Cuba and Revolutionary Latin America

An Oral History

Dirk Kruijt


The first oral history of Cuba’s revolutionary influence on governments across Latin America.

The Cuban revolution served as a rallying cry to people across Latin America and the Caribbean. The revolutionary regime has provided vital support to the rest of the region, offering everything from medical and development assistance to training and advice on guerrilla warfare.

Cuba and Revolutionary Latin America is the first oral history of Cuba’s liberation struggle. Drawing on a vast array of original testimonies, Dirk Kruijt looks at the role of both veterans and the post-Revolution fidelista generation in shaping Cuba and the Americas.

Featuring the testimonies of over sixty Cuban officials and former combatants, Cuba and Revolutionary Latin America offers unique insight into a nation which, in spite of its small size and notional pariah status, remains one of the most influential countries in the Americas.

Author Bio

Dirk Kruijt is professor emeritus of development studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University. A sociologist turned anthropologist, he has undertaken research on entrepreneurs and the labour class, ethnicity and exclusion, and military dictatorship and guerrilla movements, and has conducted fieldwork in many Latin American and Caribbean countries. His previous oral history books are about the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces of Velasco Alvarado in Peru and the guerrilla movements in Central America. Other previous books include Guerrillas: War and Peace in Central America (Zed Books, 2008) and, with Kees Koonings, Violence and Resilience in Latin American Cities (Zed Books, 2015).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Revolutionaries
  • 2. Historical Context
  • 3. From Insurgents to Socialists
  • 4. Revolutionary Fervour (the 1960s)
  • 5. The Mature Years (early 1970s–late 1980s)
  • 6. The Years of Soft Power (1990s–present)
  • 7. The Legacy
  • Appendix: Biographical Data of Interviewed Persons


‘A riveting account of the guerrilla years in Latin America from the vantage point of the senior Cuban officers involved. Their evidence contributes to an unrivalled and original story that all those who have followed the Cuban Revolution over the years will appreciate.’
Richard Gott, author of Cuba: A New History

‘An extraordinary book: deep, erudite and appealing. This is the Cuban Revolution as analyzed through the voices of its key actors.’
Francisco Rojas Aravena, rector of the University for Peace

‘The finest book I have ever read about the Cuban Revolution and the lives of its revolutionaries. This book is a rare gift to any student of Cuba.’
Timothy Wickham-Crowley, Georgetown University

‘A gem. Kruijt’s unique talent for getting into radicals’ minds gives us a wonderfully honest and eloquent testimony to Cuba’s historic relationship with the Latin American left, past and present.’
Antoni Kapcia, author of Leadership in the Cuban Revolution

'The first major work to look at the Cuban revolution’s influence on a range of liberation movements that surged across the continent—and farther afield—through the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Its meticulous research and vibrant interviews make for a comprehensive picture … This book accomplishes something few others do … a complex story in clear and accessible prose.'
European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

'Kruijt is clearly a marvellous interviewer ... [and] has provided us here with a valuable source of material to supplement the available texts and, more importantly, to get some idea of the motivations of the participants.'
E-International Relations

'Third level students and teachers of Latin American politics, development studies and related disciplines will find this book a very welcome aid.'
Policy and Practice

'An important contribution to our understanding of the role that the Cuban revolution has played in promoting revolutionary and progressive movements in Latin America over the last six decades.'
International Journal of Cuban Studies

'Especially impressive … Kruijt accurately traces a significant evolution in Cuba’s approach to Latin America … [and] reminds us just how much about Cuba’s engagements in the region we do not know.'
Hispanic American Historical Review


Publication Date: 1 January 2017
304 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783608027
Hardback: 9781783608034
eBook ePub: 9781783608058
eBook PDF: 9781783608041
eBook Kindle: 9781783608065

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