Society for Cultural Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Particularly since 2012, following important changes in the country’s migratory law and the increasing salience of private entrepreneurship possibilities, a significant number of Cuban migrants have started envisaging a return to Cuba. Looking at the trajectories of some Cuban men and women that are returning to the island mainly from Europe, this paper explores the moral narratives that these migrants deploy when talking about economic life in Cuba in comparison to the countries they are returning from. Such assessments are often linked to the shift in status that such migrants experienced, as they moved from menial jobs in Europe to more entrepreneurial position in Cuba, signifying for many a change from worker to owner, and from trabajo (work) to negocio (business). Particular attention is paid to the ways in which such shifts are expressed, the role given to the experience of having lived in Europe, and the new forms of economic subjectivity and ideals of economic life that are linked to it. The paper considers the context and climate in which such narratives emerge, relying to do so also on research participants’ own assessment of current changes and continuities in Cuba. The examination of how work and business are enacted and talked about by returnees, combined with a preliminary assessment of the responses this generates among the wider public, signals their influence on how economic life appears to be increasingly articulated and morally framed in Cuba.