In This Review

Cuban Miami
Cuban Miami
By Robert M. Levine and Moisés Asís
Rutgers University Press, 2000, 148 pp

It is all too easy to demonize the stereotype of South Florida's Cuban-American community: angry crowds, fervently waved Cuban flags, and mass hysteria let loose by the Elián González affair. This delightful photo essay and commentary is a timely reminder of why Miami's Cubans are so passionate about their homeland. It also provides a useful antidote to the overly simplistic media image of them. Based on interviews with every sector of the exile community, from the first mass waves of refugees during the early 1960s to those who arrived by raft in the late 1990s, this finely illustrated book touches on all aspects of Cuban influence -- on politics, cuisine, music, religion, and everyday life. Levine and Asís remind the reader that although Cuban Americans have become one of the most prosperous immigrant groups, this success has come at the price of dislocation, cultural barriers, and discrimination. And if anyone thinks that the politicians and diplomats in Washington can keep Cuban Miami out of the affairs of a post-Castro Cuba, they are living in a dream world.