Eckstein Interviewed on Findings of and Contention Surrounding “Cuban Privilege“

In an interview with BBC Mundo, Susan Eckstein, Professor of International Relations and Sociology at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, discusses her latest book – Cuban Privilege: The Making of Immigrant Inequality in America – and the heated debate that arose after its release. 

In the article, titled “‘Los inmigrantes cubanos tienen privilegios en Estados Unidos que nadie más disfruta:’ entrevista a la autora de ‘El privilegio cubano’ (‘Cuban immigrants have privileges in the United States that no one else enjoys:’ interview with the author of ‘The Cuban Privilege’), Eckstein outlines the findings of her book, what motivated her to pursue this research, why United States immigration policy gives special exceptions to Cuban immigrants, as well as the controversy surrounding her book. She notes that policies that benefitted Cuban immigrants arose out of a U.S. foreign policy goal to deprive Fidel Castro‘s regime of its best and brightest human capital while also training those who might return to Cuba and lead it after Castro’s fall. These benefits would continue and evolve under subsequent U.S. presidents and persist today.

In discussing the controversy that arose among Miami’s Cuban diaspora, Eckstein adamantly denies the claim that her book is sympathizing with the Cuban government noting that the claim ” is completely irrelevant to my book. This book is not about Cuba, but about U.S. immigration policy, period. It is a comment whose sole purpose is to defame me.” Critics of Eckstein’s book argue that Cubans should not be compared to people from other countries because they have suffered under an authoritative regime, are penalized for illegal departures from Cuba, and are repressed or marginalized if they return after having fled. She states that her book in no way tries to justify the policies of the Cuban government; however, Cuba is not the only country that suffers from a repressive regime, and even so, Cubans have privileges that no one else has. To that end, Eckstein notes that she is “more in favor of extending those rights to other immigrants than eliminating them for Cubans.”

The full article can be read on BBC Mundo‘s website.

Susan Eckstein, Professor of International Relations and Sociology at the Pardee School, focuses her research on Latin America and Latin American immigration. She has written extensively on Mexico, Cuba, and Bolivia, and, in recent years, on immigration and its impact across borders, as well as on U.S. immigration policy. She has written and edited books on the urban poor, the impacts of revolutions, social movements, and social rights. On Cuba, her books have focused on the impact of the Castro-led revolution, on Cuban immigrants, and on U.S. Cuban immigration policy. She is the recipient of many fellowships, including from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as awards for her writings. Learn more about Professor Eckstein on her faculty profile.