Cuban Migration In America

1431 Words6 Pages
Nickolai Oakley
ES 213 Chicano and Latino Studies
Cuban Migration Growing up in southern Florida, every child, regardless of heritage, ethnicity, or race is familiar with the sound of Spanish, some schools even require all students to study the language. But, despite Florida’s population of more than 1 million Cubans, and their migrations’ deep ties to Florida’s history, Cuba didn’t exist to my textbooks in elementary school, which instead focused on the Western canon. In other words, those textbooks focused only on the European and North American body of work and history, that they decided is of merit (Ethnic Studies: Critique of Western Canon). Unfortunately, this is only one of the ways the United States attitudes disenfranchise Cuban people
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In fact, the first wave of Cuban migration that occurred in the Late 19th century led many Cuban immigrants to economic success. According to Gonzalez, Cuban independence wars from Spanish control caused around 10% of their population (around 110,000 people) to flee to the United States. Surprisingly, the U.S. welcomed many Cubans who then became citizens due to their ties to U.S. industry, especially the Ybor city cigar industry, which was one of the reasons so many people regularly passed between Cuba and Florida. For that reason, many Cuban people did not have to pass through immigration or customs (Gonzalez 110). Despite the Cuban migrants’ success in the 1800s, their status was a result of the United States exploitation of their resources and labor. Evidently, the United States saw Cuba as a place they could profit on, mainly in the form of their tobacco industry, and therefore treated its influential former citizens…show more content…
However, that changed in 1994 when another wave of Cuban exiles arrived by boat. Following the Mariel Boat Wave Ronald Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the Mariel refugees into the United States (Gonzalez 113). This time, White America’s view on Cuban refugees shifted to match their views of refugees from the rest of Latin America. Concurrently, the political climate shifted as well and, according to Gonzalez, with the 1994 wave of Cuban refugees called balseros Bill Clinton ordered the first halt on special treatment of Cuban refugees in the United States’ history. Accordingly, U.S. officials would detain the balseros and, this time they would deny their entry (Gonzalez 108). Of course, this historical change was a result of the United States deciding they could no longer exploit the refugees for enough gain. Moreover, with Fidel Castro still in power after all the time they spent combating him and the refugees no longer having ties to big tobacco business, the United States decided Cuban people were non-essential. Without a doubt, the reception of the Mariel Boat people fundamentally changed White America’s view on Cuban migrants as
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