Cuban Researcher Alain J. Santos Fuentes Wins Yuste Foundation’s 2024 Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses

The doctoral thesis La Constitución de Cádiz y la modernidad política en Cuba: actores, prácticas y conceptos (1810-1823), by Cuban Alain J. Santos Fuentes, was awarded the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation’s 2024 Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses. The award ceremony took place within the framework of the 5th International Congress “Relations Between Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean: Economy and International Conflicts”, which was held on April 10th at the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe. (11/04/2024)

The recipient, who participated online, expressed satisfaction with the award, stating that it served as an encouragement after several years of research, in addition to representing “the promotion, rapprochement, and knowledge between both shores of the Ibero-American Atlantic, which is promoted by Yuste Foundation”.

The thesis arose from the author’s personal interest in linking what he describes as his two homelands, “the one of my birthplace, Cuba; and that of my adoption, Spain”, in order to better understand the nature of the existing links between them and to explain “the migratory flows in both directions over time without which I cannot explain my own life”, he emphasised.

This work analyses the impact of the application of the Cádiz Constitution on the political life of Cuba during the periods when it was fully in force on the island (1812-1814 and 1820-1823). The research is based on an extensive corpus of documentary sources, many of which had not been previously explored. These sources come from national and local archives of Cuba and Spain, complemented by a comprehensive review of the period’s press. The initial hypothesis maintains that, although Cuba did not achieve its independence in the early decades of the 19th century, the application of the Cádiz Constitution had a profound impact on the island’s political life, comparable to that observed in the rest of America and Spain.

The thesis dismantles previous interpretations of historiography by showing that the Cádiz Constitution was widely applied in Cuba during the two constitutional periods under analysis. The implementation of freedom of the press and the holding of elections led to intense political mobilisation across various social strata, both in major urban centres and rural areas, with significant participation from peninsular immigrants as well as members of the troops and militias. Despite the observed division between mainland Spaniards and creoles, and the emergence of factions challenging colonial order, there was no fracture among creole elites, who retained control over the main representative institutions, and the dominant colonial authorities. This cohesion not only ensured the continuity of the constitutional order and Spanish sovereignty over the island, but also facilitated a peaceful restoration of the absolutist regime.

Alain J. Santos Fuentes holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of the Basque Country. His doctoral thesis received the highest distinction of “suma cum laude” and was nominated for the extraordinary doctoral award from UPV/EHU. He completed a Master’s in History at the University of the Basque Country in the programme “Europa y el mundo Atlántico: poder, cultura y sociedad”.

Santos Fuentes currently conducts his teaching and research at the Centre d’Histoire “Espaces et Cultures”- Department of Hispanic Studies, UFR-LCC, University of Clermont-Auvergne, France. Previously, he served as an assistant professor in the History degree programme at the University of the Basque Country. He has also participated in seminars, master’s programmes, conferences, and lectures, and is the author of numerous articles in scientific publications.

The jury for this edition was composed of Sigfrido Vázquez Cienfuegos, professor of American History at the University of Extremadura; Rosa Mª Perales Piqueres, professor of Art History at the University of Extremadura; Gabriel Moreno González, professor of Constitutional Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Extremadura; Carmen Fernández-Daza, director of the Santa Ana University Centre and full member of the Royal Academy of Extremadura of Letters and Arts; and Juan Carlos Moreno Piñero, director of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, who presided over the jury.


The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation announced the 2024 Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses in order to reward the best doctoral thesis that, read during the last two years in Spain, Portugal, or any Ibero-American or European country and having obtained the highest academic qualification, addresses the relationships between Spain, Portugal, or Europe with Ibero-America and vice versa, from a historical, cultural, social, scientific, or economic perspective, or any other field of study. The Prize is endowed with €3,000 and the publication of the doctoral thesis.

In this edition, 39 doctoral theses defended in universities from Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the United Kingdom were submitted. The following works were selected as finalists: Análisis de los mecanismos de (des)cortesía en español en el género epistolar: siglos XVI-XIX, by Paula Albitre Lamatra; Internacionalistas, activistas y brigadistas. La red transnacional de solidaridad con Nicaragua desde el Estado español (1978-1991), by José Manuel Ágreda Portero; Historia e historiadores en la dictadura franquista (1939-1975). El Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas y la construcción de la historiografía española, by Alba Fernández Gallego; and La Nueva España vista desde el escrito del virrey Juan Ruiz de Apodaca y Eliza, 1816-1821, by Jorge Alejandro Díaz Barrera.