For an Alliance of All Generations in Miami’s Cuban-American Community

Yenisel Rodríguez Pérez

HAVANA TIMES — I am currently living with my father in Miami. Though our reunion has brought us closer together as a family, subtle differences have arisen between us.

Politically speaking, we represent two generations of immigrants who experienced Cuba’s totalitarian regime from different positions. Though both of us endured the same single-party system, specific aspects of our engagement with this system made many of our life experiences profoundly different.

What’s happening between my father and I is an expression of the generational differences that prevail within Miami’s Cuban-American community. In our case, and in the case of our respective generations, ignorance of the other’s experiences is taking its toll.

Many of us set our life experiences in Cuba against those which do not validate the ideas we want to convey. This tit-for-tat creates an atmosphere of negation which prevents us from understanding one another and from arriving at a democratic consensus of different interests.

I am not referring to the consensus divulged by the media or the powers that be. I am speaking about everyday life, about the political imaginary of Miami’s common Cuban-born resident.

An everyday politics, in Miami?

Some may find the phrase “everyday politics” exasperating, but I am quite ready to defend this concept.

How else could one describe the affinity of everyday wisdom with U.S. imperial discourse? What better phrase to describe an ideology which subjects many members of the Cuban-American community to what a friend has called a “cult of fatality” regarding Cuba’s future?

This cult of fatality prevents us from re-thinking the past from the point of view of a present that still has a future for all of us, a present that ought not ignore the authoritarianism of the Cuban government, and that calls for a committed confrontation of today’s global challenges.

The same may be said of that other everyday wisdom, far less common here, which adds its voice to the demagogic discourse about the Cuban Revolution and to the chorus of casual supporters of its regime.

Our discussions and consensuses must be held and built far from all extremes. Such a step would fill both our family and our community life with wellbeing.

Strengthening the bonds between generations in Miami’s Cuban-American community could be the point of departure for a revitalization of our local political activism.

In Cuba, the goals I set for myself (perhaps less commitedly than I should have) were focused on social change. Today, I aim to create an ecumenical and critical community of Cuban immigrants.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

3 thoughts on “For an Alliance of All Generations in Miami’s Cuban-American Community

  • A very intriguing essay, Yenisel. The Cuban nation has been shattered by the trauma of 55 years of revolution, embargo, emigration and suspicion. The goal you have set for yourself will help to bridge the gaps between these fragments and heal the traumatized collective Cuban psyche.

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