Visiting Scholar Will Use Two Familiar Metaphors to Describe U.S.-Cuba Relations in May 15 Talk

A visiting scholar from Cuba will use two familiar metaphors – David and Goliath, and Gulliver and the Lilliputians – to describe U.S.-Cuba relations in an upcoming lecture at the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Soraya Castro, professor and senior researcher at the Institute for the Study of International Relations in Havana, will discuss “David and Gulliver: Competing Metaphors in the Cuban-U.S. Relationship” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, in the Luann Dummer Center for Women, Room 103, O’Shaughnessy Educational Center, on the university’s St. Paul campus.

Dr. Soraya Castro

Dr. Soraya Castro

The talk is free and open to the public.

Castro observes that Cuba and the United States have constructed different national narratives about their relationship to one another since 1959. Cuban leaders often characterize the relationship with the metaphor of David and Goliath, with Cuba being a small, valiant defender facing an enormous aggressor. American leaders, on the other hand, invoke images of Gulliver and the Lilliputians, in which the giant is benign, honorable and willing to suffer pin pricks the little people occasionally inflict on him rather than destroy the attackers.

In addition to Cuba-U.S. relations, Castro also specializes in U.S. domestic politics, including elections and Congress. She has visited St. Thomas twice before, in 2002 and 2008.

Castro holds a Ph.D. in law from the University of Havana, a degree in international law from the Institute of Foreign Relations in Moscow, and did post-doctoral studies at the University of Bologna in Italy.

Before her appointment at the Institute for the Study of International Relations in Havana, she was a professor and researcher at Havana University. Over the past 20 years she has taught or held fellowships at Johns Hopkins University, University of California – San Diego, Georgetown University, University of Iowa, American University, Uppsala University in Sweden, Smithsonian Institution, the University of Alabama and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

She is the author of many articles and book chapters, and co-author of the 2012 Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World.

In addition to her native Spanish, Castro is fluent in English and Russian.