Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Félix E. Martín

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Chantalle Verna

Third Advisor's Name

John Clark

Fourth Advisor's Name

Guillermo Grenier


Race Relations in Cuba, Racism in Cuba, U.S. - Cuba Relations

Date of Defense



Since the arrival of the first African slaves to Cuba in 1524, the issue of race has had a long-lived presence in the Cuban national discourse. However, despite Cuba’s colonial history, it has often been maintained by some historians that race relations in Cuba were congenial with racism and racial discrimination never existing as deep or widespread in Cuba as in the United States (Cannon, 1983, p. 113). In fact, it has been argued that institutionalized racism was introduced into Cuban society with the first U.S. occupation, during 1898–1902 (Cannon, 1983, p. 113). This study of Cuba investigates the influence of the United States on the development of race relations and racial perceptions in post-independent Cuba, specifically from 1898-1902. These years comprise the time period immediately following the final fight for Cuban Independence, culminating with the Cuban-Spanish-American War and the first U.S. occupation of Cuba. By this time, the Cuban population comprised Africans as well as descendants of Africans, White Spanish people, indigenous Cubans, and offspring of the intermixing of the groups. This research studies whether the United States’ own race relations and racial perceptions influenced the initial conflicting race relations and racial perceptions in early and post-U.S. occupation Cuba. This study uses a collective interpretative framework that incorporates a national level of analysis with a race relations and racial perceptions focus. This framework reaches beyond the traditionally utilized perspectives when interpreting the impact of the United States during and following its intervention in Cuba. Attention is given to the role of the existing social, political climate within the United States as a driving influence of the United States’ involvement with Cuba. This study reveals that emphasis on the role of the United States as critical to the development of Cuba’s race relations and racial perceptions is credible given the extensive involvement of the U.S. in the building of the early Cuban Republic and U.S. structures serving as models for reconstruction. U.S. government formation in Cuba aligned with a governing system reflecting the existing governing codes of the U.S. during that time period.





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