Collection Description

Culture Name

Cuban Americans

Culture Description

Cuban Americans are people living in the United States whose origins are on the island of Cuba. Most of the Cuban American population lives in large metropolitan areas, primarily in and around Miami, but also in the New York-New Jersey area and Los Angeles. From the early nineteenth century to the present time, the United States has been the principal country of destination for Cuban emigrants. The development of close economic, political, and cultural relations between the two nations, even when Cuba was still a Spanish colony, attracted to the U.S. Cubans, who have had a prominent influence on the political, social and cultural life of their new homeland.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Regional, Ethnic and Diaspora Cultures


United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Cuban Americans file consists of twenty-two documents, all in English.The time coverage for the file ranges from approximately 1959-1990s, with some historical background information going back to the mid to late nineteenth century. The primary focus of this file is on the Miami metropolitan area of Dade County, Florida (fourteen of the twenty-two documents), with secondary foci on West New York, New Jersey and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas -- three of the principal population centers for Cuban Americans in the United States. Probably the most comprehensive study of the Cuban Americans is that found in Boswell and Curtis (1984, no. 3), which provides comparative ethnographic information on Cuban Americans in West New York, New Jersey and Miami, Florida. This work presents an abundance of data on major social, economic, political, and geographical topics relating to Cuban settlements and culture in the United States. The two works by Rogg (1974, 1980, nos. 1 & 5), focusing on Cuban Americans in West New York, New Jersey, and the study by Boone ( 1989, no. 2) on the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, supplement to a large extent comparable information found in Boswell and Curtis (1984, no. 3) relating to the essentially homogenous Cuban American population in the United States. Nearly all the documents in this file deal in a greater or lesser degree with Cuban immigration to the United States, and problems of adaptation, acculturation and assimilation. This is particularly to be noted in the works by Garcia on the south Florida region (1996, no. 4), on Florida and the United States in general by Pérez (1992, 1986, nos. 6 & 8), and in West New York, New Jersey by Rogg (1980, no. 5). The remaining documents in the file cover a wide range of ethnographic topics, ranging from labor organization (Grenier, 1992, no. 10), to politics (Stack, 1990, no. 11; Leyva de Varona, 1991, no. 19) to art and music (Pau-Llosa, 1991, no. 19; Lizaso, 1991, no. 18).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by Lisandro Pérez in April 1997. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle, also in April 1997. The Human Relations Area Files wishes to acknowledge with thanks the assistance of Lisandro Pérez in the preparation of a working bibliography for use in the selection of documents for the Cuban Americans file.

Overview by

John Beierle

attempts to overthrow the Castro government by counter-revolutionary forces -- category 648

Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba -- category 648


CASA CUBA -- a Cuban political action group --categories 668, 575

CENTRO HISPANO CATÓLICO -- categories 794, 747

CHISMOSAS -- an individual who disseminates news and information through the "grapevine" -- categories 554, 203, 521


Community Refugee Center -- categories 167, 657, 746

CRIADA -- a maid -- category 357

Cuban American National Federation (CANF) -- a Cuban American lobbying group -- categories 664, 668

FIESTA DE QUINCE AÑOS -- a celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday and her attainment of maturity -- categories 527, 881

grapevine -- a communication network among high status Cubans -- categories 5654, 203, 521, 626


Migration and Refugee Services -- categories 794, 747

Municipalities in exile (MUNICIPOS EN EL ELILIO) -- voluntary sociopolitical organizations -- category 575 (sometimes with 747)

Office of Immigration Services -- categories 794, 747

Office of Refugee Resettlement -- categories 794, 747

SANTERÍA religious cult -- category 794

Spanglish -- a mixture of Spanish and English -- category 198

TÍA -- a combination house-keeper, nurse, or dependent -- categories 592, 554

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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