Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry: The Freud Wars, 1955–1970
Abstract

summary:

This article traces the battle over Freud within Cuban psychiatry from its pre-1959 origins through the “disappearance” of Freud by the early 1970s. It devotes particular attention to the visit of two Soviet psychiatrists to Cuba in the early 1960s as part of a broader campaign to promote Pavlov. The decade-long controversy over Freud responded to both theoretical and political concerns. If for some Freud represented political conservatism and theoretical mystification, Pavlov held out the promise of a dialectical materialist future. Meanwhile, other psychiatrists clung to psychodynamic perspectives, or at least the possibility of heterogeneity. The Freudians would end up on the losing side of this battle, with many departing Cuba over the course of the 1960s. But banishing Freud did not necessarily make for stalwart Pavlovians—or vanguard revolutionaries. Psychiatry would find itself relegated to a handmaiden position in the work of revolutionary mental engineering, with the government itself occupying the vanguard.


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