Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Republic Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2665 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

political unrest and civil strife reappeared constantly. Strong parties developed along conservative and liberal lines; the conservatives favored centralism and participation by the church in government and education, and the liberals supported federalism, anticlericalism, and some measure of social legislation and fiscal reforms. Civil war frequently erupted between the factions. ("Colombia," Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th ed., 2003)

All of the social and political unrest drives heartfelt and heated personal feeling of right and wrong and good and bad. Like Cuba the heat of the revolutions and civil wars can still be felt in the present generations and this as well as the diverse population of ten feed unrest.

Both nations facing divergent populations, political and social strife and extreme levels of abject poverty still represent a rich landscape of cultural variety and artistic expression. Cuba and Colombia have a rich artistic history, based on multiculturalism. A possible way to unite cultural strangers can be found through a melding of cultural motifs and themes in artistic expression. In Cuba state accepted artistic vocations are subsidized but the fluctuation of the economy often leave little room for the arts. Despite this the culture holds great pride in their performers and they manage to train and perform in sometimes appalling conditions. (Russell, 2003) Additionally the Afro-Cuba community embraces thematic cultural arts that have a strong Caribbean influence on the culture in general. (Hill, 1998, p. 183) In Colombia expressions of artistic creativity have been hampered by the frequent violence but are burgeoning nonetheless, today.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Republic Assignment

Music has been strongly affected by Colombia's Caribbean culture, and theater by one of the major figures of the twentieth century in Latin America, Enrique Buenaventura. Along with the international recognition of the excellence of Buenaventura's theater, the recent parallel in music would be the awarding of a Grammy in the United States to two boleros composed by Fabio Salgado Mejia ("Estefano") and sung by the Cuban American pop star Gloria Estefan. In terms of international recognition and commercial success, Colombian music has been, by far, the most outstanding of the three performing arts. (Williams & Guerrieri, 1999, p. 63)

The challenges of assimilation, separation, marginalization and integration are largely answered through the artistic expressions of the various cultural dynamics in the nation. The cultures find unity through art but also find value in the expression of their own particular racial and ethnic past.

Colombians are great enthusiasts of formal social customs and are highly regionalistic in their methods of living social life. Their regional customs are invariably rural, usually with origins in colonial and nineteenth-century life, which Colombians have idealized considerably and tend to view with nostalgia. These origins can be traced back to Spanish, indigenous, and African traditions. For many Colombians, the "real" Colombia is this traditional and rural Colombia linda (beautiful Colombia), populated by hard-working peasants dressed in regional costumes, dancing traditional folkloric dances, enjoying traditional foods and festivities. (Williams & Guerrieri, 1999, p. 25)

The idealized Colombia is that which existed during the "golden years" of colonialism, the unity of the region and the particular importance placed on regional cultural customs and beliefs shape the thought of those in a now largely urbanized culture.

Religion also plays an important role in both cultures (despite the Cuban secular communist government). The official or dominant religion in both regions is Roman Catholicism but both regions also have minority religions. In Cuba Santeria, an African-derived faith is often practiced simultaneously with Catholicism. Santeria, drives the culture, especially the rural poor as the faith demonstrates a point of camaraderie and also demonstrates the uniqueness of the culture. Often viewed by outsiders as strange its history is one of resistance through forced assimilation.

Slaves created and sustained complex religions, blending together elements of their African heritage with indigenous and Catholic traditions. Santeria in Cuba, ... African-American religions forged in the New World. These faiths, centered on the possession of mediums by traditional African deities such as Ogum, Shango and Oxala, provided a sense of belonging, self-esteem, dignity, purpose, and health. Religion also gave slaves a way to subvert the master: preventively, as when they consulted a ritual specialist for a charm against the master's wrath; or actively, as when they sought magical means of killing him. (Burdick, 1992, p. 39)

Though Santeria, by that name does not exist in Colombia there are Caribbean/Afro faiths that served a similar purpose and united the oppressed though the secretive spirituality of their pasts an future.

Over the course of four centuries, some five million survivors of the Middle Passage ended up on the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, about half of whom went to the three most important islands -- Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba. ... Colombia received another 200,000 slaves to pan for gold in Antioquia, Cboco and Popayan, and to toil on sugar plantations in the Cauca Valley. (Burdick, 1992, p. 38)

This tradition of forced labor has ultimately made liberty and freedom the most prevailing messages in the worldviews of both nations. Despite the continued subjugation and discrimination of minorities in both nations the pride of nationalistic self-determination is absolutely foundational to the human spirit and the spirit of the cultures.

These two countries stand apart in many ways but stand together in others. The main similarity between them is the historical significance of colonialism and the fight for freedom and self-determination. It remains to be seen if the cultures will develop economically in such a manner as to allow the cultures more room to grow and bloom, yet the significantly rich nature of the culture of both nations is testament to the ideals of culture growing through all adversity. The Cuba of today is in transition, as it embraces a centralized market economy and attempts to overcome the economic and social sanctions that arose from the disassociation with one of its main trading partners, the United States. Colombia will continue to heal from its many social and political conflicts and build its culture in strength and maybe even unity.


Burdick, J. (1992). The Long Night of Slavery. Report on the Americas, 25(4), 38-39.

Davis, D.J. (1998). Nationalism and Civil Rights in Cuba: A Comparative Perspective, 1930-1960. The Journal of Negro History, 83(1), 35. Retrieved November 22, 2004, from Questia database,

'Colombia" Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th edition, 2003

CIA World Fact Book

"Cuba" Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th edition, 2003

Frank, M. (1993). Cuba Looks to the Year 2000. New York: International Publishers.

Helg, A. (1995). Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Hill, D.R. (1998). West African and Haitian Influences on the Ritual and Popular Music of Carriacou, Trinidad and Cuba. 183. Retrieved November 22, 2004, from Questia database,

Mcleod, M.C. (1998). Undesirable Aliens: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in the Comparison of Haitian and British West Indian Immigrant Workers in Cuba, 1912-1939. Journal of Social History, 31(3), 599+. Retrieved November 22, 2004, from Questia database,


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