Essay on Cuban Exiles In Miami

Submitted By Joann-Camacho
Words: 1885
Pages: 8

Cuban Exiles in Miami: 1959- 1994 Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution became the motive for many Cubans to leave their home and make Miami their new home. Cubans who migrated to the United States were not considered immigrants but rather exiles. Although immigrants came and continue to come to the United States in pursue of the American Dream, the Cubans were different. The main motive for many Cubans to leave their country was not in pursue of the American Dream but rather as an escape from the dictatorship of Fidel Castro and the harsh conditions in Cuba. Cubans were looking for an escape and better living conditions than they had in Cuba. Many of the first Cubans to leave Cuba were not those from the working class but rather those of the upper class, showing that they were not looking to move up in society but rather find a safer and more stable home. These exiles struggled but managed to build a new home in Miami. The Cuban Revolution began in 1953 and ended in 1959, this revolution sought to break free from, the then leader, Batista’s dictatorship. During Batista’s dictatorship hundreds and even thousands of Cubans were living in poverty while those in power lived a luxury life. In 1952, Batista seized power and canceled all elections in an effort to maintain as president and dictator of Cuba. In 1953, Fidel Castro, a lawyer, used guerilla warfare to overthrow the then Cuban leader Batista and by 1959, when Batista fled the island, Castro was sworn in as prime minister of Cuba. As prime minister, Castro established a hidden military and economic relations with the then communist Soviet Union. Castro promised Cubans to bring the country back to its roots and implement the liberal Cuban constitution of 1940 that had been suspended under Batista (Garcia, p.14). This however was not the case as the country soon became socialist then turned communist. Castro soon made living conditions extremely hard and difficult. All those who wanted to flee the country had to do it illegally as Castro did not permit anyone to leave. All those who left the island were not permitted back, as soon as any exile attempted to return to Cuba, Castro would sentence them to prison for betraying their country. From 1959-1994, there were three waves of Cubans who migrated to the United States specifically in Miami. The first wave of Cubans who fled Cuba occurred immediately after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and continued until 1962. Approximately, 248,070 Cubans immigrated to Miami from January 1, 1959 to October 11, 1961 (Garcia, p. 13). Those who migrated to the United States was mostly representative of the white upper and middle class of Cubans. The first to leave were everyone that had a tie and were associated to the old regime including political leaders, high government officials, and military officers of the Batista government. The situation under the new, Castro ruled, government brought much hardship for many Cubans. Consequently the next to leave were those of the upper class, than those of the middle class that comprised of about 36% of the exiles and included but was not limited to merchants, business executives and professionals (Garcia, p.20). However by 1952, even those from the working class began to leave Cuban in an effort to flee the growing communist country (Garcia, p. 13).
Cuban exiles received sympathy and admiration from most Americans, the government even provided them with a relief package and benefits program to assist then in the transition to the United States (Garcia, p. 6). The situation in Cuba became so tough that parents were willing to send their children from Cuba to the United States, as they did not want their children to grow up learning communist values. This desperation of parents sending their children to the United States became known as Operation Peter Pan that occurred in the 1960s. The separation of children from their parents had children frightened as they were being presented with a new