Cuba Waiting game / Arts & weekend / Magazine – Waitinggame

Good British insight into the changing face of the Miami Cuban experience.
Television reports on Cuban Miami traditionally take in Versailles, a 1950s-style Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho, itself the imitation of an old restaurant on the island. Every time Castro is rumoured to be dead, historicos wearing the guayabera shirts popular in pre-revolutionary Cuba are interviewed outside Versailles’s coffee-window. But these old men are no longer representative: the exiles who arrived before 1980 now account for perhaps a third of Miami Cubans. Versailles might die with its customers.

Cuba is no longer the Cuba that the early exiles knew. One thing that has changed is skin colour: almost all the Cubans who left were white. “Always forgotten, and that’s a very key factor,” says Gomez. “Eighty-six per cent of the Cuban-American community is Caucasian. Sixty-two per cent of Cubans on Cuba are black. These are the guys who were promised the most by the Castro revolution.”

El exilio is dying and becoming a Miami tribe: just another American ethnic group with roots in a messed-up country and Americans for children. Fidel Castro can die knowing that just as he is falling victim to the “biological solution”, so is the generation he banished. Thanks to Sixto Labiste for this.

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