chapter  2
20 Pages

The Nation and the Revolution: Techniques of Power and Interpellation in Revolutionary Cuba


A couple of hundred meters west of the Hotel Nacional, in the once fashionable Vedado on Havana’s seaside avenue, El Malecón, there is a statue of the Cuban national hero and poet, José Martí. Behind this recently built monument stands the monument of the Maine1 from 1926, and on the other side, in front of José Martí, is a long row of black banners leading up to the Swiss Embassy, where the U.S. Interest Section in Havana is located. This monument is one of the most recent and impressive monuments in revolutionary Cuba, where the national power constantly projects itself very visibly in the public space. It is not just another reminder of ‘who we are’ and ‘who you (the citizen) are,’ but also an impressive and eloquent manifestation of some of the basic elements of Cuba’s national-revolutionary power, its projection, and its techniques of interpellation. Without going into a detailed analysis of the monument, I believe it worthwhile to mention a few elements of particular interest for the general themes of this article.