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History by a Bearded Dictator: Historiography and Pop Culture in Castro’s Cuba

Jared Hardesty
Ohio Northern University

This paper is about the historiography and popular culture of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. It draws from the author’s research and personal experiences while in Cuba during the Fall of 2006. The paper uses three case studies where American and Cuban history are intertwined and compares and contrasts the way they are represented in the historical literature and popular culture of the United States and Cuba. These three case studies are the Narciso Lopez filibustering expedition, the War of 1898 (Spanish-American War), and the Castro Revolution of 1959 and subsequent American attempts to dispose of him. The author argues that the nationalistic, anti-American nature of the Castro dictatorship is reflected in the historical works and popular culture of Cuba, and thus varies dramatically from the historical trends present in the United States. The Castro regime uses its fervently anti-American history to keep itself in power and create a scapegoat in the United States, all while violating the human rights of the Cuban people.

ONU Student Research Colloquium