chapter  5
25 Pages

Cuba Through the Looking Glass

Visits only selectively broke down social barriers between Cubans across borders. Travelers who defied Exiles’ travel taboo experienced their trips differently, depending on their pre-immigration views on Cuba. Such was the weight of émigrés’ pasts that, at the extreme, those who came of age in prerevolutionary Cuba and opposed the social transformation, and those who lived through the post-Soviet-era crisis, experienced their trips in contrasting ways. I found, in my in-depth interviews, the first who fled the revolution to be the most negative in their reactions (see Appendix). The New Cubans, in contrast, remained so embedded in homeland life that most of them viewed trips, first and foremost, as joyful occasions to see friends and family.