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The Revitalization Of Havana's Chinatown: Invoking Chinese Cuban History

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Chapter Summary

After a brief discussion of the historical context for Chinese migration to Cuba and the ways in which the mid-20th century Chinese and Cuban revolutions played out in Havana's Chinatown, this chapter analyzes the elements of the current revitalization. The chapter argues that tensions are inherent within a project that, on the one hand, claims to promote the interests of the Chinese community and an "authentic" Chinese culture, and on the other hand, is spearheaded by "mixed" descendants and promotes the Chinatown as a tourist attraction to boost the Cuban economy. However, despite these points of potential friction, state promotion of the Chinese community in Cuba has provided new spaces in which Chinese Cubans and their descendants can make claims on identity, culture, and politics. Havana's Barrio Chino known as a "Chinatown without Chinese" provides a unique locale for an analysis of diasporic ties, urban renewal, and ethnic identity.

Keywords: Barrio Chino; Chinese Cuban history; Cuban Revolution; Havana's Chinatown; mid-20th century Chinese revolution



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