The author brings an analysis about Cuban rural women in development projects due to different historical moments of Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro after 1959. An experience in the western part of the country, Holguin, is showed as an example of improvement of Cuban rural women participation in development local projects with gender perspective.
Betancourt examines women's writings in relation to language, power, sexuality and race in contemporary Cuba, analyzing the creation of alternative matria frameworks that enunciate a feminist/feminine perspective of the nationalist discourse.
In this in-depth view of Cuban gender politics and democracy, Luciak considers the role that women played in the Cuban revolution. The women who joined Castro's revolution were considered indispensable, and a select group of women held leadership roles. Che Guevara in particular recognized the important contribution women could make to the revolutionary struggle. Most women engaged in open civil dissent and staged demonstrations, while some, such as Celia Sánchez, supported clandestine armed operations at great personal risk. Luciak maintains that Cuba's revolutionary government made great progress in advancing women's social and economic rights and proved successful in guaranteeing women's formal political participation. Ironically this success had an unintended consequence: It inhibited public debate on how to transform prevailing gender relations and preempted the emergence of an autonomous women's movement that could effectively advocate for change. As a result, women hold very limited decision-making power in the current regime. Sánchez was a lifelong confidante to Fidel Castro, who considered women's emancipation to be a "revolution in the revolution." But Cuban feminists see Sánchez as a symbol of women's invisibility, noting that her image adorning the Cuban 20-peso note is part of the watermark, which can be viewed only when held against the light. Drawing on interviews with high-ranking Cuban officials, Luciak argues that democracy cannot be successfully consolidated without the full participation of women in the political process--and the support of men--both at the party and societal levels.
In Guarding Cultural Memory, Flora Gonz#65533;lez Mandri examines the vibrant and uniquely illuminating post-Revolutionary creative endeavors of Afro-Cuban women. Taking on the question of how African diaspora cultures practice remembrance, she reveals the ways in which these artists restage the confrontations between modernity and tradition. Gonz#65533;lez Mandri considers the work of the poet and cultural critic Nancy Morej#65533;n, the poet Excilia Salda#65533;a, the filmmaker Gloria Rolando, and the artists Mar#65533;a Magdalena Campos-Pons and Belkis Ay#65533;n. In their cultural representations these women conflate the artistic, the historical, and the personal to produce a transformative image of the black woman as a forger of Cuban culture. They achieve this in several ways: by redefining autobiography as a creative expression for the convergence of the domestic and the national; by countering the eroticized image of the mulatta in favor of a mythical conception of the female body as a site for the engraving of cultural and national conflicts and resolutions; and by valorizing certain aesthetic and religious traditions in relation to a postmodern artistic sensibility Placing these artists in their historical context, Gonz#65533;lez Mandri shows how their accomplishments were consistently silenced in official Cuban history and culture and explores the strategies through which culturally censored memories survived--and continue to survive--in a Caribbean country purported to have integrated its Hispanic and African peoples and heritages into a Cuban identity. The picture that finally emerges is one not only of exceptional artistic achievement but also of successful redefinitions of concepts of race, gender, and nation in the face of almost insurmountable cultural odds.
A handful of celebrated photographs show armed female Cuban insurgents alongside their companeros in Cuba's remote mountains during the revolutionary struggle. However, the story of women's part in the struggle's success has only now received comprehensive consideration in Michelle Chase's history of women and gender politics in revolutionary Cuba. Restoring to history women's participation in the all-important urban insurrection, and resisting Fidel Castro's triumphant claim that women's emancipation was handed to them as a "revolution within the revolution," Chase's work demonstrates that women's activism and leadership was critical at every stage of the revolutionary process. Tracing changes in political attitudes alongside evolving gender ideologies in the years leading up to the revolution, Chase describes how insurrectionists mobilized familiar gendered notions, such as masculine honor and maternal sacrifice, in ways that strengthened the coalition against Fulgencio Batista. But, after 1959, the mobilization of women and the societal transformations that brought more women and young people into the political process opened the revolutionary platform to increasingly urgent demands for women's rights. In many cases, Chase shows, the revolutionary government was simply formalizing popular initiatives already in motion on the ground thanks to women with a more radical vision of their rights.
The changes in women’s economic, social, and political status in Cuba since 1959 have been “a revolution within the revolution.” These gains have not been conquered simply parallel to, let alone outside, the historic struggle by Cuba’s working people, male and female, to throw off the chains of US imperialist domination and capitalist rule. To the contrary, in the words of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, the fight for women’s equality has been “a moral necessity, a revolutionary necessity” inseparably intertwined with the uncompromising battles through which Cuba’s toilers have defended their socialist course—transforming themselves in the process.