The Revolution Is for the Children

The Politics of Childhood in Havana and Miami, 1959-1962

By Anita Casavantes Bradford

278 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1152-5
    Published: April 2014
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1154-9
    Published: April 2014

Envisioning Cuba

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Since 1959, the Cuban revolutionary government has proudly proclaimed that "the revolution is for the children." Many Cuban Americans reject this claim, asserting that they chose exile in the United States to protect their children from the evils of "Castro-communism." Anita Casavantes Bradford's analysis of the pivotal years between the Revolution's triumph and the 1962 Missile Crisis uncovers how and when children were first pressed into political service by ideologically opposed Cuban communities on both sides of the Florida Straits.

Casavantes Bradford argues that, in Havana, the Castro government deployed a morally charged "politics of childhood" to steer a nationalist and reformist revolution toward socialism. At the same time, Miami exile leaders put children at the heart of efforts to mobilize opposition to Castro's regime and to link the well-being of Cuban refugees to U.S. Cold War foreign policy objectives. Casavantes Bradford concludes that the 1999 Elián González custody battle was the most notorious recent manifestation of the ongoing struggle to define and control Cuban childhood, revealing the persistent centrality of children to Cuban politics and national identity.

About the Author

Anita Casavantes Bradford is assistant professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies at the University of California, Irvine.
For more information about Anita Casavantes Bradford, visit the Author Page.


"[An] insightful study."--American Historical Review

“Fits well within an important strand of scholarship addressing the nonmaterialist dimensions of the revolution and its impact at home and abroad.”--The Journal of Southern History

"Fresh and Insightful….A milestone in a new wave of historiography on the early years of the Cuban Revolution."--Journal of American History

"Casavantes Bradford covers a great deal of ground with a keen eye for finding the telling moment and a steady hand in relating it in a readable style."--Hispanic American Historical Review

“Scholars of childhood, transnationalism, and migration will find much value in this book, and it will no doubt generate fruitful discussions in US and Latin American graduate seminars.”--Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

“Casavantes Bradford shows how revolutionary Habaneros and Cuban exiles in Miami mobilized youthful images in the service of diverse national futures.”--American Quarterly