This book attempts to isolate and recapture a unique and complex juncture in the history of Cuba, when the end of the War of Independence against the Spanish metropole and the beginning of the U.S. military occupation set the stage for a time of internal contradiction and confusion. Cuba in this transitional period was characterized by ambiguity, occupying an indeterminate middle space as neither colony nor sovereign state. While the country had made a definitive break with its colonial past, there was little clarity or agreement about its future shape and direction. Against the background of the symbolic void created by the formal end of more than four hundred years of Spanish colonial rule, a battle broke out among three segments of the Cuban polity: the proponents of a strident nationalism, the advocates of a forceful “Americanization” of Cuban customs and institutions, and the defenders of the Spanish cultural heritage, for whom the greatest threat was the powerful influence of the Anglo-Saxon model of modernization.
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