Demystifying las UMAP: The Politics of Sugar, Gender, and Religion in 1960s Cuba

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Latin American Studies Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
The UMAP, las Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción, were forced-work agricultural labor camps operated by the Cuban government during the mid-1960s in the east-central province of Camagüey. The current academic literature on the UMAP camps has exclusively taken into account homosexual internees’ experiences and has characterized the camps solely as an instance of gender policing. This paper will argue: 1) the UMAP was an integral component of the Cuban Revolution’s larger economic, social, and political goals, 2) the experiences of the diverse gamut of UMAP internees cannot be generalized into a single, concentration-camp narrative, and 3) although gay men certainly endured horrific treatment at the camps, Jehovah’s Witnesses were the victims of the worst brutality at the UMAP.
Cuba, UMAP, Forced labor, Gender, Race, Homosexuality, Jehovah's Witnesses