Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Latinos (Cubans) Run the Show in Miami

Someone from the north recently asked me about how Latinos are represented in the city. This, coming from a Northerner, is a very normal question. In Minneapolis, the majority of Latinos have low paying, manual labor or restaurant jobs. It's a known fact that the majority of Minneapolis restaurant kitchens, excluding the super fancy ones, are staffed by Latinos. Everyone who's ever worked in a restaurant or sports bar knows that you learn all the street *read dirty/vulgar* Spanish words from "the cooks." Tell me, what casual family restaurant, be it run by Greeks, Albanians, Americans, Chinese, isn't primary staffed by Latinos?

Miami, my friends, is MUCH different.

Latinos, or should I be saying Hispanics*, run the city, and by city, I mean every aspect of the city.

*- I'm actually serious with this question. I'm unsure which is better to use, Latino or Hispanic. I hear both being used by all different kinds of people, so I'm kind of torn. I'm more curious than anything, since I despise being politically-correct for the sake of it.

Back on topic.

If you want to ascend to a position of power in Miami, you MUST speak Spanish and have Cuban blood running in your veins. Why, you ask? Because of the vote. I don't have numbers, and I'm too tired to look for numbers, but I can assure you that the majority of the population that actually votes in Miami is of Cuban descent.

Now I'm not saying that people vote primarily for their own nationality/ethnic group/race, wait, actually, I am. Cubans vote for Cubans, plain and simple. Cubans therefore have the most power in the city. The same reason why 4 of the past 5 Baltimore mayors have been Black. Constituents vote for their own. You need to be Cuban in Miami to be in power.

The past five mayors of Miami:

Willy Gort
Xavier Suarez
Joe Carollo
Manny Diaz
Tomás Regalado

Guess what they all have in common?

(long pause)

You're right...they were all born in Cuba.

Please don't read this post in the wrong way and think I'm a racist and I hate Miami for being "run by Latinos." I am in no way upset about this. I actually think it's very cool. Furthermore, I have absolutely no aspirations of running for public office. If I did, however, Miami would not be a wise location for me.

All in all, I find the whole Latino Power side of Miami very interesting. Coming from my hometown of 4,000 people, where maybe 25 people were immigrants, it's cool to be on the other side for once; I immigrated to Miami, which is, for all intents and purposes, its own separate country.

I, Patrick Jones, a White, 4th Generation, English-speaking American, the majority in the Continental US, am the minority in Miami, and I love it.


DustinSBranham said...

Does this go for getting good jobs, as well, or is it just relevant if you are running for public office? I've always wondered if a white guy like myself could get ahead in the MIA.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this but Miami has the esteemed title of being in the top 5 most corrupted cities in the nation, long pause... you figure it out!!!