On Hurricanes: My Favorite Metaphor

By Jorge I. Dominguez

The hurricane is my favorite metaphor for the study of both Cuba and political science. Living through hurricanes as a little boy predisposed me to study both. Hurricanes combine certainty and uncertainty, which are key concerns in the study of politics anywhere and of Cuba in particular. Hurricanes are metaphors for revolutions, election campaigns, and nearly every topic that I have studied. Hurricanes have a well-identified structure, origin and location. They have a predictable trajectory during a specified period of time. They recur. And yet, some of their most important features are known to be unknown: We do not know when and where they will hit, and their force is quite variable even during short periods of time.

Jorge I. Dominguez is the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs.