More than any other form of relationship, intermarriage between Anglo-Americans and Cubans ensured that even in segregated Anglo-American spaces, Anglo-American residents were never totally isolated from or ignorant of the political upheaval in the 1950s. These testimonies expose how over the decade intercultural marriages between Cubans and Anglo-Americans made the larger “Anglo-American Colony” aware of the rising revolutionary consciousness and some became personally invested in these events. The Anglo-American community was home to many long-term romantic relationships between Cubans and U.S. nationals. Of the close to 1,000 married couples listed in the Havana section of the 1960 Anglo-American Directory of Cuba, 262 Anglo-American residents were married to Cubans or Cuban-Americans. Intermarriages became the epi-center of transnational cultural exchange, though the dynamics varied depending on a number of factors including respective occupation, backgrounds and gendered nationalities.

Oral Histories

“I was playing squash, they had a squash board and I was playing squash outside with one of my boy cousins and Castro came up and said, “Does Max Pinkus live here?” And my grandfather came out and he said something and, you know, we’re all just listening and he said, “Max, why do you need more than one home and why do you need more than one refrigerator?” That was like indelible in my mind and why do you need more than one car and so forth and so on. That’s an indelible moment.”

Adele Fuchsberg, June 2016

Michael Sanjenis, whose father served under Cuban Revolutionary Minister of Treasury Rufo López-Fresquet in 1959 and 1960, reflected  “[The Revolution] took on an anti-American tenor when [revolutionaries] found out the United States was not…going to respect them, was not going to grant them their sovereignty and treat them like an equal. In other words, they wanted to treat them the way they’d always treated them, like they owned them.” 
Michael Sanjenis, June 2016 

“One very, very good friend of my father’s, his name was Gonzalo Guell, he was Secretary of State of Cuba. And he was a very good friend of my father…And in ’56 or ’57 he was either Secretary of State or Prime Minister under Batista and my mother invited him and his wife to dinner and they came and I blasted the guy. My mother was very embarrassed. I blasted him.”
George Plinio Montalvan, September 2016 

“I had a car and I had an American license…and I was handing out pamphlets, which was extremely dangerous…. If you were caught with more than one pamphlet it was dire consequences and here I had about 500 of them in the backseat of the car. So I came close to being caught. I was chased and when that came out, I was out of there…the next day. My mother sent me up to the states. So I left in March of ’58. Just a 16 year old kid having a good time. You know, Castro in the mountains, pro-Castro, down with Batista, out with Batista.”
Ed González, July 2016

Despite mixed heritage Mary Casas Knapp tied her North American identity to the traditions and activities of the Anglo-American Colony, particularly within the Cathedral School and the Episcopalian Church. Knapp described her Havana childhood as “everything good about small town America in a major city and foreign country.”
Mary Casas Knapp, September 2016

“We spoke English around the house obviously and Spanish elsewhere. But I spoke Spanish to my grandfather. There was a period of time, I was told by my mother–I mean when early on you’re fully bilingual you only have one language and you basically pick in your mind whatever is easiest to say as a child- but there was a period of time, my mother told me, where I was quiet for a few months.”
George Harper, September 2016

“[Concerning the Revolution dad] was always very reserved and quiet. I never heard him really say anything. I remember sitting on the terrace in the apartment in San Juan when Kennedy decided to enact the …blockade. And I heard him at that point say, ‘Well it’s about time, you know, somebody did something.’ The only mention I ever heard from my dad…. They went from a rather nice lifestyle of upper middle class to nothing. He was penniless. Literally penniless.”
Neil Campbell, July 2016

“I remember in the middle of the night being awoken by a gunfight…. And I remember…my father crawling on floor making sure we weren’t looking out the window because you looked out the window the shooters didn’t know if you were a sniper or not and would take a pop shot at you.”
Ken Campbell, July 2016