"But the Captain is Haitian": Issues of Recognition within Ana Lydia Vega's "Encancaranublado"

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Spanish and Portuguese



Publication Title

Racialized Visions : Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean


When asked about my employment status some years ago, I said that I taught Caribbean literature, and my interlocutor responded dubiously, "They have literature?" The ignorant remark epitomizing a racialized, consumerist mind-set---and bringing to mind boorish cruise ship passengers---never left me. Later on, while reading "Encancaranublado" (Three men in a boat) (1982), a short story by Puerto Rican writer Ana Lydia Vega, it struck me that the text affords readers an enlightening anti-cruise ship experience while leveling a verbal cannon at Northern agents who command, protect, and populate such vessels (among other spaces). That Vega's narrative also speaks volumes about perceptions of Haiti's role within the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and the larger Americas is the reason I offer the following reflections to the collection at hand. Perverse racial and political discourses about the Caribbean bear critical examination precisely because they know no national or geographic bounds.


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