Dreaming in Cuban | Study Guide

Cristina García

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Dreaming in Cuban | Part 2, Chapter 15 : Imagining Winter (Celia's Letters: 1956–1958) | Summary



This chapter is a series of unsent letters written by Celia del Pino to her Spanish lover, Gustavo Sierra de Armas, from 1956 to 1958. The letters cover the period of the courtship of Celia's daughter, Lourdes, by Rufino Puente, through their wedding, and finish with the news that Lourdes is pregnant. Celia likes Rufino, who has the spirit of a campesino (farmer) despite his wealthy, pretentious parents. Celia also writes of the political climate of those days, characterized by mounting tension as rebels attempt to oust the dictator Batista. Celia is sympathetic to the rebels' cause, although her husband, Jorge, and Rufino's wealthy parents worry that a change in regime will hurt their economic standing. "The tension here is unbearable," Celia writes. "Everyone wants Batista out."


These letters offer insight into the class differences that factor into the Cuban political climate in the years prior to the socialist revolution led by Fidel Castro (El Lider). They also give insight into the troubled relationship between Cuba and the United States. The Spanish-American War of 1898, fought between the United States and Spain, ended Spanish colonial rule in Cuba. Cuba had been struggling to achieve its independence since 1885. The United States, with many economic interests in Cuba, secured its influence on the island with the Platt Amendment of 1901, which became part of the Cuban constitution. The Platt Amendment gave the United States the right to maintain a military presence in Cuba, to intervene in Cuban affairs, and to be the sole foreign country with the right to own land in Cuba.

Both Jorge del Pino and the family of Rufino Puente are heavily involved with American interests, and a popular revolution in Cuba would likely do away with the American presence on the island. Their desire to protect these interests for the sake of their economic well-being makes them wary of a socialist revolution, despite the distastefulness of life under Batista. This foreshadows the split that will overtake the del Pino family.

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