Everything Is Changing: Contemporary U.S. Movements in Historical Perspective

By Mohammed E. Ahrari | Go to book overview

continues to vehemently oppose rapprochement with Cuba. The CANF and conservative Cuban-Americans will fail to see that U.S. politics are not dominated exclusively by ideology (i.e., anti-communism), but that there is a pragmatic strand running throughout U.S. diplomatic history that calls for recognition of Communist regimes, decisions that have precedents in Democratic and Republican administrations.

As Cuban-American lobby organizations expand their agendas to include U.S. policy toward Central and Latin America and anti-Communist struggles worldwide, the success of their lobby efforts will depend not only on how their objectives mesh with those of the executive, but also on how they synchronize their views with those of the rest of the nation. Even if Cuban-Americans have political clout in Florida and New Jersey, they might find themselves isolated and politically ineffective if they do not tune themselves to the political realities of other groups. Particularly in regard to complex and polarized issues, Cuban-Americans' leverage over congressmen will decrease in the near and medium term. As the third generation of Cuban-Americans take charge of the group's politics, they might shift the group's political outlook closer to the center of the U.S. ideological spectrum, thus making Cuban-American input palatable to different sectors.


NOTES
1.
The term Cuban-Americans is used here to describe persons of Cuban origin living in the United States. The term lends itself to varied interpretations because it implies acculturation and assimilation. For the purpose of this chapter a simple definition has been used, although in the discussion below the term is refined. Regarding the political nature of the Cuban migration a caveat is in order, for it is another controversial notion. Political scientists such as Francisco R. Wong claim that a significant portion of Cubans left the island for socioeconomic reasons. I agree partially, although given the degree of political and economic transformation in Cuba after the revolution of 1959, the boundaries between socioeconomic and political migrants tend to be diffuse. The principal reason for the Cubans' migration has been communism; therefore, other political scientists, such as Silvia Pedraza-Bailey and myself, consider the migration a political one.
2.
Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports: 1985, Series P-20, No. 403 (Advance Report), "Population Characteristics: Persons of Spanish Origin in the United States, March 1985" ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982), p. 2.
3.
Quoted in Thomas D. Boswell and James R. Curtis, The Cuban-American Experience: Culture, Images, and Perspectives (Totowa: Rowan and Allanheld, 1984), pp. 65-66.
4.
The Spanish media in Miami has played an important role in this phenomenon. See "Powerful Voices: Miami's Cuban Radio," The Miami Herald, 22 June 1986.
5.
Boswell and Curtis, Cuban-American Experience, p. 175. The figure for all Cuban-Americans is probably slightly less.

-133-

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