Intervening, Correcting, Rewarding

  • Ola Plonska
  • Younes Saramifar


The small-scale urban gardens in Havana are contested spaces that are constantly monitored and controlled by the Cuban state, but they also offer possibilities for crafting a life. Marcelo, the gardener whose stories are shared in this book, felt the constant gaze of the Cuban state over his shoulder. However, he also stressed how Fidel Castro still plays an important role in his lived experiences even after his death. He senses the gaze of the state through a state-led competition that rewards ‘model gardens’ according to revolutionary values. However, we noticed that such initiatives also offer opportunities for resistance. Everyday gentle resistance. The ethnographic deep hanging out in these gardens captured the microscopic elements and crawling rhizomes that broaden our understanding of what it means to be human within a socially controlled environment, entangled with the presence of non-humans.


Social control Authoritarianism Competition Resistance Gardening state Agricultural governance Resilience 


  1. Aguirre, B. E. (2002). Social control in Cuba. Latin American Politics and Society, 44(02), 67–98. Scholar
  2. Chomsky, A. (2015a). A history of the Cuban Revolution. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Gold, M. (2011). Urban gardens: Private property or the ultimate socialist experience? In C. Riobó (Ed.), Cuban intersections of literary and urban spaces (pp. 25–48). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  4. Gold, M. (2015). People and state in socialist Cuba: Ideas and practices of revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gropas, M. (2007). The repatriotization of revolutionary ideology and mnemonic landscape in present-day Havana. Current Anthropology, 48(4), 531–549. Scholar
  6. Guerra, L. (2009). ‘To condemn the Revolution is to condemn Christ’: Radicalization, moral redemption, and the sacrifice of civil society in Cuba, 1960. Hispanic American Historical Review, 89(1), 73–109. Scholar
  7. Hennessy, C. A. (1963). The roots of Cuban nationalism. International Affairs, 39(3), 345–359. Scholar
  8. Lambie, G. (1999). Reinforcing participatory democracy in Cuba: An alternative development strategy? Democratization, 6(3), 30–61. Scholar
  9. López, E. D., & Yaffe, H. (2017). The deep, historical roots of Cuban anti-imperialism. Third World Quarterly, 38(11), 2517–2535. Scholar
  10. Nye, J. S. (2004). Power in the global information age: From realism to globalization. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Nye, J. S., Jr. (2008). Public diplomacy and soft power. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616(1), 94–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Premat, A. (2003). Scale urban agriculture in Havana and the reproduction of the ‘new man’ in contemporary Cuba. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies|Revista Europea De Estudios Latinoamericanos Y Del Caribe, 0(75), 85–99. Scholar
  13. Premat, A. (2009). State power, private plots and the greening of Havana’s urban agriculture movement. City & Society, 21(1), 28–57. Scholar
  14. Premat, A. (2010). Moving between the plan and the ground: Shifting perspectives on urban agriculture in Havana, Cuba. In Agropolis: The social, political, and environmental dimensions of urban agriculture (pp. 171–204). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  15. Premat, A. (2012). Sowing change: The making of Havana’s urban agriculture. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Puebla, C. M. (1976). Y en eso llegó Fidel. On Y en eso llegó Fidel [Vinyl]. Movieplay S.A.
  17. Routon, K. (2010). Hidden powers of state in the Cuban imagination. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Saramifar, Y. (2015). Living with the AK–47. Cambridge Scholars: Newcastle upon Tyne.Google Scholar
  19. Scott, J. C. (1989). Everyday forms of resistance. The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 4(1), 33. Scholar
  20. Smith, R. (2016). Education, citizenship, and Cuban identity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Weissman, D. M., & Weissman, M. (2009). The moral politics of social control: Political culture and ordinary crime in Cuba. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ola Plonska
    • 1
  • Younes Saramifar
    • 1
  1. 1.Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations