Modern Latin America Essay Examples
The national building that happened in Cuba in the late-nineteen-century was considered to be a product of joint political actions by armed mulatto, black and white men who were fighting in the war against the colonizer. The building of the nation was seen rather as a powerful cross-racial alliance that can have strong implication for national and racial politics to obtain peace through all nations and the power to follow anti-colonial insurgency. The paper analysis how important was the symbolic order and how implementing this new rules changed the way in how people could live together aside from their skin color.
In her book “Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation and Revolution, 1868-1898” Ada Ferrer present the nationalist revolutionary process that took place in the late nineteen century in Cuba and had created new subject positions for the African people which were descendants from Cubans, to be now free and enslave because the social relations which were formed under a slave-society regime were exercising a big pressure on the slave and the power to fight for its own independence was the most liberator practice.
The Spanish colonial government succeeded initially by invoking a modern colonial symbolic order under the accusations of the “war of race” this movement being a result of the social order from Cuba which in 1868 released a declaration of independence. The first conductor of the movement which was the partnering of emancipation and independence was Carlos Manuel de Cespedes who in 1868 created a big tension between Hispano-Catholic cultural supremacy and how Cuban nationality could be seen in the eyes of armed Black people.
The symbolic order at that time was assimilated by to people thru habits and customs being a simpler way to understand and fit in the new formal and informal languages used by the individuals and institutions, into an attempt to describe the experience of “real”. The symbolic order was reproduce trough education, customary behaviors, law, commerce, and the myriad unconscious and conscious, to history, stories, legends everything that can help us to understand how the world should and does work. The symbolic should exert a power and should places boundaries on how or what we should imagine being an ideological ground having a role model of how a subject should act.
Under the regime of modern colonialism, the symbolic order has indicated the ontological hardness of “blackness”. “Blackness” seen as a human condition has been built to be seen as a sign of both the negation and the absence of civilization. This statement gave birth to a lot of controversy that were seriously been debated trough centuries whether the black people are members of a human species or to what degree the black people belong to. The western symbolic relationship was reformed by the bourgeois revolution from the eighteen and nineteen century between America and Europa creating social classes, introducing new explanations and new behaviors for those behaviors, but the black revolutionary struggle threaten to overturn the symbolic order. As an example, Cuban nationalist invoked the policy of “racelesness” between 1880 and 1890 as a response to the colonial state which was invoking “race war” as an adequate representation of the independence struggle.
In her book, Ada Ferrer analyzes the word “raceleness” and she shows that it can have different meanings from different subject positions. The word remain trapped in the language of race into an attempt to shift the mining of it but it still represent the ruling ideology of the white privilege.
The aspect of gender is also analyzed in the book, because it also has implication in the meaning of national character and independence. The Cuban nationalist from the nineteen century had constructed a decisive masculine imagine of the entire nation in order to represent the emerging Cuba nation. Due to this rule, the government had remained the men domain even if they were black or white the important than who’s the cause they had sustained and that was too sustained and struggle to make possible the independence. Without the women the war for independence couldn’t had been a success but the writer from that era erased them from everywhere. The excluded the women from struggles and from public sphere. “No Country but the One We Must Fight For” (Ferrer, pag. 62) was the words to describe the nationalist intellectual and the rebel army that was reproduce the symbolic order without question.
The success of the Black general under the rebel army, by his name, Quintin Bandera produced a lot of tension because it was challenging the symbolic order. In order to understand better the situation all will explain it bellow. For creating a big army which he needed to fight in the war against the Spanish colonizer, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes made a move to release his slave and declare them co-citizens in order to join him and his compatriots to the struggle.
The call for emancipation and independence, the both being necessary in order to build the necessary for each other, due to the symbolic order was created a public space for the Black subjectivity which had doubts or denied this public Black subjectivity.
In that period, the black body was been marked as an object so this was the reason that the body can be enslave. This subjugation made it completely necessary to evoke a certificate of freedom for the black African people which were in the slave societies, and the law was predicted under the symbolic order of custom. Ferrer reports that it was remarkable African nation that permitted Spain to represent Cuba, as unable to have nationhood because the entire nation will be formed from black people, like Haiti was in the sense of an anti-nation.
During the independence war, the African people express their new subject position by open and new challenges for the traditional social relationships. Ferrer offers in the book an example by naming Emeterio Palacios, a free worker from Santiago who sold tobacco who was restrained by the Spanish authorities because they had suspected him for sustaining the rebel causes. The interesting fact in this case has rather to do with the manner of how the black man was assaulted from the coffee shop then support that he was supposed to be given to the rebel cause.
Ferrer reports that Palacios was has been withheld with the name Don which came from the man, a white man Jose, D. Jill but instead he was calling Jill to be a Ciudadanito.
“Palacios thus not only denied him the don to address him as “citizen” and therefore as an equal, but he also opted for the diminutive form of the word, much in the same manner that non-blacks often addressed blacks as negrito” (Ferrer, pag.41).
For the public order, the Palacio’s familiarities were a threaten at the same level as any rebel activity because they could increase the level of class, race and social relationships both through it and also the claim for citizenship.
“If [Gomez] has not destroyed the Camaguey division and converted it into bands, it is because its officer corps, formed by Agramonte, still remembers the maxims and rules of their old leader. How jarring it is to see today’s camps! The noise, the gambling [el juego], the shooting of cattle, the tango of the blacks, the wild parties, and the filth of these camps warn us that their leader completed his apprenticeship in Santo Domingo. Everything reveals his poor upbringing and the society from which he comes.” ( Ferrer, pag. 52)
This is a passage that Ferrer had presented in her book and it was taken from the diary of the white Cuban Ignacio Agramonte from the war. The transfer of power between the white Cuban conductor Ignacio Agramonte and the black conductor Dominician Maximo Gomez betrayed the cultural racial and national anxiety due to the specific criticism came from insurgent white officer Ignacio Mora.
This is another example given by Ferrer regarding the flexibility of the symbolic order which was also adaptable and resilient. The ideology was constructed trough the actions of people that give shape to the ideology including the exercise of courtesy and politeness and also the speech act.
In her bok, Ferrer used the diary from the war in order to provide the written memories of the rebels and to analyze how social and political struggle had transform the public subjectivities and social relations. Ada Ferrer gives as valuable lessons and strength to continue to work for a free world, especially for the genuine African libertation.
“The movement bad been inaugurated the day that produced three anticolonial rebellions battles that lasted over thirty years. The battles were delimited like this: the first was the ten years war (1868-78), and then followed by the little war or as it was called in Hispanics language the Guerra Chiquita, (1879-80), and the end the Independence War (1895-98), this being the war of Spanish-American.” ( Ferrer, pag. 55)
This is the historical representation of how the war was developing during those years. The union of two nations in order to support the supreme cause revealed multiracial fighting force. When the revolution started in 1868, they needed people to fight so white people where put in authority positions and for the slave they free them and made the soldiers and also called them citizens.
“The book tells the story of the thirty year unfolding and undoing of that revolution of how it emerge from a colonial slave society, how it recreated and subverted within its ranks the presumptions of that society, and how, in the end, it produced the most pelicular independence, one that transformed Cuba from the direct rule of one empire to the indirect rule of a new one. People from Europa were scrambled from colonies in Africa and Asia, the revolution in Cuba attacked European’s oldest colonial power.“ ( Ferrer, pag.2)
In conclusion, in Cuba, in the late nineteen century, national unity was discarded due to the product of joint political movements by mulatto, black and white people who were all fighting in the war against the colonizer. In the case of Cuba, the people were imagine as a product of revolutionary mix racial alliance that can apparent recognized political actions for the black people which resulted in powerful implications for political and racial politics for achieving peace in order to follow the anti-colonial insurgency.
Ferrer, Anna. "Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 -." Google Books. N.p., 1999. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Chasteen, C and Wood James. "Problems in Modern Latin American History: Sources and Interpretations." Google Books. N.p., 2005. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Skidmore E. Thomas, Smith H. Peter and Green N. James. “Modern Latin America” Oxford University, 2013. Paper. ISBN: 9780199929238
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