Cuba Cargo/Cult is a blog written by Ana Dopico. It reflects provocatively on the Cuban present and the Cuban past, myths and monuments of national culture, the relationship of Cuba to the United States and the world, and the relationship between Cuba, its exiles, and its diaspora. Against the horizons of newness, speculation and tired Cold War tropes, the blog also explores the ways that Cuba is imagined and represented. I analyze political and cultural developments, and reflect historically, theoretically and personally on Cuba and its meanings.
Irreverently, the title refers to Cuba as a Cargo Cult story, and invokes how Cuba is identified with “cargo” and “cults” in a global imagination. Invoking the many resonances of the title, in both Spanish and English, I invite readers to think about Cuba through notions of cargo, of “cargo cults,” of culture as cargo, and to think about the Cults to Cuba and its cargo, from cigars to music to human beings. In Spanish, I invite you to think that “cargo,” connected to the verb “cargar,” means something we carry, of the “cargo” or “charge” that Cuba delivers — the frisonne and excitement, political and othersie, and also the “cargo” that it demands. Inevitably the blog reflects on “cargo” as the cost of a fragmented, sometimes paranoid, sometimes schizoid national culture –the ways that politically, figuratively, psychologically, and emotionally the idea of Cuba has public, private, and secret costs. The blog’s epigraph is taken from Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard.
Ana Dopico was born in Havana, grew up in Miami, and lives in New York. She teaches at New York University and works on the culture and politics of Cuba, the Americas, and the Global South. She has published and lectured widely on José Martí, Cuba and its diaspora, and representations of Cuba in the United States. She is completing a book titled Cubanologies: Altered States in Cuban Cultural History which includes essays on republics, race, and revolution, journalism, literature, art, photography and cinema, and Cuba’s diaspora. She is researching a book on race and Cuban exiles called Cold Wars and Civil Rights: Race Politics in Black and Cuban Miami 1960-1980.