The Cuban Americans

The Cuban Americans

The Cuban Americans

The Cuban Americans

Synopsis

Today more than one million emigres make up the Cuban diaspora, and many, though living in America, still consider themselves part of Cuba. This book captures the struggles and dreams of Cuban Americans. Using this resource, students, teachers, and interested readers can examine the engaging and often controversial details of Cuban immigration. Such details include patterns of immigration, adaptation to American life and work, cultural traditions, religious traditions, women's roles, the family, adolescence, language, and education. Because the author is himself a Cuban American, he does not treat the emigres as mere subjects nor does he tell their story in statistical terms alone. As an "insider," he delves deeply into the soul of the community to illustrate all the dimensions of the Cuban American experience.

Excerpt

The experiences of the Castro-era emigrés, particularly those who consider themselves Cuban Americans and live mostly in South Florida, may resemble a drama without a script. The actors, trapped in a plot that unfolds in a surreal dimension between Cuba's past and America's future, appear to look ahead to a time that exists only in their visions of a bygone age. Driven by the constant nostalgia that consumes the cast, the never-ending performance keeps moving back and forth across the Straits of Florida. Although apparently successful in their new land, the players would rather have acted in a different setting: the island of their birth. Most may no longer feel displaced in America, but they still yearn for their homeland--even as their home is here now.

As talented performers, Cuban exiles have incorporated elements of a morality play in which they personify the spirit of enterprise with traits of the theater of the absurd, for the plot seems forever to turn as a result of events that take place in another venue. It is there, on their beloved island, where the climax must be resolved; there, the main character, played in a cameo role by Fidel Castro himself, has commanded center stage for nearly four decades. The aging protagonist, doomed by his tragic obsession with power, continues to stumble toward an uncertain conclusion. Until that final scene is played out, cast and audience alike remain transfixed by this once-heroic figure.

In their performance, the emigrés continue to change the South Florida scenery to fit their orientation. In doing so, they have turned Miami into the mythical capital of the so-called Cuban Exile Country, an illusion that ex-

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