To make a difference responding to migration and its (im)possible demands in returns to Cuba

Valerio SIMONI

The article focuses on the experiences of Cuban migrants that have returned to live in Cuba. The focus in on the predicament they face as they strive to (1) respond to, (2) reformulate, and (3) resist societal pressures to make a valuable difference upon their return. Firstly, economic gains are the widely expected result of a successful migration, and returnees struggle to convincingly exemplify such achievement. In the effort to carve out alternative sources of value and prestige from their experiences abroad, on the other hand, feelings of exhaustion and estrangement also emerge. Resisting the pressures that weight on them as (ex)migrants, finally, returnees reframe migration and life itself in Cuba, but with ambivalent results. The exploration of Cuban returnees’ responses to the (im)possible demands engendered by their migration illuminates workings of difference and overdetermination, belonging and exclusion, and ethics and responsibility that have broader significance for how these subjects are approached in migration and anthropological research.