Hosted by The Cuban Research Institute (CRI) at Florida International University, the Twelfth Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies—with the title “Cuba and Puerto Rico: Two Wings of One Bird?” [Cuba and Puerto Rico: ¿De un pájaro las dos alas?]—will take place on February 14 and 15, 2019, at FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus (Graham Center Ballrooms) in Miami, Florida.
In 1893, the Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió (1843–1924) published her patriotic text, “To Cuba.” In this poem, she wrote: “Cuba and Puerto Rico are / two wings of one bird / they receive flowers or bullets / in the same heart.” Generations of Cubans and Puerto Ricans have recited these verses as an expression of the solidarity between the two peoples and their shared cultural traditions. Arawak peoples inhabited both islands before their Spanish conquest and colonization beginning in the late 15th century. Cuba and Puerto Rico remained the last Spanish colonies in the Americas until 1898, when U.S. troops invaded the islands.
Whereas Cuba attained its formal independence in 1902, Puerto Rico became an unincorporated territory of the United States. U.S. political, economic, and cultural influence was pervasive in the two Antilles during the first half of the 20th century. Puerto Rico became a U.S. Commonwealth in 1952, but the United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, after the triumph of the 1959 Cuban Revolution. For several decades during the Cold War, Cuba and Puerto Rico represented countermodels for economic and political development.
The Twelfth Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies takes Rodríguez de Tió’s famous metaphor of the “two wings of one bird” as a cue for comparative inquiry and academic reflection. Our main theme, the relations between Cuba and Puerto Rico, invites interdisciplinary approaches to the multiple, complex, and often contrasting links between the two countries, both historically and in current times. Although we welcomed discussions about the recent situation and the future of Cuba and Puerto Rico, we invited a thorough retrospective examination of the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the intertwined histories of the two countries. We were especially interested in assessing the contribution of the islands’ diasporas to the growing “Latinization” of the United States, particularly in Florida.
Click here for final program.
For more information, see https://cri.fiu.edu/news/2018/twelfth-conference/
[Photo above: Disappeared mural on East 117th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, New York. Source: https://cri.fiu.edu/news/2018/twelfth-conference/.]