Cuban politics has long been remarkable for its passionate intensity, and yet few scholars have explored the effect of emotions on political attitudes and action in Cuba or elsewhere. This book thus offers an important new approach by bringing feelings back into the study of politics and showing how the politics of passion and affection have interacted to shape Cuban history throughout the twentieth century.
Damián Fernández characterizes the politics of passion as the pursuit of a moral absolute for the nation as a whole. While such a pursuit rallied the Cuban people around charismatic leaders such as Fidel Castro, Fernández finds that it also set the stage for disaffection and disconnection when the grand goal never fully materialized. At the same time, he reveals how the politics of affection-taking care of family and friends outside the formal structures of government-has paradoxically both undermined state regimes and helped them remain in power by creating an informal survival network that provides what the state cannot or will not.