Between 1932 and 1935, the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) argued that the majority-Black population of Oriente, the island's easternmost province, should be granted the right to national self-determination. While this policy has often been dismissed as a passing aberration, I argue that Black self-determination in fact left a lasting imprint both on the PCC and on the country's political landscape. I draw on research in Cuban and Russian archives to show that, far from being imposed on local Communists by the Comintern, the policy was most clearly formulated by Cubans, including leading members of African descent. I further show that it served as the focal point for the development of the PCC's antiracist stance, which by the end of the decade had made it a leading proponent of equality. Self-determination was integral to that transformation, which reshaped the party's composition and social basis for years to come.

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