Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 249–263 | Cite as

‘¡Estos locos cubarauis!’: the Hispanisation of Saharawi society (... after Spain)

  • Pablo San MartínEmail author


It can be argued that the Western Sahara forms part of the Hispanic world, not only linguistically but also culturally, despite being an African, Arab and Muslim society. However, the process of Hispanisation is a new and ongoing process that has to do, more than with the poor Spanish colonial legacy, with postcolonial connections with Latin America. A significant part of the emerging Saharawi élites have been educated in Cuba. As a result, the Cubarawis are a new ‘tribe’ that is contributing to the definition of the new Saharawi society - and also generating tensions. This article explores this encounter between an African, Muslim and Arab refugee nation and the ‘Hispanic’ world.


Western Sahara Cuba refugees social change identity 


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    To date more than seven thousand Saharawis have been educated in Cuba. This gives us an idea of the demographic weight of this collective in Saharawi society and of its impact and influence, especially if we take into account the fact that they constitute a significant percentage of the young educated cadres of the exiled Saharawi Republic.Google Scholar
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    This joke is shared by both the Cubarawis themselves and the ‘others’, although with different connotations. While for the Cubarawis it is a positive term that affirms their shared identity against other collective identities (tribe and family), for the older generations it has a more pejorative meaning linked with the idea of the Cubarawis being ‘rebels’ that break the social codes. In both cases it alludes ironically, from different perspectives, to the dissolution of traditional identities.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American StudiesUniversity of LeedsUK

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