The Importance Of Cuban Migration To America

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Over the course of the past two weeks we have further studied various ethnic groups and their experiences in America. Cuban Immigrants came to America after Cuba’s 1959 revoution, when Fidel Castro, the grassroots leader that overthrew Batista. The first major migration after the revolution included Cuba’s upper class elites and others who had done well financially under Batista. The next wave which began in 1961 contained many middle and upper class Cubans who chose exile from the island rather than life under Castro’s authoritarian government. By 1962 almost 200,000 cubans had come to America. Unlike previous ethnic groups however, the Cubans came by planes and boats and ultimately did not have the long hard trek that many immigrant groups faced. In addition, the first wave of Cubans who decided to leave their island were known as the “golden exiles” because Americans believed that they were the ones against communism so they were accepted. Major push factors continued to force Cubans to leave their homes and head for America. In 1980, 125,000 Cubans arrived in America and were known as Marielitos or “undesirables” because they were the poorer and less educated than earlier immigrants and had a large percentage of criminals and mentally ill.

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