The people of Cuba (my people… “mi gente”) have always been a people “on the move”. Since colonial times, the inhabitants of Cuba have made their way across the Florida straits and spread out onto the mainland of North America. The most notable, and politically driven, migration from Cuba into the United States (and elsewhere) occurred around the events leading up to, and because of, the rise of the regime of Fidel Castro. Another wave of Cuban migration happened in the 1980’s thanks to the Mariel boat lift. It is now 2007 and we are on the verge of seeing another Cuban migration. This one, however is not politically motivated, it is economically motivated. No, I’m not talking about the impending mass-exodus from Cuba that so many are predicting will happen as soon as the dictator is pronounced dead (officially). I’m talking about the slow and quiet exile of the Cuban community from their “home away from home”.
Since their arrival in the 1960’s, the Cuban exile population (my parent’s generation) transformed a little south Florida town into a sprawling metropolis. It is such a behemoth (Cuban’s do nothing in moderation) that the County it resides in took the name of the City itself – Dade County became Miami Dade County. If we don’t do something soon, anything south of West Palm Beach will just be referred to as the State of Miami. This is where the “New” Cuban migration comes in to play.
The very city that was developed and grown by the Cuban community, is now becoming so expensive and overcrowded that almost every conversation heard at the window of La Carreta centers around somebody seriously considering cashing in on the equity in their home, packing up their family, and moving to Georgia (or Tennessee, or North Carolina). The Cuban community, albeit the second generation, is ready to exile once again in order to find a better life for their families. Sound familiar? Granted, the situation is completely different and there is no political persecution… but the shackles that bind us in this current economic situation sure cause us pain.
So now here we are, a new generation of Cubans that are seriously considering the allures of a distant land (they check your passport at the Miami-Dade/Broward border) and the promises of a better life in a calmer place. We grew up hearing stories about our parent’s struggles… but look, they turned out OK. It turned out to be the right decision for them. Who’s to say that a new migration, a new exile, out of Miami may not be the best decision for us?
Anyway, I hear that Conyers, Georgia could really use a “cafecito”.