This essay examines the aesthetics and politics of one of the key figures in the emergence of the Caribbean anti-imperial imaginary in the nineteenth century: the Afro–Puerto Rican activist Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827–98). Through a critical interpretation of Les deux Indiens (1857), a romantic novella about the conquest of Puerto Rico, and “A Cuba Libre” (1871), a biographical essay about Haiti’s first president, Alexandre Pétion, the author explores Betances’s vision of Caribbean unity and its connections to race, gender, republicanism, and decolonization.

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