Letters to the Editor

From the issue of December 28, 2000

I can go on and on but I believe I made my point. Yes, there are many areas to improve here in Miami, no different from any other city. And yes, the black community and non-Cuban Hispanic community must significantly participate in the prosperity, as well as all working-class Miamians -- black, white, Cuban, or Latin.

It is true that many Anglo Americans are reluctant to live in Miami-Dade County and that there are not many people from Idaho or Cleveland coming here. That is truly a shame. Unfortunately they have been misinformed by people who are either ignorant or bigoted. But ironically many Europeans are coming to Miami, and their reasons are very telling. The first reason is the weather. Second is the fact that they consider Miami not to be an Anglo-American city. They like that. Wow! They are coming for the same reason other people are leaving.

Miami is for all people: black, white, Latins, Europeans, everyone. But Miami is not for bigots and divisive agitators.

Angel Gonzalez

Please Don't Take This the Wrong Way
But it's a proven fact that Cubans are superior: The purpose of this letter is not to further divide the community but rather to combat the obvious bias of New Times and to present people with objective data and research about Cubans. Some people may be offended by this letter, but it's time that New Times "cuts the crap already." I have no ill feelings for any group. My point is to inform and to stress the importance of a culture that stresses education and hard work.

South Florida has a wonderful and inspiring success story to tell, but you may not know it because the media never addresses it. Second-generation Cuban Americans have acquired an enormous amount of wealth and prosperity in an extremely short period of time. No other immigrant group has achieved this as quickly as the Cubans. Many immigrants have never achieved it at all, despite being in this country far longer than Cubans.

With the enormous amount of energy, and obvious obsession, that New Times devotes to anything Cuban, why hasn't the paper ever mentioned the incredible economic and educational achievements of Cubans? Here are some hard cold facts based not on a biased perception, as found in New Times, but rather based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics and numerous studies that all reach the same conclusions. These facts are 1997 and 1999 numbers, and deal with second-generation Cubans. (First-generation immigrants usually start off at the bottom of the economic ladder. You don't become rich immediately upon arrival. Analysis of success or failure of immigrant groups comes after adjustment for first-generation effects.)

In 1997 second-generation Cubans were more educated than even Anglo Americans. More than 26.1 percent of second-generation Cubans had a bachelor's degree or better versus 20.6 percent of Anglos. Thus Cuban-Americans in 1997 were approximately 25 percent more likely to have a college degree than Anglos. This is very impressive. Other Hispanic groups lag far behind. Only 18.1 percent of South Americans had a bachelor's or better. Puerto Ricans, despite being U.S. citizens by birth, recorded a disappointing eleven percent; Mexicans only seven percent.

In 1997 55.1 percent of second-generation Cubans had an income greater than $30,000 versus 44.1 percent of Anglo Americans. Thus Cuban Americans are approximately twenty percent more likely to earn more than $30,000 than their Anglo-American counterparts. All other Hispanic groups lag so far behind in average income that I will not mention it. Again the aim is to inform and not divide, yet some of us will succumb to sensitivities.

In 1997 36.9 percent of second-generation Cubans had an income greater than $50,000 versus 18.1 percent of Anglo Americans. Incredible. Cuban Americans were twice as likely to earn more than $50,000. Also approximately eleven percent of Cuban Americans had incomes greater than $100,000 versus nine percent of Anglo Americans and less than two percent of other Hispanics. This time you can do the math.

Again the purpose of this is not to divide communities on economic grounds but rather to set the record straight and combat the outrageous letters New Times receives.

Cubans comprise less than 4 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population, Mexicans 65 percent, Puerto Ricans 10 percent, Central and South Americans 11 percent, and "others" 10 percent. Yet of the top 100 richest Hispanics in the U.S., more than 50 percent are of Cuban descent (ten times what it should be on a population basis), and 38 percent of Mexican descent. The rest is scattered among all other Hispanic groups.

I believe these data are important to know because they are a main reason for the enormous anti-Cuban sentiment expressed by all other groups in this community. In a nutshell, what drives anti-Cuban sentiment here is clear: economic envy by other Hispanic and minority groups and resentment by Anglo Americans because of the lack of assimilation by Cubans.

Juan Gonzalez

Democracy Is Choice
Just don't choose intimidation: The longer I live in Miami, the more and more embarrassed and appalled I become at being part of the Cuban community, if only by marriage. The people who fled Cuba because of Castro and his regime are the same ones who are trying identical tactics here in Miami, only they call it "democracy." According to Elisabeth Boggs, who wrote a letter (October 5) in response to "Angels with Ice Picks," if you "can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Well, it is my kitchen and I have the right to be here if I choose.

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