This article analyzes the personal experiences of African American refugees in Cuba as well as the ways in which the Cuban government sought to mitigate and frequently repress the appeal of the movement of Black Power / poder negro to which Cubans might autonomously ascribe. By universalizing Communist standards of culture, behavior, and political values that leaders glossed as colorless, state agents ranging from the Ministry of Education and the media to Fidel Castro and Cuba's top intelligence chiefs anticipated and co-opted historical memories of slavery as well as cultural expressions of black pride. They did so, however, with varying degrees of success, much as the long legacy of devotion to slave-crafted religiosity and the survival of black discourses of identity reveal then and today.

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