The triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 presented the revolutionary government with the immediate task of legitimizing the new order. Over a period of twenty years, this enterprise demanded vast quantities of energy, resources, and ingenuity and ultimately required the participation of the full polity—from revolutionary elites to mass organizations.1 To be sure, the early phase of this process did not differentiate the Cuban experience from the difficulties typically attending all transfers of political power, particularly insofar as such transfers occur outside the context of sanctioned institutional change. The requirements of legitimacy in these instances are ordinarily fulfilled by recourse to a variety of pragmatic short-term devices. Indeed, the act of legitimizing a new political order often is solely the function of legal fiat underwritten by force.

The process through which an initial transfer of political power evolves into the radical transformation of society, however, considerably raises the requirements of legitimacy. Redefining the future requires reconsidering the past. The pursuit of an unknown future—whatever its utopian promise—obtains support in the present only to the extent that it is possessed of recognizable symbols of the past. Karl Marx early discerned that the past was endowed with a peculiar sanction and inviolability. Societies approached revolutionary change reluctantly, Marx noted, often under great pressure, and always in need of reassurances that the enterprise of revolution was somehow consistent with traditions of the past. The pursuit of revolutionary change and, ultimately, the very radical break with the past, evolve in a broader context of continuity with the past. The historicity of the revolutionary experience, as well as its debt to past traditions and experiences, must be manifest. “And just when [men] seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things,” Marx wrote in 1852, “in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries, and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language.” To the point, Marx concluded: “Thus, the awakening of the dead in . . . revolutions serve[s] the purpose of glorifying the new struggles, not of parodying the old; of magnifying the given task in imagination, not of fleeing from its solution in reality; of finding once more the spirit of revolution, not of making its ghost walk about again.”2

For the better part of the last two decades, the Cuban Revolution has turned to the national past for comfort and inspiration. Indeed, the national past has served as a major source of moral subsidy, conferring on the process of revolution both continuity and, out of that continuity, legitimacy.

The Politics of Republican Historiography

The appeal to the past in behalf of a national ideal has been a practice at once familiar to and congenial with historiographical developments in socialist Cuba. In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cuban historians not only defined the past in a manner consistent with the requirements of cubanidaã, but also participated in the very patriotic struggles they chronicled. National historians were typically nationalists in both profession and politics. Indeed, the advanced outposts of Cuban nationalism were manned by historians.3

Almost from the outset of the republic, Cuban historiography acquired a distinctive quality of engagement. The creation of a republic with fictional sovereignty in 1902 opened new fronts along which the nineteenth-century struggle for self-determination continued into the twentieth century. After 1898, American claims over Cuban sovereignty rested on several politico-ideological premises, many of which were derived from constructs that the United States imposed on the Cuban past. Cuba not only failed to attain full independence but was also threatened with deprivation of the historic memory capable of justifying independence. Indeed, the subsumption of history into a larger framework of neo-colonial relationships served to validate the central assumptions of American hegemony in Cuba.4

For many republican historians, the need to overturn the historiographical premises upon which the neo-colonial order rested became a task of consuming proportions. Very early, republican historiography was placed at the service of a national ideal. This mission, in turn, conferred on Cuban historiography a distinctive redemptive purpose. Insofar as many of the central tenets of twentieth-century Cuban historians evolved initially in response to the imperial manifestations of North American historiography, Cuba developed a tradition of revisionist historiography before it possessed a body of policy history. Devoted to a nineteenth-century ideal of Cuba Libre, revisionist historians boycotted the court of the twentieth-century republic. Indeed, considerable energy went into denouncing the Plattist Republic. American stewardship of the Cuban national system immediately stigmatized the republic. Summoned into existence by foreigners unwilling if not incapable of aligning the new state with its traditions, the republic was deprived of the sustaining nourishment of a national hagiography. National mythmakers rejected the republic, perceiving in the entity of state only a caricature of sovereignty and a betrayal of the ideals of independence. In repudiating the organic foundations of state, specifically the constitution of 1901 and the appended Platt Amendment, revisionist writers withheld from the republic the historiographical corroboration necessary to underwrite its claim of legitimacy.5

Revisionist scholarship quickly occupied a conspicuous and enduring position in the nationalist ideologies of twentieth-century Cuba. While the central axis of revisionist historiography passed through the independence struggles of the nineteenth century and the Plattist Republic, virtually all aspects of Cuba’s colonial ties with Spain and neo-colonial ties with the United States served as subjects of revisionist inquiry.6 For republican revisionists, the study of the past offered a means to heighten national consciousness; all historical constructs were designed to reinforce the substructure of Cuban nationalism and prepare the way for the attainment of complete independence. Indeed, the study of the past served at once as the prelude to and the agency of national liberation.

Revisionists and Revolutionaries

The historiographical traditions to which the Cuban Revolution fell heir in 1959 were most compatible with the ideological constructs taking form in Havana. In a very real sense, the triumph of the Revolution signaled the immediate ascendancy of the revisionist view of the past. The published works of revisionist historians enjoyed official favor and new printings. Long-standing revisionist subjects, including imperialism, neo-colonialism, and the pseudo-republic, established the thematic point of departure for a new generation of historians. Traditional revisionist themes, moreover, served as an essential part of the ideological baggage of revolutionary Cuba that the revolutionaries carried to Havana. Throughout the early years, Havana dipped freely into the fund of revisionist historiography to affirm, define, and defend the Revolution. Revisionist tenets, incorporated in the rhetoric and policy of the Revolution, provided a commonly recognized if not a universally accepted historical landscape against which to counter opposition from abroad and criticism from within.7

Beyond the ideological conviviality between the Revolution and revisionism, the new government found revisionist historiography useful in broadening the revolutionary mandate. By the early 1960s, the leadership had committed itself to dismantling the institutional framework of the old order and destroying its sustaining beliefs, values, and symbols. Public policy and historical constructs fused as Havana sought to discredit the prerevolutionary past. Indeed, revolutionary policy and revisionist historiography early arrived at a consensus which affirmed the turpitude of the old order. The past was characterized as a vice-laden age in which oppression, corruption, and exploitation flourished under the enforced sanction of the United States. The revisionist view of the past provided palpable justification for the Revolution’s decision to put an end to the ancien régime.

The long-term usefulness, if not the continuing relevance of these early themes, diminished as unfamiliar pressures beset the Revolution. The fixing of a socialist orbit for the Revolution provided the government with new constituencies, new enemies, and new problems.8 Historiographical developments in the Revolution after the early 1960s were not without far-reaching policy implications. The ideological function initially assigned to Cuban history, a tradition rooted early in the republican past, found historiographical revival in socialist Cuba. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, history served as handmaiden to the Revolution. The policy issues in the 1960s had an immediate impact on the direction of Cuban historiography as the ideological reordering of the Cuban future found a counterpart in the historiographical reordering of the Cuban past. The policy function of the remembered past exacted historiographical conformity to broader requirements of the Revolution. With history serving as an adjunct of policy, prevailing historiographical trends tended to parallel the pursuits of state. The preoccupations of state—national and international—found accompanying historiographical expressions.

As the revolutionary processes deepened and the social base of the new order broadened, the policy requirements of national history increased. History provided a source of ego identity, establishing an organic link between the mobilized body social and the ruling revolutionary elite. Historiographical stress on the exploitation of workers and peasants in prerevolutionary Cuba served to facilitate mobilization programs and to align popular support with the new government. At the same time, it was insufficient if not inaccurate to construct a version of the past in which peasants and workers were passive onlookers to their own oppression. It was also impolitic. In immortalizing the social struggles of the past and claiming direct lineal descent from those struggles, the Revolution established its claim to represent and promote the interests of Cuban workers and peasants. The antecedents of the Revolution, in short, and the debt acknowledged to workers and peasants, served to facilitate the integration of the masses into the Revolution.9 Similarly, the mobilization of women into the revolutionary process could not have been undertaken without an attempt to reorder traditional sexist values. To expedite this process and enhance the esteem of women in Cuban society, increasing historiographical stress fell on the participation and contribution of women in all past struggles. The historiographical rehabilitation of women, if only initially as an indirect corollary of economic pressure, moved women toward the center of Cuban history and into the front trenches of the revolutionary struggle.10 It was, of course, inconceivable that the Cuban woman, having thus made a major contribution to the revolutionary process, could continue to occupy a second-class status in the new order.11

The national past has been of central importance to virtually all strategies and programs of the Revolution. Havana’s growing involvement in Africa during the 1970s, set into a larger framework of Cuban internationalism, found national sanction in the past. Historians had little difficulty corroborating Cuba’s claim that support of various African liberation struggles was based on a long-standing historico-cultural debt to Africa.12 In a broader sense, Havana insisted that its commitment in Africa was a function of a long-standing debt owed to the international community when, in the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cuba’s national struggles received foreign support. Cuba’s Africa policy prompted a new historiographical trend in which the international aspects of the Cuban national experience received prominent attention.13 Cuban advocacy of the independence of Puerto Rico found comparable historiographical expression. Close historico-cultural ties between Cuba and Puerto Rico, the common struggle against Spanish colonization and American imperialism, and Puerto Rico’s contribution to Cuban struggles of the past century emerged frequently as topics of diplomatic history.14

History at the Barricades: Cien Años de Lucha

For the better part of the last two decades, the national past has served as a central coefficient of virtually all strategies and programs of the Revolution. A radical Cuban future required a radical Cuban past. However radical or universal the vision of the future, Havana remained unequivocal in its insistence that the ideological trajectory of the Revolution had it origins wholly in the Cuban past. “The Revolution is as Cuban as its palm trees and rum,” Castro repeatedly insisted.15 Out of this perception emerged the salient features of historiography in socialist Cuba—struggle and continuity. Both themes tended to locate and fix the roots of the Revolution in the past. Both played a critical role in advancing the legitimacy of the revolutionary process. Most important, both linked the Revolution to the broader historical processes of the island in order to authenticate the historicity of the socialist experience. The struggle and sacrifice required to establish socialism during the 1960s in Cuba were set in a larger historical setting. Indeed, the overarching theme of lucha dominated the political rhetoric and the historical literature.

The themes of struggle and the continuity of the revolutionary processes became fused by the late 1960s in a unifying historical construct—“cien años de lucha.” Cuban history was placed in a broad contextual sweep of the century-long struggle from 1868 to 1968 during which successive generations of Cubans were summoned by history to serve the needs of the patria. In its broadest sense, this construct embodied essentially nationalist sentiment. The struggle against Spanish colonialism and American imperialism served as unifying elements; the wars for independence between 1868 and 1898, the struggle against the machadato in the 1930s, and the revolutionary war of the 1950s furnished the focal points.

The one hundred-year framework went beyond the nationalist impulse, however. Increasing emphasis fell upon chronicling the struggle of those sectors of Cuban society formerly the victims of the old order. Cuban resistance to national conditions of oppression and exploitation along lines of class, race, and sex provided the central thematic unity. The purview of “cien años de lucha” embraced the struggles of peasants for land, workers for a better life, blacks for racial justice, women for equality, and communists for the millenarian future.

At the same time, the broadening of the government’s social base perforce resulted in enlarging the scope and method of historical inquiry. The Revolution that made the oppressed and exploited the object of its programs inspired a historiography that made the oppressed and exploited the subject of its investigations. Workers, peasants, women, and blacks served as the focus of much of the new literature. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, new methodological approaches, including oral history, ethnohistory, and folklore studies, developed and enjoyed extensive application. Greater emphasis devolved upon history of the inarticulate.16

The themes of struggle and continuity, moreover, provided the historical context for setting the struggles of the 1960s in perspective. From the days of Moneada, the summon to struggle formed the essential quality of fidelismo. By the 1960s, Cubans were asked to sustain the struggle against imperialism, colonialism, the blockade, counter-revolution, illiteracy, bureaucratism, sectarianism, discrimination, low productivity, high absenteeism, and shortages of every kind. A historiography extolling continuity and stressing the struggle, sacrifice, and selflessness of past generations offered a reassuring source of comfort and solace if not often inspiration to the generation of the centenario. Historians propounded, often unabashedly, a moral if not revolutionary didacticism; history taught by example and, notwithstanding the selectivity of the remembered past, offered the standards of behavior against which all Cubans were to measure their performance.17 In the broader context of “cien años,” the struggles of the past and present were linked and formed part of the same historical process.18 A remembered past became an essential feature of a coveted future.

Historiographical constructs of continuity were not, however, entirely unqualified. Indeed, the prevailing consensus about the turpitude of the past created obvious contradictions for a revolution claiming its origins in that past. The themes of struggle and continuity had to be set apart in counterbalance. Good and evil were clearly defined as forces existing from the beginning and threatening to persevere into the future. Memory of the past, particularly that part of the past to which the Revolution claimed to be heir, was selective and guided; all attention focused upon the common utopia and drew upon the national sources of that utopian vision.

The weaving of past struggles into a historical continuum to which the generation of the Revolution was indissolubly linked served to join the heroes of the past with the leaders of the Revolution in a common endeavor. New—and properly revolutionary—perspectives developed around time-honored heroes, all of whom acquired precursor status. The unfulfilled ideals of fallen patriots represented the ideals which the Revolution had committed itself to redeeming. Because past and present represented a continuous and common process, virtually all past heroes were enlisted in the cause of socialism.19 José Martí’s internationalism, anti-Americanism, and proletarian sympathies have received prominent attention. The government campaign against racial discrimination invoked the words of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Maceo’s views on the exploitive nature of property provided official rationale for the urban and agrarian reform programs. Carlos Baliño the socialist, Julio Antonio Mella the communist, Antonio Guiteras the nationalist, Pablo de la Torriente the internationalist were lifted into the pantheon of the Revolution.20

The Past as Solidarity

The rendering of the Cuban past in the last twenty years may be in part dishonest, in part mythical, perhaps contrived. It has often functioned as a deliberate device for gamering loyalty and sacrifice. Indeed, Cubans have used history to affirm, define, and defend the beliefs basic to the enterprise of Revolution. History has served as a primary vehicle for political education, teaching class consciousness and devotion to the cause of socialism. The course of Cuban historiography over the past twenty years has tended to reflect faithfully the internal development and the prevailing needs of state.

The remembered past has given new and affirmative meaning to Cubans engaged in the building of socialism, inspired greater efforts, and fostered both self-assurance and community loyalty. Indeed, history has contributed mightily to the creation of a national solidarity, for it has broadened the area of common experience and brought collective solace. In the end, this expanded and clarified past has functioned as an object of appreciation, a certification of some meaning in collective endeavors and evidence of membership in a community. The central if unstated assumption of recent Cuban historiography rests on the conviction that people must first be bound together by their past before they can aspire to making a new future together.


For an excellent treatment of this process, see Jorge I. Domínguez, Cuba: Order and Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1978), pp. 191-305.


Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (New York, 1963), pp. 15, 17. See also M. M. Bober, Karl Marx’s Interpretation of History (Cambridge, Mass., 1948), pp. 67-98.


Manuel Sanguily, Enrique Collazo, Herminio Portell Vilá, and Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring are among the most prominent nationalist historians.


Louis A. Pérez, Jr., “Scholarship and the State: Notes on a ‘History of the Cuban Republic’,” HAHR, 54 (Nov. 1974), 682-690.


Robert Freeman Smith, “Twentieth Century Cuban Historiography,” HAHR, 44 (Feb. 1964), 44-73.


Duvon C. Corbitt, “Cuban Revisionist Interpretations of Cuba’s Struggle for Independence,” HAHR, 43 (Aug. 1963), 395-404.


The revolutionary government found revisionist versions of the Cuban past a powerful ally in the consolidation of power. Reacting to early American criticism, the government press editorialized: “Hagamos un poco de historia. Una vez, unos abuelos nuestros, después de casi un siglo de conspirar y de guerrear, a punto ya de obtener la victoria por cansancio de España, por agotamiento económico de España, por la inutilización por las balas y las fiebres de la juventud de España, recibieron de pronto la intervención de los vecinos que hasta entonces se mantuvieron sordos al grito de dolor de los ‘reconcentrados.’ Se terminó la guerra pero los Voluntarios de La Habana siguieron controlando su comercio y los mambises tuvieron que morirse de hambre o de vergüenza, como Quintín Banderas, o alquilarse a los políticos para vivir.

Hagamos otro poco de historia. Otra vez, nuestros padres y abuelos se empinaron sobre la bomba y la ‘recortada’ y obligaron al Ejército a deponer al agente de los interventores que ocupaba la silla presidencial. Poco duró la dicha. Los machadistas, que no pudieron ser castigados, volvieron a sentarse y a disponer en el banquete grotesco del neo-lacayo de Columbia. Eso pasaba en el 33.

Ahora estamos haciendo historia. Pero otro tipo de historia. No en vano nos hemos aprendido la lección.” Revolución, Jan. 16, 1959, p. 1. Fidel Castro used similar appeals to rebuff criticism from Washington: “No estamos en el año 1901, ni en el 1933, que se metieron aquí y nos implantaron una Enmienda que fué una vergüenza y una humillación para el país. En el año 33 compraron a Batista y traicionó miserablemente el pueblo. Ahora que no hay Enmienda Platt ni tienen a quien comprar ni a quien sobornar, entonces comienzan a querer debilitar la Revolución cubana con una campaña de difamación.” Revolución, Jan. 17, 1959, p. 14.


As the Revolution deepened, the demands on the past increased. Indeed, throughout the 1960s, history occupied a strategic place in the larger process of political socialization. The national past received prominent attention in political rhetoric, school curricula, and media format. Television and radio programs offered historical vignettes on daily broadcasts. Virtually all newspapers and periodicals established feature sections devoted to the Cuban past. Verde Olivo has two regular feature sections, “Marchando con la historia” and “Páginas de nuestra historia.” Cuba Azúcar had for many years a regular section, “Haciendo historia.” Bohemia devoted several pages an issue to “Esto es la historia.” Granma established a daily column under the name “Qué fué la República” devoted to a chronicle of corruption, exploitation, and oppression in the old order. Many of the resources of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) were devoted to the dramatization of the national past. Such films as “Lucía,” “Viva la República,” and “El otro Francisco,” offered powerful cinematic form to prevailing historiographical themes. Indeed, Alfredo Guevara, the director of the ICAIC, identified the role of historian as “one of the film industry’s most important roles.” Janet Stevenson, “Cuban Life—Cuban Film,” In These Times, 2 (Aug. 16-22, 1978), 10.


Mirta Rosell, Luchas obreras contra Machado (Havana, 1973); Ariel Hidalgo, “El movimiento obrero cubano y el primer partido antimperialista de la historia,” El Caimán Barbudo, 6 (Jan. 1974), 3-8; Julio LeRiverend, “La clase obrera y los movimientos por la independencia,” Granma, Oct. 10, 1968, p. 10; Antero Regalado, Las luchas campesinas en Cuba (Havana, 1973); Chongo Leyva, “El fusil levantado en la sierra,” ANAP, 16 (Dec. 1976), 4—6; Mary Cruz, “La tradición de lucha del campesinado,” Granma, July 12, 1971, p. 2; Leyva, “La rebeldía campesina y los monopolios,” ANAP, 16 (May 1976), 23-24.


María Luz de Nora, “La mujer y la producción,” Bohemia, 55 (Aug. 5, 1963), 78; Loló de la Torriente, “Una mirada a la actividad de la mujer cubana,” Universidad de La Habana, 163 (Sept.-Oct. 1963), 53-70; Augusto Martínez Sánchez, “La mujer cubana: Presente en nuestra historia,” Trabajo, 5 (Sept. 15, 1964), 72-77; Leopoldo Horrego Estuch, ‘Tatriotas cubanas,” Bohemia, 58 (Mar. 26, 1966), 26–27; María Teresa Gómez, “Presencia de la mujer cubana en cien años de lucha,” Granma, Oct. 10, 1968, p. 7; Olga López, “La rebeldía de la mujer cubana,” Cuba Internacional, 4 (Mar. 1972), 4-11; Teresa Valdés, “La mujer cubana en las luchas sociales (algunos antecedentes),” El Caimán Barbudo, 6 (May 1974), 26-28; Mary Ruiz de Zarate, “La mujer en las compañas por la independencia de Cuba,” Bohemia, 67 (Dec. 26, 1974), 150-157.


The relationship between historical constructs and policy requirements is perhaps best expressed in Fidel Castro, “La mujer es una fuerza potencial y un recurso humano extraordinaria para una revolución,” Bohemia, 58 (Dec. 16, 1966), 34-43. See also Castro, “Aquí, como los hombres, luchan las mujeres,” Obra Revolucionaria, 25 (1960), 9-15 and Partido Unido de la Revolución Socialista, La mujer y la revolución (Havana, 1965).


León Argeliers, “Presencia del africano en la cultura cubana,” Islas, 13 (Jan.-Apr. 1972), 155-169; José Luciano Franco, “Antecedentes de las relaciones entre los pueblos de Guinea y Cuba,” Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, 18 (May-Aug. 1976), 5-10.


Franco, “Solidaridad rumana con la causa independentista de Cuba en 1895,” Granma, Mar. 24, 1972, p. 2; Tony Fernández, “La solidaridad del Perú con Cuba en armas,” Granma, Apr. 26, 1973, p. 2; Franco, “Esquema de las relaciones culturales y solidarias chileno–cubanas,” Granma, May 29, 1973, p. 2; Salvador Bueno, “Los húngaros en Cuba,” Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, 16 (May-Aug. 1974), 195-216; Francisco Pividal Padrón, “Las luchas independentistas: Un ejemplo de solidaridad entre Cuba, Venezuela y Colombia,” Granma, Sept. 13, 1974, p. 2; Alfredo Mestre Fernández, “Canadienses en nuestra historia,” Bohemia, 66 (Nov. 1, 1974), 88-92; Eusebio Leal Spengler, “Presencia del Canadá en la lucha por la independencia de Cuba,” Granma, Jan. 27, 1976, p. 7; Rolando Alvarez Estévez, “De los orígenes de la amistad cubano–polaca,” Granma, Jan. 10, 1975, p. 2.


Tony Fernández, “El alma de Lares y el alma de Yara,” Granma, Jan. 17, 1973, p. 2; Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, “Cuba y Puerto Rico,” Bohemia, 58 (Sept. 24, 1976), 66-69.


Castro, “Sexto aniversario de la revolución,” Bohemia, 57 (Jan. 8, 1965), 32-33.


Pedro Deschamps Chapeaux, El negro en la economía habanera del siglo XIX (Havana, 1971); Juan Pérez de la Riva, “Demografía de las culies Chinas, 1853-1874,” Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, 8 (Oct.-Dec. 1966), 57-86; Franco, Los palenques de los negros cimarrones (Havana, 1973).


José Antonio Portuondo, “Hacia una nueva historia de Cuba,” Cuba Socialista, 3 (Aug. 1963), 24-39; Sergio Benvenuto, “Investigación histórica y acción práctica,” Cuba Socialista, 4 (Mar. 1964), 58-77.


Manuel Moreno Fraginals and Zoila Lapique, “Esta revolución comenzó en Yara,” Cuba Internacional, 6 (Oct. 1974), 20-27; Antonio Núñez Jiménez, “Raíces de la revolución cubana en cien años de lucha,” Granma, Oct. 10, 1968, p. 4; Martín Duarte Hurtado, “Raíces martianas de nuestra revolución,” Granma, Jan. 24, 1973, p. 2; Cintio Vitier, “De La Demajagua al Moneada: Una sola revolución,” Granma, July 18, 1973, p. 5; Pividal Padrón, “24 de febrero de 1895: Una epopeya culminada en 1959,” Granma, Feb. 23, 1974, p. 2. Preparations for the first congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) in 1975 were accompanied by efforts to establish a direct lineal relationship between José Martí’s Partido Revolucionario Cubano (PRC) and the PCC. See Roberto Alvarez Quiñones, “Los inicios del socialismo en Cuba,” Granma, Dec. 11, 1975, p. 2; Eduardo Torres Cuevas, “Génesis, estructura y función del primer partido para la revolución cubana,” Bohemia, 67 (Oct. 17, 1975), 4-9; Estela Izquierdo, “El Partido Revolucionario Cubano y el primer partido comunista de Cuba,” Granma, Nov. 19, 1975, p. 2.


Speaking of nineteenth-century independence leaders, Fidel Castro noted: “Nosotros entonces habríamos sido como ellos. Ellos hoy habrían sido como nosotros.” Revolución, Oct. 11, 1963, p. 2.


The literature on those elevated into the pantheon of precursors is voluminous. The following is representative: Jorge Ibarra, “Internacionalismo revolucionario y antimperialista y lucha de clases en José Martí,” Casa de las Américas, 9 (May-June 1969), 126-134; Juan Marinello, “Fuentes y raíces del pensamiento antimperialista,” Islas, 13 (Sept.-Dec. 1972), 25-37; Izquierdo, “Martí: Primer combatiente antimperialista cubano,” Granma, May 19, 1973, p. 2; Leopoldo Horrego Estuch, “Maceo; Un pensamiento político-social,” El Mundo, Dec. 7, 1961, p. 4; Ibarra, “Independentismo y antimperialismo de Maceo,” Verde Olivo, 4 (Dec. 8, 1963), 21-24; Ibarra, “Moral y revolución en Antonio Maceo,” Bohemia, 65 (June 15, 1973), 4-9; Alfredo López and Enrique Varona, “Baliño: El iniciador,” ANAP, 8 (Oct. 1968), 34; Carlos del Toro, “Carlos Baliño: Precursor de las ideas marxistas-leninistas en Cuba,” Granma, June 18, 1976, p. 2; Antonio Martínez Bella, “Mella y los luchadores antimperialistas,” Universidad de La Habana, 175 (Sept-Oct. 1965), 129–145; Anubis Galardy, “Julio Antonio Mella, vanguardia y precursor,” Granma, Jan. 10, 1975, p. 2; José A. Tabares del Real, “Antimperialismo, liberación nacional y socialismo en el pensamiento político de Antonio Guiteras,” Granma, Oct. 4, 1974, p. 2; Rogelio Luis Bravet, “Antonio Guiteras, el precursor,” Bohemia, 58 (May 6, 1966), 4-8; Electo Pedrosa Pinto, “Antonio Guiteras: Precursor revolucionario,” Bohemia, 62 (June 19, 1970), 98-102; Diana Abad, “Pablo, destello intemacionalista,” Bohemia, 66 (Jan. 18, 1964), 100-107.

Author notes


The author, a professor of history at the University of South Florida, gratefully acknowledges the comments and criticism of Thomas P. Dilkes, Steven F. Lawson, and Jaime Suchlicki.