More than any other city in our great nation, Miami can use El Paracaidista (The Parachutist: Miami Newcomers' Guide), a year-old monthly newspaper that also appears online. Venezuelan Ira Guevara and Argentine Cynthia Zak, both thirtysomething journalists, say they founded El Paracaidista largely as a response to the Cuban balsero influxes of 1994 and 1998. The sheer numbers of Latin Americans who move to Hispanic-majority Miami every year make it expedient to form enclosed networks and never become integrated into mainstream U.S. society. Thus El Paracaidista does what its name implies: helps soften an immigrant's landing with an introduction to the complexities of American institutions and practices (of which even many natives are ignorant) -- everything from filing an income tax return or securing a home or business mortgage to locating the right magnet school, a doctor who makes house calls, or a good deal on a cell phone.

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