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Cuban Revolution in AmericaHavana and the Making of a United States Left, 1968-1992$
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Teishan A. Latner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635460

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635460.001.0001

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Revolution in the Air

Revolution in the Air

Hijacking, Political Protest, and U.S.-Cuba Relations

(p.123) 3 Revolution in the Air
Cuban Revolution in America

Teishan A. Latner

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter Three explores Cuba’s image within the U.S. radical imaginary through the surge of airplane hijackings that occurred from the U.S. to Cuba between 1968 and 1973. Seeking political asylum, sanctuary from criminal charges, contact with Third World revolutionary movements, and apolitical adventure, Americans who hijacked airplanes to Cuba often framed air piracy as an act of political protest. Cuban immigration officials were not always convinced, however, viewing many hijackers as criminals, not revolutionaries. Making ninety attempts to reach Cuba in commandeered aircraft, American air pirates ultimately forced the U.S. and Cuban governments into unprecedented high-level negotiations despite the nations’ lack of diplomatic relations. Viewing hijacking as a liability, the Cuban government moved to counter its outlaw mystique in the American popular imagination, with the two governments signing a bilateral agreement to curb hijacking in 1973.

Keywords:   Cuba, Airplane hijacking, Air piracy, Outlaw, Political protest, U.S.-Cuba relations, Diplomatic relations, Political asylum, Popular imagination

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