Using gender analysis and focusing on previously unexamined testimonies of women rebels, political scientist Lorraine Bayard de Volo shatters the prevailing masculine narrative of the Cuban Revolution. Contrary to the Cuban War story's mythology of an insurrection single-handedly won by bearded guerrillas, Bayard de Volo shows that revolutions are not won and lost only by bullets and battlefield heroics. Focusing on women's multiple forms of participation in the insurrection, especially those that occurred off the battlefield, such as smuggling messages, hiding weapons, and distributing propaganda, Bayard de Volo explores how gender - both masculinity and femininity - were deployed as tactics in the important though largely unexamined battle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Cuban people. Drawing on extensive, rarely-examined archives including interviews and oral histories, this author offers an entirely new interpretation of one of the Cold War's most significant events.
Lorraine Bayard de Volo is chair and Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Previously the director of the Latin American Studies Center at her university, her fieldwork in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States centers on gender and war, revolution, political and sexual violence, and social movements. She is author of Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs: Gender Identity Politics in Nicaragua, 1979-1999 (2001).
1. Revolution retold: what a gender lens tells us about the Cuban insurrection; 2. 'How can men tire when women are tireless': women rebels before Moncada; 3. A movement is born: military defeat and political victory at Moncada; 4. Abeyance and resurgence: sustaining rebellion in prison and exile; 5. Gendered rebels: barriers and privileges; 6. War stories celebrated and silenced: tactical femininity, bombing, and sexual assault in the urban underground; 7. 'Stop the murders of our children': mothers and the battle for hearts and minds; 8. Gendered rebels: the Guerrilla war of ideas; 9. Women noncombatants: multiple paths and contributions; 10. Las Marianas: even the women in arms; 11. Past is prologue: victory and consolidation.