This collection reveals the relationships developed in social clubs, churches, boardrooms, backrooms, and educational institutions, between the families of Cuban professionals and the Anglo-American colony. Transnational socioeconomic bonds strengthened through intimate cross-cultural educational, occupational or social relationships, as foreign-trained Cuban professionals exerted a subtle sway over the political consciousness of Anglo-American residents. Early on, these cross-cultural relationships helped to fuel and support the anti-Batista movement and then the first phase of the revolutionary government. However, soon after 1959, many Anglo-Americans residents and their Cuban allies soured on the revolution and reoriented their vast transnational networks toward counter-revolutionary activities.
Guillermo Martínez, class of 1959, remembers having “a fit” because he was being sent to Ruston, separated from his cousins bound for Belen Academy, the country’s top Jesuit high school. He recalls that his father tried to explain: “I’m going to give you a gift that someday you’ll thank me for…. My father [Guillermo Martínez Márquez] said English was the international language and I needed to learn English.”
Guillermo Martínez, 2016
Enrique Levy was the son of a Jewish peddler who grew up outside of the U.S.-owned Central Macareño. Levy remembers, “All of our lives were dependent on these people…. The electric plant belonged to the sugar mill company. The water supply belonged to the sugar mill company. The streets, not that they maintained them, but whatever they had to do, it was the sugar mill company. All the homes were ownership of the sugar mill company …. [Central Macareño] was a company town. The store was the company’s, the houses were painted the same way, everything. That’s the way it was in Macareño.”
Enrique Levy, 2016
“One defining moment and I’ve always said it… [Castro] gave a speech in which his theme was…. ‘Eleciones para qué?’ Why should we have elections?…. And in my background of Ruston, that was what I had been taught that was bad about the other government, that it was a “dictatorship” without elections. And here the guy bringing hope…. It blew my mind. It completely blew my mind.” He continues, “From then on, progressively I decided to get a little more involved in things, and then I decided to leave and come here and join the invasion.”
Ricky Sánchez, 2016
By the time Modesto Maidique’s mother and step-father were searching for a high school for their son, Modesto’s aunt had risen to the level of Inspector General of Public Schools in Havana. She advised sending Maidique to Ruston, which she described as “by far the best school in the whole country.”
Modesto Maidique, 2016
Given the benefits in securing employment and status, Cuban parents of means were persuaded to send their children to Anglo-American schools. Merici Academy offered girls an Anglo-American, but also a Catholic education that made it especially attractive to Cubans uneasy with the Protestant leadership of other Anglo-American schools. Beatriz Gausch explains her parents chose Merici, “[t]o say the education of my daughter is going to be Catholic and American…”
Beatriz Gauch Karasik, 2016
Bishop Armando Rodríguez became head of the autonomous Methodist church in Cuba in the 1960s after Anglo-American missionaries left the island.