racial en Cuba (Challenges of the Racial Question in Cuba) was the first book-length academic publication on this subject by a scholar based in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

Gary Prevost is Professor of Political Science at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. He has published numerous books and articles on revolutionary parties and social movements in Spain, Latin America, and South Africa, including Social Movements and Leftist Governments in Latin America: Confrontation or Co-optation?; Cuban-Latin American Relations in a Changing Hemisphere; United States-Cuban Relations: A Critical History; and Politics in Latin America: The Power Game. August Nimtz, Jr. is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America: The “Absolute Democracy” or “Defiled Republic”; Marx and Engels: Their Contribution to the Democratic Breakthrough; and Islam and Politics in East Africa: the Sufi Order in Tanzania.

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