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(im)mobility in Cuba: a feminist geopolitical perspective

Authors: John Paul Henry*, University of Kansas
Topics: Political Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Feminist Geopolitics, (im)mobility, Slow Violence, Cuba, Embodiment
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Governmental restrictions on human mobility are forms of violence enacted on everyday Cubans. While substantial knowledge has been generated about the historical origins of US-Cuban relations and economic and cultural implications of these politics, much less is known about the embodied effects of the differential access to public and tourist spaces generated through these politics. My paper addresses this research gap by using a feminist geopolitical framework to analyze the discourses that continue to frame Cuba, and the bodies contained within the political space, as geopolitical categories which are differentially policed and regulated. In this case, (im)mobility of US tourist bodies, and Cuban bodies alike, creates diminished access to not only basic materiality, such as micronutrients for everyday Cubans, but creates differential access to tourist and public spaces. Seen through the lens of independent Cuban journalists, this paper illustrates power hierarchies restricting human movement and forms of embodiment and resistance. Better understanding the embodied implications of limits on human mobility is central to dismantling and making visible forms of slow violence, such as political disengagement and economic warfare. Though a discursive analysis this paper addresses the need for further research examining the embodied experiences of violence through the geopolitics of (im)mobility.

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