Emilio San Pedro and the BBC let us down

In San Pedro’s recent BBC article, called “What Cubans Brought to Miami,” he maintains that the Cuban community considered itself “exiles” not immigrants, and to this day look to the day when they can return to Cuba.  As a child, he was raised with this mentality: ‘As budding Cuban exiles, it would therefore be our duty to make learning Spanish and adhering to the culture and customs of our parents, a priority. There would be no melting pot for us.” After explaining his father’s newspaper work and his mother’s work ethic, San Pedro ends with a concluding statement that “In the process, it has helped make Miami the cosmopolitan, international city that it has become.” For those of us who have not been to Miami, a category I would think a fairly decent proportion of BBC readers might fall into, what those contributions are, is not immediately obvious. Since the title implies that is his topic, I would like him to explain.What contributions come from a mind set of separateness? It was the first time I had heard of that mindset among Cuban Americans; as a second generation American, I grew up with the melting pot ethic a theme that was emphasized by my immigrant grandfather. In an era when our next president will be calling on all American to pull together and to put our individual interests, how the Miami community answers that call may be influenced by an exile rather than immigrant mind set.

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