El Caribe Hispano en el ámbito internacional Sobrevivencia en enajenación, travestismo y desplazamiento [The Hispanic Caribbean in the International Sphere: Survival in Alienation, Transvestism, and Migration]
This essay centres around the novel Sirena Selena vestida de pena [Sirena Selena Dressed of Sorrow] (2000) by Puerto Rican author Mayra Santos-Febres with the objective of shedding light on the transformation of Hispanic Caribbean society under the influence of globalization and the expansion of capitalism. By analyzing descriptions of places evoked in the story as well as the characters’ behaviour and perspective on life, it becomes clear that Caribbean society has undergone a gradual adaptation to resemble “first world” societies. The developing tourism industry that has appropriated almost entirely this part of the world, has “imposed” a sort of transvestism on the physical appearance of Caribbean cities and its people, as well as on the mentality of the latter.
Survival in today’s globalized setting is therefore measured by the degree of adaptation on the part of Caribbean citizens to the capitalist economic system and the degree of displacement (migration) they undergo in an attempt to exploit all angles of the free market. However, these “imposed” conditions do not allow for a truly radical transformation on Hispanic Caribbean society, resulting in a superficial change. This has led to the creation of a hostile and alienating society where principles of solidarity and camaraderie that have historically defined Latin American essence and relationships, are replaced by the individualistic mentality proper to Western societies where only the fittest survive.
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