On Monday, May 17, 2010, at 4:00pm, Alfredo Prieto (Editor, Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba—UNEAC) will deliver the lecture “Cubans in Miami and Havana: A Transnational Community?” at The Graduate Center, Rooms 9206/9207. The Graduate Center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th Street). The presentation will be in Spanish.
Description: Transnational communities generate bidirectional cultural flows that can be seen as cultural remittances. These flows feed a “marketplace” of ideas, values, customs and ways of life that overlap with national cultures. They press for changes in beliefs and cultural representations. In 1978, the Dialogue in Havana between members of the Cuban community abroad and leading members of Cuban society broke almost two decades of mutual isolation. Direct contact, though subject to various constraints in both countries, has had a significant impact on family and interpersonal relations. The resulting bonds across the Florida Straits have tended to be remarkably stable and dynamic. Frequent travel between the two nations is their most visible expression.
There is thus a porous border between the cities of Havana and Miami, even though they are separated by a geographical boundary. The new developments may be most visible in the capital, but there has also been an impact on what is known as “Cuba B” – that is, the provinces. Such things as fashion, manners, ideas, uses, and the like experience changes that are altering traditional ways of life and behavior. However, this does not imply a challenge to national identity. Rather, these patterns express worldwide tendencies found in the relation between diaspora communities and their countries of origin that is typical of our times. The Cuban case is part of this flow, with its special features related to the conflict between the U.S. and Cuban governments.
Alberto Prieto is associate director of Ediciones Unión (publishing house of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba) and managing editor of the journal Temas. He has also served as editor of the social science journal Cuadernos de Nuestra América, researcher in North American Studies and International Relations at the Centro de Estudios sobre América, editor of the socio-theological journal Caminos (of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center), and associate editor of Cultura y Desarrollo (of UNESCO’s Office on Latin America and the Caribbean). His books include La prensa de los Estados Unidos y la agenda interamericana (1995), Prensa y construcción de consenso en los Estados Unidos (1997), and El otro en el espejo (2004), as well as various essays on cultural ties between the US and Latin America, especially with Cuba. His latest book is Ensayos para siete días.
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