The first Puerto Rican citizens moved to New York in the mid-19th century when Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. Moving to the United States was considered immigration. In 1917, the Jones Shafroth Act was approved by the United States Congress giving Puerto Rican U.S. citizenship. Therefore, Puerto Ricans could now migrate into the United States without the need for a passport. The Great Migration happened due to an economic recession worldwide that was also felt in Puerto Rico, thus people fled the island in search of jobs. With the outbreak of the Second World War, more Puerto Ricans moved to the United States and men were taken into the military, as it provided a steady source of income. Both men and women were employed in factories in the United States. Puerto Ricans moved to New York in search of a better life than what they could get from the island (Daniel, 23). After the end of the World War II, migration of Puerto Ricans into the United States exploded and by the mid-60s, more than a million Puerto Ricans had migrated into New York City. Cubans on the other hand started migrating into New Orleans by the end of the 19th century, making New Orleans popular for jazz music. When census was conducted in 1910, the number of Cubans in the U.S. was officially over 15,000. This number continued increasing over the years due to birth and more immigration. After Fidel Castro came into power, around 215,000 Cubans migrated into the U.S. Cuba relied upon the Soviet Union for trade so when trade between the two countries was suspended, Cuba suffered rationing in food, gasoline and electricity, making many Cubans flee their homeland. This paper discusses compares the U.S. response to Puerto Rican migration to New York to policies towards Cubans around the same time

Comparing U.S. Response to Puerto Rican and Cuban Migration

Discrimination was widespread in the United States and New York was no exception thus Puerto Ricans faced the wrath of discrimination from Americans. There were even restaurants in the United States that read, “No dogs and Puerto Ricans allowed”. This shows just how despised Puerto Ricans were by Americans for them to be compared to dogs. The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party had an office in New York which attracted many Puerto Rican migrants and they began to plot an assassination plan against the then U.S. President, Harry S. Truman. This caused them to be viewed as anti-America, thus spreading the discrimination even further (Mignolo, 69). Apart from discrimination, Puerto Ricans faced economic hardships and they lived in poverty and deplorable conditions. They were referred to as drug addicts and delinquents and because of this negative view; leaders were able to get away with policies that demeaned and oppressed Puerto Ricans. Despite all this, many Puerto Ricans were able to overcome this discrimination and become respectable people in their societies. Before the approval of the Jones Shafroth Act, Puerto Ricans immigrating into the U.S. were required to have a passport but after they gained U.S. citizenship, there was no restriction whatsoever to their entry into the United States.

Cubans on the other hand fled their home due to the deteriorating economy and in 1994 when a large wave of Cubans began fleeing into the United States. However, due to the large number of refugees, the United States began limiting the number of incoming Cubans to 20,000 annually (Korrol, 122). Some 31,000 Cubans were detained in Guatemala bay and only those without criminal records were allowed in and later admitted as parolees. These parolees were viewed as important to the economy because they were educated and highly motivated. Also they seemed to fit in well in Miami with no major problems.

Coloniality of power

Coloniality of power is a theory of interrelation of the practices and legacies of European colonialism in social orders and forms of knowledge. It is a theory that describes the living legacy of colonialism in contemporary societies especially in the form of social discrimination that outlived formal colonialism and became integrated in succeeding social orders. The concept identifies the racial, social and political hierarchical orders imposed by European colonialism in Latin America that prescribed value to certain societies while disenfranchising others (Perez, 203). Quijano argues that the structure used by the colonialists for power led to a caste system where the Spaniards were ranked at the top of those whom they conquered. This was due to their distinct phenotypic traits and a culture that was believed to be inferior. The categorization led to a persistent categorical and discriminatory dissertation that was well reflected in the social and economic structure of the colony. 

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“I Like It Like That”

The film portrays a Puerto Rican couple facing marital difficulties and living in poverty. Chino is a bicycle messenger, and when he goes to jail over a petty theft, his wife Lisette finds a job as a fashion magazine assistant. By the time Chino is released, they argue about bringing up their son and the little Chino ends up involving himself in drug crime. Both Chino and his wife have been unfaithful to one another. Chino has had an affair with the neighborhood slut. It is evident that the family is poor because Chino does not have a decent job while Lisette does not contribute to the family income. They are both frustrated with life and this leads Chino to jail. Lisette goes against tradition by getting a job relatively better than her husband’s and by leaving her traditional place, that is, the home to look for income for the family (Huyte,163). We can conclude that the presence of a slut in the neighborhood shows deterioration of morals, which is against tradition and culture. Unfaithfulness between Chino and his wife is also against tradition and clearly, frustration and poverty leads them to do immoral things. It is evident that little Chino ends up in drug crime due to desertion from his parents and also due to poverty. From this film, we can see that the pressures of a new society are taking a toll on this family and the family is affected by the life in the new society as it is hard for them to fit in and live hassle free. Chino was hopeless, that is, he had surrendered to fate of poverty and went ahead to steal thus ending up in jail, while on the other hand, Lisette was more optimistic and hopeful as she saw the loss of her husband’s income as an opportunity to live her dream of becoming a print model.

How the Project of Socialism is Being Challenged in Cuba

Socialism is a term used to refer to a situation where property is held communally and not individually and relationships are ruled by a political hierarchy. Tourism in Cuba provides a steady source of foreign exchange. Fidel Castro always emphasized the evils of capitalism, therefore he was for a socialist society (Erikson, 134). Cuba is a country whereby socialism is trying to hold its ground in the midst of worldwide social change which has been impacting on Cuba. A portion of Cuba’s population is employed in the tourism sector and is earning high incomes. They have become modernized in that they are engaged in activities integrated into global production networks. This is slowly changing the face of socialism in Cuba. Tourism also exposes Cuba to foreigners who sometimes invest in Cuba and settle, thus slowly changing the ways of Cubans (Perez, 96). According to L. Kaifa, tourism recreated the racial apartheid that had weighed down pre-revolutionary Cuba. Tourism also emphasized how the state’s insistence on socialism in face of its increased reliance on capitalist tools does not agree with the daily struggles of the people of Cuba.


As discussed above, it is clear that the migration of the Puerto Ricans was influenced by the emanation of economic recession in 1917 which forced people to move to the island in search of jobs and a better life. It was also fueled by the outbreak of the Second World War and later on in the 1960s the Cubans also moved in and grew in numbers especially when Fidel Castro came into power. It is clear that the Puerto Ricans were discriminated in US and this is indicated by the restaurants that read, “No dogs and Puerto Ricans allowed.” They were also referred to as drug addicts and delinquents and due to this negative view; leaders were able to get away with policies that demeaned and oppressed Puerto Ricans. On the other hand, Cubans were viewed as important to the economy because they were educated. Also they seemed to fit in well in Miami with no major problems.

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