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This paper aims to illustrate the many ways in which the Cuban Revolution shaped the lives of the Cuban people by focusing on one man’s life from his childhood in the early part of the revolutionary period to his final departure from Cuba in 2006. H.V., as I call him, now lives in Barcelona, Spain. He is a man of humble rural origins who moved to Havana in his youth, where he benefitted from various government programs related to education, sports and job training. He and his family were initially very pro-revolutionary, but in the 1980’s he began to observe events that changed his mind about the Castro regime. A significant aspect of this project is that it also reveals how a person’s experience can reverse his understanding of the historical period through which he is living. I will organize my presentation around key historical moments described by H.V., ending with his reaction to the death of Fidel Castro and his final thoughts on the Cuban Revolution. The paper ends with a reflection on the value of gathering oral histories from individuals who have lived through significant historical transformations in their societies.


Presented at the Centro Europeo di Studi Rossettiani Bridges Across Cultures Conference in Vasto, Italy on June 12, 2017.