Esther Allen, a professor at Baruch College, City University of New York, is the editor and translator of José Martí: Selected Writings (Penguin Classics). She is currently writing a biography of José Martí.
The hoisting of the Star-Spangled Banner in Havana on Friday, for the first time in more than half a century, has been met with perplexing and contradictory reactions in the United States. Such are the two faces of our simplified understanding of the Republic of Cuba: that only we in the US can save it, or that, by our very presence, we will inevitably destroy all the things that make it appealing to us. Neither view is shared by the Cuban people I talked to on the island this spring.