The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 37, Issue 1

Article 3
Perceiving Populism: United States Imperialism and the Paradox of Labour Struggle in Cuba, 1906-1909

Lillian Guerra


This article explores the development, ideological significance and triumph of the 1907 cigar makers’ strike in Havana during the second US intervention. In particular, it argues that working-class organizers and black activists manipulated the pragmatic policies of Governor Charles Magoon to maintain social peace in order to further a popular nationalist agenda of workers’ rights and black political advancement. Ultimately, it contends that the successes of popular nationalist activists served as a watershed in their struggle with Cuba’s political elites to define the centrality of social change as the premise of Cuban national sovereignty.