In defense of ‘white and privileged’ Cuban-Americans

(MY AMERICAN THINKER POST)

It’s time to put the left on suicide watch, because they are saying and writing some rather stupid things.

The latest is Ann Louise Bardach, author and columnist.  She just wrote an article over at the NY Times (where else?) about Cuban Americans:

Most Americans are under the impression that the Republican Party is unequivocally opposed to amnesty for immigrants. In fact, it has long backed a blanket amnesty — but only for Cubans. For every other hopeful immigrant, the party’s message has been clear: “Deportations, deportations, deportations,” to quote Jorge Ramos, the Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language television. Why?
One answer is that the 2.1 million Cuban-Americans have been, until quite recently, a rock-solid Republican constituency. There is also a race and class issue. Unlike most of Central and Latin America, Cuba does not have a distinct indigenous population (the Spanish slaughtered almost all of the native Indians of the island). Hence those fleeing the Castro regime in the 1960s and ’70s were almost entirely white, educated and middle or upper class.

I guess that Ms Bardach is saying that we Cubans are too white and “GOPish.”  This is apparently why white GOP members of Congress give Cuban Americans special immigration consideration.

As I recall, those measures were passed under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.  They also had bipartisan support.

Did Ms. Bardach miss the Cold War? the Missile Crisis? Cuban troops fighting wars in Africa? a North Korean ship stopped in Panama after leaving Cuba with weapons in violation of U.N. agreements? Cuba on U.S. State Department list of terrorist nations?

Yes, Cubans were treated differently because we were leaving a communist dictatorship.  That’s not the case for other Latin American countries.  We were treated like political refugees rather than those who come here for work.  (I’m not saying anything critical about those who want to come here to work.  I’m simply explaining that our situation was different, and seen differently by the U.S. Congress.)

First of all, I’m sure that my parents, and so many like them, will be shocked to learn that they were privileged.  My father, like so many others, worked two jobs, including a night job as a bellboy at a hotel.  My late uncle picked tomatoes in Florida.  I’m talking about men who had professional careers in Cuba.

The US simply gave us an opportunity, and my parents took it.  That’s not privilege!  That’s America!

Second, there is a reason why so many Cubans, like my parents, were educated and middle-class.  The answer is the pre-Castro Cuban economy that Ms. Bardach does not know a darn thing about.  Maybe Ms. Bardach should stop learning Cuban history from the Castro regime or The Godfather II.  (Great movie, but very inaccurate Cuban history.)

Before Castro destroyed the Cuban economy with “hope and change,” the island enjoyed a lot of prosperity, or the kind of economy that would produce middle-class and educated people who would leave communism if they could.

Let’s check out Cuba before Castro:

In the 1950’s Cuba was, socially and economically, a relatively advanced country, certainly by Latin American standards and, in some areas, by world standards.

  • Cuba’s infant mortality rate was the best in Latin America — and the 13th lowest in the world.
  • Cuba also had an excellent educational system and impressive literacy rates in the 1950’s.
  • Pre-Castro Cuba ranked third in Latin America in per capita food consumption.
  • Cuba ranked first in Latin America and fifth in the world in television sets per capita.
  • Pre-Castro Cuba had 58 daily newspapers of differing political hues and ranked eighth in the world in number of radio stations.

Health

  • Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live births in 1957 was the lowest in Latin America and the 13th lowest in the world, according to UN data. Cuba ranked ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Japan, Austria, Italy, and Spain.
  • In 1955, life expectancy in Cuba was among the highest at 63 years of age; compared to 52 in other Latin American countries, 43 in Asia, and 37 in Africa.
  • In terms of physicians and dentists per capita, Cuba in 1957 ranked third in Latin America, behind only Uruguay and Argentina — both of which were more advanced than the United States in this measure. Cuba’s 128 physicians and dentists per 100,000 people in 1957 was the same as the Netherlands, and ahead of the United Kingdom (122 per 100,000 people) and Finland.

Education
Cuba has been among the most literate countries in Latin America since well before the Castro revolution, when it ranked fourth.

So why are so many of our Cuban parents educated?  Maybe it’s because they came from a country with high levels of education!

We’ve never said that pre-Castro Cuba was perfect.  We just remind you that people leaving in rafts was not a part of that Cuba that my parents grew up in.

It is true that most of the Cubans who left were white.  The answer to that is that 64% of Cubans are white, according to the CIA Country Report.

 It should not come as a shock to anyone familiar with Cuban history that there are so many white Cubans, or people like me whose grandparents settled on the island.  Cuba benefited from large numbers of Spanish and other European immigrants, who came to the island in the 19th and 20th centuries, as related by Dr. Carlos Eire:

Between 1900 and 1930, the first three decades of Cuban independence, about one million immigrants flooded into the island, mostly European, and mostly northern Spaniards.
This population tsunami also included Asians, Levantines, and Jews.
These immigrants doubled the population of the island and changed its complexion, literally. Tens of thousands of immigrants continued to flow into Cuba every year after that, up to 1958. Immigration from the U.S. was comparatively slight, but in 1958 there were more Americans living in Cuba than Cubans in the U.S.A. Emigration from Cuba was minimal during this half century.

By the way, it was a lot of those Americans living in Cuba who had their properties and investments confiscated by the communists.  They are still waiting for compensation!

To be fair, it may be time to revise the policy that allows Cubans to have special consideration.  However, Ms. Bardach would get more support by making her case rather than relying on that tired race card that worked so miserably for the Democrats in 2014.

Memo to Ms. Bardach:  Drop the race card.  It’s boring – really old and boring!

P.S. You can hear my show, CantoTalkor follow me on Twitter.

“The struggle begins”: A book about Cubans in the US

Guest: Victor Andres Triay, author of “The struggle begins”.  This is a Cuban story circa 1960-62.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN:

 

 

“2 Cubanitos” remember growing up Cuban in the US!

We love reminiscing about our experiences of growing up Cuban in the US.

We were all inspired years ago when our friend Carlos Eire wrote his Pedro Pan memoirs.    I think that Carlos’ work reminded all of us that there was a Cuban past to be discussed and stories to be shared.

Furthermore, we all have parents who made great sacrifices to come here and start anew.     I can assure you that sharing these Cuban stories has made me appreciate my parents very much.  I appreciate their sacrifices, or what they were willing to do so that their kids could grow up in freedom rather than the communist tyranny in Cuba.

Check out my chat with Jorge Ponce, a contributor to Babalu and good friend.

Jorge has posted often here about his Cuban American experience.

He recently posted “The trials and tribulations of becoming an American“:

“I soon learned that there was a more diverse world out there.  I met Bolivians, Ecuadorians, Puerto Ricans, Argentineans, etc.  We all shared our Hispanic heritage and our Spanish language.  I was exposed to different dances, variations of idiomatic expressions, and fantastic food.  To my great surprise, some of my Hispanic friends did not share my same anti-communist views.  In fact, some thought that Fidel, El Che, and Ho Chi Minh were visionaries who had improved the standards of living of the proletariats in their countries.  Some even wore Che T-Shirts as a fashion statement or as a sign of protest against the “American Empire.” I realized that it was time to expand my network of friends.”

In contrast to Jorge, I grew up in Wisconsin and there were no Cubans or Latin Americans in my circles.

My “trials and tribulations” were simple:  “Ingles o no comes”!

I spent most of my early years in the US hearing about Cuba from my parents.  We had no friends from Latin America in school or neighborhood.  In fact, it was a “thrill” when my father, now working at a bank, would bring home a colleague from Chile or Colombia.  It was rare but enjoyable.

Let me say it again:  Share your Cuban stories with your kids.  Tell them about your Cuban past.  It will make you very proud of being Cuban American.

Please enjoy my chat with Jorge this weekend:

Listen in now at http://t.co/foS61KrmbW.

Update on “Wassup en LA?” Kickstarter campaign

A while back, I shared an interview with some of the people behind a sitcom called “Wassup en LA?”

As I mentioned before, the project is seeking funding via Kickstarter, an online platform by which you can make a pledge that only gets charged if they reach their fundraising goals.

Now, based on the comments on that last post, there’s something of a split among Babalu readers in terms of excitement about this project. So consider this an update on the project’s progress for all of you, and a link to a way to act for some of you.

The Wassup people are about halfway to their goal of $50,000. With Just a few days left, they have raised about $21,000.

So… if you’re into this project and would like to contribute, do so here.

For the sake of full disclosure, I’ll say that I did pledge $50 to this project. I don’t pretend to have read scripts or gotten to know all these people intimately. More than anything, I’m curious to see where this goes, and confident that — at the very lest — this group would put together a more faithful portrayal of Cubans and Cuban-Americans than anybody doing so now.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 12

This is the 12th in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.

In this part I wanted to examine how the three Cuban-American congressional incumbents from South Florida fared in comparison to John McCain. In order to do this I had to total presidential election results for the 587 different precincts that comprise the three districts in the county (because I’m interested in the Cuban-American vote I only looked at Miami-Dade County’s election results even though the three districts contain parts of other counties).

congdist1.jpg

As you can see above John McCain actually lost the Miami-Dade portions of two of the congressional districts.

congdist2.jpg

Of course we know that all three incumbents won but it’s telling that their personal popularity is significantly higher than McCain’s was. They not only achieved higher PERCENTAGES than McCain, they received more ACTUAL VOTES than McCain. That is to say that the three candidates did not win because of the substantial number of voters who came to the polls on election day only to vote for Obama.
There’s already been a flurry of news stories about polls indicating that a majority Cuban-Americans are against the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The above elections results show that such polls are B.S. The three congresspersons that were re-elected last month are the staunchest defenders of the embargo and also represent the greatest number of Cuban-Americans in the country. The people have spoken.

Another remarkable thing to note is the total rejection of Raul Martinez in the District 21 race. In 2006 an unknown Democrat named Frank J. Gonzalez ran against Lincoln Diaz-Balart and obtained 36.7% of the vote in Miami-Dade despite only raising $16,430. Martinez, the much ballyhooed former mayor of Hialeah, was only able to obtain 40.2% even after raising almost $1.9 million and that doesn’t even include the substantial money spent by the Democratic party on the race.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 11

This is the eleventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
2004-2008.jpg
The chart above shows the 2004 and 2008 election results in the 6 zip codes I’ve analyzed. These are 6 of the most Cuban zip codes in the county.
As you can see the net gain for the Democratic candidate was 4.4%. Hardly the monumental shift that the local and national media was projecting. In fact voters in these precincts preferred John McCain to Obama by a margin of more than 2-1. I have no doubt that even this minor shift was driven partly by younger Cubans who voted for Obama but it’s not clear whether their votes were driven by ideology (meaning that they identify themselves as liberal Democrats) or simply because of anti-Bush sentiment, the economy and the charisma of Obama.
Notes: The population statistics are from the 2000 census and are therefore outdated but are the best I could obtain.
Also note the vast differences in total votes from one election to the other. That’s because absentee ballots were handled differently in 2004. They were attributed to “absentee precincts” rather than the traditional precinct the voter belonged to. In 2008 all ballots are attributed to the voter’s precinct.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 10

This is the tenth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 6, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33010 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 66.1% Cuban. We discovered that in those 10 precincts John McCain obtained 63.2% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the 6 precincts (there was a new one in 2008 that didn’t exist in 2004) George W. Bush obtained 70.9% of the vote. That’s a shift of 7.7%. This is more of a shift than we’ve seen in the other zip codes thus far. Consider that the proportion of Cubans in each zip code could also be shifting.
There are some other pretty big caveats to this analysis. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 9

This is the ninth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 4, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33144 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 69.7% Cuban. We discovered that in those 7 precincts John McCain obtained 69.7% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 7 precincts George W. Bush obtained 70.4% of the vote. That’s a shift of 0.7%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 8

This is the seventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 1, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33175 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 56.6% Cuban. We discovered that in those 14 precincts John McCain obtained 68.7% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 14 precincts George W. Bush obtained 71.8% of the vote. That’s a shift of 3.2%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 7

This is the seventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 3, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33165 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 61.3% Cuban. We discovered that in those 16 precincts John McCain obtained 68.6% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 16 precincts George W. Bush obtained 71.5% of the vote. That’s a shift of 2.9%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. One precinct house was actually was moved to a neighboring zip code. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post has been edited to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “the shift”, a partial recap

So far, since the election, I have analyzed six of the most high density Cuban zip codes in Miami-Dade County. The aggregate Cuban density in these zip codes is 64.5% according to 2000 census data.
electionszips.jpg
As the table above indicates, 67.6% of the votes cast for president in these six zip codes were cast for John McCain. Remember that McCain only got 41.7% of the vote in the county. This a testament to the continued identification of Cuban-Americans with Republican candidates.
Assuming that Cuban-Americans are more likely to vote for the GOP candidate than the non-Cuban 33.5% living in these zips, and also assuming that the electorate resembles the overall population, then it follows that McCain’s percentage for these zips is a baseline and that Cuban-Americans voted for McCain at a rate higher than the the baseline with the non-Cubans bringing it down to the baseline.
I’ll be trying to do a comparison to 2004 (although the precinct boundaries changed a bit). To see how much movement there was toward Obama relative to what Kerry got in those same zips. I suspect there was some movement but questions still remain:
1. Was the movement “generational”?
2. If so, was it ideological or simply a reflection of the generalized (but perhaps temporary) anti-GOP sentiment out there, discontent with economy, and the general appeal of Obama?
This second point is an important distinction. Remember that proponents of the “shift” basically allege that.
Older Cubans are Republicans because of the Cuba issue and young US-born Cuban-Americans don’t care about Cuba therefore young Cuban-Americans are “smarter” and more willing to embrace flaming liberalism.
I don’t believe that young Cuban-Americans (as a whole) have embraced flaming liberalism any more than than the rest of the country. We shall see.

Other posts in this series can be found here.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 6

This is the sixth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33010.
33010.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically the southern end of Hialeah.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 45,353 (100%)
Hispanic: 41,439 (91.4%)
Cuban: 29,982 (66.1%)
Median age: 39.4
So this an area that is more than 60% Cuban (at least in 2000).
There are 10 different precincts located in this zip code that reported results. For reference they are: 333 335 339 340 342 376 380 381 382 and 387.
A total of 10,414 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 6,583 of those votes or 63.2%
Barack Obama received 3,800 or 36.5%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area like the others we’ve looked at thus far with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
This is another zip where McCain’s percentage is lower than Cuban pop. That would suggest that the Cubans in this zip were (at least slightly) less likely to vote for McCain than in other zips. But again the census data is from 2000 and doesn’t necessarily reflect voters but population instead.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33013.
33013.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically the eastern side of Hialeah.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 33,365 (100%)
Hispanic: 30,134 (90.3%)
Cuban: 24,388 (73.1%)
Median age: 41.2
So this an area that is almost 3/4 Cuban (at least in 2000).
There are 8 different precincts located in this zip code that reported results. For reference they are: 314 315 329 330 337 338 378 and 379.
A total of 9,406 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 6,441 of those votes or 68.5%
Barack Obama received 2,920 or 31.0%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area like the others we’ve looked at thus far with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
This is the first zip that I analyze where McCain’s percentage is lower than Cuban pop. That would suggest that the Cubans in this zip were (at least slightly) less likely to vote for McCain than in other zips. But again the census data is from 2000 and doesn’t necessarily reflect voters but population instead.
The high cuban density zips I’ve analyzed thus far suggest that Obama probably topped out somewhere below 30% for Cubans.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the county’s election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33144.
33144.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically West Miami and Flagami (insert Oscar Corral joke here). The western boundary is 87th Avenue, the eastern boundary is 57th avenue. The southern boundary is 16th street and the northern boundary is Flagler.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 25,332 (100%)
Hispanic: 22,451 (88.6%)
Cuban: 17,451 (68.9%)
Median age: 44.5
So this an area that is more than 2/3 Cuban. It’s the oldest zip we’ve examined so far.
There are 7 different precincts located in this zip code. For reference they are: 341 404 424 426 552 553 and 555.
A total of 8,555 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 5,964 of those votes or 69.7%
Barack Obama received 2,556 or 29.9%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area like the others we’ve looked at thus far with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
As I’ve said before, Cubans are the most likely group in Miami-Dade to vote Republican (that is undisputed) and they made up 68.9% of the people in this area. Then it stands to reason that the Cubans in this area voted in significantly greater proportions for McCain than the average for the whole zip code (69.7%). We can therefore deduce again that the Cubans voted somewhere in the 70% – 80% range for McCain and that the average was brought down by the non-Cubans in living in the zip who are less likely to have voted for the GOP candidate.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the county’s election results as of 11/14.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 3

This is the third in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33165
33165.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically Westchester. The western boundary is the turnpike, the eastern boundary is 87th Avenue. The southern boundary is Miller Road and the northern boundary is a few blocks south of 8th St.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 57,079 (100%)
Hispanic: 46,400 (81.3%)
Cuban: 34,997 (61.3%)
Median age: 40.5
So this an area that is 60% Cuban and still relatively young.
There are 16 different precincts located in this zip code. For reference they are: 415 419 421 435 436 437 438 439 708 709 710 712 713 714 715 and 731.
A total of 25,802 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 17,701 of those votes or 68.6%
Barack Obama received 7,969 or 30.9%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
As I before, Cubans are the most likely group in Miami-Dade to vote Republican (that is undisputed) and they made up 61.3% of the people in this area. Then it stands to reason that the Cubans in this area voted in significantly greater proportions for McCain than the average for the whole zip code (68.6%). We can therefore deduce that the Cubans voted somewhere in the 70% – 80% range for McCain and that the average was brought down by the non-Cubans in living in the zip who are less likely to have voted for the GOP candidate.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: The post above was edited to reflect the county’s revised election results dated 11/14/08.