Autonomous Cuban Social Researchers Seek Aid in “Puerto Rican Roulette” Process

Dmitri Prieto

HAVANA TIMES — How is one to conduct serious research in alternative spaces in Cuba without becoming frustrated in the process?

How is one to look for opportunities to converse with colleagues from other countries, without sinking in the quicksand of bureaucracy?

A group of people whose common denominator is the fact we live in Cuba and study things that are of little interest to the “official” academia – things that are important for a great number of people here – have decided to try and attend the Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) to be held in Puerto Rico later this year.

To achieve this, we’ve put together a collective initiative called “Cuban Minority Voices to Borinquen,” whose members study everything from Cuban sci-fi, through feminist issues and the works of Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, to the most recent ethnic contributions to this Caribbean country. Those who read me should also know that the group includes three Havana Times bloggers (Regina, Yasmin and myself).

Why speak of a “Puerto Rican roulette”? First, because Puerto Rico is politically dependent on the US federal government, which is the one that issues visas to enter the country – and these are sometimes denied*.

Second, because our research does not enjoy the institutional support of State entities, foundations or NGOs, we had to resort to that form of micro-financial experiment (relying on the concept of the “global village”) known as crowdfunding. This was a rather difficult experience for some of us that have neither the means nor the connectivity required for it. It is a different kind of roulette. Will we survive?

Our platform is available at:

There, you can see the range of issues that are of interest to us. If any is of interest to you, and you have the means to lend us a hand, you can also offer us your support there.

Exchanging ideas with people from other countries or with different opinions is not a luxury, it is a need. Succeeding in this initiative would be a signal that autonomous social research in Cuba can already walk on its own two feet.
(*) Almost always as a result of Clause 214(b) of the Federal Migration Act, which presupposes that the planet’s population can be divided into two categories: (a) inhabitants of the United States and (b) people desirous of becoming inhabitants of the United States, a US official believes that someone who is not an inhabitant of the United States doesn’t have strong enough ties to their current home, they must be denied entry into the country…lest they make their wishes come true.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

6 thoughts on “Autonomous Cuban Social Researchers Seek Aid in “Puerto Rican Roulette” Process

  • Wow…you just described Cuba and you don’t even realize it!

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