During the violent years of war marking Cuba's final push for independence from Spain, over 3,000 Cuban emigres, men and women, rich and poor, fled to Mexico. But more than a safe haven, Mexico was a key site, Dalia Antonia Muller argues, from which the expatriates helped launch a mobile and politically active Cuban diaspora around the Gulf of Mexico. Offering a new transnational vantage on Cuba's struggle for nationhood, Muller traces the stories of three hundred of these Cuban emigres and explores the impact of their lives of exile, service to the revolution and independence, and circum-Caribbean solidarities.While not large in number, the emigres excelled at community building, and their effectiveness in disseminating their political views across borders intensified their influence and inspired strong nationalistic sentiments across Latin America. Revealing that emigres' efforts were key to a Cuban Revolutionary Party program for courting Mexican popular and diplomatic support, Muller shows how the relationship also benefited Mexican causes. Cuban revolutionary aspirations resonated with Mexican students, journalists, and others alarmed by the violation of constitutional rights and the increasing conservatism of the Porfirio Diaz regime. Finally, Muller follows emigres' return to Cuba after the Spanish-American War, their lives in the new republic ineluctably shaped by their sojourn in Mexico.
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Revealing the ebbs and flows of the Cuban exile community in Mexico, Dalia Antonia Muller's book also draws out transnational networks in the circum-Caribbean and beyond, including New York City. Her empirically rich analysis of these networks helps us not only to remap the Cuban exile community but also to put the Cuban independence movement in a broader Latin American context. An important contribution to Cuban, Mexican, and transnational history.--Elliott Young, Lewis & Clark College
This exciting work adds momentum to a growing body of scholarship that gives attention to the transnational phenomena that have shaped Cuban history. Foregrounding the regional cohesion of the Gulf of Mexico prior to the final war for Cuban independence, Dalia Antonia Muller looks beyond the United States at a broad spectrum of emigres and links their political aspirations and economic and social worlds. This wide-angle view offers fresh insights about Cuba's anticolonial struggles as well as the nationalist designs of other Latin Americans." --David Sartorius, University of Maryland