When you picture Miami, you probably envision tan, carefree people strolling along the city’s beaches in the sun. But, if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find a city overflowing with culture thanks, in part, to the nearby Caribbean nation of Cuba. With just over 300 miles separating Miami from the ‘Pearl of the Antilles,’ it’s no surprise that it’s had some influence on this prominent Florida city. Let’s look a little closer at the Cuban influence in Miami:
Over 500,000 Cubans moved to Miami between the years of 1960 and 1980, creating both an instant and long-lasting effect on the city. One of the most noticeable effects of the now more than one million Cubans living in the city is that much of Miami is bilingual.
There are newspapers, as well as radio and television programs in Cuba’s native Spanish. You’ll also often see signs and restaurant menus written in both English and Spanish and speaking both languages is definitely an asset, if not a requirement, for many jobs.
Cuba holidays will transport you to a nation overflowing with a variety of traditions due, in part, to Spanish, African, French and Asian influence. However, while it won’t be the exact same as visiting Cuba, a trip to Miami will give you a taste, in some ways quite literally, of this interesting Cuban culture.
Head to ‘Little Havana,’ Miami’s home for Cuban music, dance, food and the arts. Other than traveling to Cuba yourself, it’s the place to be if you want to truly engulf yourself in this vibrant culture.
Take a stroll down the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame to see sidewalk stars honoring many famous Latin American celebrities, including Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz and journalist and actress Cristina Saralegui. There are also numerous parades and festivals held in Little Havana throughout the year so check event listings before you plan your trip to ensure you don’t miss out.
Business & Politics
With so much of Miami’s population of Cuban descent, it’s no surprise that Cuban Americans are both prevalent in the city’s businesses and quite active in its political system. As early as 1970, over half of the staff members of Miami’s many hotels were Cuban Americans and, just ten years later, half of the city’s construction companies were owned by Cuban Americans as well.
Cuban Americans have long been known for, in general, taking an active position in Miami politics. This is, in part, evidenced by the fact that the current mayor of Miami, Tomás Pedro Regalado, was born in Havana, Cuba, as was his predecessor, Manny Díaz.
So, for a sample of the spirited Cuban culture without having to leave the US, head to Miami for taste of Cuban American hospitality!