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Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry:
The Freud Wars, 1955–1970

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.


psychiatry, Cuba, Freud, Pavlov, Cold War, Soviet Union, psychoanalysis

“We have to respect that Freudian anachronism somehow,” psychiatrist Gregorio Rivera Núñez informed his colleagues at a July 1966 meeting at the Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana. “Freud,” he said, “is like those stars that are already opaque—dead for a century—but we still see their light on earth.”1 Rivera offered this begrudging defense of Freud [End Page 62] in response to a discussion that had broken out at the hospital. Following his presentation on the clinical study of anxiety, several of his colleagues, dismayed at the guest appearance of Freud in Rivera’s summary of the topic, had bemoaned the persistence of psychoanalytic errors in the field. Edmundo Gutiérrez Agramonte, a leading psychiatrist at the hospital, pleaded with his colleagues to jettison psychoanalytic fictions like the primal scene and adopt responsible Pavlovian views. Responding to his concerns, Rivera agreed that Freud was an anachronism, but one that necessarily endured. After all, he argued with a curious Marxist flourish, wasn’t Freud the “dialectical base” of the “process” that his work had initiated?2

During the 1960s, debates about Freud were standard fodder in meetings and presentations at the Hospital Psiquiátrico. The facility was the heir to the nation’s notorious mental asylum, popularly known as Mazorra. In January 1959, Dr. Eduardo Bernabé Ordaz, an anesthesiologist and comrade of Fidel Castro in the revolutionary struggles of the sierra, was appointed by Castro to run the hospital and undertake a monumental rebuilding effort there. Mazorra’s post-1959 reconstruction was emblematic of a new age in Cuban psychiatry that exalted scientific commitment and humanitarian principles. Nevertheless, early formulations of a revolutionary psychiatry were more oriented to rebuilding hospitals and reaching beyond the bounds of the discipline than driving Freud out of the picture. Psychiatric and revolutionary discourses passed through a period of vigorous cross-pollination that, in these early years, drew few doctrinal lines around revolutionary subject formation.

By 1963, however, theoretical questions had moved into the foreground of conversations among psychiatrists at the Hospital Psiquiátrico and beyond. At the crux of over a decade of debate was the Freud-Pavlov polemic, which buttressed efforts to establish a psychiatry that was both scientific and revolutionary. By the 1970s, “Sovietization” in psychiatry, psychology, and neurology would indeed be a decisive if not an absolute reality. As orthodox psychoanalytic practice largely disappeared from the Cuban psychiatric scene, Freudians who did not depart the island tended to venture into other, less overtly psychoanalytic, areas of psychiatry and psychotherapy.3 It would be another decade before a renewed opening for Freud emerged as a result of dialogue with Latin American and international colleagues. [End Page 63]

Much to the chagrin of Pavlov’s Cuban partisans, however, psychological perspectives—and even a few orthodox Freudians—stubbornly hung on.4 Advocates of the new Sovietized psychiatry found themselves running up against the so-called eclecticism of their colleagues, who, long accustomed to adapting foreign psychiatric theory, did not afford different treatment to orthodox Pavlovianism. Some continued to utilize psychodynamic techniques and perspectives that retained the most useful elements of Freudianism while discarding those that did not fit their professional and political realities. Even as the psychiatric profession retreated from the Freudian barricades, at least in name, an unorthodox mélange of psychodynamic concepts and logic infused the project to create a revolutionary subject throughout the 1960s. Revolutionary psychiatry could officially jettison Freud, but the return of the repressed was, as he would have predicted, almost guaranteed.

The Freud-Pavlov debates at the Hospital Psiquiátrico thus represent an illustrative node in a broader geography of Cold War intellectual exchange. Across vastly different geographical and political contexts, science and medicine assumed a heightened political status as symbols of national supremacy and even ideological apotheosis.5 Governments East and West, not to mention North and South, dedicated unprecedented funds and institutional support to research in the service of national defense. In this context, scientific identities increasingly strayed beyond the laboratories and clinics in which they were articulated, embracing the patronage of the state and its attendant geopolitical stakes. That urgency was felt in a particularly acute way in the countries most directly implicated [End Page 64] in macropolitical struggles of the period, not only the United States and the Soviet Union, but Cuba, too, where the revolutionary government magnified and hyperbolized the nationalist implications long attached to science and medicine.6 In Cuba, as in other “Global South” countries, the Cold War knowledge race would intersect in dramatic ways with the domestic imperative for scientific and economic development.7

When compared to the military-academic-industrial complex, theoretical debates over two long-dead scientists might seem arcane, to say the least. Yet the Freud-Pavlov polemic took on ideological significance well beyond its limited therapeutic consequences. These debates manifested a clear theatrical spirit, as well as a ritual function: to purge Cuban psychiatry of its alleged bourgeois trappings in preparation for an imminent Socialist future. Absent direct pressure from revolutionary officials, leaders of the field hoped to parlay self-purification into vanguard status; “we Stalinized ourselves,” as one practitioner told me. They did so, nonetheless, in a context of widespread self-policing and intolerance for political inconformity, a deliberately cultivated strategy of revolutionary officials.8 [End Page 65]

The energy devoted to theoretical difference might suggest hard and fast political lines. Strikingly, however, the Freud-Pavlov divide was never as absolute as psychiatric leaders wished to depict it. By foregrounding change and continuity within the Cuban psychiatric field, I hope to reorient attention to the messy, often conflicted, nature of the revolutionary project during its tumultuous first decade. This snapshot of intellectual evolution in process exposes the halting, hybrid, and inclusive path that it could take, even in politically explosive circumstances. Theoretical eclecticism could thus represent a de facto challenge to hardened divides between Freudian and Pavlovian, capitalist and Marxist, U.S. and Soviet. While the eventual waning of Freud highlights the force behind Pavlov, the intellectual path to that endpoint suggests a more complicated reality: the inconsistencies in the very notion of ideological incompatibility.9

Yet these theoretical battles also reflect back on the political context in which they emerged. Politicization has long been something of a dirty word in medicine, including in Cuba, where in prerevolutionary times it had bred widespread corruption in public health administration. Generation after generation of reformers thus returned to the fundamental imperative to separate medicine and politics, even as many of them were swept up in political mobilization.10 Elsewhere, practitioners shielded themselves from politicization through dutiful empiricism and practiced objectivity. Historians and sociologists of science have thus often worked in reverse, unveiling the political stakes attached to self-proclaimed neutral work.11 In the United States, that seeming paradox—the politicization of objectivity—itself dates to the Cold War.12 The Cuban case, however, [End Page 66] offers a tantalizing counterexample: a moment in which scientificity and politicization were presumed to evolve in concert. The scientific vanguard here met the political one with mutually aggrandizing effects, as Cuban psychiatrists sought to enact their professional relevance and scientific authority in the new revolutionary moment.

Pavlov and the Soviets

The historic confrontation between psychoanalysis and Marxism-Leninism has been neither static nor uniform, and its eventual collision with the Cuban Revolution was far from inevitable.13 The framework for arguments about Freud had been established in the Soviet Union during the decades following the Bolshevik Revolution, and Soviet interlocutors made frequent appearances in Cuban conversations on this question. As in the Soviet Union, many Cuban psychiatrists, guided by official pronouncements and pressure, determined that Pavlovianism was the most scientific and Marxist approach to the study of the mind. Freud, in contrast, was responsible for theoretical mystifications and political abominations. The Pavlovian approach, as had been established in the Soviet Union, was exalted for its orientation to laboratory experimentation and its political compatibility with dialectical materialism, which framed the relationship between man and the world around him as one of direct reflection rather than unconscious mediation.

On the most fundamental level, the Freud-Pavlov wars of the 1960s dramatized a longstanding tension within the psychiatric field between what can be characterized as functional and organic perspectives. The two paradigms correlate with psychological treatment methods on one hand [End Page 67] and somatic approaches on the other. These different understandings of the relationship between mind and body provoked acrimonious debate within the field of psychiatry, particularly beginning in the late nineteenth century. The development of neurology in this period sparked heightened enthusiasm for the organic understanding of mental illness as rooted in biological causes. The rise of radical somatic treatments for mental illness, such as insulin therapy, electroshock therapy, and psychosurgery, in the mid-twentieth century endowed this framework with renewed legitimacy within the psychiatric field.14

The work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov offered a novel variation on the organicist view of mental functioning. Grounded in a Russian tradition of physiological and neurological approaches to cognition, Pavlov’s famous experiments on salivation in laboratory dogs led him to the notion of the “conditional reflex.” According to Pavlov, the conditional reflex forms in the newest parts of the brain, which have evolved throughout human history to encompass “lower” and “higher” zones. Brain reflexes, he argued, function on several levels of increasing complexity as a response to “excitation” and “inhibition” from the outside world. Essentially, however, all mental activity responds to a physiological prompt. The theoretical camp that follows Pavlovian thinking on mental functioning is known as the reflexological school.15

On the other hand, the functional view of mental illness as grounded in psychical conflict also received a boost in the late nineteenth century with the rise of Freudian psychoanalysis. Though psychodynamic approaches predated psychoanalysis, Freud’s “talk therapy” was an equally novel counterpart to the new somatic treatments for psychosis that appeared in the twentieth century.16 Psychoanalysis, which highlighted the “dynamic” [End Page 68] interaction between conscious and unconscious forces and emotions, propelled the formation of multiple schools and techniques within the fields of both psychiatry and psychology, many of which departed from the tenets of orthodox psychoanalysis.17

The back and forth between these two conceptions of mental function and illness guided the evolution of psychiatry throughout the twentieth century, though in practice few psychiatrists were as theoretically exclusivist as this distinction might imply. Nevertheless, the intellectual breach between organic and functional schools of psychiatry acquired broader political significance in the aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The early 1920s actually represented a period of growth for psychoanalysis in Russia, with the founding of the Russian Psychoanalytic Society and the Moscow Institute. As Martin Miller has argued, this receptiveness correlated with the experimental spirit of the Lenin years and the New Economic Policy. Soviet officials and psychoanalysts, however, had also discovered that they shared intellectual and social interests in the fields of child psychology and pedagogy. These tensions led to a strange paradox: Russia’s psychoanalysts, belatedly admitted to the international community of Freudians, belonged to the only state-financed psychoanalytic field in the world. Though it remained subject to the whims of the state vis-à-vis its project to establish a “Marxist psychology,” Soviet psychoanalysis pursued a number of routes to rapprochement between Marxism and Freudianism in the early 1920s, the most interesting of which regarded them as complementary systems of thought.18

By 1928, however, psychoanalysis had come under attack in the Soviet Union. Lenin’s death, Trotsky’s exile, and the rise of Stalin prematurely halted ideological experimentation in all realms. At the 1930 Congress for Human Behavior, psychoanalysis was branded bourgeois, “cosmopolitan,” and anti-Soviet.19 If Soviet psychiatrists had previously dreamed of mobilizing their expertise to create the society conjured up by the Bolshevik Revolution, henceforth their role would be significantly curtailed.20 The [End Page 69] year 1936 also marked the death of Pavlov himself and the subsequent officialization of the “dialectical materialist” vision of the mind: namely, that it did not function independently of the body or, critically, class forces in the outside world.21 After the Communist Party reined in the psychiatric field in 1936, Pavlovianism remained the official scientific doctrine in the Soviet Union,22 in spite of Pavlov’s own opposition to communism.23 The 1951 “Pavlov Session” represented the high point of this Pavlovian orthodoxy, as psychiatrists, like physiologists before them, exhorted themselves and their colleagues to adopt responsible Pavlovian views.

New work on the Pavlovian orthodoxy has nonetheless offered a more bounded view of its reach, stressing the possibility for varied interpretations in practice, as well as the determining role of local context in shaping its spread throughout the Soviet Union.24 This drama, as it played out under Stalin during the most repressive years of Soviet history, prefigured the theoretical and political conflicts that would surface in the Latin American Cold War. In places like Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, psychoanalysis would be pulled in divergent political directions, sometimes appropriated by authoritarian governments of the right to naturalize conservative sexual and family values, but also claimed by the mobilized left as a “revolutionary tool,” what Mariano Ben Plotkin refers to as a “complement for politics, an instrument to make sense of it, and a way to articulate the public and the private dimensions of the self.”25 As Jane A. Russo argues, that “plasticity” had long inhered in psychoanalysis, found by diverse groups to be “reasonably adaptable and capable of harboring a good measure of political ambiguity.”26 In 1970s Argentina, [End Page 70] Brazil, and Chile, we thus see the notable expansion of a “psy” culture in the seemingly unpropitious context of authoritarian dictatorship, even as psychoanalysis also became an important touchstone for some members of the organized left.

Yet in many ways Cuba represents a dramatically different case: one of the only successful revolutionary governments to prevail during the Cold War in spite of the most aggressive opposition of the United States. How would psychoanalysis, then, evolve in response to revolutionary governance? Given the proximity of the Soviet example, one might imagine the straightforward implantation of Pavlovian models, as Soviet psychiatrists traveled to Cuba to offer Pavlovian instruction and Cubans in turn journeyed to the Eastern Bloc to witness Soviet psychiatric practice for themselves. Promoting Pavlov, however, was not a simple matter. Though many psychiatrists of an organicist bent welcomed reflexological perspectives even before 1959, others presented psychoanalytic objections to the Soviet advance. On one hand, a tradition of therapeutic and theoretical openness among Cuban mental health professionals—what Pavlovians would denounce as “eclecticism”—rendered unilateral approaches unappealing for some. A venerable strand of psychodynamic thinking in Cuban psychiatry also guaranteed that Soviet predominance would not come easily. Particularly troublesome, in fact, was the recent arrival of formal psychoanalysis to Cuban shores.

Freud in the Tropics

On the eve of revolution, the Cuban psychoanalytic field was mostly incipient. A unilateral focus on orthodox psychoanalysis, however, obscures a broader climate of interest that preceded it by several decades. Though many early twentieth-century Cuban psychiatrists had at least a passing familiarity with psychoanalysis, the most sustained attention germinated at the intersection of the fields of pedagogy, psychology, and mental hygiene, and it tended to be more theoretical than practice-oriented.27 By the late 1920s, psychiatrists like Juan Portell Vilá and René La-Valette had adopted a more serious attitude toward the study of Freud, though [End Page 71] their orientation was far from exclusivist.28 A variety of non-Freudian psychodynamic theories and psychological tests, particularly the Rorschach, also proved influential later on.29

Among a small but influential cohort of Cuban psychologists, interest in psychoanalysis had also become well established. Importantly, that curiosity had grown across the political spectrum, as in the case of Alfonso Bernal del Riesgo, early supporter of the Russian Revolution, student activist at the University of Havana, and cofounder of the Cuban Communist Party. Forced into exile in Vienna during the dictatorship of President Gerardo Machado (1926–33), del Riesgo became a student of Alfred Adler’s, an important follower and eventually critic of Freud.30 Del Riesgo later served as a prolific scholar and mentor to a generation of Cuban psychologists.

By the 1940s and 1950s, attention to psychoanalysis within the “psy” disciplines was matched by Freudian enthusiasm among Havana’s betterheeled classes, as reflected in psychiatrists’ complaints about the patients who stormed their private practices complaining of Oedipal complexes.31 While the cost and duration of analysis limited its appeal to a broader spectrum of Cuban society, politically inclined psychologists like Juan Guevara Valdés had already undertaken efforts to expand access before 1959.32 Popular middle-class magazines like Bohemia and Carteles, which had long covered the basic tenets of Freudianism, also fomented popular psychoanalytic consciousness, though more extensive coverage was [End Page 72] afforded to organicist developments.33 The attraction of psychoanalysis as an emblem of modernity for the upper middle classes was, nonetheless, mitigated in some cases by their Catholic faith, as manifested by the rise of a virulently anti-Freudian camp of Catholic psychiatrists.

At the same moment, interest in Freudianism within psychiatry prompted initial forays into orthodox analytic training, often through the intellectual and touristic circuits linking Cuba to the United States and Europe. Though the United States and its flourishing psychoanalytic community was an indispensable resource for Cuban aspirants, European and Latin American colleagues also helped to shape their goals.34 Finally, in the late 1940s, the apparently flamboyant Italian psychoanalyst Spartaco Scarizza, a graduate of the University of Bologna, turned up in Cuba.35 After arriving to Havana, Scarizza contacted the Colegio Médico Nacional to request permission to practice and teach psychoanalysis in Cuba.36 Several of Havana’s most prominent psychiatrists entered analysis with Scarizza shortly thereafter.

The expanding interest in psychoanalysis coincided with the first efforts to organize within the psychiatric profession along doctrinal lines. The Sociedad Cubana de Psicoterapia, founded in 1951 with José Angel Bustamante as its first president, had brought together thirteen Havana psychiatrists interested in a psychodynamic approach, and the group met [End Page 73] regularly to host presentations and discussions of psychotherapy.37 Bustamante then traveled to London to call on Ernest Jones, Freud’s British ally and biographer. With his support, they solicited the help of Leo Bartemeier, an influential U.S. psychoanalyst who had nabbed the presidency of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Bartemeier subsequently presented biyearly seminars while on vacation with his family in Cuba.38 With Bartemeier’s backing, the Cuban contingent was officially recognized as a Psychoanalytic Study Group at the 1955 Congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) in Geneva.39 Finally, another faction of seventeen psychiatrists, again presided over by Bustamante, established the Sociedad Psicoanalítica Cubana in 1955.40 In the same year, the Sociedad Cubana de Psicoterapia kicked off a psychoanalytic seminar series with a lecture on the unconscious by Scarizza.41 Meanwhile, a separate group of the psychoanalytically inclined had congregated around José Gurri, Gabriel Casuso,42 and Oscar Sagredo, Cuban psychiatrists who had received analytic training outside Cuba.43 [End Page 74]

In practice, however, even Cuba’s most psychoanalytically inclined psychiatrists were inclusive when assembling their therapeutic arsenals, where suggestion and analysis coexisted with shock and pharmaceutical treatments once they became available.44 Most Cuban commentators agree that in the years leading up to the revolution the Freudian camp had the edge on its organicist counterpart, in terms of both organization and popularity.45 Nevertheless, the field was far from uniform, and, well before 1959, critiques of psychoanalysis as theory and practice had already emerged from a variety of quarters.

The strongest challenge to the embryonic field came from the Pavlovian camp. Since the 1920s, psychiatrists in Cuba had expressed interest in Pavlovian reflexology. The first significant proponent was Rodolfo Guiral, who had begun his medical career planning to focus on ophthalmology. His interest in the somatic side of medicine remained strong even after he decided to specialize in psychiatry.46 In the 1920s, Guiral won a professorship in the Cátedra de Enfermedades Nerviosas y Mentales (Department of Nervous and Mental Illnesses) at the University of Havana, where he became an influential mentor for a generation of organicists, including those who would realign the emphasis of the field in the early years of the revolution.47 His famous lectures, which emphasized the medical side of psychiatry, also promoted knowledge in psychology as a key attribute for aspiring psychiatrists, and not only because many patients entering their offices would be suffering from functional rather than organic illness. Freudian consciousness, he admonished his students, was all around [End Page 75] them, and they ignored its content at their own peril.48 From the beginning of his career, Guiral had thus been an amphibious practitioner of both psychotherapeutic and somatic techniques.

At the height of his professional maturity, Guiral refused to accept any paradigm in an exclusivist fashion. Celebrating recent therapeutic advances, including electroshock, insulin therapy, and neurosurgery, he told Dr. Diego González Martín in a Bohemia feature that he regarded the Pavlovian School as the logical realization of Freud’s efforts: “Pavlov’s School gives a physiological foundation to Freud’s School. . . . Freud oriented himself to the psychological aspect; Pavlov saw the anatomical-physiological foundation.”49 It was thus necessary to consider both the “spirit” (alma, function) and the nervous system (structure) with an eye to social and historical context. Universalist concepts, Guiral told González Martín while perusing a book of Rorschach tests, had to be weighed against Cuba’s “national reality.”50

Guiral’s rejection of orthodox Freudianism was bold and uncompromising. He stood fast even at the cost of losing patients who came to him, he noted, seeking to have their Oedipal complexes examined. Freudian concepts, he suggested, were more historical artifact than scientific fact: “Before Pasteur the fear of microbes did not exist, and today we do not see Charcot’s case of hysteria, nor do we find people who believe they have been turned into wolves.”51 Preserving analytic technique, Guiral nonetheless argued that it was time for psychiatrists to do away with “preconceived ideas” and immerse themselves in their own cultural context. He offered his own auto-crítica of his early years as an orthodox Freudian as a model for others to follow.

There was no more vocal or public opponent of Freudian psychoanalysis in the 1950s, however, than Dr. Diego González Martín himself, who publicly condemned Freudianism as a “reactionary fraud.” Unlike other Cuban psychiatrists of a Pavlovian bent, González Martín’s opposition to psychoanalysis stemmed from political commitment. For this [End Page 76] reason, he would become a leading figure in the post-1959 psychiatric field, celebrated for being the first in Cuba to bring a “Marxist focus” to the “sciences of the psyche.”52 The roots of González Martín’s political consciousness developed early in life. Growing up, he bore witness to the treatment his father suffered as a Canary Islander, working-class immigrant in Cuba. Biographers trace his involvement in the student movement and anti-Machado struggle to his childhood experiences and his revolutionary self-education. González Martín was a founding member of the Ala Izquierda Estudiantil (AIE, Student Left Wing), a radicalized and anti-imperialist breakaway group from the anti-Machado student organization at the University of Havana. He also worked with the Confederación Nacional Obrera de Cuba (National Worker’s Federation of Cuba, CNOC) and was a member of the Cuban Communist Party beginning in 1932.53

González Martín’s involvement with the Communist Party deeply influenced his early adoption of Pavlovianism. In 1953 he undertook a “clandestine” trip to the Soviet Bloc, including occupied Austria and Romania, where he first explored reflexology. His Marxist orientation to psychiatry had crystallized even earlier in his doctoral thesis on “Economic and Social Factors in Mental and Nervous Illnesses,” where he emphasized the “hegemony of the economic-social factor in the production of neuro-psychical disturbances.”54 His trip to Romania, however, inspired a subsequently combative approach to Cuban psychoanalysis. He related that, upon his return, he spoke about Pavlovianism for “nearly four hours, well into the early morning” at the Cuban Society of Neurology and Psychiatry,” leaving his “opponent,” José Gurri, only ten minutes to “congratulate” him at the end.55

As the leading polemicist for Pavlov in Cuba, González Martín frequently engaged in professional debates. His most avid antagonist and close friend was Dr. Roberto Sorhegui, a confirmed Freudian and leftist, who sustained close ties with the revolutionary leadership up to his death in 1959. By the time of the revolution, Sorhegui had begun to move toward a critical reassessment of Freud in light of Pavlov’s contributions, [End Page 77] a synthesis that he believed Freud himself had anticipated.56 Following González Martín’s presentation on “Rational Psychotherapy,” held on August 2, 1956, Sorhegui opined that he did not consider his exposition to be either “rational or reflexological.”57 José Angel Bustamante, another Freudian-leaning psychiatrist, challenged González Martín to render the “union of the physiological with the social” more clearly, a riposte from the theoretical “left,” as it were.58 While Edmundo Gutiérrez Agramonte, a Guiral student, spoke sympathetically on his behalf, the other replies to the presentation were notable, not for their dogmatic insistence on Freudianism, but rather for their exploratory take on the matter. Several suggested that the very distinctions being raised between different approaches to psychotherapy were new to them and encouraged more study of the topic. Dr. Enrique Collado, on the other hand, seemed to despair of the profusion of theoretical schools, arguing that “all roads lead to Rome when it comes to Psychotherapy.”59

González Martín’s commitment to Pavlov inspired conferences, published work, and even courses on reflexology in the 1950s. He offered one such class at the University of Havana’s Escuela de Verano (Summer School), where his students were primarily workers from the Centro Benéfico-Jurídico de Trabajadores de Omnibus, an organization directed by the Cuban Communist Party (PSP).60 His Pavlovian campaign culminated in the publication of Experimentos e Ideología (Experiments and Ideology) in 1960. Dr. Ernesto González Puig, a professor of psychology at the University of Havana after 1959, characterized the work as “a completely Marxist book before the Revolution.”61 González Martín wrote the first part of the text in the final years of the Batista dictatorship and finished it while teaching in Venezuela after the revolution. The work strikes an uncompromising theoretical position from its opening words:

It is frequently asserted that great coincidence exists between the distinct psychological schools of the present. The opinion of the author is completely [End Page 78] opposed to that view. It is said, for example, that the Pavlovian and Freudian schools converge in many fundamental questions. And that is incorrect. The simple fact that one is the product of experimental investigation and the other the speculative result of observation, already establishes an abyss between them.62

González Martín insisted that “eclecticism,” “contemporizing,” and “confusionism of hybrid postures” stood firmly opposed to the advance of “Science.” As depicted by González Martín, “Science”—read: Pavlovian reflexology—stood at the apex of the field’s upward march away from the “Tower of Babel” haphazardly erected by the “byzantine” agglomeration of psychological schools.63

Pavlovianism was the correct materialist path, González Martín held, because it provided, through laboratory experimentation, an “absolutely objective” understanding of the brain as conditioned reflexes in dialogue with social context.64 Moreover, it promised to unveil the essential nature of the psyche as the “dialectical union between social superstructure and the supergranular tissue of the human cerebral cortex.”65 By discarding assumptions of superstructural autonomy and unconscious mental activity, a society could even achieve meaningful change in social consciousness. No “stereotypes” remained beyond the grasp of a “rational psychotherapy” buttressed by a new social order, González Martín averred, not even the “conditioned reflexes” of racial discrimination, per Fidel Castro’s own phrasing of the problem.66

González Martín’s hopeful gesture toward the revolutionary climate in Cuba in 1959 anticipated a professional and ideological shift in his discipline. In many respects, he served at its vanguard, and Pavlovian perspectives finally received their due in professional and official circles. The transition from a psychoanalytical to a reflexological emphasis in psychiatry, however, was neither immediate nor absolute. In some cases, it followed the politicized trajectory modeled by González Martín, who carried out experiments at the newly founded Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales del Cerebro (Institute of Fundamental Investigations of the Brain) and was widely celebrated for being a revolutionary Pavlovian avant la lettre.67 In others, however, the revolution merely provided a [End Page 79] propitious historical climate for the triumph of long-held, mostly apolitical, organicist views. And, finally, even as orthodox Freudian analysis officially disappeared, psychoanalytic ideas survived not only among the psychodynamically minded professionals who remained in Cuba, but even in psychiatric and official visions of revolutionary subject formation. These dynamics, however, cannot be understood outside of a broader Cold War climate. Freudianism, associated with the imperialist behemoth to the North, had to be abandoned, at least in name.

The Cold War

Given the recent expansion of Freudianism in Havana, the Cuban psychiatrists who welcomed their Soviet colleagues to Havana were primed to have a meaningful debate on psychoanalysis. While their knowledge of and interest in Pavlov was less profound, the establishment of a new revolutionary psychiatry did not amount to the straightforward implantation of Soviet models. Throughout the 1960s, anti-Freudianism was virulent, but not quite compulsory, rigid, or even univocal. Meanwhile, the attack on psychoanalysis was pervasive, but strangely unofficial and even haphazard.

By 1962, however, a more formal line of critique had surfaced within the psychiatric field, especially at the Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana. This critical momentum also inspired some psychiatrists to turn to intellectual dialogue with Soviet mental professionals. In many cases, reflexology, already a standard part of their theoretical vision, guided them to Soviet interlocutors. Edmundo Gutiérrez Agramonte was the key representative of this group and, beginning in 1962, led a course on reflexological psychotherapy at the Hospital Psiquiátrico. In his seminar, Pavlovian, though not necessarily Soviet, models predominated. Nonetheless, until 1962, strictly reflexological perspectives had a more muted presence in the official publication of the Hospital Psiquiátrico, and a motley crew of organicist and psychodynamic viewpoints continued to prevail. It is telling that, in late 1962, a seminar on psychoanalytic theory was offered alongside Gutiérrez Agramonte’s course, sandwiched between a seminar on insulinotherapy and a series of conferences on the history of hysteria and psychological tests.

By 1963, the penetration of Soviet Pavlovianism into Cuban circles accelerated considerably, capping the maturation (and occasional disruption) of political ties between Cuba and the Soviet Union. This process dated back to a proposal made to the Ministry of Public Health two years earlier by hospital director Eduardo Bernabé Ordaz. With the goal of “improving the scientific level” of the facility, Ordaz had requested that [End Page 80] two professor of Soviet psychiatry be invited to come to Cuba and teach a course on psychiatry.68 While insisting that the conferences would be only for those employees who “spontaneously and voluntarily” decided to attend, Ordaz highlighted the scientific superiority of the Pavlovian school of reflexology over the “idealist” bias of the hospital’s psychiatrists. In September 1963, I. T. Victorov, professor at the Leningrad Institute of Medicine, and D. N. Isaeiv, professor of child psychiatry at the Institute of Pediatrics in Leningrad, began offering seminars at the Colegio Médico and the Hospital Psiquiátrico. The famed communist psychiatrist Florencio Villa Landa of Spain, who had left his country for the Soviet Union following the Spanish Civil War, served as interpreter in linguistic and, likely, theoretical matters.69 Victorov and Isaeiv remained in Cuba for roughly a year and a half and were regular participants in the life of the discipline during that time. The intellectual imperative of the visiting Soviet psychiatrists was to offer a dialectical materialist assessment of Freud and introduce Pavlov to their Cuban colleagues.

Victorov and Isaeiv belonged to a reenergized generation of Soviet Pavlovians who were once again discussing and debating Freud. After three decades of Pavlovian orthodoxy, Stalin’s death in 1953 created an opening, not for the reclaiming of Freud, but rather for the renewed denunciation of psychoanalysis. As the Cold War escalated, greater political significance was attached to critiquing Freudianism, now linked to the exploding U.S. psychoanalytic community rather than the European Jewish psychoanalysts of yore. F. V. Bassin, one of the emblematic figures of this turn, had, like his mentor Dmitri Uznadze, returned to the notion of the unconscious in order to take back areas of the mind claimed by and thus thrown out along with Freud.70 The work of Bassin and other [End Page 81] members of a rejuvenated anti-Freudian cohort would later arrive to revolutionary Cuba, sometimes published in Spanish for the first time in Cuban translation.71

Even González Martín, Cuba’s organic Pavlovian intellectual, joined in the process of rectification. Though he had refused to consider Freud in his previous writings, in 1965 he penned a sustained critique of psychoanalysis in the pages of Cuba Socialista. There, he continued to decry the “metaphysical determinism,” ahistoricism, and political conservatism of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, the article also recognized Freud’s contributions to psychiatry, particularly his foregrounding of the unconscious and his valorization of a dynamic, rather than mechanistic, understanding of mental functioning.72 Like his Soviet counterparts, González Martín believed that the vital question of the unconscious had to be taken on through a critical engagement with both Freudian and Pavlovian antecedents. He maintained that this discussion, however, could only transpire in light of the historical motion away from Freud that had already occurred in Cuba, as the Oedipal complex, once a fashionable complaint among wealthy patients in Havana, had finally been cast among the smoldering embers of a prerevolutionary past. Taking on Freud was, nevertheless, no fait accompli but rather an explicit challenge to the “scarce” but persistent group of “revolutionary Freudians” who continued to cling to the Viennese master.73 [End Page 82]

As Victorov and Isaeiv discovered in 1963, psychodynamic holdouts persisted across the theoretical spectrum of Cuban psychiatry. Freudians and non-Freudians alike were more than prepared to acknowledge Freud’s flaws but reluctant to adopt unilateral solutions to the problem.74 Freudians in the group were already versed in the reflexological critique of psychoanalysis in the work of Guiral and González Martín, among others. The construction of anti-Freudianism in Victorov’s and Isaeiv’s presentations, however, was explicitly yoked to the tenets of dialectical materialism.

Over the course of the conference cycle, Soviet and Cuban adherents to Pavlovianism maintained that only Pavlov had correctly portrayed consciousness as a physiological process of reflection, in which the objective content of the outside world was processed in the brain through sensation, perception, and thought. Laboratory and clinical investigation would elucidate these physiological processes and provide a grounded, scientific understanding of the brain. In contrast, Freudianism and other psychodynamic approaches were “idealist” and unscientific, a lucrative swindle perpetrated by analysts in capitalist countries. Moreover, they argued, the “sociologization” of psychoanalysis, particularly in the United States, bolstered a reactionary political system, in which the essential character of the class struggle was obscured by psychologization.75 On this score, there was no room for compromise: Freudians, neo-Freudians, Jungians, psychodynamicists, and psychobiologists were equally culpable of denying the fundamentally physiological character of cognition and consciousness.

Nevertheless, one element of this critique was specific to its Cuban setting: namely, the cultural and historical contingency of Freudianism and the critical disseminating role played by the United States. Victorov lampooned the popularization of Freudianism in the United States, [End Page 83] where, he asserted, people greeted each other by asking after the other’s “unconscious.” The “contaminating” effect of U.S. psychoanalysis had proven particularly damaging for Cuba, Victorov argued; psychoanalysis, in both its theorization and its costly practice, properly belonged in reactionary, bourgeois countries. He was thus dismayed to find, wandering through Cuban bookstores, that “of ten books, nine were dedicated to intersexual relationships,” framed by a sort of popular Freudianism.76 U.S. influence in prerevolutionary Cuba, he lamented, had imprinted psychoanalysis everywhere.

Nevertheless, Victorov and Isaeiv also acknowledged the marginal utility of the psychological perspective. Their Cuban interlocutors constantly pushed them to public recognition of this fact, forcing them to consider the possibility of plurality. José Angel Bustamante, a leading, though not uncritical, proponent of psychoanalysis before 1959, urged Victorov to accept Freud’s place in a therapeutic genealogy leading up to the present. Diagnosing himself as a non-“sectarian” psychotherapist with twenty-four years of experience, Bustamante admitted Freud’s errors but refused to deny him his due: “We have to take some things from Freud and revise them, and even reverse them. But we have to take them.”77 Voicing his own sympathies for the physiological point of view, he pushed inclusiveness in another discussion with Victorov, to which he finally responded that, “through a very lively discussion,” the Soviets had indeed reached the agreement that research into personality had to be carried out through both “physiological and psychological” methods.”78

Victorov’s admission was an oblique reference to the unofficial “return” of psychological tests to the Soviet Bloc, where they had been banned by the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1936 along with mental hygiene.79 Soviet authorities had condemned projective psychological testing as unscientific and reactionary, perpetuating class inequality by normalizing it. In the post-Stalin era, however, psychological tests had quietly resurfaced, prompting doubts as to whether they had ever really disappeared. At least one Cuban psychologist, Gustavo Torroella, had witnessed this firsthand in his travels throughout the Soviet camp in the mid-1960s.80 [End Page 84]

But lingering trauma around psychological “tests,” rendered as such in Spanish, also provoked debates among Cuban psychiatrists and psychologists employed at the Hospital Psiquiátrico. The first had erupted following a presentation by Elsa Pradere about her use of the Machover (“draw a person”) test together with the Rorschach. In response, Ernesto González Puig, a psychologist from the University of Havana, admitted that the topic “made his hair stand on end.”81 In his comments, he tried to reconcile a continued reliance on psychological tests with the ideological implications of that use:

The School of Psychology has an orientation that we try to keep as closely in line with the philosophy of our Revolution and our State as possible. So it’s something like that, without having ever been set out concretely, that the Rorschach and in general all of the projective instruments to investigate the personality, run up against the Marxist-Leninist focus and dialectical materialism. These are the things that one hears, that people put out there, and we sincerely don’t think they’re true, for a very simple reason: the phenomenon of projection is a fact and, as a result, any kind of instrument based in that phenomenon, well it’s an instrument that can legitimately be used.82

Advocating an open approach in both practice and instruction, Puig added that students in the Department of Psychology would learn Rorschach and Machover, but that the emphasis overall would be on Pavlov.

Psychological tests, however, remained a controversial subject. While psychologists advocated for their guarded use, the Pavlovian challenge led to more infrequent testing in practice.83 By 1967–68, however, the conversation had come full circle. A measure approved at a meeting of the hospital direction actually “reminded” the three hospital psychologists to use more tests, noting that only twenty-five tests had been performed in the preceding trimester.84 Later in 1968, psychologist Gustavo Torroella reported that the use of psychometric testing had “resumed . . . with official backing.”85 Unlike their “traumatized” Soviet counterparts, Cuban psychologists even dared to call the tests by name. [End Page 85]

In other cases, however, disagreements between the Soviet psychiatrists in Havana and their Cuban counterparts touched on more fundamental differences. Victorov’s most vociferous critic was Juan Portuondo, director of the hospital’s Department of Psychology, who would eventually leave Cuba to pursue a prolific career in Spain. The first debates, however, had broken out between Portuondo and Gutiérrez Agramonte, who clashed following a 1963 Gutiérrez Agramonte presentation on reflexological psychotherapy. Presumably in response to these disagreements, Gutiérrez Agramonte extended a special invitation to Portuondo to attend a forthcoming installment of the Soviet conference cycle, an invitation that Portuondo accepted.86 From that point on, Portuondo became the most unyielding psychodynamic holdout in these meetings, leading Victorov to characterize the state of their relationship after the first conference attended by Portuondo as something of a “cold war.”87

Victorov came prepared to the first conference attended by Portuondo: he had studied Portuondo’s work on the topic of autism in order to directly critique his theoretical position. His presentation dismissed the “mystical” and sexualized Freudian treatment of autism. In response, Portuondo aimed more broadly. In a thorough rejoinder to Victorov, he ranged widely over the philosophical assumptions presented throughout the conference cycle. Disavowing philosophical stances in science as a distraction from the scientific method, he also took issue with the Soviet characterization of Freud as an “idealist” in philosophical terms. He contrasted this view with the one he had encountered while a student at Catholic university, where they had denounced Freud’s materialism. Priests, he prodded, “know quite a lot about philosophy.”88 In any case, Portuondo insisted that the relevant question was not one’s philosophical stance but the explanatory power of a theoretical paradigm.

Victorov, in turn, disputed Portuondo’s assumption that he had not approached the material from an ideological vantage point; Portuondo, he warned, had merely rendered his own ideology invisible to himself. Furthermore, if an ideological perspective on scientific questions was inevitable, Victorov preferred to be on the site of dialectical materialism, “not only because it is the ideology of the working class, but also because dialectical materialism correctly reflects the general laws of natural and [End Page 86] societal development.”89 While stumbling over a more specious claim that the pope was using Freudianism to declare war on materialism by labeling it as such, Victorov’s reply was as energetic as Portuondo’s challenge.

And the battle continued. Following another Victorov presentation in 1965, Portuondo offered the following critique: “The reality continues to be one: man and his shadow, it’s all physiological, it’s all psychical, it’s a circle. If you look at it from one side, you see the psychical, if you look at it from the other the physical. Until man achieves unity (unidad) we’ll keep fighting for the sake of it.”90 Indeed, Portuondo was arguing less for an orthodox psychoanalytical approach than one that retained psychology as part of the picture. In this admission, he found little room for compromise with his interlocutor, who, following Harry K. Wells, condemned Freudianism as “one of the greatest errors” of humankind.91

A Picture of Freud; or, Cuba, “a Country Free of Psychoanalysis”92

These skirmishes ended inconclusively, and both Victorov and Portuondo soon departed Cuba. Nevertheless, the conversation continued between Cuban Pavlovians and holdout members of the psychodynamic camp. By the early 1970s, as a result of the campaign against Freud within the profession, the emphasis in the field had shifted away from psychodynamic viewpoints, but Freud remained an active object of discussion and contention in philosophical discussions at the Hospital Psiquiátrico. While many of these arguments drifted ever more decisively toward a Pavlovian, or at least organicist, consensus, the debate about Freud—and even the recognition of his contributions—never entirely vanished, even if these conversations came to have a stale and rehearsed quality by the mid-1970s.93 [End Page 87]

In fact, capping a decade of theoretical exploration and development within the psychiatric field, in the early 1970s the Cuban Instituto del Libro had introduced Sigmund Freud to the ranks of authors published in revolutionary Cuba.94 The publication of Freud’s collected works in several volumes was a result of the initiative of Cuban psychologist Juan Guevara, who felt that the field of psychology had suffered from the absence of psychoanalytic literature in the country.95 But his victory was short-lived. Some of Freud’s “sociological” later works of Freud were deemed problematic enough to justify pulling the book from circulation. As Carolina de la Torre recalled, this represented a “jump, from 1965 to 1971, from reading everything, publishing everything and debating everything, to recalling from circulation the recently published works of Freud or any book that grazed the image of the Soviet Union with a rose petal, or tried to insinuate a stain or polemic about the USSR or socialism.”96 Nevertheless, a sufficient number of volumes survived to inform a revived tradition of Freudian interrogation in the 1980s.97 [End Page 88]

Meanwhile, there was an element of truth to psychiatrist Manuel Domínguez’s contention that some of the formerly psychoanalytically leaning had found value in Pavlov, “reassuring in some concerns that psychoanalysis had not settled” for them.98 More often, the Pavlovian campaign provided the intellectual framework for the broader implementation of organicist treatment methods, as psychopharmaceuticals, electroshock therapy, and other biological interventions became increasingly prevalent in revolutionary Cuba. The departure of the most committed psychoanalysts throughout the 1960s also contributed to this shift in therapeutic emphasis.

In other cases, psychoanalysts who did not depart Cuba in the 1960s, such as Carlos Acosta Nodal, who developed a novel model of “therapeutic film debate,” remained active partisans of Freud in Cuba “until the last breath.”99 Many, however, fell somewhere between the two extremes. The most prominent representative of that orientation was José Angel Bustamante, whose explorations in transcultural psychiatry and social psychiatry had early on pulled him away from both orthodox Freudianism and Pavlovianism. Others maintained a stronger intellectual and emotional attachment to Freudian ideas. Cuban psychiatrist José Pérez Villar, who was in Chicago training with students of Freud when the revolution broke out, had returned to Cuba to participate in the revolutionary adventure. More than a decade later, when Argentine psychoanalyst Juan Carlos Volnovich met Pérez Villar working at the William Soler Pediatric Hospital in Cuba, he found a photo of Freud hanging in Pérez Villar’s office.100 Though no Cuban analysts continued to practice orthodox psychoanalysis in Cuba in these years, few completely relinquished their Freudian or psychodynamic leanings.

It was this brand of tenacious flexibility that troubled strict dialectical materialist observers, like Spanish psychiatrist Fermín Galán Rubí. Galán, who was born in Moscow to parents in exile from Franco’s Spain, [End Page 89] had joined the revolutionary effort in Cuba along with his parents and undertaken psychiatric training. At the Primera Jornada Nacional de Psiquiatría, held in 1975, he critiqued his Cuban colleagues for continuing to proffer insufficiently materialist approaches. Galán blamed the influx of published materials and foreign psychiatrists and psychologists for its “corrosive” impact in Cuba, where “Marxist ideological positions are not firm.”101 In the battle against Freudianism, Cuban psychiatrists had to be vigilant against the efforts of some of their colleagues to synthesize psychoanalysis with Marxism. “It should be very clear,” Galán warned, “that there is no room for intermediate positions in the ideological sphere.”102 It was less certain, however, that either government officials or mental health professionals would be willing to enforce this theoretical line.

In fact, by the late 1970s, Silvia Werthein and Volnovich, both fleeing political persecution in the Argentine dirty wars, had even initiated psychoanalytic practice in Havana. The irony of Cuban support for politically dissident Argentine psychoanalysts was not lost on the practitioners who found refuge there. Volnovich even recalls trying to question the officials processing his admission as to why they were allowing him in. Ultimately, Volnovich did not remain in Cuba practicing analysis for long precisely because there was no longer a psychoanalytic field, and his patients tended to be Argentine, Chilean, and Uruguayan children orphaned by the dirty wars.103 He has suggested, however, that overall antipsychoanalytic sentiment in Cuba was fairly limited.104

Evidently, even at its apex, anti-Freudianism was not entirely exclusivist, and the significant contingent that moved away from psychoanalysis did not necessarily become orthodox Pavlovians. Meanwhile, outside of hospital meetings, the Freud-Pavlov polemic constituted the intellectual [End Page 90] groundwork for cooperation between the revolutionary government and mental health professionals. Though government officials inconsistently summoned psychiatrists and psychologists to the practical work of revolutionary subject formation, some medical professionals eagerly mobilized throughout the 1960s to direct the mentally transformative “revolutionary mystique.” Having passed through a series of ideological purges in the early 1960s, the new Department of Psychology at the University of Havana embarked on a series of collaborations with the revolutionary government in the areas of labor, industry, reeducation, and revolutionary defense. Paradoxically, the overall emphasis of this work was on applied, rather than theoretical, psychology. The ideological bona fides of revolutionary psychologists had opened a space for them to participate in revolutionary mental engineering, a project that, it turned out, had little to do with Pavlov.

In this respect, some medical professionals presented themselves as mere deputies of the “enormous psychotherapy that is Revolution,” as Dr. Julio Ayllón Morgan had argued before the X Congreso Médico Nacional in February 1963.105 While acknowledging that the fall of a “rotten system” had provoked more than one personality crisis among Cuba’s youth, Ayllón lauded its capacity to bring a society collectively on the verge of neurosis, particularly in the psychically depleted zones of the countryside, to mental health. Psychiatrists ought to look to the revolution, he insisted, to understand their own role. In this spirit, Ayllón and his colleagues had gathered together the sixteen hundred students of the Escambray school106 where he was completing his rural medical tour of duty and carried out what can be described only as a mass session of revolutionary psychotherapy: “We explained to them the reasons behind the symptoms they were feeling, with the relationship between one’s state of mind and bodily ailments, as well as nervous crises. Likewise we exalted the courage and the sacrifice they would have to expend in order to reach the proposed goals. We valorized . . . the effort they were making and what the Revolution and the people expected of them.”107 [End Page 91]

In a mere hour, he contended, they had “cut off with a single stroke an epidemic of hysterical attacks in the girls and the tensions of the boys.”108 He expressed his faith that, in the future, they would be able to overcome their weaknesses in order to keep fighting for the revolution. This was the labor, Ayllón effused, that Fidel Castro himself was carrying out as the leader of the revolution’s great psychotherapeutic exercise. In calling upon his colleagues to “imitate [Fidel] in every possible way,” he too ran afoul of what would be a decades-long prescription for more orthodoxy, less dabbling, and all-around seriousness of scientific purpose.109

This was the contradiction, however, that would persist at the heart of the project to revolutionize Cuban psychiatry, defying just-so stories about Cold War politics and intellectual exchange. If orthodox Pavlovianism seemed to confine them to narrow exercises of reflexological theorizing, throughout the 1960s Cuban psychiatrists proposed to extend their expertise outside the bounds of the discipline, to link the field to the revolution that, as Ayllón argued, they should try to emulate. More than a few of the Cuban psychiatrists who remained after the early years of revolution were prepared to let Freud join other artifacts of the past in the ideological cemetery of repression. Burying the tropical Freud, however, did not a Pavlovian make. While some psychiatrists joined neurology labs and subscribed wholeheartedly to the scientific, materialist-dialectic position encouraged by their Soviet mentors, others continued to push out into the world the revolution had made, analyzing and fortifying its extension into individual minds.

Nevertheless, partnerships like those initiated between government officials and revolutionary psychologists were inherently unstable, and psychiatrists, whose reputation as bourgeois Freudians persisted into the revolutionary years, were inconsistently invited to participate. By the early 1970s, as the revolution entered a period of institutionalization and Sovietization, the spirit of experimentation—psychological and otherwise—began to fade from the scene. For the most part, mental health professionals retreated from the front lines of revolutionary mental engineering, and their theoretical battles seemed increasingly insular. By the late 1980s, a rejuvenated generation of the psychodynamically minded would finally invite Freud back to the table. Yet they arrived there too late for their initiative to matter.

Elsewhere in Latin America, the Cold War ushered in a paradoxical psychoanalytic pluralism: forces on the right and the left claimed its [End Page 92] vocabulary as an apt venue for self-definition, expanding its reach and sociopolitical relevance. They thereby created a broad space for apolitical consumption and implementation, in some cases contributing to the formation of full-fledged “psy cultures.” In the 1960s, Cuban psychiatrists transacted parallel battles highlighting that same “plasticity” of psychoanalysis. Freudianism, however, did not retain its predominance among psychiatric professionals, nor did it expand its reach in psychiatric practice. Even as the state, not unlike others in the region, appropriated its vocabulary to make claims about revolutionary subject formation, psychoanalysis itself receded in importance. Yet the Pavlovian orthodoxy was similarly fragile, its imprint barely visible in the realm of practice.

What, then, do we make of these battles, which seem to have affected everyday psychiatry in only limited ways? The “Freud Wars,” I argue, are best viewed as a compelling stage of the scientific Cold War, a microcosm of contemporary struggles over revolutionary belonging and psychiatric prerogative. Their outcome was in some ways less important than their inherent drama, namely, the performative assertion of professional relevance. This is not to imply, however, that Cuban battles over Freud and Pavlov were merely another variation on the timeworn soma-and-psyche theme. Rather, the very intensity of this struggle—its seeming centrality to the mission of a revolutionary profession—highlights not only psychoanalytic plasticity, but also psychiatric politicization. Against the ostensible intentions of both Freud and Pavlov, their theories have persistently buttressed nonscientific paradigms and programs, providing the tools with which Cuban psychiatrists, like many of their professional antecedents,110 could wage politics. [End Page 93]

Jennifer Lynn Lambe

Jennifer Lynn Lambe is an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at Brown University. Her book, Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in February 2017.

I am very grateful for the thoughtful feedback and contributions of Michael Bustamante, Lillian Guerra, David Minto, Robin Wolfe Scheffler, Marco Ramos, Belinda Zhou, Adrián López Denis, Raúl Necochea, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, John Warner, Mariola Espinosa, Ethan Pollock, and participants in the New York Cuban Studies Workshop. I would especially like to thank Cuban colleagues and psychiatrists who shared their memories of these debates, and archivists and librarians at the Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Museo Histórico de las Ciencias “Carlos J. Finlay,” Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí, New York Academy of Medicine, and National Library of Medicine.


1. Discussion of Gregorio Rivera Núñez, “Estudio clínico de la angustia,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 8, no. 1 (1967): 95.

2. Ibid.

3. Unlike some of their Latin American colleagues, first-generation Cuban analysts tended to be fairly committed Freudians; Melanie Klein and others were less influential there. For another account of these battles, see Pedro Marqués de Armas, Ciencia y poder en Cuba: racismo, homofobia, nación (1790–1970) (Madrid: Editorial Verbum, 2014), 176–81.

4. These figures would later be held up as exemplars of professional integrity by a newly psychodynamic field that tended to look back to the Freud-Pavlov wars with revisionist—and understandably lionizing—aims. See Jesús Dueñas Becerra, “Profesor Carlos Acosta Nodal: Psicoanalista ortodoxo hasta el último aliento,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 8, no. 2 (2011), http://www.revistahph.sld.cu/hph0211/semblanza2-11.html.

5. See Jessica Wang, American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); Ethan Pollock, Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2008); Audra J. Wolfe, Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012); Marco Ramos, “Psychiatry, Authoritarianism, and Revolution: The Politics of Mental Illness during Military Dictatorships in Argentina, 1966–1983,” Bull. Hist. Med. 87, no. 2 (2013): 250–78; Mark Solovey, Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America (Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2013); Paul Erickson, Judy Klein, Rebecca Lemov, Thomas Sturm, and Michael Gordin, How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013); Naomi Oreskes and John Krige, eds., Science and Technology in the Global Cold War (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2014); and Sarah Bridger, Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015).

6. See Ross Danielson, Cuban Medicine (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1979); Reinaldo Funes Monzote, El despertar del asociacionismo científico en Cuba (1876–1920) (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2004); Pedro Pruna Goodgall, La Real Academia de Ciencias de La Habana, 1861–1898 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2004); Katherine Hirschfeld, Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba since 1898 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2007); Mariola Espinosa, Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); John A. Gutiérrez, “Disease and the State in the Caribbean: Fighting Tuberculosis in Cuba, 1899–1909” (Ph.D. diss., Graduate Center/CUNY, 2013); Marqués de Armas, Ciencia y poder (n. 3); Steven Palmer, “Shifting Sands of Cuban Science, 1875–1933,” in State of Ambiguity: Civic Life and Culture in Cuba’s First Republic, ed. Steven Palmer, José Antonio Piqueras, and Amparo Sánchez (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014), 54–82; Daniel A. Rodríguez, “‘To Fight These Powerful Trusts and Free the Medical Profession’: Medicine, Class Formation, and Revolution in Cuba, 1925–1935,” Hispanic Amer. Hist. Rev. 95, no. 4 (2015): 595–629; and Kelly Urban, “Tuberculosis, Public Health, and Political Change in Cuba, 1927–1965” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, forthcoming).

7. For other illustrative Latin American cases, see Marco Cueto, Cold War, Deadly Fevers: Malaria Eradication in Mexico, 1955–1975 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); Anne-Emmanuelle Birn and Raúl Necochea López, “Footprints on the Future: Looking Forward to the History of Health and Medicine in Latin America in the Twenty-First Century,” Hispanic Amer. Hist. Rev. 91, no. 3 (2011): 503–27; Raúl Necochea López, A History of Family Planning in Twentieth Century Peru (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Edna Suárez-Díaz, Gisela Mateos, and Ana Barahona, “Across Borders: Science and Technology during the Cold War. An Introduction,” Dynamis 35, no. 2 (2015): 271–78; and Marco Cueto, “The ‘Culture of Survival’ and International Public Health in Latin America: The Cold War and the Eradication of Diseases in the Mid-Twentieth Century,” História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos 22, no. 1 (2015): 255–73.

8. See Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power: Revolution and Redemption in Cuba, 1956–1971 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

9. Curiously, in recent years, we have seen renewed attention to the possibility of compatibility, bringing Freud and Pavlov together in a grand neuroscientific synthesis. See, for example, Eric R. Kandel, “Biology and the Future of Psychoanalysis: A New Intellectual Framework for Psychiatry Revisited,” Amer. J. Psychiatry 156, no. 4 (1999): 505–24; and Eric R. Kandel, Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and the New Biology of Mind (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2005). I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for bringing this literature to my attention.

10. See Gacetilla, “Diciembre 21: La política y la sanidad son incompatibles,” Archivo y Revista de Hospitales 11, no. 53 (1940): 41; Herminio Portell Vilá, “Politiquería y medicina,” Bohemia 42, no. 39 (1950): 51, 102–4; and Rodríguez, “‘To Fight These Powerful Trusts,’” (n. 6).

11. There are too many works in this vein to list them all, ranging from Daniel S. Greenberg, The Politics of Pure Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967) to a recent issue of Annals dedicated to “The Politics of Science: Political Values and the Production, Communication, and Reception of Scientific Knowledge” (March 2015).

12. See George A. Reisch, How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Andrew Jewett, Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); and Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens, eds., Cold War Social Science: Knowledge Production, Liberal Democracy, and Human Nature (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

13. For an account of similar debates in Argentina with a different outcome, see Mariano Plotkin, Freud in the Pampas: The Emergence and Development of a Psychoanalytic Culture in Argentina (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press: 2001), 166–90. A more recent effort to bring together Marx and Freud in the Latin American context can be found in Bruno Bosteels, Marx and Freud in Latin America: Politics, Psychoanalysis, and Religion in Times of Terror (London: Verso, 2012). The literature on psychoanalysis in Latin America is broad and growing. For a representative sample, see Hugo Vezzetti, Aventuras de Freud en el país de los argentinos (Buenos Aires: Paidós, 1996); Cecilia Taiana, “Transatlantic Migration of the Disciplines of the Mind: Examination of the Reception of Wundt’s and Freud’s Theories in Argentina,” in Internationalizing the History of Psychology, ed. Adrian C. Brock (New York: New York University, 2006), 34–55; Mariano Ben Plotkin, “Psychoanalysis, Race Relations, and National Identity: The Reception of Psychoanalysis in Brazil, 1910 to 1940,” in Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties, ed. Warwick Anderson, Deborah Jenson, and Richard C, Keller (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011); and Mariano Ruperthuz Honorato, “El ‘retorno de lo reprimido’: el papel de la sexualidad en la recepción del psicoanálisis en el círculo médico chileno, 1910–1940,” História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos 22, no. 4 (2015): 1173–97.

14. This section draws primarily on Elliot Valenstein, Great and Desperate Cures: The Rise and Decline of Psychosurgery and Other Radical Treatments for Mental Illness (New York: Basic, 1986). See also Edward Shorter, A History of Psychiatry: From the Age of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac (New York: John Wiley, 1997); and George Makari, The Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis (New York: HarperCollins, 2008).

15. See Benjamin Zajicek, “Scientific Psychiatry in Stalin’s Soviet Union: The Politics of Modern Medicine and the Struggle to Define ‘Pavlovian’ Psychiatry, 1939–1953” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2009); and Daniel Todes, Pavlov’s Physiology Factory: Experiment, Interpretation, Laboratory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). Though there is more subtlety to the boundary carving than I have depicted here, many of these terms—Pavlovianism, reflexology, dialectical materialism, on one hand, and Freudianism, psychoanalysis, psychodynamics, psychology, on the other—were employed interchangeably over the course of the Freud-Pavlov debates.

16. Many of Freud’s ideas were not original in themselves, but he is notable for having assembled them in an unprecedentedly coherent and persuasive vision. For the long history of the unconscious, see Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (New York: Basic Books, 1970), still the outstanding account. Not long after the Soviets had reclaimed the unconscious from Freud (see below), Ellenberger returned Freud’s oft-neglected predecessors to the scholarly picture.

17. See Makari, Revolution in Mind (n. 14), esp. 239–446.

18. Martin Miller, Freud and the Bolsheviks: Psychoanalysis in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998), 53–69. Left-wing and Marxist followers of Freud such as Wilhelm Reich had long pursued that synthesis in their work. Leon Trotsky also apparently flirted with such a combination in a letter to Pavlov.

19. Miller, Freud and the Bolsheviks (n. 18), 94–104.

20. See Zajicek, “Scientific Psychiatry in Stalin’s Soviet Union” (n. 15); Benjamin Zajicek, “Insulin Coma Therapy and the Construction of Therapeutic Effectiveness in Stalin’s Soviet Union, 1936–1953,” in Psychiatry in Communist Europe, ed. Mat Savelli and Sarah Marks (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 50–72.

21. See Zajicek, “Scientific Psychiatry in Stalin’s Soviet Union” (n. 15).

22. Ibid.

23. See Kenneth W. Rose, Erwin Levold, and Lee R. Hiltzik, “Ivan Pavlov on Communist Dogmatism and the Autonomy of Science in the Soviet Union in the Early 1920s,” Minerva 29, no. 4 (1991): 463–75.

24. Zajicek, “Scientific Psychiatry in Stalin’s Soviet Union” (n. 15); Zajicek, “Insulin Coma Therapy and the Construction of Therapeutic Effectiveness” (n. 20); Sarah Marks and Mat Savelli, “Communist Europe and Transnational Psychiatry,” in Savelli and Marks, Psychiatry in Communist Europe (n. 20), 7–10; and Corina Doboş, “Psychiatry and Ideology: The Emergence of ‘Asthenic Neurosis’ in Communist Romania,” in Savelli and Marks, Psychiatry in Communist Europe (n. 20), 93–117.

25. Mariano Ben Plotkin, “The Diffusion of Psychoanalysis under Conditions of Political Authoritarianism,” in Psychoanalysis and Politics: Histories of Psychoanalysis under Conditiosn of Restricted Political Freedom, ed. Joy Damousi and Mariano Ben Plotkin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 203–4. See also Ramos, “Psychiatry, Authoritarianism, and Revolution” (n. 5).

26. Jane A. Russo, “The Social Diffusion of Psychoanalysis during the Brazilian Military Regime: Psychological Awareness in an Age of Political Repression,” in Damousi and Plotkin, Psychoanalysis and Politics (n. 25), 165.

27. One author traced the first Cuban treatment of Freudian psychoanalysis to an article by Salvador Massip, famed educator, geographer, and politician, which appeared in an education journal in 1911. See Secretaría de Sanidad y Beneficencia, 1926–1931. Cinco años de Labor Sanitaria y de Beneficencia Pública. Realizada Durante la Administración del General Gerardo Machado y Morales y actuando de Secretario de Sanidad y Beneficencia el Doctor Francisco María Fernández (Habana: Imp. y Lib. La Propagandista, 1931), 236.

28. See the Revista Bimestre Cubana, Revista de la Facultad de Letras y Ciencias and Universidad de la Habana for numerous examples of this omnivorous approach to Freudianism, e.g., Juan Portell Vilá, “El psicoanálisis y su aplicación al estudio del niño,” Revista Bimestre Cubana 13 (1928): 534–41. José Angel Bustamante cites “Dr Lavette [sic]” as the first practitioner of psychoanalysis in Cuba in La psiquiatría en Cuba en los últimos ciencuenta años (Havana: Impresora Modelo, 1958).

29. Consider, for example, the group therapy advocated by Cuban psychiatrist Frisso Potts in the model developed by Jacob Moreno, whose work on interpersonal relations and psychodrama drew on but also departed from Freudian psychoanalysis. See Frisso Potts, “Apuntes para una historia de la Psicoterapia de Grupo,” Sanidad y Beneficencia Municipal 12, no. 3 (1952): 65–69; Potts, “Factores Emocionales en los Grupos Humanos,” Sanidad y Beneficencia Municipal 16, nos. 1–4 (1956): 14–31; Potts, “Patrones de Conducta en los Grupos Terapéuticos,” Sanidad y Beneficencia Municipal 16, nos. 1–4 (1956): 46–52.

30. See “Cronología,” Dr. Alfonso Bernal del Riesgo, ed. Isabel Louro Bernal and Guillermo Bernal, http://www.bernaldelriesgo.com/p/cronologia.html.

31. See the account of Rodolfo Guiral, below. In the 1960s, other psychiatrists echoed this complaint.

32. Guevara undertook this work at a children’s psychiatric clinic he had helped to establish. See Juan Guevara, “Mesa Redonda. Repesando la historia: a diez años del primer encuentro entre psicoanalistas y psicólogos marxistas,” Revista Cubana de Psicología 14, no. 1 (1997): 23–39.

33. Esteban Salazar Chapela, a Spanish journalist stationed in London, covered developments in psychoanalysis, psychology, and parapsychology in the major Latin American magazines of the period, including Bohemia. Bohemia also published a weekly article by a prominent Cuban psychologist, Gustavo Torroella.

34. While the Argentine example had always been paramount for Cuban psychiatrists, in the mid-1950s, a pathbreaking collaboration among José Angel Bustamante of Cuba, Raúl González Henríquez of Mexico, and Carlos Alberto Seguín of Peru gave rise to a Latin American transcultural psychiatry movement, in the form of the short-lived GLADET initiative (Latin American Group for Transcultural Studies). A. Pacheco e Silva of Brazil, Guillermo Dávila of Mexico, and Jesús Mata de Gregorio of Venezuela would later join in the establishment of the APAL (Psychiatric Association of Latin America). Even in the midst of the Pavlovian advance, transcultural psychiatry represented a key point of international collaboration between Cuban and Latin American psychiatrists and psychologists.

35. Scarizza made the pilgrimage to Cuba after apparently falling in love with a Cuban actress aboard a cruise ship on which he was employed as a physician, or, according to another account, for the purpose of giving psychoanalytic instruction. Humberto Nagera, interview by the author, Tampa, Fla., July 3, 2011. Nagera related the cruise ship story to me, while Ángel Arturo Otero Ojeda highlights the “expressly … pedagogical” function of the visit. See Ángel Arturo Otero Ojeda, “Carlos Acosta Nodal (1921–2010),” in Antología de textos clásicos de la psiquiatría latinoamericana, ed. Sergio J. Villaseñor Bayardo, Carlos Rojas Malpica, and Jean Garrabé de Lara (Guadalajara, Jalisco: Amaya Ediciones, 2011), 255.

36. “Actas de la Sociedad Cubana de Neurología y Psiquiatría,” Revista Archivos de Neurología y Psiquiatría 5, no. 1 (1950): 107–8.

37. Sociedad Cubana de Psicoterapia, Archivo Nacional de Cuba (ANC), Registro de Asociaciones, Fondo 56, Leg. 191, exp. 4189.

38. Upon being offered the presidency of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), Bartemeier met with Pope Pius XII to clear the appointment with him, to whom he insisted that “his religion was far more important” to him than the position. He was surprised by the pope’s reply that “Freud had discovered more about human nature than anyone preceding him for thousands of years,” particularly given the widespread notion that Catholicism and psychoanalysis were somehow opposed. Per the pope’s recommendation, he took the position. “In Memoriam: Leo H. Bartemeier, M.D. 1895–1982,” Amer. J. Psychiatry 140, no. 5 (1983): 630. Nagera told me that this story was known among his colleagues.

39. Bustamante, La psiquiatría en Cuba (n. 28), 58; Nagera interview.

40. Sociedad Psicoanalítica Cubana, Archivo Nacional de Cuba (ANC), Registro de Asociaciones, Fondo 56, Leg. 167, exp. 3183. That group included Bustamante, Carlos Acosta Nodal, Oscar Sagredo, Enrique Collado Portal, Spartaco Scarizza, Saúl Ponsdomenech Quiñones, Margarita Prendes, José Pérez Villar, Bautista Pérez Sanz, Hector Wiltz Lancis, Humberto Nájera Pérez, Roberto Sorhegui, Narciso Carmona Calderín, Armando de Córdova, Leopoldo García Huerta, José A. Argaín, and Guillermo Salazar Sánchez. In order to become a member, one needed to have met the following qualifications: ten years of medical practice, five years of psychotherapy practice, and completion of analysis with a psychiatrist belonging to an IPA-recognized group. N.B. Humberto “Nájera” now uses the “Nagera” spelling of his last name.

41. “Seminario Psicoanalítico,” Diario de la Marina, February 22, 1955, 3-A.

42. Gurri had trained in Boston with Felix and Helene Deutsch, a Viennese couple of Jewish origin who had been analyzed by Freud. They fled to the United States in the mid-1930s. Casuso had sought analysis in Canada and training under Anna Freud at the Hampstead Clinic in London. In the 1950s, both returned to Cuba and established practices in the same building. This group embodied a more orthodox approach and came to include several young Cuban psychiatrists who later renewed the link to Anna Freud. Nagera was one such student (Nagera interview).

43. Oscar Sagredo Acebal had trained with John Rosen, a U.S. specialist in direct analysis. Rosen’s use of direct analysis with schizophrenic patients proved particularly impressive to his Cuban counterparts (Nagera interview). A decade later, Venezuelan psychiatrist Jesús Mata de Gregorio scathingly dismissed Rosen’s work as a “chimera” that proved both “cruel and harmful to the patient” in a review reprinted in the Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de la Habana in 1964. “El <<Directanalisis>> ¿Empirismo o ciencia?,” Resúmenes de Revistas, Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de la Habana 5, no. 4 (1964): 645.

44. See Oscar Sagredo Acebal, “Tratamiento Somatopsíquico de una neurosis obsesiva,” Sanidad y Beneficencia Municipal 12, no. 3 (1952): 76–81. This is hardly surprising given the orthodox medical training of all psychiatric residents at the University of Havana. Nagera recalls a division of labor whereby once those leaning toward psychotherapeutic approaches established private practices, they sent patients with more severe illness or psychosis to other clinics for somatic treatment, notably the Valdés Castillo Clinic.

45. See Pedro Triana Noa, “Diego González Martín y las raíces de la psicología marxista leninista en Cuba,” Revista Cubana de Psicología 9, no. 3 (1992): 213–22. Several psychiatrists who began their careers in the 1950s echoed this characterization in interviews.

46. Guiral had also trained in the United States in the late 1920s under Robert Foster Kennedy, an Irish American neurologist based at Cornell University.

47. See Edmundo A. Gutiérrez Agramonte, “La Eyaculación precoz. Su etiología y Psicoterapia,” Archivos de la Sociedad de Estudios Clínicos de la Habana 49, no. 3 (1956): 197–212, for an early example of his influence in the area of reflexological treatment for severe cases of premature ejaculation.

48. Rodolfo Guiral, “Conferencia VIII,” Tomo I (class lecture, “Psychiatry,” Cátedra de Enfermedades Nerviosas y Mentales, University of Havana, 1944). This mimeographed copy of the lectures was made by Dr. Rafael Larragoiti and is held at the Biblioteca of the Museo Histórico de las Ciencias Médicas Carlos J. Finlay. It is worth noting that psychoanalysis receives little more than a sentence of attention in Armando Córdova de Quesada’s University of Havana lectures on psychiatry from several decades earlier.

49. Diego González Martín, “Grandes de la Medicina Cubana. Profesor Rodolfo J. Guiral, Destacado Neuropsiquiatra,” Bohemia 44, no. 10 (1952): 25.

50. Ibid.

51. Rodolfo J. Guiral, “Medicina psicosomática,” Anales de la Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Médicas y Naturales 92, no. 2 (1953–54): 131.

52. Diego Jorge González Serra, “González Martín: Marxismo y ciencias del psiquismo,” Revista Cubana de Psicología 15, no. 1 (1998): 74.

53. Ibid., 74–75. He served as a political commentator for the Communist Party newspaper Noticias de Hoy and, later, Bohemia.

54. Diego González Martín, “Desarrollo de las ideas neurofisiológicas en Cuba en el curso del proceso revolucionario,” in Jornada Científica Internacional: 30 Aniversario del Asalto al Cuartel Moncada (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1986), 669. This citation and some of the details are also provided in González Serra, “González Martín” (n. 52).

55. Ibid.

56. See Roberto Sorhegui, “Algunas correlaciones psicoanalítico-fisicas en la estructuración de la personalidad,” Revista Archivos de Neurología y Psiquiatría 10, no. 4 (1960): 226. Sorhegui was to have presented this paper at an upcoming conference, and it was instead published posthumously in the journal.

57. Sesión Ordinaria el 2 de Agosto de 1956, Revista Archivos de Neurología y Psiquiatría 7, no. 2 (October 1956): 53.

58. Ibid.

59. Ibid.

60. González Martín, “Desarrollo” (n. 54), 669.

61. Noa, “Diego González Martín” (n. 45), 216. Noa and González Serra celebrate González Martín for having reached the same conclusions as the classic Soviet bibliography on the topic without having read it.

62. Diego González Martín, Experimentos e Ideología. Bases de una Teoría Psicológica (Mérida: Talleres Gráficos Universitarios, 1960), 17.

63. Ibid., 50.

64. Ibid., 61.

65. Ibid., 190.

66. Ibid., 189–90.

67. González Martín also served as a professor of psychology at the University of Havana for several decades, maintained important intellectual contacts with the Soviet world, and continued to publish on Pavlovianism, neuropsychiatry, and physiology in Cuba.

68. Bernabé Ordaz, “Editorial,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 4, no. 3 (1963).

69. Villa Landa (1912–92), a member of the Spanish Communist Party, had moved to the Soviet Union at the invitation of the Red Cross after serving as a medic for the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. In the Soviet Union, he studied Soviet neuropsychiatry and Pavlovianism. In 1957, he emigrated to Mexico, where he was responsible for translating a number of important Soviet psychiatric texts into Spanish. From Mexico, he was invited in 1961 to serve as a professor of psychiatry at the University of Havana, an invitation that he eagerly accepted. He left Cuba for the Soviet Union in 1973 and finally returned to Madrid in 1978. See “Florencio Villa Landa. El psiquiatra rojo que seguía a Pavlov,” Público, October 23, 2011, http://www.publico.es/402899/el-psiquiatra-rojo-que-seguia-a-pavlov; Miguel Marco Igual, “Florencio Villa Landa,” http://www.todoslosnombres.org/php/verArchivo.php?id=80.

70. See Miller, Freud and the Bolsheviks (n. 18), 132–36. See also Alberto Angelini, “History of the Unconscious in Soviet Russia: From Its Origins to the Fall of the Soviet Union,” Int. J. Psychoanal. 89 (2008): 369–88. The career of Jewish psychologist Sergei Rubinstein exemplifies this turn. Once a prominent member of the Soviet psychological field, Rubintein faced first criticism and then decades-long professional isolation as a result of his interest in psychology. After Stalin’s death, he was able to reclaim his professional posts and begin publishing anew until his death in 1960. See Miller, Freud and the Bolsheviks (n. 18), 110–12.

71. F. V. Bassin, El problema del inconscience (Havana: Ministerio de Salud Pública, Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana, 1980). While Bassin’s work was published only later on, other Soviet authors appeared much earlier. See S. L. Rubinstein, El ser y la conciencia, trans. Augusto Vidal Roget (Havana: Editorial Nacional de Cuba, Editora Universitaria, 1965); Psicología soviética: selección de artículos científicos (Editorial Nacional de Cuba, Editora Universitaria, 1965); A. N. Leontiev, Problemas del desarrollo del psiquismo (Habana: Instituto Cubano del Libro, 1974; 1st ed. 1967[?]). Translation and publication efforts did not focus solely on Soviet authors in these years. Jean Piaget’s 1945 La formation du symbole chez l’enfant; imitation, jeu et reve, image et representation was published by the Cuban Instituto del Libro in 1967, and Gordon Allport was also later republished and eventually withdrawn from circulation due to a reference to Soviet brainwashing. In the early 1960s, translated works by Soviet authors most commonly appeared in article form in the Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana, alongside the translated conference cycle.

72. Diego González Martín, “Algunas consideraciones críticas sobre la teoría freudiana,” Cuba Socialista 5, no. 43 (1965): 76. Even in this revisionist account, González Martín revives his metaphor of the Tower of Babel for psychodynamic approaches.

73. González Martín, “Desarrollo” (n. 54), 671. The vast majority of the Psychoanalytical Society’s members did ultimately leave for the United States, Spain, and other locations. Per Pedro Marqués de Armas, this list included Frisso Potts, Oscar Sagredo Acebal, José N. Gurri Garrido, Julio Reymondez, Julio Feijoó, Bautista Pérez Sanz, and Héctor Wiltz Lancís. Carmona and Casuso also left, according to Nagera, who had departed Cuba during the late 1950s to work with Anna Freud at the Hampstead Clinic. Nagera never returned to Cuba. See Marqués de Armas, Ciencia y poder (n. 3), 180, ff. 317. Some of the most prominent figures in the Psychoanalytical Society, particularly Bustamante, Acosta Nodal, Pérez Villar, and Córdova, remained in Cuba. The society was officially cancelled on July 22, 1960, along with most prerevolutionary organizations. No organization arose to take its place.

74. See discussion following Juan J. Fernández Martí, “Comentarios sobre los problemas transferenciales en los esquizofrénicos,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 4, no. 2 (1963): 414–16. In this case, several psychiatrists argued for the therapeutic utility of transference. This discussion occurred prior to the arrival of the Soviets.

75. I. T. Victorov, “El carácter idealista y reaccionario de las ideas fundamentales de la psicología social burguesa contemporánea,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 6, no. 2 (1965): 229.

76. I. T. Victorov, “Análisis de las bases teóricas del freudismo,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 4, no. 3 (1963): 485.

77. Discussion of ibid., 488.

78. Discussion of I. T. Victorov, “Exposición de las relaciones mutuas entre la teoría de la actividad nerviosa superior, la psicología y la psiquiatría,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 4, no. 4 (1963): 733.

79. See Zajicek, “Scientific Psychiatry in Stalin’s Soviet Union” (n. 15).

80. See Gustavo Torroella, “Situación actual de las pruebas o exámenes psicológicos en los países socialistas,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 8, no. 3 (1967): 436.

81. Discussion of Elsa Pradere, “El Machóver como técnica complementaria del diagnóstico de Rorschach,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 6, no. 3 (1965): 515.

82. Ibid.

83. In the Scientific Sessions on Psychology inaugurated in 1965, psychologists frequently debated among themselves the proper use and application of tests. See the discussion following Juan Portuondo, “El diagnóstico a través del test de Rorschach,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 6, no. 4 (1965): 666.

84. Acta No. 78, Sesiones del Consejo de Dirección, Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 9, no. 1 (1968): 189.

85. Gustavo Torroella, “Estado de la psicometría en la URSS,” No. IV, Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 9, no. 2 (1968): 297.

86. Acta Número 26, Sesiones del Consejo de Dirección, Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 5, no. 3 (1964): 524.

87. Discussion of I. T. Victorov, “Pensamiento autista, autismo y delirio autista a la luz de la teoría de la reflexión marxista-leninista,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de la Habana 5, no. 4 (1964): 587.

88. Ibid., 584.

89. Ibid., 585.

90. Discussion of I. T. Victorov, “Patofisiología de la esquizofrenia y su patogénesis según autores soviéticos,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de la Habana 6, no. 3 (1965): 399.

91. Discussion of I. T. Victorov, “El trastorno del pensamiento y de la inteligencia en la esquizofrenia y su esencia desde un punto de vista de la teoría marxista-leninista,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 7, no. 3 (1966): 414. Victorov frequently referred to Wells’s Sigmund Freud: A Pavlovian Critique (New York: International Publishers, 1960), presumably believing that an American critique of Freud would be more cognate to his Cuban counterparts.

92. According to the judgment of Argentine psychoanalyst Silvia Werthein. See “Palabras en la Mesa de Apertura,” VI Encuentro (Havana, 1996), Revista cubana de psicología 14, no. 1 (1997): 19–22.

93. Some of the most aggressive Pavlovian partisans continued to express limited approbation for certain concepts or schools of Freudianism; see, for example, Gerardo Nogueira Rivero, “Psicoterapia y principales escuelas psicológicas,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 13, no. 1 (1977): esp. 83–85.

94. The publication utilized the first Spanish translation of Freud’s works by Luis López Ballesteros that had been released in seventeen volumes by the Biblioteca Nueva de Madrid between 1922 and 1934. The 1971 publication is extremely rare, and I was not able to locate the final volume, which includes the most controversial sociological writings, at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí in Havana.

95. Due to his long-standing involvement with leftist politics, Guevara was far from an uncritical reader of Freud. See “Mesa Redonda” (n. 32). As an instructor at the university’s psychology teaching clinic, Guevara trained his students in psychological testing and neo-Freudian approaches.

96. Nevertheless, De la Torre, who has been one of the key proponents of a retrospective critique of anti-Freudianism in the 1960s and 1970s, insists that psychology was one of the only fields that was not pulled into the cultural “gray years” of 1971–76, though the Department of Psychology at the University of Havana had experienced a process of ideological purification in the early 1970s due to the concerns of some faculty members that they had strayed too far from strict Marxist perspectives. See “Palabras de Carolina de la Torre en el homenaje a los graduados de los años 1970 y 1971” (Aula Magna de la Universidad de La Habana, April 11, 2009), http://promociondeeventos.sld.cu/psicosalud/palabras-de-carolina-de-la-torre-en-el-homenaje-a-los-graduados-de-los-anos-1970-y-1971; and Carolina Luz de la Torre Molina, “Historia de la Psicología en Cuba: Cincuenta años de Psicologíacincuenta años de Revolución,” Psicología para América Latina, Revista Electrónica Internacional de la Unión Latinoamericana de Entidades de Psicología 17 (August 2009), http://psicolatina.org/17/cuba.html#notas.

97. The return of psychoanalysis to revolutionary Cuba is usually dated to a series of conferences, the Encuentros Latinoamericanos de Psicología Marxista y Psicoanálisis, which began in 1988. There, Cuban psychologists debated their Marxist—but Freudian and Lacanian—Latin American colleagues. See Jesús Dueñas Barreras, “La ciencia psicológica cubana. Antecedentes y desarrollo,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de la Habana 2, no. 2 (2005), http://www.revistahph.sld.cu/hph0205/hph020905.htm. The presence of Leftist and Marxist psychoanalysts and health professionals like Monika Krause and Marie Langer in Cuba also helped to create a renewed opening for discussions of psychoanalysis.

98. Discussion of Manuel W. Domínguez, “Conceptos actuales de la psiquiatría,” Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana 14, no. 3 (1973): 521.

99. See Dueñas Becerra, “Profesor Carlos Acosta Nodal” (n. 4), and Otero Ojeda, “Carlos Acosta Nodal” (n. 35). Reina Rodríguez Mesa also lists José Pérez Villar and Oscar Ares Freijó among those who remained Freudians, though she suggests this was for only a short time. See “Recorrido histórico de los modelos de psicoterapia utilizadas [sic] en Cuba” (paper, Interpsiquis 2008. 9º Congreso Virtual de Psiquiatría, February 2008), http://www.psiquiatria.com/bibliopsiquis/handle/10401/3939. The retrospective valorization of hold-outs against Pavlovianism can obscure some of the complexity of the historical moment.

100. See Emilia Cueto, “Entrevista a Juan Carlos Volnovich (segunda parte),” elSigma, April 5, 2001, http://www.elsigma.com/entrevistas/entrevista-a-juan-carlos-volnovich-segunda-parte/697.

101. Fermín Galán Rubí, “Ideología y salud mental,” in Memoria de la Primera Jornada Nacional de Psiquiatría, 1975 (Havana: Editorial Orbe, 1977), 80.

102. Ibid., 84. In a less condemnatory tone, the Marxist Spanish psychiatrist J. Solé Sagarra noted in 1973 the predominance of the Soviet school, but with the continued influence of U.S., East German, Czech, French, English, and Spanish psychiatry. He also argued that Cuba’s national distinctiveness shone through. See J. Solé Sagarra, “La Psiquiatría en Cuba y otros países socialistas. (Impresiones de un viaje),” Archivos de neurobiología 37, no. 6 (1974): 581.

103. Nancy Caro Hollander, Uprooted Minds: Surviving the Politics of Terror in the Americas (New York: Routledge, 2010), 57.

104. The above information is related in Cueto, “Entrevista a Juan Carlos Volnovich” (n. 100). See also Silvia Werthein, “Palabras en la Mesa de Apertura.” For more on psychoanalysis under authoritarianism in Argentina, see Plotkin, Freud in the Pampas (n. 13), and Ramos, “Psychiatry, Authoritarianism, and Revolution” (n. 5). On Volnovich and Werthein, see Nancy Caro Hollander, Uprooted Minds (n. 103), 33–61.

105. Julio Ayllón Morgan, “Algunos casos de neurosis en adolescentes cubanos (Experiencias de la Escuela ‘Manuel Ascunce Domenech’),” Servicio Médico Rural 1 (1963): 25.

106. The Escambray location would have had particular political significance in the context of an extended conflict that transpired in the region from 1959 to 1965 between the revolutionary government and a mixed band of insurgents. The school, the Escuela Manuel Ascunce Domenech, was even named for a young man who had been killed in 1961 by one of those insurgent bands while carrying out volunteer labor in the literacy campaign.

107. Ibid., 24. It is worth noting that Ayllón considered this exercise to be Pavlovian in nature, despite its evidently sui generis character.

108. Ibid., 24.

109. Ibid., 25.

110. On the diverse political applications and uses of Freud, see Eli Zaretsky, Political Freud (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015). For other recent work in this vein, see Ana Antic, “Therapeutic Fascism: Re-educating Communists in Nazi-Occupied Serbia, 1942–44,” Hist. Psychiatry 25, no. 1 (2014): 35–56; Ana Antic, “Heroes and Hysterics: ‘Partisan Hysteria’ and Communist State-building in Yugoslavia after 1945,” Soc. Hist. Med. 27, no. 2 (2014): 349–71; and Savelli and Marks, Psychiatry in Communist Europe (n. 20).