Cuban American Exceptionalism

Written by Fernando Milanés

19 de mayo de 2021

«Cuban Americans are in a class by themselves».

Cuban American refers to people of Cuban origin who live in the United States. Scholars postulate that the Cuban American community in the United States is unique from other Latino and immigrant groups.

Other writers look at the long history of Cuban migration to the United States, the use of religious symbolism, and Cuban literature and art to understand Cuban American exceptionalism.

Cubans maintain their culture, but at the same time, they have assimilated to the American values and way of life.

For bad or for good, all the studies show that Cuban Americans are different.
Excerpts from article in Herencia.

Today I received an article in reference of some reasons why Cubans living in the USA, by choice or exile, were different that the other migrations from Latin-American countries.

The article cites basis to clarify why they were “exceptional”. I postulate that their explanations were really consequences, not causes.

The bottom line is that the reason our behavior is different from others, is because Cuba was unique.

The facts that made Cuba and Cubans special were many and with a combine that cannot be replicated. Cuba is an island, small and its people are forced to stay unless they use a boat.

The island is in such a geographical position that it had to be used as a stopover when traveling to the Americas thus called “the key to the Caribbean”.

When discovered the inhabitants were peaceful and were decimated by illness and/or Spaniard’s abuse.

Africans that came to labor as slaves were from a peaceful tribe, and unable to escape because of being on an island, the Spanish affinity to mix races, and their character of cheerfulness, religiosity, and love of music, made assimilation possible.

I fact Cuba had a considerable % of mix race population.

Their culture, as expressed by music, religious syncretism of African Gods revered with Catholic Saint’s names, language, and customs were unique and influenced the rest of the World.

Another factor in their “exceptionalism” was their need to be inventive, because their isolation forced the original population to use what was available in the island to survive.

That made them necessary to work hard, create from what was available, all within their innate joy of life.

Cuba is a geographically beautiful country, free of danger in situ, and only threatened by the occasional hurricane.

Their being the key for European travel and their proximity to the United States made them incorporate European and American culture. With the pass of time Cubans enjoyed commerce with both Europe and the US.

It became an island where the latest French couture and American technological products were available at the same time as in their original country. If not because of our political ignorance and misjudgment, Cuba would have stayed unique as a paradise only known by the inhabitants and the many foreigners that after visiting stayed.

In summary Cubans were different than every other country before our migration.

Our differences were not created by our migration, just stayed with us!

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