Lillian Guerra is an expert of Cuban and Caribbean history. Guerra is the author of three books: Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico (1998), The Myth of José Martí: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba (2005), and Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption and Resistance, 1959-1971 (2012).
Industry Expertise (2)
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (5)
Latino Culture & Politics in the U.S.
Latin American Studies
Caribbean Diasporas and Caribbean History
Central American and Caribbean Immigration
Media Appearances (5)
Opinion: Demographics were expected to push Florida left. Instead, they nudged it to the right.
The Washington Post online
Republicans often win votes from Cuban Americans and Venezuelan Americans by portraying Democrats as socialists or communists. Many Cuban Americans either fled the Castro regime in Cuba or know someone who did, and many new arrivals from South America have similar experiences. As Lillian Guerra, a historian of Cuba at the University of Florida, told me, “the Cold War seems to be over everywhere else, but it’s never been in Florida.”
The Return of Cuba’s Security State
The New York Times online
The Cuban performance artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s home in San Isidro, one of Old Havana’s poor and majority-Black barrios, lies steps away from Cuba’s National Archive and the childhood home of José Martí, Cuba’s exalted 19th-century hero and fighter for racial justice. The promises of history and the grinding realities of life after 62 years of Communist rule collide in San Isidro.
Raul Castro Has Stepped Down. What's Next For Cuba?
Ever since the 1959 revolution, there has been one name at the helm of power in Cuba. That name is Castro - first Fidel and then his brother Raul. On Friday, Raul Castro, at 89, confirmed his formal resignation as the head of the Communist Party, saying he had, quote, "fulfilled his mission, and he was confident in the future of the fatherland." Joining us now to talk about what that means is Lillian Guerra. She's a professor of Cuban and Caribbean history at the University of Florida. Welcome to the program.
Fear and Loathing in Havana and Miami
The New York Times online
As most people who have grown up Cuban in the United States over the last six decades would attest, asking their parents about the Cuban Revolution tends to elicit one of three reactions: silence, suspicion or enthusiastic invocations of gratitude that you are not in Cuba.
Trump Tells Puerto Ricans to be “Proud” that They Aren’t Dead
This past week President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico, almost two weeks after Hurricane María devastated the island to such a degree that it may have paralyzed life for months to come. Today, an estimated 91% of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million US citizens face another day with no electricity, unclean water, scarce food and a $40 cash limit for those lucky enough to join hours-long lines at an open ATM.
Poder Negro in Revolutionary Cuba: Black Consciousness, Communism, and the Challenge of SolidarityHispanic American Historical Review
This article analyzes the personal experiences of African American refugees in Cuba as well as the ways in which the Cuban government sought to mitigate and frequently repress the appeal of the movement of Black Power / poder negro to which Cubans might autonomously ascribe. By universalizing Communist standards of culture, behavior, and political values that leaders glossed as colorless, state agents ranging from the Ministry of Education and the media to Fidel Castro and Cuba's top intelligence chiefs anticipated and co-opted historical memories of slavery as well as cultural expressions of black pride.
Searching For The Messiah STAGING REVOLUTION IN THE SIERRA MAESTRA, 1956–1959The Revolution from Within
In August1959 Bohemia magazine revealed how deeply expressions of belief in Fidel Castro’s messianism had penetrated the public imagination. According to the journalist Mario Kuchilán, for many Cubans, especially peasants, Fidel was not only “the living incarnation of Jesus Christ” but a new and improved version of him.
The Reel, Real and Hyper-Real RevolutionScripting Revolution
Perhaps more than any other twentieth-centuryTwentieth-Century case, the simultaneous production and performance of a grand narrative among leaders and a majority of citizens played a central role in consolidating the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
Former Slum Dwellers, the Communist Youth, and the Lewis Project in Cuba, 1969–1971Cuban Studies
This article examines a three-year oral history project focusing on former slum dwellers, that US anthropologists Oscar and Ruth Lewis directed in Buena Ventura (pseudonym), a new public housing development, beginning in 1969 and ending in 1971.
Gender policing, homosexuality and the new patriarchy of the Cuban Revolution, 1965–70Social History
In the mid- to late 1960s, news of the Cuban government's internment and ideological ‘re-education’ of homosexuals in forced labour camps scandalized the international Left, much of whom spread word of its abuses abroad.1 Euphemistically labelled ‘Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción (UMAP)’ and located in the isolated sugar lands of Camagüey province, these camps imprisoned thousands of self-acknowledged, closeted and presumed homosexuals for up to three years without charge.