chapter  4
26 Pages

The Personal is Political: Bonding Across Borders

The next three chapters focus on transnational ties at the people-to-people level, the first two on homeland visits, the third on income-sharing. Together the chapters illustrate not merely how enduring, but also how transnationally consequential, pre-immigration cohort formations may be. I show that the two contrasting émigré waves-the islanders who fled the revolution early on and the post-Soviet-era arrivals-differ in their stance toward bonding across borders. Building on their pre-and anti-revolution perspectives on life, Exiles opposed such ties. For them, the personal across borders is political. They were so committed to their stance that they deployed an array of tactics, ranging from politicking at the highest levels of national policy-making to violence and intimidation in the neighborhoods where they live, to keep others from trespassing their socially constructed wall across the Straits. At the other extreme are the New Cubans. Their post-Soviet-era crisis perspective on life predisposed them to want to bond with friends and family they left behind, with whom their lives remained enmeshed.