[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Polls, Cuban-Americans and Stereotypes

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Polls, Cuban-Americans and Stereotypes

The results of a recent poll of Cuban-Americans published yesterday by the Miami Herald revealed numbers that were surprising to some. As Alex mentioned in this post at Stuck on the Palmetto, there really isn't much of a reason to be surprised, unless you fall for the classic negative stereotypes of Cuban-Americans, especially conservative Cuban-Americans.

The poll shows that only 20% oppose any kind of dialogue with a new Cuban government that is willing to help improve relations with exiles and the United States, and an overwhelming 77% feel that the transition to democracy should be gradual and non-violent. Kind of shatters the myth that all Cuban exiles want is for the U.S. to invade Cuba and take over the country. The key here, of course, is that the improvement in relations would occur hand-in-hand with the Cuban government agreeing to meet certain conditions such as freedom of the press, free elections and other things that we can only dream of happening in Cuba under the castros right now. The sentiments reflected in these numbers couldn't be more mainstream in the conservative Cuban-American community. This is just my view and I could be wrong with this analysis.

Barely more than half, 51% to be exact, approve of George W. Bush's handling of the situation in Cuba. The fact that a survey in which almost three-fourths of the participants are Republican is split down the middle on Bush's job performance may seem shocking to some, but this is another one of those "what's the big deal" figures. The numbers were virtually identical among older and younger exiles. I have stated before that a lot of Cuban-Americans are unhappy with Bush's performance vis a vis Cuba, just as many Republicans all across the country are dissatisfied with Bush. Contrary to popular belief, Cuban-Americans don't just sit back and agree with everything Bush says or does. The problem for Democrats is, most Cuban-Americans trust them even less.

Other interesting results:

- 80% would stay and live in the United States even after democracy is restored in Cuba.

- Only 20% believe that property should go back to those who have titles predating the castro revolution.

- The only areas in which older and younger exiles disagreed was regarding the embargo and the travel restrictions. This is to be expected due primarily to the fact that younger exiles are more likely to have close relatives in Cuba as opposed to the older exiles.

Anyone who's read this blog even for a short time knows that a frequent topic of mine is the way the Cuban-American community is viewed and perceived by others. These results illustrate my fervent belief that it is important to avoid generalizations whenever possible. It also illustrates that the Cuban exile community is just like any other community: it evolves, it changes in subtle ways and in ways not so subtle. Most importantly, it's not the mean, monolithic monster it is sometimes portrayed as.


Blogger circuitmouse said...

Very succinct observations. You've got the basis for a book there. I've already got enough issues for my siblings & I to discuss for years to come, but SOMEBODY has to do both the academic research on this and lay examination.

Maybe by then my Dad will have opened up a bit more about some of the stuff he can't yet talk about...

6:34 PM, October 04, 2006  

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