Cover image for This is Cuba : an outlaw culture survives
This is Cuba : an outlaw culture survives
Corbett, Ben (Journalist)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Westview Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HN203.5 .C67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Beyond the throngs of tourists streaming through Central Havana's broad Prado Avenue, and outside the yoke of Castro's 43-year-old Revolutionary program, there exists a parallel Cuba - a separate evolution of a people struggling to survive. With personal stories that depict a people torn between following the directives of their government and finding a way to better their lot, journalist Ben Corbett gives us the daily life of many considered outlaws by Castro's regime. But are they outlaws or rather ingenious survivors of what many Cubans consider to be a forty-year mistake, a tangle of contradictions that have led to a stable instability?At a time when Cuba precariously walks on the ledge between socialism and capitalism, This is Cuba gets to the heart of this so-called outlaw culture, bringing readers into the living rooms, rooftops, parks, and city streets to listen to stories of frustration, hope, and survival.

Author Notes

Ben Corbett is a freelance journalist who has spent several years researching and writing almost exclusively on Cuban culture, politics, and economics

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

With its provocative subtitle, freelance journalist Corbett's new book on Cuba certainly is not sponsored by the Cuban department of tourism. Nor is it a treatise from the Miami exile community. Rather, it is an honest, behind-the-scenes look at everyday Cubans dealing with life and survival. They are pawns in the great chess game between two looming ideologies: the capitalist United States, which never recognized the legitimacy of the Cuban Revolution, and the Socialist government under Castro, which is determined to continue the struggle. These ordinary folk spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make ends meet and stretch their meager resources (and ration books) from month to month. Where contrary political expression is dangerous, they resist in subtler ways: buying or selling goods on the black market, making illegal money off the tourist trade, or even getting tattoos. More daring Cubans take to the seas. Yet perhaps Fidel's stubbornness and belief in Cubanidad ("Cubaness") has paid off in an unintentional way. "They are now prepared to defend Cuba's destiny," concludes Corbett of Cubans. "And in the preparedness, perhaps Castro achieved the greatest victory of all." Recommended for all large academic and public libraries.-Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
1 Patria O Muerte! An Introductionp. 1
2 La Cola Cubana: Waiting As a Way of Lifep. 13
3 Turismo O Muerte!p. 20
4 Cuba's Stable Instabilityp. 30
5 Viva Buena Vistap. 42
6 Jineterismo: A Dollar Commodityp. 56
7 Season of the Nightp. 65
8 The Cuban Survival Kitp. 80
9 The Cuban Diet: Hotels Over Rice and a Pinch of Controlp. 86
10 La Bolsa Negra: Stepping Into Cuba's Black Marketp. 96
11 Paradise Crumblingp. 109
12 The Revolution Is the Culturep. 117
13 The Search for Cubanidadp. 130
14 Still Isolated Behind the Palm Curtainp. 142
15 Marches for Justicep. 153
16 A Day At Schoolp. 162
17 Christmas with the Castrosp. 173
18 Reflections of the Parallel Culturep. 189
19 Cuba on the Fringe: A Revolution of Inkp. 204
20 Cuba, Drugs, and the Curse of Tio Samp. 217
21 Sea Lane to Paradisep. 231
22 A Legal Escapep. 245
23 Epilogue: A Post-Castro Cuba?p. 253
Notesp. 269
Bibliographyp. 273
Indexp. 277