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Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality

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Race in Cuba

Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality


by Esteban Morales Domínguez; edited and translated under the direction of Gary Prevost and August Nimtz



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.


Further Comments:


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



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