The Cubans have changed Florida
by Maya Bell | Sentinel Staff Writer
August 6, 2006
MIAMI -- It is a supreme irony: The most-hated man in Miami is arguably the city's greatest benefactor and among Florida 's greatest agents of change.
In the 47 years since Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, unleashing an exodus that continues today, Miami has become the world city dreamed about since Henry Flagler brought his railroad to the wilderness settlement in 1896.
"I always say the arrival of the train and the arrival of the Cuban refugees are the most defining moments of our history," said Miami historian Arva Moore Parks. "The greatest change [brought by the Cubans] has been in Miami, but their influence can be felt everywhere."
Few other groups have as profoundly changed Florida as the 700,000-plus refugees who have fled Castro's oppressive regime by plane, boat and homemade rafts since the now-ailing dictator marched into Havana the first day of 1959. Today, a million Floridians identify themselves as Cuban.
Paving the way for other Spanish-speakers to follow, they helped transform nearly every facet of life in Florida , from the economy to the culture, from politics to foreign policy, from entertainment to sports.
"They created an outpost for Latin America in Miami , which attracted millions of other Latin Americans, which decidedly changed Florida ," said Sergio Bendixen, the nation's leading pollster on Hispanic opinion. "It's made it bilingual, bicultural and the economic hub for Latin America ."
Largely from Cuba 's professional class, the first wave of refugees who landed in Miami brought their business acumen, a knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean , and, of course, Spanish. Coming from bustling, cosmopolitan Havana , many were stunned by what was then a winter playground.
" Miami was a seasonal, sleepy town," said Tony Villamil, who arrived in 1960 at age 13. "I remember going down Calle Ocho and crying, 'What am I doing here?' It was almost like a country road."
The Cubans would, of course, turn Eighth Street into the vibrant heart of Little Havana . Initially, taking menial jobs, such as janitors and seamstresses, they became teachers and bankers and opened gas stations, restaurants, hardware stores, pharmacies, law firms and doctor offices.
By the early 1970s, they had created a prosperous enclave where English wasn't essential, but passionate political conservatism and virulent anti-Castroism was.
Many old-time Miamians, resentful of feeling like strangers in their own town, moved north. But the ability to conduct business in a familiar culture and language was inviting to successive waves of Latin American entrepreneurs and immigrants, many who were escaping economic or political turmoil in their own homelands.
A mixture of South American flight capital and Cuban management skills would become a recipe for the creation of banks and construction companies. By 1979, Cubans owned about half of the major construction companies in Miami-Dade, according to City on the Edge, a book by Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick.
" Cuba basically exported its professional class to Miami , to Tampa and throughout the state. What you saw was an infusion of human resources with international skills," said Villamil, now an economist who served as undersecretary of commerce in the administration of the first President Bush. "That was the catalyst that sparked the globalization of Florida that has been going on for 46 years."
Today, the results are everywhere. Known as Wall Street South , Miami 's Brickell Avenue is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States outside of New York . Scores of multinational corporations have planted their Latin American headquarters on Brickell or in nearby Coral Gables or Miami Beach .
Ditto for the Latin entertainment and music industry. MTV's Latin American headquarters is, for example, on Miami Beach .
Miami International Airport is the No. 1 airport in the United States for international cargo because of its trade with Latin America . It also has the most international flights to Latin America of any airport in the world.
And last year alone, 70 percent of the $95 billion worth of goods that moved in and out of the state's seaports, primarily in Miami and Tampa , was from the same region.
"Of course, you can't say the $95 billion is attributable to the Cubans, but their presence was the building block," Villamil said. "Given our location, we were poised to be a global state, but without the Cubans, it would have been different or slower. Definitely slower."
Publicado: 08-20-2007 12:55 PM
INGENIERO CUBANO ENTRE LAS 25 PERSONAS HISPANAS MAS INFLUYENTES EN EE.UU. SEGUN LA REVISTA TIME
Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005
The Master Builder
By CAROLINA A. MIRANDA
Look up as you walk the streets of New York City, and you can appreciate the work of Ysrael Seinuk. As a structural engineer, he is the man who makes tall buildings stand, responsible for the steel-and-concrete core that rises dozens of stories above the earth. In a career that has spanned almost five decades, Seinuk, 73, has plenty of high-profile Manhattan high-rises to his credit, including Philip Johnson's famous "lipstick" building; Trump World Tower, which holds the title of tallest residential skyscraper in the western hemisphere; and Norman Foster's angular Hearst Tower, now under construction.
A pioneering force in the complex world of tall-building engineering, Seinuk was an early proponent of using stronger concrete in New York, a feature that has allowed subsequent generations of engineers to go higher without having to go wider. "My work," says Seinuk, "has always been about stretching the horizon." When he arrived in the U.S. from Cuba soon after Castro's revolution, Seinuk had little more than $20 in his pocket, "my slide rule and my diploma from the University of Havana." The memory of those lean years keeps him committed to a variety of causes in his adopted hometown of New York City and beyond—from cerebral-palsy research to Cuban-American political efforts. "I came to a country that welcomed me," he says. "I make an effort to give back."
Structural engineer, Ysrael Seinuk, is Mr New York - Profile in Construction
You can't walk down the streets of Manhattan without seeing a building that famed structural engineer YsraelSeinuk hasn't touched.
He and the firm he heads, Cantor Seinuk, has engineered over 50 high-rise office buildings, numerous major hotels and hundreds of apartment structures within New York alone.
Among the firms most notable New York projects are the Trump World Tower; the Trump International Hotel and Tower; the new 42nd Street Redevelopment project at Times Square; the new Riverside South apartments; the New York Mercantile Exchange; Four Times Square; the "Lipstick" Building; Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue; the award winning Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing Meadows; Morgan Bank Headquarters; 7 World Trade Center; The Galleria; the landmark 450 Lexington Avenue; the Grand Hyatt; Crowne Plaza; and Marriott hotels.
" YsraelSeinuk and his staff are the best in the business." Trump said recently. "They give me the expertise I need to build quality buildings. Time and time again, the Cantor Seinuk team has implemented engineering solutions no one else considered."
Worldwide, Cantor Seinuk has completed billions of dollars worth of construction in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Philippines, South America, the Middle East, and the Far East.
To Seinuk, who graduated from the University of Havana in 1954 and joined Cantor Seinuk as a partner in 1970, each building is unique.
"Every building has a structure that is the best structure for that building," he said. "You have to be able to drink about it and talk about it."
He describes buildings as if they were living organisms.
"You have to be able to see the building in your head to see how she is going to react, to see how she is going to move," he said. "First you have to see the building inside you. You have to feel it."
His latest achievement is the Chapultepec Tower, a 57-story, 1,600,000 square foot, 750-feet high office building located in the most severe seismic zone of Mexico City.
Seinuk's life-saving design has already been patented.
"The building already went through an earthquake," said Seinuk. "A newspaper in Mexico said you might want to run into this building during an earthquake."
The structure's lateral system consists of steel perimeter tubes and interior eccentric braced core. A Viscoelastic supplemental damping system was added to the lateral system in order to enhance the seismic resistance of the building. The dampers minimized the construction cost and reduced the seismic impact on the building and its contents.
As far as the most challenging, he said each project is distinctive and can stand on its own merits.
"Projects are like children," he said reflectively, as photos of his children and grandchildren sit behind him on his credenza.
Some are very talkative, some are very smart, some are very playful. They all have different characteristics. If you have five children, you don't have one you like best over the other ones."
Considered a genius in the structural engineering field, Seinuk passes on some of his knowledge at Cooper Union School of Architecture, where he teaches structures in architecture.
" Ysrael, who has taught at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture for 35 years, is an extraordinary teacher inspiring Cooper Union students to understand the forces of earth and wind that effect and shape the buildings we inhabit," said Elizabeth O'Donnell, associate dean at the school of architecture.
"He was my teacher when I studied architecture, and I continue to learn from him today. By his incredible intellect, his great spirit and his remarkable work, his effect on architecture, and architectural education, will continue for generations."
But probably the most impressive quality about Seinuk, despite all the accolades and hundreds of design awards, is that he remains quite humble, making sure his staff gets credit.
"I'm not alone," he said. "We have quite an organization. You get information from everyone in our organization."
Seinuk is grateful for a fulfilling career. "It's a very interesting business," he said. "It's very rewarding to be able to see what you've done. You walk down the streets of the city and you can see what you have produced and that makes it very rewarding."
But one can be sure Seinuk, who runs five miles every morning, never rests on his laurels.
"Every day I'm starting new, starting news things, opening new markets," he said.
Mensaje editado por sirjohn
08-20-2007 01:46 PM - editado 08-20-2007 01:46 PM
YSRAEL SEINIUK INGENIERO CUBANO DEL GRADUADO DEL INSTITUTO EDISON Y DE INGENIERIA CIVIL DE LA UINIVERSIDAD DE LA HABANA.
"Cantor Seinuk" are the structural engineers of record for the 1,776' tall tower which will be the tallest in the country.
UNA PEQUEÑA MUESTRA DE LA INFLUENCIA DEL INGENIERO CUBANO YSRAEL SEINUK EN LOS EE.UU., INFLUENCIA QUE SE EXTIENDE A TRAVES DEL MUNDO
ALGUNAS DE LAS OBRAS DEL INGENIERO CUBANO YSRAEL SENIUK
June 29, 2005
Revised Design for the Freedom Tower
NEW YORK, June 29, 2005 – Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, World Trade Center developer Larry A. Silverstein and architect David Childs today released the revised design for the Freedom Tower. WSP Cantor Seinuk are the structural engineers of record for the 1,776' tall tower which will be the tallest in the country. . . . (PDF file format) ?
May 30, 2005
OPAL Awards Dinner 2005
WSP Cantor Seinuk was presented two awards at the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) gala on April 13th held at the Sheraton Hotel in Vienna, Virginia. Dr Ahmad Rahimian, President, received the Civil Engineering Research Foundation’s (CERF) Charles Pankow Award for Innovation for the Torre Mayor tower in Mexico City, and also picked up an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award of Merit, on behalf of WSP Cantor Seinuk for the Time Warner Center in New York. . . . (PDF file format)
April 25, 2005
Building on Tradition
The 46-story Hearst Tower, with its distinctive diagonal structural grid, soars above its six-story predecessor. The 107-year-old Hearst Corporation, one of the world’s largest diversified communications companies, quite literally is returning to its roots as it constructs a new headquarters in Manhattan. . . . (PDF file format)
April 19, 2005
WSP Group plc announces UAE acquisition
WSP Group plc announces that it has acquired the business of the PHB Group. Employing approximately 100 people, the PHB Group is one of the United Arab Emirate's oldest established firms of Consulting Engineers and has a full team of structural, mechanical and electrical engineers which will now be complemented by WSP's strengths worldwide. PHB will join WSP's existing business in the Middle East and. . . (full article)
February 11, 2005
Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg Join The Hearst Corporation for Topping Out Ceremony
Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and architect Lord Norman Foster today joined The Hearst Corporation President and CEO Victor F. Ganzi and more than 100 elected officials, business leaders and construction workers at a topping out ceremony marking the completion of steel erection for Hearst’s 46-story glass and steel world headquarters tower rising 597 feet from within its landmark six-story base on Eighth Avenue between 56th and 57th Street. . . . (PDF file format)
January 01, 2005
Effective January 1st, 2005, the company name will change to WSP Cantor Seinuk
Cantor Seinuk Structural Engineers, a member of the WSP Group PLC is pleased to announce: Effective January 1st, 2005, the company name will change to WSP Cantor Seinuk. . . . (PDF file format)
December 01, 2003
London Bridge Tower
Renzo Piano designed London Bridge Tower as "a sharp and light presence in the skyline." Referring to the spires of London's churches and the masts of the tall ships that used to moor on the Thames River, the tower is generous at the base and slims as it rises into the skyline. . . . (PDF file format)
September 01, 2003
Showing Steel, New Hearst Building to Use Innovative Steel Frame
The Hearst Corp., which has long played a role in American society, will now impact the New York City skyline with a $500 millon, 42-story stell and glass tower at Eighth Avenue and 57th Street. . . . (PDF file format)
July 07, 2003
Angles, Stresses, Trains Add Up to Beehive of Activity In New York
Building the $2.2-billion AOL Time Warner Center, a twin-towered, multiuse complex along Manhattan's Columbus Circle that redefines opulence, is like mounting two, 900-lb gorillas on a jungle gym -- or worse. In this case, the gorillas are 400-ft tall structural concrete towers containing luxury condominiums and a hotel. . . . (PDF file format)
June 30, 2003
Latin America's Tallest Sports Super-Efficient Damper-Studded Diamonds
Standing on seismic Mexico City's dry central lake bed or "bowl of jello," where many buildings collapsed in 1985's magnitude 7.3 earthquake, Latin America's tallest building might be mistaken for a giant sitting duck waiting for the next Big One. But on closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the $250-million-plus Torre Mayor, which officially opened last week, is no quack. . . . (PDF file format)
January 01, 2003
Construction Begins on Taller, Safer 7 World Trade Center
On September 11 the 47-story building known as 7 World Trade Center, which occupied a lot in lower Manhattan adjacent to the twin towers, was subjected to an onslaught of falling steel and concrete. Not yet 15 years old, the building burned furiously for several hours and eventually collapsed. . . . (PDF file format)
March 10, 2002
More Attention to Security in Designing Buildings
Architects, engineers and property managers have been developing a wide variety of measures to protect the inhabitants of office buildings from terrorist attacks as a result of the events of Sept. 11. Some are already in effect, while others are still in the planning stages. . . (full article)
March 03, 2002
Columbus Circle's Towers Are Beginning to Tower
SHORTLY before noon last Wednesday, as Wynton Marsalis led six members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in a rousing "Buddy Bolden's Blues," a steel beam was hoisted into the snowy skies over Columbus Circle on its way up to the south tower of AOL Time Warner Center. . . (full article)
December 01, 2003
Mexico's Biggest Building Shakes Off Tremors (PDF file format)
May 01, 2003
Torre Mayor - Innovation in seismic design (PDF file format)
March 01, 2002
Metamorphosis (PDF file format)
February 01, 2002
Hearst Tower: Rewriting History (PDF file format)
October 30, 2001
A Crystal Beacon Atop a 20's Curiosity (PDF file format)
July 23, 2001
With Its New $516-Million Tower, Bear Stearns Bunkers Down for the Big One
May 01, 1997
Manhattan's Green Giant (PDF file format)
November 01, 1991
Ultimate Air Rights (PDF file format)
July 19, 1990
Mellon Bank Center, Composite structure above, tough conditions below (PDF file format)
Publicado: 08-20-2007 01:53 PM
EL ARQUITECTO HILARIO CANDELA, OTRO ORGULO DE LOS CUBANOS EN EE.UU.
LA COMPAÑIA DE ARQUITECTOS SPILLIS CANDELA & PARTNERS FUE LA MAS GRANDE DEL SUR DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS HABIENDO PARTICIPADO PROMINENTEMENTE EN EL DISEÑO Y CONSTRUCCION DE LA MAYOR PARTE DE LOS RASCACIELOS Y AREAS COMERCIALES DE MIAMI . SUS OBRAS SE PUEDEN VER NO SOLO EN LA FLORIDA SINO A TRAVES DE LOS EE.UU. Y LATINOAMERICA CON PROYECTOS IMPORTANTES EN EUROPA.
SE PUEDE DECIR QUE CANDELA CONTRIBUYÓ A PONER A MIAMI ENTRE LAS CIUDADES MÁS MODERNAS Y DINAMICAS DE ESTADOS UNIDOS
GRADUADO DE BACHILLER, COMO EL INGENIERO YSRAEL SEINUK, EN EL INSTITUTO EDISON EN LA HABANA CUBA, HIZO SUS ESTUDIOS DE ARQUITECTURA EN GEORGIA TECH.
LA COMPAÑIA TUVO 15 SOCIOS Y EMPLEABA SOBRE 260 PROFESIONALES Y PERSONAL TECNICO. TIENE SUS OFICINAS CENTRALES EN CORAL GABLES, MIAMI, CON OFICINAS EN ORLANDO, NEW YORK, WASHINGTON D.C., ASI COMO ALREDEDOR LA AMERICA LATINA.
RECIENTEMENTE SPILLIS, CANDELA & PARTNERS SE UNIO CON LA FIRMA DANIEL, MANN, JOHONSON, & MENDENHALL (DMJM) . LA NUEVA EMPRESA, SPILLIS, CANDELA DMJM, AHORA CUENTA CON MAS DE 2,000 PROFESIONALES Y MAYOR ALCANCE NACIONAL E INTERNACIONAL.
SPILLIS, CANDELA DMJM HAN RECIBIDO NUMEROSOS PREMIOS POR SUS DISEÑOS A TRAVES DE LOS AÑOS.
HACE UNOS SEIS AÑOS LA COMPAÑIA SPILIS CANDELA SE UNIO A OTRA DE LAS COMPAÑIAS GIGANTES EN SU RAMO.
Oldest South Florida Architecture Firm Merges with International Company.
From: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News | Date: January 20, 1999 | Author: Whoriskey, Peter | More results for: authorWhoriskey;Peter]
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 21 -- Spillis Candela & Partners, the oldest and largest architecture firm in South Florida, announced plans Wednesday to merge with Daniel Mann Johnson and Mendenhall , an international firm headquartered in Los Angeles.DMJM is part of AECOM, an employee-owned consortium offering architectural, engineering, infrastructure and financial services. DMJM has more than 1,500 employees. AECOM has a staff of more than 6,000 and combined revenue near $1 billion.
Publicado: 08-20-2007 02:28 PM
CUBANOS, CENSO DE LOS EE.UU.
Subject: US Census Bureau. Facts about Cuban Americans...US Census Bureau. Facts about Cuban Americans...
Cuban Americans have acquired an enormous amount of wealth and prosperity in an extremely short period of time; no other immigrant group has achieved this as quickly as the Cubans. Many immigrants have never achieved it at all, despite being in this country far longer than Cubans.
Second-generation Cuban-Americans were more educated than even Anglo-Americans. More than 26.1% of second-generation Cuban-Americans had a bachelor's degree or better versus 20.6% of Anglos. Thus Cuban-Americans in 1997 were approximately 25% more likely to have a college degree than Anglos.
Other Hispanic groups lag far behind. Only 18.1% of South Americans had a bachelor's or better. Puerto Ricans, despite being U.S. citizens by birth, recorded a disappointing 11%;
Mexicans only 7%.
In 1997, 55.1% of second-generation Cuban-Americans had an income greater
than $30,000 versus 44.1% of Anglo- Americans. Thus Cuban-Americans are
approximately 20% more likely to earn more than $30,000 than their Anglo-American counterparts. All other Hispanic groups lag far behind in average income.
In 1997, 36.9% of second-generation Cuban-Americans had an income greater
than $50,000 versus 18.1% of Anglo- Americans. Cuban-Americans were twice
as likely to earn more than $50,000. Also, approximately 11% of Cuban-Americans had incomes greater than $100,000 versus 9% of Anglo-Americans, and less than 2% of other Hispanics.
Cubans comprise less than 4% of the U.S. Hispanic population, Mexicans 65%, Puerto Ricans 10%, Central and South Americans 11%, and "others" 10%. Yet of the top 100 richest Hispanics in the U.S., more than 50% are of Cuban descent (ten times what it should be on a population basis), and 38% of Mexican descent. The rest is scattered among all other Hispanic groups.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Publicado: 08-20-2007 02:33 PM
Cubanos en Estados Unidos,
Perfil de una Comunidad
Por JESUS HERNANDEZ CUELLAR
Cuando el fallecido Roberto Goizueta fue nombrado presidente y director ejecutivo de la Coca-Cola en 1981, los cubanos radicados en Estados Unidos lo asumieron como un símbolo del éxito empresarial de su comunidad, en el país más poderoso del mundo.
Ese mismo año, el también fallecido Jorge Mas Canosa, que para entonces era ya un próspero empresario, creó con un grupo de compatriotas suyos la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA), el más grande aparato de cabildeo político de origen latinoamericano que haya conocido Estados Unidos.
Para esa fecha, el gran éxodo moderno de cubanos hacia Estados Unidos había cumplido la mayoría de edad, 22 años después de su inicio por la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro en Cuba.
Para entonces, más de 600 mil cubanos habían viajado a Estados Unidos en diferentes etapas, desde los primeros a principios de la revolución de Castro, los 14 mil niños de la Operación Pedro Pan entre 1960 y 1962, los del efímero episodio del puerto de Camarioca, los de los Vuelos de la Libertad desde el aeropuerto de Varadero y los 125 mil que atravesaron el Estrecho de Florida durante el llamado éxodo de Mariel, en 1980. Otros muchos viajaron a terceros países, como España, México y Venezuela, y luego se trasladaron a territorio norteamericano.
Al comenzar el siglo XXI, la Oficina del Censo del Departamento de Comercio de Estados Unidos, basándose en cifras del Censo 2000, calcula que hay en Estados Unidos un millón 200 mil cubanos, cifra que podría ser mucho mayor si se tiene en cuenta que de los 35.3 millones de hispanos que vivían en este país en ese momento, hubo por lo menos seis millones que no especificaron su nacionalidad. Sin embargo, es de notar que el cubano que vive en Estados Unidos no tiende a negar u ocultar su país de origen.
Hay no sólo empresarios, sino también científicos, artistas, escritores, académicos, trabajadores de todo tipo y un grupo notable de activistas políticos que abogan por la democratización y el respeto a los derechos humanos en Cuba.
La comunidad cubano-estadounidense ha logrado elegir a cinco legisladores de su origen nacional a la Cámara de Representantes y al Senado de Estados Unidos: en el caso de la Cámara, Ileana Ros Lehtinen, republicana de Florida, que en 1989 se convirtió en la primera mujer laitna en llegar a ese cuerpo legislativo; Lincoln Díaz Balart, también republicano de Florida; Robert Menéndez, demócrata por New Jersey, este último nacido en Estados Unidos de padres cubanos; y más recientemente Mario Díaz-Balart, hermano de Lincoln y republicano como él. En 2004, Mel Martínez, republicano de Florida y ex secretario de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano del gobierno de George W. Bush, se convirtió en el primer cubano en llegar al Senado.
En los círculos del arte popular son bien conocidos los nombres del Celia Cruz, Gloria y Emilio Estefan, Willy Chirino, Albita, Paquito D'Rivera, Israel López (Cachao), Arturo Sandoval, Juan Pablo Torres y tantos otros músicos, así como los actores de Hollywood Andy García, Cameron Díaz, Elizabeth Peña y Steven Bauer, entre otros muchos.
En 1952 llegó a la televisión norteamericana el primer latino: Desi Arnaz, nacido en Santiago de Cuba, quien junto a su esposa norteamericana Lucille Ball, produjo uno de los más exitosos programas de todos los tiempos, "I Love Lucy".
En los ámbitos académico, literario y de música culta no pocos cubanos han hecho historia en Estados Unidos, entre ellos el compositor Aurelio de la Vega, el profesor y escritor Enrico Mario Santí, el dramaturgo Matías Montes Huidobro, y tantos otros. El pintor Cundo Bermúdez, considerado el artista plástico cubano más relevante, se exilió en Puerto Rico en la década de los 60 y luego se mudó a Miami.
Publicado: 08-20-2007 02:36 PM
Según el Censo 2000, los cubanos tienen el más alto nivel de educación entre los hispanos de Estados Unidos, con 23% de personas con 25 años de edad o más con un diploma universitario elemental. Los centro y suramericanos presentan el 17.4% de graduados del mismo nivel con la misma edad, los puertorriqueños el 13% y los mexicanos el 6.9%.
Por otra parte, la comunidad cubana presenta la edad media menos joven entre los hispanos, con 40.7 años, mientras que los mexicanos tienen 24.2 años, los puertorriqueños 27.3 años y la edad media de la población general del país es de 35.3 años.
Se calcula que el poder adquisitivo de los cubanos podría superar los 25 mil millones de dólares al año, tomando en cuenta ese renglón a nivel general en la población hispana de Estados Unidos y haciéndolo proporcional al porcentaje cubano dentro de la comunidad hispana, entre otros factores. Según el Selig Center for Economic Growth, de la Universidad de Georgia, la capacidad de compra de la comunidad hispana de este país es de 452 mil 400 millones de dólares. Pero cifras anteriores indicaban que el ingreso familiar medio de los cubanos era el más alto entre los hispanos, con alrededor de 45 mil dólares al año.
Es en el área empresarial donde, sin duda alguna, los cubanos han obtenido un éxito resonante en Estados Unidos. La Oficina del Censo reveló en marzo de 2001 que desde1997 los cubanos eran propietarios de 125,300 empresas que facturaban al año 26,500 millones de dólares.
MasTec, la empresa de telecomunicaciones fundada también por el extinto activista Jorge Mas Canosa y desde hace algunos años dirigida por su hijo Jorge Mas Santos, ha sido al menos durante 1999 y 2000 la única empresa hispana de este país en facturar más de mil millones de dólares al año.
Se estima que tres cuartas partes de los cubanos viven en el condado de Miami-Dade, en el Estado de Florida, cuyo punto más cercano a Cuba, Cayo Hueso (Key West), está a sólo 90 millas de Punta Icacos, Varadero, en la occidental provincia cubana de Matanzas.
El área de New York-New Jersey tiene desde hace muchos años la segunda gran concentración de cubanos, con más de 150 mil, mientras que en California viven unos 75 mil cubanos.
Pero la presencia o la influencia de cubanos en Estados Unidos no data desde la llegada de Castro al poder, sino desde mucho antes, inclusive desde la Revolución encabezada por George Washington contra la corona británica.
Juan de Miralles, nacido en España de padres franceses y radicado desde muy joven en Cuba, donde amasó una gran fortuna, fue el primer diplomático del reino español ante el Congreso Continental. Falleció en abril de 1780 luego de haber sido atendido de una fuerte pulmonía por los médicos de Washington y la esposa de éste, Martha C. Washington.
Poco después, damas de la sociedad cubana donaron joyas por valor de un millón 200 mil libras tornesas (moneda de la época) para ayudar a Washington a pagar a sus tropas y a sus aliados franceses, hecho decisivo para la victoria de los independentistas norteamericanos en la batalla de Yorktown, en octubre de 1781.
Más de un siglo después, en 1892, José Martí fundó en Estados Unidos, donde vivió 14 años, el Partido Revolucionario Cubano, organización rectora de la segunda guerra de independencia de Cuba, que estalló el 24 de febrero de 1895.
Se cree que el extraordinario poderío económico cubano en Estados Unidos actualmente, podría jugar un papel decisivo en la recuperación de Cuba tras la desaparición del castrismo y la llegada a ese país de la democracia y la economía de mercado.
© CONTACTO Magazine
Publicado: 08-20-2007 02:36 PM
'MAMI, I'M GOING TO HARVARD'
By Fabiola Santiago
The Miami Herald
Mayo 7, 2002
Miguel Argüelles knew he would be getting the e-mail that day.
When the 2:30 p.m. school bell rang, he rushed home to his computer.
And there it was: His acceptance into Harvard.
The scared, confused, homesick boy who sat in a Hialeah classroom seven years ago not understanding a word his new teacher said, the boy embarrassed at the thick accent that came from his lips when he uttered a simple word like ''chair,'' had made it into ``the best school in America.''
''My dreams had come true,'' the 17-year-old says.
He stared at the e-mail for three minutes, reading over the lines about how few students make it this far.
Then he cried.
Meet Miguel Angel Argüelles, the extraordinary valedictorian of MiamiLake's BarbaraGolemanSenior High School, Class of 2002: He has a weighted grade point average of 5.6, he's the Sunshine State 2002 District Scholar, a top student in calculus, physics and advanced placement English classes, the first student in Goleman's seven-year history to be admitted to Harvard.
And yes, as the students here say, he's ``a Cuban ref.''
Miguel came to Miami from Cuba with his mother and father and younger brother in February 1995. He was 10 years old.
He didn't risk his life on the high seas -- his paternal grandfather obtained visas for the family and they flew here -- but abandoning Cuba carried all the emotional weight of leaving his home, his loved ones, ''and my childhood'' behind.
His first year of exile was equally painful.
His parents, Havana professionals who studied in the Soviet Union's Kiev, had to take factory jobs. His father Angel, a civil engineer, worked two jobs. His mother, María Teresa, a science teacher with a master's degree in biochemistry, worked cutting elastic at a sewing factory and studied English at night.
For four months, the family lived in the gymnasium where Angel worked his second job, sleeping on the floor on mattresses while they saved enough money to rent an apartment. Then, the only apartment they could afford was so small that the boys' ''room'' was the size of a closet. They propped up bunk beds.
In school, Miguel, who was accustomed to getting top grades in Cuba, was struggling with the language -- and even with math, his favorite subject.
Pronunciation was the most difficult thing to master.
''Beach is the hardest word in the world,'' he says.
An ace in mathematics in Cuba and now -- ''Math is my baby,'' he says -- his teacher ''didn't like'' the way Miguel showed his work doing fractions. In Latin countries, the method of division taught is different from that of the United States. (The division bracket is upside down and the order of the numbers is reversed.) Miguel could come up with the right answer, but his calculations were not done ``the American way.''
His father went to school to talk to the principal to get him out of that class.
But the principal said, ''Miguel can make it.'' And his father left him there.
He survived that year by using the same means he used to get to Harvard.
''I put everything I had into learning. I set out to pursue my dream. My parents had sacrificed their lives for me, so that I could live in this country in freedom and have a future. They were working in jobs as if they had never gone to school,'' Miguel says. ``I was just doing what I was supposed to do. I made it with As and Bs.''
He figured out the math part with practice (even though now, he confesses, he still counts in Spanish ``deep inside''). He gained fluency in English watching television after school -- and ``reading lots and lots of books.''
''The interaction in school is very limited,'' he says. ``When you have your own TV, you have your own teacher talking to you.''
As Miguel prospered in school, his parents prospered in their jobs.
STUDIES PAY OFF
His mother's late-night studies paid off. She became a teacher again. She now teaches English-For-Students-of-Other Languages (ESOL) at MiamiLakesMiddleSchool and is working on her master's in education at NovaSoutheasternUniversity. His father landed a well-paid supervisory job in a construction company.
From the tiny apartment, the Arguelles graduated to a two-bedroom one, and last year, they bought a house in a new development in Royal Oaks in MiamiLakes. Miguel has a room of his own and a laptop.
Last year, his junior year, was the most intense. He was taking six college-level classes. He studied from 3 p.m. to 2 or 3 a.m. He took his books to the park.
''No naps, no sleep, little food, an occasional shower,'' he says.
'I had to pry him from the computer and the books and say, `No, ya, you are going to bed,' '' his mother says.
She remembers the day he shared his dream.
'We had just set foot in this country, and he said to me, `Mami, I'm going to Harvard.' I remember it as if it had happened today. He fought, fought and fought for what we wanted.''
Publicado: 08-26-2007 11:51 PM
His dream will cost plenty. The University of Miami offered a full scholarship. It was tempting to accept because Harvard is expensive -- $36,000 a year. He'll get about half that amount in scholarships and aid, his mother said, but the rest has to come from Miguel and his family.
''Somehow we'll have to manage it,'' María Teresa says.
In his college essays, when he is asked to explain who he is, Miguel quotes James Joyce, Napoleon Bonaparte and compares his own journey from a beloved but wretched homeland to the hopeful, new life in the United States to that of mythological characters.
Of Cuba, he says: ``Its memory is tattooed deep in my heart.''
He calls the United States his ''garden,'' his ``Eden.''
From hall monitors to teachers and counselors, everyone finds Miguel remarkable.
He has picked up the street lingo of his generation with the same ease that he has absorbed the intricacies of philosophical works like Toni Morrison's Son of Solomon or James Joyce's A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Man.
''He's got such an insight into the English language that it blows me away. He understands the nuances of language,'' says Linda Galati, his college advisor.
''Out of all the students I've encountered in my entire teaching career, Miguel ranks as one of my top two students,'' says his English teacher, Nell Miller, who has taught in Miami-Dade schools for 22 years.
Miguel wants to be a neurosurgeon -- ''I love the human body and the human mind,'' he says -- but there's more to his life than school work. Salsa dancing is his passion and he recently sang and performed in a bilingual school production of Fame.
''He gets straight A's and then you see him at a party, and he's the life of the party,'' says friend Jorge García, 17.
''He goes out with us. He goes to the park, plays basketball, tennis. He has fun,'' says friend Albert Araluce, 17.
His 16-year-old brother Alejandro, also a college-bound A-student, admires him.
''He's got a life,'' Alejandro says. ``He's not like a nerd who studies all the time and only does that.''
There's little sibling rivalry, the boys say. ''Only the usual kid stuff,'' says Alejandro, who wants to go to the University of Florida.
''He's doing what makes him happy, following his own dreams and that is my definition of success,'' Miguel says of his brother.
And indeed, the Argüelles boys are part of a tight-knit, high-performing group of Goleman High students who have one thing in common: They came from Cuba in the mid-'90s.
The school draws its students from HialeahGardens, MiamiLakes and Palm Springs North, a working and professional-class suburbia with pockets of upscale living and pockets of struggling immigrants. In a school that is 90 percent Hispanic, the typical name-calling of youth, sometimes harmless horseplay, sometimes plain prejudice, is characterized not by race but by country of origin.
The Central and Latin American kids are called tira flechas, arrow throwers, or indios, Indian, for their indigenous features. The recent Cuban arrivals are called balseros, rafters, or ''Cuban refs.'' (A ''ref,'' short for refugee, is determined by how pronounced the accent and the year of arrival from Cuba.)
When a visitor asks a group of kids about the valedictorian, a student says: ``Oh, yeah, Miguel, the Cuban ref.''
Miguel simply shrugs.
As he walks the Goleman hallways in these, his last days as a senior, he hears other names.
''Hey Harvey,'' a boy high-fives Miguel. 'Goin' ta Ha-w-vard.''
''That's my nickname now, Harvey, Harvard, and all sorts of variations there of,'' Miguel says, blushing a little.
There's a tinge of pride in his voice, but not a shred of arrogance.
That, teachers and friends say, sets Miguel apart from the traditional crowd of cocky overachievers.
''Miguel remembers his roots,'' says his geography teacher Richard Stamper. ``He remembers sitting in that class in sixth grade and not understanding anything. I tell him that when he's at Harvard surrounded by all those people who are just as smart, if not smarter than he is, that is the one thing that will keep him grounded.''
Says Miguel: ``How could I forget?''
Publicado: 08-26-2007 11:52 PM