Eugenics Policy and Practice in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico

Patience A. Schell

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940417 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Eugenics Policy and Practice in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico

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This article shows a range of influences and eugenics measures in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In this comparison of the history of eugenics in these countries it is readily evident how adaptable eugenic concepts were to local political, social, and cultural contexts. Because of the importance of the Cuban concept of homiculture on the Latin American movement, this article begins with a discussion of that country. It then focuses on Puerto Rico, in which colonial and domestic modernizing eugenics interacted. Eugenics appealed to some Puerto Ricans because of the potential for reform and improvement of the island's population, through healthy reproduction. Finally, this article examines the influence of eugenics on Mexico after the triumph of a socially progressive revolution and mentions that rejecting the Cuban approach Latin Americans sought to offer alternative understandings of eugenics and solutions to eugenic problems; understandings that depicted their heterogeneous populations as able to contribute to national development.

Keywords: eugenics; Cuba; Puerto Rico; Mexico; Latin Americans

Article.  7424 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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