Nuestra América Mestiza

It is a myth that Latin American countries never had anti-miscegenation laws. In 1855, for example, a Cuban governor outlined the problems that would ensue from legalized intermarriage:

There is little doubt that the dissemination of ideas of equality of the white class with the colored race puts in jeopardy the tranquillity of the Island. . . . ; it is no less true that by authorizing marriages between one and the other [race] the links of subordination of the colored people to the white will tend to be subverted and weakened, and . . . the day would come when those encouraged by the example of unequal marriages which favor them, will aspire impetuously to achieve a rank which society denies them and as a consequence public order would be upset; it is therefore the Government’s duty to prevent such a situation at all costs.

Interracial marriages were not made legal in Cuba until 1881. See Verena Martínez-Alier, Marriage, Class and Color in Nineteenth Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society, 46 [read an excerpt of this book].


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