Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This paper examines the relationship between a society, its culture, and its heroes, using the Cuban heroine Mariana Grajales as a case study. From less than a month after her death in 1893 until the present day, Mariana Grajales has been an important heroic figure in Cuban society, famous for her legendary contribution to the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain. She has been the subject of glowing eulogies, legends and biographical accounts. Battalions, hospitals, and medals of honor are named after her. Cubans and Cuban Americans alike speak of her as a role model and symbol of their own respective, and often opposing, struggles over the future of Cuba. This paper will show that for more than a century, depictions of Mariana Grajales have very effectively manifested the values, ideals and goals of Cuban society, even though these have changed and evolved over time.


Latin American and Iberian Institute

Language (ISO)



The Latin American and Iberian Institute of the University of New Mexico


Society, Culture, Cuba, Mariana Grajales Cuello