Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha
An Ethnography of Racial Meanings
L. Kaifa Roland
Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha: An Ethnography of Racial Meanings offers a provocative look at what it means to belong in modern socialist Cuba. Drawn from her extensive travels throughout Cuba over the past decade, author L. Kaifa Roland pulls back the curtain on a country that has remained mysterious to Americans since the mid-twentieth century. Through vivid vignettes and firsthand details, Roland exposes the lasting effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of state-sponsored segregated tourism in Cuba. She demonstrates how the creation of separate spheres for locals and tourists has had two effects. First, tourism reestablished the racial apartheid that plagued pre-revolutionary Cuba. Second, it reinforced how the state's desire to maintain a socialist ideology in face of its increasing reliance on capitalist tools is at odds with the day-to-day struggles--or La Lucha--of the Cuban people. Roland uses conversations and anecdotes gleaned from a year of living among locals as a way of delving into these struggles and understanding what constitutes life in Cuba today. In exploring the intersections of race, class, and gender, she gives readers a better understanding of the common issues of status and belonging for tourists and their hosts in Cuba.