Cuban Currency: The Dollar and ''''Special Period'''' by Esther Whitfield

By Esther Whitfield

With the cave in of the Soviet Union within the Nineteen Nineties, in the course of an fiscal hindrance termed its “special interval in instances of peace,” Cuba started to courtroom the capitalist global for the 1st time considering that its 1959 revolution. With the U.S. greenback instated as household foreign money, the island appeared all of sudden obtainable to international shoppers, and their curiosity in its tradition boomed.   Cuban foreign money is the 1st booklet to deal with the results on Cuban literature of the country’s stunning commencing to overseas markets that marked the top of the 20 th century. in keeping with interviews and archival study in Havana, Esther Whitfield argues that writers have either challenged and profited from new transnational markets for his or her paintings, with far-reaching literary and ideological implications. Whitfield examines cash and cross-cultural monetary relatives as they're inscribed in Cuban fiction. Exploring the paintings of Zo? Vald?s, Pedro Juan Guti?rrez, Antonio Jos? Ponte and others, she attracts out writers’ engagements with the frustrating commodification of Cuban identification.   Confronting the vacationer and publishing industries’ roles within the transformation of the Cuban revolution into advertisement capital, Whitfield identifies a physique of fiction certainly attuned to the fabric and political demanding situations of the “special period.”   Esther Whitfield is assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown college.

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Extra resources for Cuban Currency: The Dollar and ''''Special Period'''' Fiction (Cultural Studies of the Americas)

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As Iván de la Nuez puts it, the figure of Caliban— claimed as a revolutionary in Roberto Fernández Retamar’s 1971 essay—has been tamed. ” José Quiroga, in his study of memory and the perception of time in and in relation to Cuba, points to a similar phenomenon as a hallmark of the special period. Although in the early decades of the revolution iconic images of its leaders “beckoned viewers to be mobilized toward a permanent resurrection” (96), these same images operated quite differently during the 1990s, entering a “mode of production and reproduction .

Interests Section to protest the detention in Miami of the rafter child Elián González. As Jean-Joseph Goux explores, paper money is always an opportunity to ascribe ideological as well as monetary value and, alongside the simple statement of numerical denomination, the revolution and its values have been written into Cuban paper money. The banknote as text reiterates the revolution’s message with every private transaction. S. dollar. The symbols and slogans that had sustained Cuba’s revolution and economy for thirty-five years were to be effectively overwritten by the dollar’s English, the “foreign language” toward which Cuca Martínez showed such disregard in 1959.

Such foreign-produced visual arts perpetuate the mechanism of tourism to Cuba, wherein the special period is consumed as a set of ideologically contradictory but visually palatable images. Their aestheticization of systemic decay and human vitality, and the location of these two in the same physical and eminently recognizable space, is a formal valorization of Cuban authenticity and the nostalgias it inspires. S. dollar redefines not only Cuban citizens’ means of buying and selling, but also their relationship to both the long-standing socialist project and capitalist societies, there emerges a distinct visual aesthetic.

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