[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Cuban-Americans: Still Exiles?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cuban-Americans: Still Exiles?

In light of the uncertainty over the castro regime's future, a frequent subject of the media in recent days has been the issue of whether Cuban-Americans will return to live in a democratic Cuba.

I have remarked both online and in person that the number of CAs who would return for good would be very small, probably 10% at most. This is based purely on my own observations and conclusions, not on any scientific poll. Speaking of polls, a 2004 poll conducted by Florida International University supports my estimate. It showed that only 17.1% percent of those surveyed would very likely return to Cuba, while almost 48% were not at all likely to return to live. The rest of the participants were either somewhat or not likely not return, which tells me that they are inclined to stay. This is in sharp contrast to many people, mostly non-Cubans, who feel that there would be a significant exodus back to Cuba.

One can conclude, then, that CAs are no longer true exiles, since being in exile implies a temporary state of being away from one's native land.

Leonard Pitts, in his Herald column today, talks about the future of the Cuban "exile" community once castro is gone. I have no big problems with Pitts' views, besides of course the obligatory comments about "misguided attacks on free speech; a rationale for keeping Elian Gonzalez away from his father".

However, I do think Pitts is out of touch with the community (after all, he doesn't live in South Florida). He mentions a potential for "dislocation" and "loss of mission" among Cuban-Americans after castro. I don't see that at all. We already discussed dislocation. Pitts also repeatedly refers to Cuban-Americans as exiles, which is outdated as suggested by the poll results.

Cuban-Americans will be even more committed to Cuba's future, and perhaps more united than ever. Once the shackles from both sides of the straits are unlocked, then there can finally be the positive interaction between separated families, between fellow Cubans, that has so long been desired, despite warnings from some about revengeful exiles returning to reclaim their lost properties. This is the mission that Cuban-Americans would clearly undertake in a democratic post-castro world.

Read Pitts' column here.


Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Pitts is recycling an august 6th column from another writer in the L.A. Times. I guess it saying that most Cubans won't be going back means that they aren't exiles is the attack du jour.

Check it out at http://cubanamericanpundits.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-cuban-americans.html

9:39 AM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...


I don't think not being an exile means you abandon your sense of being Cuban. They aren't directly related. I feel that what was pure exile (with intention to return), has become immigration. There's nothing wrong with that, nor does that mean that we are less proud or aware of our Cuban identity. My last paragraph makes that point.

Where Pitts failed is in his assertion that CA's would just be walking around with nothing to talk or be concerned about once fidel vanishes from existence.

10:54 AM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger The Universal Spectator said...

Leonard Pitts has as much of a right to comment on Cuban issues as a cat has to be a judge at the AKC championships. He has displayed nothing but contempt for us and the feeling is more than mutual.

7:05 PM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger not Alisa said...


If you look at the definition of the term exile it's very open. But my point is that whether someone decides they want to go back or not does not change the reasons why one left. To say that my mother is not exile because there are probably no circumstances today which would make her go back to live in Cuba is a lie. The Cuba my mother left doesn't exist anymore. She is an exile of that place.

But these columnists are using the fact that most exiles answer truthfully about their likelihood of going back as ammunition to say that we're full of crap. That we don't really care about what we say we want: freedom for Cuba.

Fuck Pitts. Fuck the other guy from the L.A. times. They are douchebags.

1:15 AM, August 19, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

You are correct, "Not Alisa". I just chose the interpretation of exile as a temporary state...but we basically agree that it has nothing to do with how one feels about Cuba.

It hurts people like Pitts and others of his ilk to admit that all Cuban exiles, refugees, etc. want is freedom for their homeland. It's another reason to legitimize us rabid conservatives, which absolutely kills them.

10:10 AM, August 19, 2006  

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