порно молодых

Exile Epics: Marco Rubio to the Senate

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, exile, Miami, Video - lecture and discussion 1 Comment »

It is worth listening to the new senator elect for Florida and TeaParty sympathizer Marco Rubio‘s acceptance speech. I had to listen to it after a friend reported that his speech was dishearteningly right-wing while another friend (Cuban exile) reported to be filled with emotion.

To me, it sounds awfully out of step with the experience of many people in this country (all those who have not managed to go from bellboy to president); but I suppose he is not talking to them here. He is paying homage to his family’s journey, and that is emotional: “I have been raised in a community that lost their country…  This is the story of the Cuban exile community… I will always be the son of exiles...” His is an American Dream story, an immigrant fable that says that you can make it to the top by pulling yourself up by your bootstraps; a story that was compelling at one point but that it sounds now more incredible than winning the lottery.  He talks about “the greatest society in human history” and about America as “the strongest country in the world” and “an extraordinary society where every dream is possible;” “there is at least one place in this planet where it doesn’t matter if your father was a bartender and your mom was a maid. You can accomplish anything you want if you’re willing to work hard for it and play by the rules” (“the rules” being a signal that illegal immigration will not be tolerated). From Cuban exceptionalism to American exceptionalism.

His is also an anti-communist parable:  He has been compared with Reagan and he indeed sounds like someone coming out from the Cold. Even though Marco Rubio does not mention the words “communism” or “revolution”– for him the Cuban Revolution is “an accident of history”– his narrative is a sort of Reaganesque reverse orientalism. His politics, far to the right of Reagan. If, according to the sociological lore, the first generation of exiles were visibly and famously Republican, and the one-and-a-half generation a rebel -with a high profile in academia and a significant number of them joining various brigades and going to Cuba in defiance of their parents- the second remains, let’s say, under studied. Another one of its members is the Republican congressman just elected for Miami, David Rivera, born in 1965, former manager of radio and TV Marti.

UPDATE (Nov. 5). For a broader social and generational perspective on both Rubio’s election and Ileana Rosh-Lehtinen’s reelection to Congress (feared to become the next chairperson of the Foreign Affairs committee, with its obvious negative implications for US Cuban academic exchanges), I recommend the just-published piece on the latest issue of Foreign Policy by colleague Arturo Lopez-Levy, Not Your Father’s Cuba.

Orlando Bosch and the Politics of Academia

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Conferences & CFPs, exile, Miami, Video - lecture and discussion 6 Comments »

Oct 12 event at the UM. At the far left (wearing a tie), Orlando Bosch. Next to him, Enrique Ros (also with suit and tie), who is the father of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican Congresswoman. On the far right, author and radio host Enrique Encinosa. (pic taken from the event’s website)

Colleague Isabel Alfonso, a graduate of the University of Miami, sent us this video of the October 12 event, along with her outrage. How is it possible that a bona fide University would sponsor a homage to Orlando Bosch? He is an extremely controversial figure, well known for his involvement in an airplane bombing; who at one point was convicted of terrorism by a U.S. court and who, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s Ofice, “for thirty years has been resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence.”  One thing is to invite an individual, in this case a witness of a history worth telling, a man already in his eighties, to tell his story, even to give his opinion and defend his views. But to stage a homage to his terrorist actions and activities that broke laws in several countries?

Here’s a clip:

The event, on the Escambray anti-revolutionary struggle, was technically organized by an Institute for the Cuban Historical Memory Against Totalitarianism, and merely took place AT the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies, as clearly stated on their event webpage. Nonetheless, both the Cuban and Cuban American Institute and the University lent their names and banners to the event as can be seen on the pictures. They were therefore sponsors. The Institute (which we link on our link-roll)  is a semi-independent entity that has never hidden its partisanship. It is directed by the very widely read historian Prof. Jaime Suchliki, and, even though it does not feature a proper board, it lists a number of UM faculty as contributors.

What is the line between political activism and academic indifference? Are there double or triple standards? Our colleague and former classmate, anthropologist Nick DeGenova, unfortunately lost his job at Columbia University for saying at a sit-in that the United States deserved “a million Mogadishus.” How is this any different? It is always dangerous to try to set limits to free speech, but one could argue that universities, as educational institutions, are in the business of educating citizens for democracy. A university needs to chose its role models -the individuals it honors- carefully and thoughtfully.

Public Academics and the Cuba-vs-Exile Question

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, exile, Opinion 5 Comments »

Celia Cruz as Lady in White. Miami, Calle Ocho, 3/25/2010. Courtesy and ©  Marta Ramos

When it comes to Cuba, few academics dare to issue opinions. We complain about the continued irrelevance of intellectuals within U.S. society and call for the need to encourage critical thinking within the university. Yet few issue informed opinions on U.S. Cuban politics.  The field is extremely polarized between those academics who refuse to publicly acknowledge the death of the revolutionary utopia and who focus their critical energy on the ill policies of the U.S. government, and those -generally de-legitimized- whose exiled agendas guide their scholarship. In between there is a silent mass, among them the anthropologists, who are uncomfortable expressing an opinion that will align them with either camp. Anthropologists study other cultures and societies yet their ultimate goal is to criticize their own and not that of others, always respectful (fearful?) of foreign sovereignties.

There are some exceptions (as in this very blog concerning U.S. Cuba  travel policies), most often among non-anthropologists, even though they sharply separate opinion from scholarship. Our colleague Ted Henken is one. He does not shy away from informing his political opinion with his academic knowledge in his blog El Yuma. Nor does Isabel Alfonso, a professor at St. Joseph’s college in New York.    She recently wrote an essay entitled “The Stains of a March” critiquing the goals behind the March 25th march that took place in Miami under the auspices of Emilio and Gloria Estefan in support of Cuba’s political prisoners. Between fifty and one hundred thousand people attended the march, and in the name of unity, the goals overshadowed the means. She analyzed the organization of the march and denounced its secondary agenda:

“As a symbolic gesture, far from facilitating the hatching of a mature exile, able to tell apart lights from shadows, the march inscribes us once again in a history of accomplice silences before acts of violence that surpass the abuse against the Damas, such as the terrorist acts committed by Posada Carriles or the fifty-year long embargo against the island. Politically, the balance results in manipulation on both sides.  Washington lobbyists might use the march to create momentum and freeze the dialogue. Less travel, fewer academic exchanges, fewer points of negotiation….”

The essay was picked up by two very different web publications: the exile journal Encuentro en la Red (based in Madrid), and the official page of Cuba’s Union of Artists and Writers (UNEAC). Because this collusion between two normally ideologically-opposed forums is unprecedented, the essay deserves careful reading.  You can choose where to read it in its entirety, according to your own preference:

“Las Manchas de una Marcha”, Cuba Encuentro, March 31, 2010

“Las Manchas de una Marcha”. UNEAC webpage, April 2, 2010

For background, you can watch this short report on the march by The Miami Herald:

WP Theme & Icons by N.Design Studio | Theme Modified by CHASS College Computing
Entries RSS Comments RSS Log in