Youth in Revolt? Generational Change Among Cuban Americans in Miami
Champion, Sarah H.
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The ideological battle fought between the United States and Cuba has been centrally located in Miami, Florida. The ninety miles of ocean separating the two nations serves as a type of no-mans land, the hypothetical battlefield separating Cuban-Americans from their homeland and families across the Florida straits. For decades, the Miami Cuban community was seen as possessing a single identity, one of vehement anti-Castro sentiment and an ever-present desire to return to the homeland of their memories and past. However, recent literature has suggested that fissures are becoming more apparent in the façade of absolute unity. The break in ideological singularity has emerged along generational lines, invoking Karl Mannheim’s pioneering work on the sociological analysis of generations. This paper attempts to decipher the extent to which a Mannheimian generation is emerging among the youth of the Cuban-American population in Miami Florida. Using discourse analysis an analysis of print news media conducted on 16 articles from the Miami Herald and 11 articles from the New York Times was undertaken to gain an understanding of the coverage of two major events seen to have an impact on young Cubans in both Miami and Cuba (Juanes’ concert for peace and the Elian Gonzalez case). This analysis shed light on the extent to which an older generation of Cuban-Americans maintains control of resources. As expected, the Miami Herald was far more likely to espouse ideology supportive of the exile ideology. It became clear that generational ruptures were recognized only when they did not conflict with the traditional rhetoric of anti-Castroism and discourse of regime change in Cuba. Without this type of space for vocalizing dissent, it is difficult for a counter-movement along generational lines to form. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that the exile ideology maintains control over what is considered permissible dialogue in traditional media outlets such as the Miami Herald, pointing to the conclusion that not all voices and opinions are recognized within the Cuban-American community in Miami.