19 Int'l Migration Rev. 4 (1985)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv19 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Cuba's Exiles: Portrait of a

Refugee Migration


Silvia Pedraza-Bailey
Department of Sociology,
Washington University


     This article provides a portrait of Cuba's exiles that encompasses all
     their waves of migration, while utilizing the Cuban exodus to shed
     light on the broader phenomenon of refugee migration. It argues that
     to understand the changing social characteristics of the exiles over
     twenty years of migration, we need to understand the changing phases
     of the Cuban revolution. Utilizing the Cuban exodus as data, the article
     uses Egon  F. Kunz's (1973; 1981) theoretical framework for refugee
     migration to shed light on the refugees' varying experiences, while
     also using the actual Cuban refugee experience to react to Kunz's
     abstract model.


In the sixteen years from 1960 to 1976, the United States admitted over
750,000 Cuban refugees (Casal, 1979). In the Spring of 1980, 125,000 more
arrived, whose immigration status remains one of entrants. Twenty years
of political migration that brought close to a million persons to American
soil harbor distinct waves of immigrants, as well as distinct refugee vintages,
alike only in their final rejection of Cuba.
   Drawing  upon earlier analyses of the Cuban exiles, the purpose of this
article is to provide a comprehensive portrait of the Cuban exiles that
encompasses all their different waves of migration, while also utilizing the
Cuban exodus to shed light on the broader phenomenon of refugee migration.
The  underlying argument is that to understand the changing characteristics
of the exiles over time, we need to pay attention to the changing phases of the
Cuban  revolution. As Peter I. Rose (1981:11) underlined, refugees do not
live in a vacuum. They are part of an intricate sociopolitical web that must be
seen as the background against which any portrait of their travails must be
painted and any dissection of their innermost thoughts and feelings must be
pinned. It is the changing phases of the Cuban revolution that account for
the varying characteristics of the immigrants, for the development of what
E. F. Kunz called distinct vintages, distinct in character, background, and
avowed  political faith (Kunz, 1973:137).
4    IMR  Volume xviv, No. 1

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