CUBAN-AMERICAN POLITICS - Carlos Milan

02/25/04

The University of South Florida hosted Columnist Dr. Max Castro, co-author of "This Land is Our Land: Immigrants in Power in Miami" to talk about the conservative, but shifting nature of Cuban-American Politics. Castro was a guest of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Lecture Series and the Committee for Cuban Studies. Here's Carlos Milan with a report....


Max Castro who holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a noted columnist and college professor. He was a senior researcher at the University of Miami's North-South Center. He has written extensively about the Cuban exiles' control of Miami politics. His lecture at USF was titled "Miami Nice, Miami Vise: The politics of exile in the Capital of Latin America". that's Vise with an S. Here, he explains what he is attempting to accomplish.

Castro provided a chronology of events in Miami's history from the end of the Seminole Wars to the present in order to establish that Miami was, from its beginning, a place where people escaped to. Additionally, he compares its official name, Miami-Dade, to the opposing forces at play in its development.

The lecture attempts to give some perspective to the quick rise of the cuban community as a powerful force in Florida politics and in the Republican Party. To the question of how they came to achieve this level of power Castro has this to offer.

This economic enclave, Castro proposes is one of the main reasons for the Cubans's quick rise up the socio-economic ladder, and compares it with other ethnic groups. He also looks at some negatives of this arrangement.

Castro concludes that although Miami is certainly a latin city, it has a long way to go before becoming the true capital of Latin America. He thinks there is a long battle ahead for Miami's future after citing reports by Human Rights Watch of the city's civil rights violations. He believes that Miami's power structure is only representative of a small percentage of its many inhabitants.

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