Cuban‎ > ‎

Annotated Bibliography

Amnesty International: Cuban Human Rights 2008 Report
2008 Electronic document,, accessed on October 1, 2009.

This website is useful in that it is very recent. The focus is on human rights, and can thus   provide some insight into why Cuban migrants may want to leave Cuba. However, Amnesty International has a political agenda that, though not limited to state-politics, is nonetheless ideological in nature. Thus, the website provides a background on Cuba, but always with the aim of making an argument about human rights. Though there is nothing wrong with such an   aim, the website does not pretend to provide any other type of background on Cuba.

        2009 Digital Granma Internacional. Electronic document,, accessed on September 27, 2009.

Granma Internacional is the primary daily newspaper in Cuba. It is largely supportive of Castro’s government and provides an interesting window into Cuban life. The paper publishes domestic and international news, and frequently features the words of Fidel and Raul Castro.

Arenas, Reinaldo,
1993 Before Night Falls. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking.

Before Night Falls is the memoir of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas, as written after he left Cuba for the U.S. during the 1980 mass exodus sparked by the Peruvian Embassy’s willingness to house refugees. Arena’s account of Castro’s government offers a contrasting view of Cuban life to those expressed in Granma Internacional. Additionally, he writes of his life in America, and overall has a lot to contribute to the discussion concerning the Cuban Diaspora.

Azicri, Max
2000 Cuba Today and Tomorrow: Reinventing Socialism. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida.

This is a wonderful book for tracking some major recent changes in Cuba– specifically in the 1990s. The author focuses on the changes of socialism, so there is a large emphasis on the economy. Political changes are also discussed in detail, including an excellent overview of Cuba's foreign relations. The book does, however, discuss Cuba's relationship with the U.S. in a rather one-sided fashion, which has led to some critique that the author does not recognize that Cuba has also been known to use the conflict with the U.S. strategically at some points in its history. Also, the book has a lot of data, which can make is less accessible and harder to read.

Bonnin, R., and C. Brown
2002 The Cuban Diaspora: A Comparative Analysis of the Search for Meaning among Recent Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans. Hispanic            Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 24:465-478.

This article focuses its attentions on family dynamics among Cuban Americans and Cuban exiles, mainly in regard to the effect family dynamics have on purpose in life. Though very abstract, the article paints a fascinating portrait of Cuban Americans’ and Cuban exiles’ ability to consider themselves able to fit in, especially as correlated with the way they relate to family.

Congressional Research Service
2009 Cuban Migration to the United States. Electronic document,, accessed October 5, 2009

This report, commissioned by the Congressional Research Service, provides detailed accounts for all United States policies surrounding Cuban Migration. Written by specialists in the field, the report shows how much federal aid was given to Cuban migrants to aid their incorporation into the United States. It is useful in that it can be coupled with theoretical works and ethnography to illustrate the effects of policy on 20th century Cuban migration.

Eckstein, Susan
2004 Dollarization and its Discontents: Remittances and the Remaking of Cuba in the Post-Soviet   Era. Comparative Politics 36(3):313-330.

This article is fascinating in that it deals specifically with the issue of remittances in the context of Cuba. This issue is major considering the various discourses surrounding remittances and whether or not they affect development, and if so, how. Thus, this article is a wonderful way to ground the experiences of Cuban migrants and development in Cuba. Though it does not necessarily single-handedly solve the puzzle of remittances, it makes pretty clear arguments about the various ways in which they can affect Cuba and which factors influence this effect. Sine the article is focused so clearly on the economic aspect, however, it has to be viewed in conjunction with other sources that provide a better cultural or historic understanding of Cuba.

Fernández, Damián J.
1992 Cuban studies since the revolution. 
Florida International University. and Inc NetLibrary

This book compiles a series of essays that situate Cuban migration and cultural production within the greater political and economic context of the 20th century. This source is valuable as it offers multiple scholars' perspectives and vantage points of similar issues. It provides theory but not as much ethnography. Nevertheless, this source is a great starting point for understanding the background theory and history of Cuban migration flows.

Grenier, Guillermo J. and Lisandro Pérez
         2003 The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States. Allyn and Bacon, Boston

The Legacy of Exile discusses how Cuban migrants have transformed major U.S. metropolitan areas and exert a powerful-and controversial-impact on U.S. foreign policy. The theme of the book is that the Cuban presence has been shaped by the experience of exile. In understanding the case of the Cuban immigration to the United States, the book provides insight into the dynamics of U.S. immigration policy; the differences between immigrants and exiles; interethnic relations among newcomers and established residents; and the economic development of immigrant communities. It depicts Cuban immigration as a relatively successful adaptation of an immigrant community and can therefore help support our case study of the Twin Cities where there are a wide variety of local, well-established resources to support Cuban (and Latin American in general) immigrants and refugees.

Gonzalez-Pando, Miguel
1998 Cuban Americans.
Westport: Greenwood Press.

This book seeks to "capture the struggles and dreams of Cuban Americans." It includes details about the patterns of immigration, adaptation to American life and work, cultural traditions, religious traditions, women's roles, the family, language, and education in order to help the reader engage with the issue of Cuban immigration. Written by a Cuban American, the book accurately and colorfully portrays the American Cuban community, with some historical background but little policy context.

McHugh, Kevin E., Ines M. Miyares, and Emily H. Skop
1997 The Magnetism of Miami: Segmented Paths in Cuban Migration. Geographical Review 87(4):504-519.

This article examines the formation of a cultural hub such as Miami and its role in both the Cuban imaginary and migration processes. It offers theoretical frameworks to study "pull" migration. A more recent publication, this article provides the context for contemporary migration to the United States. It offers demographic data but does not account for the multiple waves of Cuban migration during the Cold War era nor their effects on shaping migration processes today. Written by geographers, this article strays from political-economic and social theory but provides hard data to address migration and assimilation.

Masud-Piloto, Felix, Roberto,Rowman, and Lanham, Md.
        1996 From welcomed exiles to illegal immigrants: Cuban migration  to the U.S., 1959-1995 

This text offers the ethnography that Cuban Studies Since the Revolution fails to provide and contextualizes Cuban migration by discussing United States' foreign policy from the Cold War era onwards as well as Cuban government policy during the Castro regime. It examines the differing modes of incorporation that Cuban migrants experienced and illustrates how one ethnic group can arrive as both immigrants, refugees, exiles, and colonial subjects. Written by Cuban migrants, this book is a testimony of their own experiences.  

Minnesota Department of Health
        2007 Primary Refugee Arrivals to Minnesota (Notifications received by MDH), 1979-2007. Electronic document,            /divs/idepc/refugee/stats/refcumm.pdf, accessed October 1, 2009.

This document shows that there were 146 Cuban primary refugees in Minnesota in 2007. Of these 9 arrived in 1988, 3 in 1993, 19 in 1994, 35 in 1995,  8 in 1996, 2 in 1997, 5 in 1998, 5 in 1999, 8 in 2000, 11 in 2001, 5 in 2002, 16 in 2003, 2 in 2004, 5 in 2005, 7 in 2006, 6 in 2007.

Minnesota Department of Health
        2007 Primary Refugee Arrival to MN by Initial County of Resettlement & Country of Origin. Electronic document,            /divs/idepc/refugee/stats/07yrsum.pdf, accessed on October 1, 2009.

This document shows that there were 6 Cuban primary refugees in Minnesota in 2007. Of these, 3 were resettled in Hennepin, 1 in Kandiyohi, and 2 in Winona.

Oliver, Eileen
1999 Cuban Immigration and the Cuban-American Experience: A Selective Annotated  Bibliography. Reference Services Review 27(2):179.

This annotated bibliography presents journal articles, books, human rights reports and websites that deal with the Cuban-American experience. Resources relating to Cuba or Cuba-US relations are omitted from the bibliography. The annotations are very thorough. However, the bibliography is outdated, since it was published in 1999.

Olson, James S. Olson, Judith E.
1995 Cuban Americans: From Trauma to Triumph. New York: Simon and Schuster  Macmillan.

This book gives a historical overview of Cuban migration to the United States. It delves into the origins of Cuban culture and the Cuban-American community. It then goes through five periods of Cuban migration to the United States. This periods are divided based on characteristics of the Cuban American community, rather than migration trends or policy eras, although it does give some attention to both.

Pedraza, Silvia
1995 Cuban Refugees: Manifold Migrations. Cuba in Transition.

This article breaks down Cuban migration to the United States into four waves, and examines the circumstances of each wave. Then the article looks at a variety of characteristics of Cubans in the United States, such as race, poverty, gender and education. Lastly, the article addresses the distinction between political refugees and economic immigrants, and explores where the Cuban migrants fit into this distinction. Overall, the article is a good starting place to understand the history of Cuban migration to the United States, as well as some demographic information about the migrants themselves. However, it does not delve into cultural traits of the migrants, nor the assimilation process.

Pérez Sarduy, Pedro, and Jean Stubbs
2000 Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Afro-Cuban Voices consists of 14 interviews with Afro-Cubans living in Cuba, and especially examines race and race relations in contemporary Cuban society. The interviews prove how crucially race factors into Cuban society, and provides an interesting foundation from which to study how Afro-Cubans in America deal with race in contrast.

Pew Hispanic Center
    2006 Fact Sheet: Cubans in the United States. Electronic document,, accessed October 5, 2009

This report, commissioned by the PewHispanic Center, not only provides demographic data but also historical background and a list of references for further study. It draws conclusions of Cuban integration into American Society through polling data compiled by the American Community Survey of 2004. It's hard data is indispensable for understanding Cuban migrant assimilation in United States society. 

Portes, Alejandro

    1969 Dilemmas of a Golden Exile: Integration of Cuban Refugee Families in Milwaukee.  American Sociological Review, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Aug), pp.         505-518. Published by: American Sociological Association

Although this is not a recent article, this study presents a useful overview of the background of Cuban refugees and examines their integration as a fundamental shift from strong psychological attachments to the past to values and identities congruent with the new environment. Among 48 refugee families in Milwaukee, it was found that integration is strongly influenced by relative level of present socioeconomic rewards.  Even though it focuses on Milwaukee, the observations made in this study may be similar to those in the Twin Cities due to similarity of the places.

Portes, Alejandro, Robert L. Bach
1985 Latin journey: Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States. Berkeley, University of California Press, 387 p. 

This in-depth study of the migration process is primarily concerned with recent Cuban and Mexican immigration into the United States. A theoretical overview of labor migration and a historical survey of immigration to the United States from 1890 to 1979 are first presented. In this section, pages 84-90 provide a good overview of the history of Cuban immigration into the US and help understand some of the economic and political factors that created refugees. In the rest of the book, the political and socioeconomic circumstances confronting the Mexicans and the Cubans in their home countries prior to migration are contrasted and information is presented concerning place of residence, social adaptation, labor market participation, and income for the two immigrant groups. Particular attention is given to the Cuban enclave in Miami, the economic and occupational mobility of Mexican immigrants, immigrants' perceptions of the United States, and the social relationships of immigrants; thus, there is no specific link to the Twin Cities. However, the book provides some useful background information and a summary of the theoretical and practical implications of the major trends observed in this study. It also provides a thorough take on challenges to integration over the six-year period during which interviews were conducted.

Smith, Wayne S.
         1996 Cuba's Long Reform. Foreign Affairs 75(2):99-112.

This article is very useful because the author is not only a professor specializing in Latin American Studies, but has also spent a considerable amount of time in Cuba. The article provides a very insightful historical perspective in to the politics of Cuba. It rejects the idea that Cuba must fall into one of the various types of fates that have come about in other communist nations, thereby providing for a new type of analysis that is based more in the specific context of Cuba. However, the article gives a very top-down analysis, focusing primarily on government reforms and not the Cuban peoples' responses. Thus, there is little to no mention of Cubans who might agree or disagree– let alone people who decide to seek asylum in the U.S.

Suchlicki, Jaime
        1997 Cuba : From Columbus to Castro and Beyond. Washington: Brassey's.

This book is accessible, and aimed at undergraduate students. It is useful in that it attempts to give a brief overview of all the relevant history in order to stand the current situation with Cuba. Thus, in a single book, one can read about political, cultural, and economic factors affecting the development of Cuba, especially over the last hundred years. However, the book has two main flaws. The first flaw is that it was originally published in 1974, only to be updated in 1997; though this in itself would not be a problem, the book's general argument and the majority of the text is as it was in the 70s. There are only two chapters that really update the book. The second major flaw is that the author is pretty explicitly anti-Communist, thus leading to some pretty strong political statements to be made; the overall argument is also clearly affected by this political stance.

Thomas, John F.
1967 Cuban Refugees in the United States. International Migration Review 1(2):46.

This article describes the historical foundation of current US-Cuba relations and the Cuban refugees in the United States today, by giving an overview of the first Cuban refugees migrating to the United States in the 1960s. It describes early policies of the US government toward refugees, and major political events that contributed to the patterns of migration, but does not discuss the demographics or culture of the refugees.

U.S. Department of State Website: Cuba
8 Background Note: Cuba. Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Electronic document,,                       accessed on September 28, 2009.

This website is very useful for all types of statistics on Cuba, including economic and political statistics, crime statistics, etc. It even has sections regarding Cuban religion, history, and government. However, the website is authored by a political entity which is opposed to Cuba. References to restrictions on human freedom is frequent, and thus the website is clearly politically biased.

Wasem, Ruth Ellen
2009 Cuban Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends. R40566

This report summarizes US policy towards Cuban migration, federal assistance toward Cuban migrants, current challenges and issues, and provides an analysis of migration patterns and trends. The report gives a comprehensive overview of the major policy points and migration trends, and is quite readable. It gives very limited attention to factors causing emigration from Cuba, or changes in Cuban politics.

Zeager, L. A.
2005 Strategic Interaction in the 1994 and Earlier Cuban Refugee Crises. International Interactions 31(4):327-348.

This article is mostly useful in its dealings with immigration policies from Cuba and emigration policies to the United States historically. The mathematical models used are fairly difficult to follow, but the comparison between policies throughout the ages, especially as discussed in the conclusion, is useful to understanding the evolution of United States-Cuba relations.