Earl Shorris observes in his brief discussion of Roberto Fernández in Latinos that, "[l]ike all emerging literatures, the work of the Latinos is a neighborhood conversation, people talking to each other of a shared experience" (386), but while this may well characterize Fernández or Rodríguez-Milanés or even Arenas, it seems less true of either García or Hijuelos. While the choice of audience may, in this case, help us to determine whose writing might ultimately be "more Cuban," what might be more important is the implicit acknowledgment among all these writers that fashioning a Cuban voice necessarily entails some negotiation of the voice and the attention of the overwhelming Other into whose immediate environs Cubans have ventured out of political and economic necessity.
Ironically, this struggle with, and against, symbols and images imposed on Cubans from elsewhere is being waged not only in the fiction, poetry, and drama emerging from this generation of Cuban-American writers but even in the cultural work of artists who, like Estefan and Cidre, seem more directly invested in the mythmaking operations of the culture industry of which they are a part. In a recent review for The Nation of an exhibit of visual artwork by Cuban- American women entitled "Arte Cubana," María de los Angeles Torres observes that "Miami today is home to a new wave of exiles: the children of the Cuban revolution, . . . the revolution's own cultural elite, who critique it because it has betrayed its own nationalist and socialist principles." These recent exiles, especially in their coexistence and communication with "the children of the original exiles," who have similarly "rejected the dominant political culture of their community, . . . are bringing down the aquatic wall that has separated the island/nation for thirty-five years" (95). In an equally recent analysis of the current state of the arts in Cuba, Coco Fusco also comments on the exodus in the 1980s of some of Cuba's major artistic figures. Fusco observes in her article for the Los Angeles Times that while these "young Cuban artists raised within the revolution had revised their country's understanding of popular culture and used satire to question the staid political order," that same order's response to its own economic instability in the post-Soviet world was a repressive political and cultural retrenchment that "prompted many of Cuba's best and brightest creators to leave for good" (F1-F27). The confrontation of young Cuban artists raised here and there will ultimately contribute to the opening of the necessary dialogue among the many disparate elements that make up the complex patchwork that Cuban culture has become; and, with Coco Fusco, I suspect that it may be in the sphere of popular culture and its most accessible idioms that this opening initially takes place.
Already in an immensely successful recording like Gloria Estefan Mi Tierra, we hear the optimistic anticipation not only of Cuban-to-Cuban reconciliation and reintegration but of an even larger Pan-Hispanist movement that crosses