Arturo Gonzalez

Arturo Gonzalez

Cables from Cuba: Cross-Strait Solidarity and Politics in Ybor City, 1898-1961.

Authors

Arturo S Gonzalez

Mentor

Dr. Lillian Guerra

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Abstract

In the nineteenth century, exiles from Cuba established a community for themselves in Tampa called Ybor City. In spite of the racist trends of the Jim Crow south and of colonial Cuba, this community presented a racially unified front in the struggle for Cuban Independence. White and Black Cubans lived and worked side-by-side, while participating in racially diverse revolutionary clubs such as Liceo Cubano. Cuban exile communities like the one in Ybor City served as the basis of José Martí’s vision for an independent and anti-racist Cuba. Unfortunately, Martí’s vision for Cuba was frustrated by the American intervention in 1898 and the subsequent empowerment of reactionary White nationalists on the island. In Ybor City, the Cuban clubs fractured into segregated organizations. My research uncovered that Cubans in Ybor City were often able to work together despite the split by relying on national and working-class solidarity. There moments of unity manifested in two distinct ways. First, Ybor City connected to nodes of Cuban communities in Havana, New York, Key West, and elsewhere to provide material and moral support to each other during labor strikes. Second, Cubans in Ybor City fully integrated into the Patron-Client networks that dominated Cuban politics, trading political autonomy for money and protection. Ultimately, my thesis explores how the Cubans in Tampa situated themselves within the cross-strait Cuban nation, how they reacted and responded to political events taking place in the homeland, and how events in Cuba affected the cross-racial unity of Cuban Tampa.

Poster

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Research Pitch

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