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Understanding The Cuban American Culture

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Miami Florida has the biggest Latin population than any other city in the United States. The majority of Latin's being of Cuban descent. Since the Cuban revolution there have been constant waves of immigrating Cubans to Miami. The result has been a Cuban American society that has created culture diversity within. In order to understand the Cuban American culture you must understand its ethnic origin, politics, and the varying times of immigration.


The Cuban population consists of a variety of ethnic origins. In the early days before the Spanish inhabited Cuba the population was made up of 90% Taino speaking American Indians ho had displaced even earlier inhabitants. Shortly after came the Spanish conquest. Cuba was claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1492.


The Spanish discovered sugar; this became important source of income. Due to the harsh working conditions such as starvation while working in the sugar plantation and forced to mine gold the Taino speaking Indians were wiped out due to diseases. This forced the Spaniards to import African slaves to replace the Indian laborers which had died. Approximately 800,000 Africans arrived to work the sugar plantations. The relations between master and slaves this created a new genetic variation. The mulatto (mixed black & white) population began to develop. These roots shape the basis of traditions, culture, and beliefs. Later, people of Russia, Chinese, and European decent created today's Cuba. According to the CIA'S World Fact book, Cuba is 51% mulatto, 37% White, 11% black, and 1 % Chinese.



The Cuban American culture was strongly influenced by the Cuban revolution. Most say that the revolution began in 1956 when Fidel Castro led a group of rebels and landed a ship in the south of Cuba. There they met heavy resistance and almost all were killed. A dozen survivors including Castro and his brother Raul retreated to the mountains. There they started their campaign of guerrilla warfare.



It wasn't very difficult to raise a rebel force. Cuba was made up of two classes of people. There was the upper rich class and the lower poor class. The upper class was made up of politicians, plantation owners who grew sugar cane and tobacco, and people who owned hotels along with utility companies. This made up about 10% of the Cuban population. The lower class consisted of those who farmed the land and who worked in the plantations.

Fulgencio Batista who was the president at time was running a government that was financially irresponsible, corrupted and socially insensitive especially towards the lower class. Over the next two years Castro's rebels attracted hundreds of volunteers. In 1958 The United States was sympathetic to

the cause and isolated Batista's government with an arms embargo which helped Castro to win several battles and demoralize Batista's army. Several Cuban military commanders sympathized with the rebellion or joined it. On January 1, 1959, about 800 of Castro's supporters marched into Havana, having defeated an army of about 30,000. Having been beaten Batista fled the country.

The new Castro regime progressively dissolved the capitalist system in Cuba by modeling itself on the Soviet-block countries and Eastern Europe, becoming the first socialist country in the Americas. The Castro regime appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. property and private businesses, which provoked retaliatory measures by the U.S. government and the Italian Mafia who lost investments in casinos. The U.S. government


put into effect a trade embargo. The Cuban exiles backed by the United States tried to invade but were unsuccessful; this was known as the Bay of Pigs.

Castro's drift toward socialism, forming close ties with the Soviet Union and its growing dependence on the Soviet Union divided both the leadership and the country. This caused hundreds of thousands of Cubans to immigrate to the United States mostly to Miami, Florida which is about 90 miles north of Cuba. Soviet economic and military support was crucial for Cuba. Soviet movements often aroused strong disagreement from the United States. In 1962 the Soviet Union installed nuclear missile bases in Cuba, the world stood at the brink of

nuclear war as the U.S. government set up a naval blockade of the island and demanded they remove the missiles. This was known as The Cuban missile crisis.

Cuban-Soviet relations slowly deteriorated as Soviet political, economic, and social policies were liberalized in the late 80s. The Cuban government refused to modify its approach to social and economic policy. In 1991 the Soviet Union dissolved and withdrew its troops and its economic support. The already troubled Cuban economy suffered further from the loss of vital military and economic support. With severe shortages, unrest and dissatisfaction growing, Castro declared a "special period in peacetime" of food rationing and energy conservation. Shortages of food, fuel, and medical supplies were intensified by the ongoing U.S. trade embargo in Cuba.

Aware of China's success with a more capitalistic limited market, Castro decided to experiment with capitalism. In 1993, he granted Cubans limited freedom to open small for profit businesses and allow foreign tourism, including U.S dollars. But economic reform bred demand for political reforms. In 2003, Castro jailed many members from the Varela Project. A group who petitioned for political reform, Castro has moved to again tighten central planning of the Cuban economy and to limit Cubans access to U.S. dollars and the Internet. Since then Castro has slipped in and out of poor health. Lately at 79 years old Castro has been pushed into intestinal surgery that has forced him to temporarily cede power to his brother Raul.



Since the revolution there have



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