The New York Times reports generational breach between Cuban-Americans

Posted: 09-Sep-16 10:05

Now that diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US have been re-established, many young Cuban-Americans are excited to get to know the island. Nevertheless, the older generation is largely concerned and mistrusting of the island and reluctant to contributing to its economy. The New York Times reports this significant breach between young and elder family members.

The New York Times reports generational breach between Cuban-Americans

As a thaw develops between Cuba and the US, a great number of Americans are eager and enthusiastic about getting to know the island that has been off-limits for over five decades. However, when it concerns the Cuban-American community mixed feelings predominate between the different generations. In order to analyse this phenomenon, The New York Times published an article reporting the stories of several disagreeing family members.

While immigrant families have been legally allowed to visit Cuba since 2009, they are now thinking much harder about it since the subject is constantly in the news and their non-Cuban friends and colleagues are increasingly going. For the youngest it is a matter of discovering their roots and seeing the country that for some is a just a blurry childhood memory, and for others an unknown land.

Making the most of the favourable diplomatic bonds between the nations, the young generation feels compelled to explore the island and start seeing Cuba with different eyes. One of the interviewed youngsters, Ms. Davila stated:

“Imagine growing up hearing about it, and never being able to get there. It’s like this fruit that is dangled in front of your face, but you can’t actually touch it.”

This opinion, however, is not shared by most of the elder members of Cuban-American families. Most of them abandoned the country not only looking for a better economic position but also escaping the communist government. In doing so, many lost all their properties and had to leave behind several relatives that they didn’t know if they would ever see again. This resentment and mistrust goes a long way in the Davila family elders who expressed:

“I don’t see why (the younger member of their family) has to go. Nothing has changed. The money doesn’t go to the people. It all goes back to the regime.”

In the case of Miranda Hernandez, a 20-year-old college student at the University of California, Berkeley, although she was nervous about her parents’ reaction, she felt the need to get to know Cuba by herself. Despite their objections, Hernandez turned to CubaOne, a new non-profit organisation that sends Cuban-Americans in their 20s and 30s to the island free. Thanks to this trip, this student was able to not only see her heritage but also get to know some of her relatives.

Though the older generation remain reluctant and sceptical towards the idea of change in the island and travelling to it once more, most young Cuban-Americans are prepared to bury the hatchet and get to know the country that they feel a deep connection towards.


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