Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


Mester bannerUCLA

Creating Revolutionary Cuba’s National Hero: The Cultural Capital of the Cimarrón


Through an examination of Cuban sociologist Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón, a ethnographic oral history of the life of an ex-slave, this essay consider the manners in which radical anti-slavery have been remembered and appropriated into national narratives, with attention to who has taken the responsibility of textualizing these memories, and who these memories are purported to represent.  Barnet’s Biografía narrates the life of Esteban Montejo (circa 1860-1973), a man born into Cuban slavery at the end of the nineteenth century, and provides the reader with a transcription of Montejo’s spoken testimony of his experiences as a slave, as a fugitive, as a paid mill-worker, and as a revolutionary independence fighter which was published during his lifetime as a testament to the trajectory of Cuban national identity.  To rescue his story and make it known nationally and internationally represents the hegemonic cultural authorities desire to create a more representative national imaginary through the inclusion of radical black figures.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View