Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis/Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire vol:89 issue:3/4 pages:1277-1306
To date, accounts of transnational networks and social movements have largely neglected the role of state actors. Combining approaches drawn from the literature on transnational activism with the theoretical framework of public diplomacy studies, this article gives attention to state actors going transnational. Specifically, it looks at the ways in which the governments of Socialist Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua have mobilized overseas civil society groups for their cause. Therefore, this article explores the origins and the development of the Cuba and Nicaragua solidarity movements in Belgium during the Cold War, explicitly focusing on the importance of the agency by the Cuban and Nicaraguan state authorities. It gives a central place to the interaction between state actors and civil society groups in transnational state civilian networks, and identifies the ways in which these networks had a major impact on the mobilisation in Belgium. In this way, this article aims not only to breach the traditionally strong state - civil society boundary in the study of transnational activism, but also reviews the Cuba and Nicaragua solidarity movements from a transnational perspective, rejecting the dominant view that they were spontaneously generated, endogenous movements.