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t ' u t a n ue bue








Miami, you're so good For my parents, who raised me 100% Miami.



Que buena tu 'ta Latin Culture in Miami

Compiled & Designed by Vivian Jauregui



CONTENTS Foreword ..................................................9 Taking Over ............................................11 By the Numbers Reasons for Immigration Places .......................................................21 Little Havana Moving Up & Out Little Managua Celebrations & Traditions................35 Holidays Santería Carnaval Miami Quinceañera Food .........................................................55 Cuban Nicaraguan South American Miami Speak .........................................67 What Did You Say? ¡¿De Que Me Hablas?! Afterword ...............................................76 References .............................................78 Acknowledgements ............................81



FOREWORD Miami is unlike any city in the United States. It is a unique entity that vibrates with culture and color. Exploring Miami’s culture means discovering a mixture of elements that combine to create the picture that makes up the city. Its population is a blend of South Americans, Central Americans, and Cubans, along with a strong Jewish community and an all-American component, which hosts all these cultures. Experiencing the city, with all these diverse cultures, can prove fascinating. This book is here to explore the Latin influence on the city—the thousands of Latin American immigrants who have grown to call Miami home. Although each wave of Latinos is different from the next and holds its own story, they come together to form the essence of Miami or, in Spanish, “\'mē\•\'yea\•\'mē\.” Their influence is greatly felt in all aspects of life in Miami— from the food to the slang on the streets. Enjoy this look into what makes Latin Miami tick. Take the information contained within these pages, however, with a grain of salt. Just as Latinos are feisty with their humor, this book simultaneously pokes loving fun at Miami while providing a serious look at Latino contributions to the city.


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Cuban Airlines advertisement from the Griffin Guide to Greater Miami, dating 1956.

Introduction For decades, Miami has attracted visitors. Lured by the warmth of the sun and the promise of a better day, they arrived from many places, forged a new way of living in this paradise and left their mark. Today, Latino culture permeates almost all aspects of life in Miami. From the music heard on the streets to the food found in restaurants, there is a reason why many refer to it as the “capital of Latin America.” In the last fifty years alone hundreds of thousands of immigrants have poured into Miami, making it one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States. Seventy percent of the population is classified as Latino, and although Cubans make up the bulk of that group, there are more than seven hundred ninety-five thousand non-Cuban Latinos from Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. This tremendous amount of immigration contributes to Miami’s image as a mecca of cultural diversity and its status as an international city. The mix of cultures, multilingualism, and diversity make Miami unlike any other city in the U.S. An outsider visiting may even find many aspects of the city peculiar; those expecting to find Americana in all its glory will be disappointed. Miami is a place where you could quite happily get by without speaking a word of English. This book is here to investigate those idiosyncrasies that make Miami “\'mē\•\'yea\•\'mē\.”

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Percent of Miami is Latino











CITY of MIAMI 2010

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95% 5%

Latinos Living in Miami-Dade County (2000) Cuban 50.4% Spaniard & Others 15.7% South American 11.9% Central American 10%

Puerto Rican 6.2% Mexican American 2.9% Dominican American 2.8%

Percent of Latinos in Other U.S. Cities
















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Reasons for


Freedom Flight, 1966.

Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, July 19, 1979.

CUBANS Latinos came to Miami for different reasons, but most share the common theme of exile. By far the largest number of Cubans (approximately threequarters of a million) emigrated after January 1959, when Fidel Castro’s July 26th Movement in 1958 overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista. The majority of Cubans who arrived after 1959 came during three distinct periods: immediately after the revolution, from 1959 to 1962; during the “freedom flights” of 1965 to 1973; and during the “Mariel boatlift” of 1980. As with most revolutions, the first people to leave Cuba were those of the middle and upper classes because they were the first to be affected. With each wave, however, the immigrants became more representative of Cuban society, not just in socioeconomic status but also in race, ethnicity, and geographic distribution. Over half of the Cubans settled in South Florida, especially in Miami. Miami is close to Cuba, with the same climate, and the area was also attractive because it was already home to a small population of Cubans who had emigrated in previous decades. The new Cuban émigrés perceived themselves as exiles, not as immigrants. They did not want to begin life anew as norteamericanos (North Americans). Rather, they hoped to return to their homeland once a more tolerable government replaced Fidel Castro’s. Because of the long history of the U.S. involvement in Cuban affairs, many believed it was only a matter of time before Castro fell. The U.S. government drafted new immigration laws to accommodate them and devised the Cuban Refugee Program, the most comprehensive refugee assistance program in America's immigration history, to welcome them. NICARAGUANS The main reasons for Nicaraguan immigration were to escape armed conflict, communism, and poverty. Up until 1956, General Anastasio Somoza Garcia had established a dictatorship over the

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country. Somoza’s rule lasted until he was killed in 1956. After his death, the Somoza family controlled the Nicaraguan government directly or with the assistance of close family friends until 1979. By then, many Nicaraguans were frustrated with the almost forty year dictatorship of the family. In 1979 a group of revolutionaries called the Sandinistas created an uprising and eventually a revolution. On July 19, 1979, the Sandinista Popular Liberation Front (FSLN) assumed power, initiating a literacy campaign, a mixed economy, and political pluralism. The Sandinistas made many promises to the Nicaraguan people, including closing the divide in wealth between the upper class and the poor. Initially, many hoped that the Sandinistas would do good, but the revolutionaries true motivations quickly became apparent. The regime began to confiscate the homes and property of the wealthy. In the end, they did not redistribute the wealth amongst the lower class as promised, but instead kept it for themselves. To avoid this situation many wealthy families left the country. By the 1980s, the

Rafters in the Florida Straits, 1994. Thousands of Cubans set off for the States in small vessels, poorly crafted rafts, and even inner tubes. 17 |

Sandinista restructuring had also caused many property and industry owners to leave. This wave of refugees was the largest wave of documented Nicaraguan immigrants to the United States. Over 62 percent of the total documented immigration from 1979 to 1988 occurred after 1984. Another motive for emigration during the 1980s was the Contra war. From 1981 to 1987, Contra guerrillas financed by the U.S. fought to overthrow the Sandinistas. Sandinista President Daniel Ortega signed a treaty with the Contras in August of 1987, ending the war. The last wave of Nicaraguan immigrants included young men avoiding the military draft and poorer families escaping the deplorable economic conditions and violence. Hugo ChavĂŠz follows the ideology of Bolivarianism, a form socialism.

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VENEZUELANS Originally, many Venezuelans immigrated to the United States and Miami for schooling. These students often decided to remain in the states after graduation. After getting settled, they were frequently joined by their relatives. Since the early 1980s, the opportunity to earn higher salaries in Miami and the economic fluctuations in Venezuela have attracted increasing numbers of Venezuelan professionals to the city. Recently, however, the Venezuelans have been immigrating to Miami to escape political turmoil. In 1999 Hugo ChavĂŠz became the president of Venezuela. Following his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and purporting "Socialism for the 21st Century," he has focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution. An opposition movement attempted to remove him from power both through an unsuccessful military coup in 2002 and a recall referendum in 2003, believing that he was eroding representative democracy. He was again elected into power in 2006, following which he founded a new political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), in 2007. Fearing that Venezuela would fall into a socialist dictatorship like Cuba,

many Venezuelans have sought refuge in Miami. The surge of Venezuelans is an example of how the political and social realities of Latin America are immediately reflected on the streets of South Florida—a dynamic that has come to define this region in the past half century. OTHERS After the late 1970s, many Colombians, Puerto Ricans, Argentineans, Dominicans, and Peruvians chose to settle in Miami, which they found attractive for its climate, growing economy, and tradition of tolerance dating from the establishment of a Cuban community there. Initially, many Latinos took up residence in Little Havana, Miami’s largest Cuban neighborhood, and many engaged in business related to the brisk trade between Miami and Latin America. A few others worked in factories or as domestic servants. Miami later became a haven for wealthy Latinos, who moved to the city to receive medical care, send their children to school, and/or to escape from social, economic, and political turmoil in their home countries. By the late 1980s Latin Americans from many different countries other than Cuba could be easily found in the streets of Miami.

Miami Beach, 1970s. 19 |

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Multicultural mural project on Calle Ocho, Little Havana, 2011. | 22

little havana Little Havana is the Cuban capital of Miami, and the street commonly known as Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street) is the place to go and soak up some Cuban culture, drink some strong coffee, and watch the elderly Cubans play dominoes and puff on freshlymade cigars. The area does now have a McDonald’s and several other fast-food establishments that slightly dilute the authenticity of the place, but this is as Cuban as it gets in Miami. Here the Cubans are living the American dream.

Close to Downtown Miami, Little Havana, formerly known as Riverside, became home to Cuban refugees in the 1960s. When they arrived in Miami, most of the early Cuban exiles found housing in Riverside, which was a fading-class neighborhood through which Southwest 8th Street stretched some twenty or so blocks west from the Miami River separating it from downtown. So many of the exiles moved into Riverside that newspapers dubbed it “Little Havana,” and the name stuck. As Miami expanded, the neighborhood’s original Anglo and Jewish residents moved to the suburbs, making affordable housing in Little Havana available for the Cubans who soon created a complete infrastructure.

Republic National, the first bank owned by Cuban Americans, was sold mid1999 to Union Planters' Bank. On the ground floor is Chantres Cleaners, a clone of a business by the same name in Havana. Little Havana, 1999.

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CALLE OCHO Southwest 8th Street is the heart of Little Havana and home of the world’s largest street festival every March. For the hundreds of thousands of Cubans that came to Miami and first settled in this area, Calle Ocho became a sort of “Plymouth Rock” landmark for the new arrivals. By 1962, more than 28 businesses between SW 5th and 15th Avenues had already switched ownership from Anglo to Cuban. By 1966 the Cuban transformation was, for the most part, complete. From this Little Havana launching pad, Miami’s Cubans not only transformed a neighborhood—they transformed an entire city.

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The Tower Theater constructed in 1926 was considered the finest state-of-theart theater in the South. When Cuban refugees came to Miami, the films played by the theater were considered an introduction to American Culture. Today, Miami-Dade College uses the theater for cultural affairs, lectures, and films. Little Havana, 2010.

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Since nearly all the professionals and entrepreneurs left Cuba around the same time, once in Miami, they quickly rebuilt many of the old informal networks and businesses they had in Cuba. Most Cubans chose to start their own businesses rather than seek their fortunes in the “Anglo” business community. Miami, a tourist city in the doldrums, offered ample opportunities. The recession of the early 1970s created opportunities for Cuban exile businesses— their large Anglo rivals reacted to the slow economy in traditional ways by downsizing, while the more scrappy Cuban enterprises filled the vacuum. In 1967, Cuban-owned businesses numbered 919. By 1978, their number had jumped to ten times as many. Little Havana sprouted not only repair shops and other small businesses but offices of accountants, physicians, and dentists who catered to their fellow Cubans, Generously scattered throughout were the dozens of Cuban restaurants and coffee counters and almacenes (grocery stores) that gave Little Havana the distinctive flavor it retains today.

Old-style barber shop, Little Havana, 1999.

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Like all new immigrants, the Cubans cherished their own culture and history. Many Miami businesses and restaurants claimed they opened their doors not only before the Castro regime appeared, but well before the city of Miami was founded. The claim, of course, is technically true since they trace their founding to their originals that opened in Cuba in earlier decades. Presently, cigar factories, with their unique aroma, dot the area with skilled workers making the handmade premium “puros.” Supermarkets, fruit stands, and bodegas (neighborhood markets) offer products from all over the Latino world. Flower shops mix with botánicas to offer Afro-Cuban Santeria religious items. Of course there is music, with stores and restaurants blaring the sounds of Cuban music from the oldiegoodies to Gloria Estefan. Books and magazines from the classics to Popular Mechanics are available in Spanish area bookstores.

Gilbert Arriaza decorates a cake in hi first bakery, 1976. This family-owned bakery has locations all over Miami.

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Named for Dominican-born General Maximo Gomez, who was chief of the Cuban Liberation Army during the wars of independence against Spain, this mini-park is crowded with retirees playing the ever-popular game of dominoes. It is definitely worth going to watch these guys seriously fight it out. They sip on their insanely strong coffee, puff on seriously long cigars, and play some advanced dominoes and chess. The signs in Spanish will tell you that no spitting or swearing is allowed in the park, so check whether you like the Cuban coffee you bought down the street before you walk in.

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CORAL GABLES The most well-to-do Cuban Americans moved out to more fashionable neighborhoods such as Coral Gables, which had been founded in the 1920s to exclude certain minorities such as Jews and Latinos. There, large homes were set on beautifully landscaped grounds, many on canals or facing Biscayne Bay. | 30

Home off Bird Road, in Coral Gables, 1999, has the Cuban coat of arms over the front door.

Moving Up & out HIALEAH & MORE A number of early exiles eventually left Little Havana, moving north and west into North Dade's Hialeah. The first Cuban grocery there—Coqui's— opened during the late 1960s at 12th Avenue and West 49th Street. Coqui's sold beans, rice, and Cuban cuts of meat. The butcher let those who could not pay buy meat on account. The market became the hub of the Cuban community—mothers with their children shopped there every Saturday afternoon for staples for the coming week. Everyone talked ardently about their old lives in Cuba, where they lived, and what they would do upon returning.

Hialeah Entrance.

Today, Hialeah is still highly concentrated with Cubans. The city is 95% Latino, and now includes immigrants from all over Latin America. Considered a middle-class suburb of Miami, Hialeah is known for having deep discount stores catering to the Latino population. One such store is appropriately titled, "Ñooo! ¡Que Barato!" which translates to "Shittt! How Cheap!" After 1980, when working-class Cubans began to arrive, many chose to settle in Hialeah, where housing cost less than Little Havana. As they moved in, families enjoying moderate economic success renovated and added on to their first homes or moved to such middle-class suburbs as Westchester, Kendall, and Miami Springs. The more economically successful flocked to the handsome, high-density real estate developments with Spanish names in West Kendall and beyond Westchester to West Miami.

Discount store in Hialeah, 1999.

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Shopping center named Managua after the capital of Nicaragua, Sweetwater, 2003.

Today, history repeats itself as Cuban Americas live in every neighborhood of South Florida, and other immigrants from throughout Latin America have moved into Little Havana and added to its flavor. As one of the largest exile groups in Miami, the Nicaraguans have had an impact in transforming Little Havana. Since the mid-1990s, Little Havana has been increasingly transformed into "Little Managua," as civil wars in Central America drive thousands of immigrants and refugees to Miami. Their influence can be seen in the numerous fritangas (Nicaraguan cafeterias) that dot the streets of Little Havana. Some of these fritangas cater to both Nicaraguan and Cuban clientele, like the Cafeteria Santa Bárbara, which proudly has “Fritanga Nica y Cubana” painted on its exterior.

Sweetwater is also locally known as "Little Managua" after Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. Although the area of "Little Havana" in Miami is also colloquially called "Little Managua,” the Nicaraguan’s impact is felt elsewhere in the state. The largest concentration of Nicaraguan Americans in the U.S.—about 79,559—is in Sweetwater, a city just outside of Miami. Sweetwater, therefore, is also referred to as "Little Managua."

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The Santa Bรกrbara fritanga caters to its new, mostly Nicaraguan, clientele along with its Cuban customers, Little Havana or "Little Managua", 1999. 33 |

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holidays NOCHE BUENA How do you know it’s Christmas in Miami? The weather certainly won’t help you, but coming home to a large slaughtered pig sitting on your kitchen counter probably will. Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) is a more significant celebration for Latinos then actual Christmas Day. This celebration isn’t limited to any specific religion. It is celebrated with equal verve by Catholic, secular, and other non-Catholic Latinos. For most Latin cultures, Noche Buena is a time to reunite with your extended family and friends and dig into some delicious food. Christmas tree and gifts at a home in Coral Gables.

Every year, on the 24th, the sky in Miami is filled with smoke from countless backyard barbecues. This is not just any smoke: it's the aroma of lechón asado, pork that has been soaked in a garlicky marinade, wrapped in banana leaves and pit roasted. The Cuban version of Noche Buena dinner centers around this lechón (pig roast). The lechón is often cooked in a “Caja China,” a large box where an entire pig is placed above hot coals. Almost every part of the pig is eaten including the skin, which once cooked is called chicharrón (pork rinds, the roasted skin of the lechón). If you are vegetarian, you are going to have to pack your own dinner, because even the side dishes are meaty. The moros (black beans and rice cooked together) have tocino (bacon), the yucca's main ingredient is pork fat, and the tostones (flattened fried green plantains) are fried in the same oil as the chicharrón. Side dishes include yucca con mojo, and rice and black beans. In contrast, Nicaraguan’s typical dinner includes a rice similar to Paella, gallina rellena (stuffed hen), nacatamal, and freshly baked bread. Many Latin cultures celebrate Noche Buena by going to a midnight mass before their large family dinner. This mass is called the Misa del Gallo

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("Rooster's Mass," midnight mass). Today, however, it is not uncommon for some families to have their dinner before the midnight mass. Finally, at some point in the night—if you are celebrating with Cubans—you’ll be asked: “Quieres jugar domino?” Translated this means, “Do you want to play dominoes?” Be prepared, though, if you’re partnered up with anyone over the age of 40, you'll be in for a serious game of dominoes where even your best skills will be challenged.

Miamians are not offended by the sight of a freshly slaughtered pig slow-roasting in their backyard. In fact, they’re rather fond of it.

The Three Kings, named Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar, participate at the annual Three Kings Parade on Calle Ocho in Little Havana.

DÍA DE LOS REYES MAGOS While Christmas Day is important in most of the US, in Latin America, it’s Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), that gets top billing. Celebrated on January 6th, the day commemorates the biblical story of the three kings who followed the star of Bethlehem to bring gifts to baby Jesus. Although most Latin families in Miami now exchange gifts on Christmas Day, traditionally families gave gifts on Three Kings Day. Miami puts on a festival and parade known as The Three Kings’ Day Parade and Festival. The event was created to keep the tradition of celebrating the holiday alive for Latin children who live in the city. Put on by Univision Radio, it is one the top five Latin events in the country with attendance exceeding 500,000.

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Inside the Botรกnica La Negra Francisca on Calle Ocho, Little Havana, 2011. | 40

santeria If you have ever wondered why someone is dressed head-to-toe in white in Miami, chances are you have encountered your first santero (a priest of Santería). Santería is an Afro-Cuban religion that became widespread in Miami after the Mariel Boatlift. What began as the orisha (deity) worship as practiced by the Yoruba-speaking peoples from West African was transformed as it combined with Catholicism in Cuba. It was in this social context that Santería emerged, as Yoruba orishas came to be associated with Catholic santos (saints). The santeros are seen as the mouthpieces of the orishas, and as the instructors of the mysteries of Santería. According to the beliefs of Santería, each person is born under a particular guardian saint that must be worshiped throughout life. The guardian saint is central to all rites and magic performed in Santería. Botánicas ("Botany" retail stores) supply statues, plant extracts, seeds, leaves, food, and all the paraphernalia for Santería practitioners. Santeros are accomplished herbalists, as herbs and flowers are frequently used in their magical rituals. SACRIFICE The subject that has caused the most negative publicity about the religion is animal sacrifice. Most formal Santería rituals require the use of sacrificial birds and animals. Each of the saints is "fed" his or her favorite food or sacrifice. The blood of roosters, turtles and goats is the most common offering. While it is true that on occasion animals are sacrificed in a ceremony, they are usually eaten by the santeros afterward (although it is not uncommon to find a dead chicken mysteriously left on the side of the road in Miami.) Even though Santería originated in West Africa and was brought to the New World by slaves, in recent decades Cubans of all social classes have been attracted to it, meaning that if you stay in Miami long enough, you will eventually somehow encounter the religion.

Perfumes and oils sold to bring certain blessings or curses upon a person.

Animal sacrifice and altar.

Altar to the orisha, Elegua.

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powerful perfumes

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CASTING SPELLS Perfumes sold at the Botรกnica La Negra Francisca on Calle Ocho. These perfumes are thought by santeros to bring special blessings upon the person who wears them. According to the owner of the botรกnica, however, the catch is that the wearer "must believe in them in order for them to work." On some of the bottles, though, the purpose of the perfume is slightly mistranslated. For example, Abre Camino translates more exactly to "Opens Doors" than the literal "Road Opener." 43 |

Carnaval Miami

Women wear their home countries flags on their shorts while walking along the street during the Calle Ocho Festival.

One week each March, Miami puts on an enormous street festival celebrating Latin heritage. Calle Ocho becomes the scene of Carnaval Miami. Here you will find over a million spectators gathered to celebrate the city’s largest annual party. So, what goes on at the Carnaval Miami? What doesn’t! One of the most interesting traditional events is the Baptist Health Domino Tournament, in Domino Park, which features some intense competition as Miami’s domino giants compete for cash prizes. Other big events include the 8K Run, the Carnaval Miami Golf Classic, and the grad finale to the week, the Calle Ocho Festival. CALLE OCHO FESTIVAL The big block party, El Festival de la Ocho, (Calle Ocho Festival) is on Sunday. The festival closes off 24 blocks of SW 8th Street to host dancing, food, drink, and 30 stages of live entertainment. This makes Calle Ocho the nation’s largest Hispanic festival, and something every Miamian should experience at least once. Be sure to go decked out, wearing the colors of your madre patria (mother country). Oh and, girls, the trend at this festival seems to be the less clothes the better—so, grab your booty shorts and a bikini top and you are ready to go. Be prepared to come face-to-face with some of Miami’s finest chongas and chongos (see pages 75) . The Calle Ocho Festival is definitely the place to be if you want to do some serious people watching. The festival is billed as the largest Hispanic festival in the nation with reports saying that more than one million partiers attend every year. The sound of salsa music and the smell of sizzling street food are simply inescapable. Each year hundreds of food vendors line the streets, grilling meat skewers called pinchos and sweet corn and mozzarella arepas as thousands dance and move to the beats played by trumpets and maracas.

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Professional quince photos taken at Coral Gables Entrance Park.

In Miami, it is popular among Latin American families to celebrate their daughter’s fifteenth birthday. Think "wedding meets a sweet sixteen and a debutante ball" and you've got a quinceañera. The Fiesta de Quince Años (fifteen's party) is often so lavish that many families go in debt to put one on. Traditionally the quince, (fifteens) like the U.S. debut, announced not only the maturing of a daughter but the social importance of a family. But quinceañera customs have changed. Celebrations once limited to the Cuban community are now announced with photographs in the English language press. Quinceañera traditions vary from culture to culture: the way Cubans celebrate is very different from Nicaraguans—certain communities may choose to emphasize different quince traditions than others. HOW IS THIS NOT A WEDDING? The only thing preventing some quinces from being on the same level as a wedding is simply that there is no groom. The quinceañera, who most often wears a princess-cut dress, will commonly shop for her dress in wedding boutiques that also carry quinceañera dresses. Quince cakes are basically wedding cakes without the toppers, and the parties are often held in the ballrooms of top hotels in Miami.

Quince cakes can be as elaborate as wedding cakes.

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WHAT TO EXPECT Traditionally the quince party involves a dance from a quince court. The quince court is made up of seven boys, chambelanes, and seven girls, damas. The vals (the waltz) is the traditional dance performed by the quinceañera and her court, usually at the beginning of the party. Though these days the waltz is likely to include more modern dance moves, elements of the traditional waltz are usually kept in place for these elaborately choreographed dances. Other modern songs are also danced to at this time. Often during the presentation of the quince girl, her court, family, and padrinos (god parents) will present her with a scepter. Along with a tiara, it undoubtedly marks her as queen for the day.

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MODERN CUSTOMS Today, quinceañeras in Miami have developed different customs from those that would have been practiced traditionally. It is customary for girls to have professional quinceañera photographs taken in their quince dresses and tiaras. These photos are often taken at Coral Gables Entrance Park or in a studio. Recently, informal photos in beachwear have also become common. It is not uncommon to see a quinceañera out on South Beach taking sexy photographs to be shown on a slide show at the party. Quince gifts have also become more and more lavish, from Mercedes Benz’s for girls who don’t have their permits yet, to trips to Las Vegas. A new take on the traditional quince is opting to go on a quince cruise instead. These week-long cruises include a ball and entrance ceremony for the quinceañera, her family, and guests. Cruises travel to different locations around the Caribbean. 49 |

quince productions LAVISH SETS AND PARTIES Today quinceañeras are full-scale party productions. Many girls choose to revolve their party around a certain theme that is carried out from their gown, to the decorations, to even sets at the party. In the photos shown here, the Phantom of the Opera was chosen as the quinceañera's theme. The theme was carried out in all aspects of the party—the quinceañera is dressed as Christine and has two court members as the characters of Raoul and the Phantom. The quince court even put on the Masquerade scene of the movie during their dance. The stage behind the court is a replica of the opera house featured during this scene of the movie.

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Phantom of The Opera themed quince at The Signature Gardens, Miami, 2009.

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quince stages

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QUINCE DRESSES AND STAGES Although traditional Cuban quince gowns are usually white, recently girls are opting for more vibrant colors that match their themes. The following images are photos of quincea単eras at their parties in Miami. They exhibit some of the vary elaborate stages and sets created for these parties. 53 |

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cuban The incorporation of Cubans into U.S. society was eased by the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which granted them automatic permanent residence status, unemployment benefits, and free medical care. Their considerable economic and political power distinguishes Cubans from other Latinos.

Luis Fernández sips on Cuban coffee at Cafetería El Fénix, 1987.


Unlike Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos, they had enough resources to reproduce the whole range of their food culture from popular food to the most refined. Outside Miami city limits small farmers harvested fruits and vegetables necessary for Cuban cuisine like yucca, calabaza (Caribbean pumpkin), carambola (star fruit), malanga (underground stem of a plant of the genus Xanthosoma), and boniato (sweet potato). Cantinas became a successful business of home delivery food services by subscription. They brought hot Cuban meals like roast pork, boliche (beef stuffed with chorizo sausage), and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) every evening to homes throughout the city, allowing women to work and still have traditional family meals at home. Menus of Cuban restaurants and cafeterias in Miami today might include café con leche (Cuban coffee with milk), cafecito (Cuban espresso), or a cortadito (Cuban espresso with a small amount milk); sandwiches made on toasted buttered Cuban bread (lighter and more airy than its French counterpart) with ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickles; fritas (spicy thin hamburgers with onions); Cuban-style rice and black beans; cream cheese and guava pastries; and tropical fruit shakes. Once considered exotic, Cuban food today is a staple for Miamians of every background.

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RESTAURANTS Dozens of restaurants and cafeterias that flourished in Cuba have Miami siblings. The exiles brought with them the names–and in many cases the appearance–of La Carreta, Ayestarán Cafeteria, Da Rosina, El Patio, Café Barcelona, Río Cristal, El Baturro, Kasalta, Emperador, El Caney, La Pelota, La Rampa, La Rosa, La Bodeguita Cubana, La Terraza de Cojímar, Morro Castle, Rancho Luna, Coppelia, among many others. BRANDS Another echo of the old life on the island comes from the famous Cuban brands available everywhere in Miami—none of which any longer exist in Cuba. They include Hatuey, La Tropical, Cristal, Polar (beers and malts); Cawy, Ironbeer, Jupiña, and Materva (soft drinks); Conchita (desserts); La Estrella and Gilda (crackers); Edmundo cooking oil and dry wine; Pilón, Bustelo, and La Llave coffee; and Nela, La Lechera, and Batey condensed milk. Other brands, invented in Miami, are strongly Cuban in flavor: Batey, Siboney, and Yarima malts; La Cubanita preserves; and La Estrella Solitaria, Cacique, and Del Campo cheeses. The Bacardi family brought with them from Cuba their well-known name, their formulas for making rum, and their registered trademark.

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One of the most famous Cuban restaurants in Miami is Versailles. A story widely circulated among the city’s non-Cubans is that Versailles restaurant on Calle Ocho was rebuilt in Miami with the same blueprints by which it had been constructed in Havana, and that regulars were served by the same waitresses they knew from Cuba. The problem with this story is that the original Versailles was in Santiago de Cuba, at the opposite end of the island from Havana. But the menu resembles those of many popular Cuban restaurants of the 1950s, and the restaurant’s first waitresses may well have worked for restaurants serving Cuba’s middle class before the revolution.

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pastelitos MAKING SENSE OF PASTELITOS Cuban pastelitos are filled puff pastries coated with sugar syrup at the end of baking. Now, say you're at a party that has a tray filled with Cuban pastelitos and you need to know which to pick. Each shape represents a different flavor, much like Russell Stover chocolates sansguide. Round ones are typically meat, squares are guava, triangles are guava and cheese (cream cheese sweetened filling), cylinders/tubes are cheese. There are some other varieties like coconut that can throw you for a loop but the standards rarely deviate from their designated shape.

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ROUND Pastelito de Carne Meat Pastry characteristic flaky puff pastry

TRIANGLE Pastelito de Guayaba y Queso Guava and Cheese Pastry variety of fillings

sugar coating SQUARE Pastelito de Guayaba Guava Pastry

specific wrapping & shapes

TUBE / CYLINDER Pastelito de Queso Cheese pastry

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Nacatamales are Nicaraguan tamales made of ground corn, pork or chicken, & rice wrapped in banana leaves (not eatable!). | 62

nicaraguan Nicaraguan specialties offered in restaurants in Miami include gallo pinto (rice and red beans cooked with onions and peppers), churrasco con chimichurri (flank steak with green sauce), and nacatamales, Nicaraguan tamales that are also popular in El Salvador and Honduras. Another popular dish is vigor贸n, a covered plate of banana leaf, in which cooked yucca is placed with chicharr贸n (pork rinds) and a salad of cabbage and tomato.

Tres Leches

The majority of Nicaraguan culinary dishes date back to pre-Colombian times and as a result are a mixture of interesting dishes and unusual ingredients. The varied menu that was present then and is still used today is a delicious mixture of soups, meats and sweets that reflect the mixed ancestry of the Creole people. One of the most fundamental components of Nicaraguan food is corn. It permeates all aspects of Nicaraguan cuisine and you will find it in the most unexpected places. Corn is used to make drinks such as chicha (a fermented corn drink) and pinol (a cornmeal and cacao-based drink). It is also used in the nacatamal, indio viejo (beef stew) and sopa de albondiga (meatball soup) dishes that are commonly served as a main meal. Popular sweets featuring this dynamic vegetable include atolillo (a hot maize drink) the delicious bu帽uelos with honey. Other famous desserts include tres leches (three milks dessert) and cajeta (similar to custard). Nicaraguans are also famous for eating sea turtle eggs, but you will not find those on any menu in Miami! The famous Nicaraguan restaurants in Miami are El Novillo and Los Ranchos.

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south american

Ceviche is made of raw fish, in freshly squeezed key lime or bitter orange juice, with sliced onions, chili, salt and pepper.


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PERUVIAN Peruvian cuisine is well known for its ceviches and for seafood dishes like chupe de camarones (shrimp chowder) and sopa de mariscos (seafood soup). Peruvians make use of many varieties of chiles, corn, and potatoes that are unique to the Andean region. Plates that incorporate these and other ingredients include: lomo saltado (sliced beef over a bed of fries and rice), cau cau (tripe stew), arroz chaufa (Peruvian Chinese rice), tacu-tacu (mixture of beans and rice, fried, and topped with breaded and pan-fried steak), and tiradito (Sashimi-style ceviche) among others. Peruvian restaurants are becoming increasingly more popular among Latinos in Miami. Even though the number of Peruvians is relatively small compared to Cubans in Miami, Peruvian food is so distinctive that it is making a clear mark on Latino cuisine. Well known Peruvian restaurants in the city include Salmon Salmon and Ceviche 105. When you are eating at one of these restaurants, remember to order an Inca Kola, a Peruvian soft drink that can be found in Miami, or a Pisco Sour, a Peruvian brandy combined with key lime juice, egg white, and sugar. ARGENTINIAN Argentinean immigrants came predominantly from medium and higher economic sectors mostly during the 1970s and 1980s. Although their numbers are relatively small, the Argentinean tradition of barbecuing sausages, chorizos, and many different cuts of beef, entra単as, in steakhouses called parrillas has become widespeard in the United States. Argentineans have been able to open many medium and upscale restaurants that have popularized their cuisine even among non-Latinos in Miami. Some of these restaurants include Graziano's and Novecento. Argentineans are famous for their empanadas, the ubiquitous Latin American savory turnover. Flaky or doughy, empanadas come stuffed with just about anything: spinach, cheese, mushrooms, ground beef, chicken, even seafood.

VENEZUELAN Venezuelans enjoy a cuisine with a rich regional diversity and influences ranging from Spanish and Italian all the way to African and indigenous. The people of Venezuela are meat lovers. Beef is especially popular, although fish and seafood are common because of Venezuela’s long Caribbean coastline. Arepas, small cornmeal patties, are a common snack and are grilled or baked and stuffed with all kinds of tasty fillings. This is Venezuela’s most famous dish. Venezuelan food can be found at La Coriana restaurant and El Megachuzo.

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what did you say? SPANISH? In many areas of Miami-Dade, Spanish has become the predominant language, replacing English in everyday life. According to the 2000 Census, 58.5 percent of the county's 2.5 million residents speak Spanish—and half of those say they don't speak English well. English-only speakers make up 27.2 percent of the county's residents. Anyone from Latin America could feel at home on the streets, without having to pronounce a single word in English. In stores, shopkeepers wait on their clients in Spanish. Universities offer programs for Spanish speakers. In supermarkets, banks, restaurants—even at the post office and government offices—information is given and assistance is offered in Spanish. In Miami, doctors and nurses speak Spanish with their patients and a large portion of advertising is in Spanish. Daily newspapers and radio and television stations cater to the Latino public.

A Spanish speaker from outside Miami may find that the form of Spanish spoken in Miami is difficult to understand. Many have a difficult time understanding Cuban Spanish, because of its pronunciation. The dialect of Spanish heard in Miami is famous for it's dropping of the letter 's.' For example, donde tu vas? (where are you going?) would be pronounced "don-de, tu, vah?" The syllable es- is also commonly dropped. For example, tu estas en casa? (are you at home?) is pronounced, "tu 'ta en cah-sah?" Another common deletion is the pronunciation of the letter 'd' between vowels at the end of a word. For example, the word alabado (praise be) is pronounced "a-la-bao." Another characteristic of Cuban Spanish is the use of the diminutive -ico and -ica instead of the standard -ito and -ita. But this use is restricted to words with -t in the last syllable. For example, plato (plate) is platico instead of platito while cara (face) becomes carita. | 68

SPANGLISH Spanglish refers to the blend of Spanish and English, in the speech of people who speak parts of the two languages. It is very common to hear Spanglish in Miami because so many people are fluent in both English and Spanish. There are no hard-and-fast rules to Spanglish, and it is not a formal language. There is no clear demarcation between Spanglish and simply bad Spanish or English. For example, parquear for "to park" is a clear deliberate use of Spanglish because the proper term for "to park" is estacionar. However, the use of actualmente for "actually" rather than "at present" (the true definition) is a false cognate. Spanglish does not mean half and half words—it means half and half sentences. Some examples of Spanglish are: Estaba nevando y me puse mi coat. It was snowing and I put on my coat. Oye, Carlos! Vamos pa' LIV, SoBe is going to be crazy, bro! But, tu tienes que manejar. Yo, Carlos! We're going to LIV, South Beach is going to be crazy, bro! But, you have to drive. THE /ME'/•/YEA/•/ME'/ ACCENT In Miami, a unique accent, commonly called the "Miami accent," is widely spoken. It was developed mostly by second—or third—generation Latinos whose first language was English. It is very similar to accents in the Northeast, but contains a rhythm and pronunciation heavily influenced by Spanish. Like Chicano English, however, a Miami accent is not Spanish-accented English, as many Miami residents who are not Latino, or do not speak Spanish, speak with the Miami accent as well. It is most common amongst those born and raised in Miami, and can be heard used by African Americans and Anglos, as well as by Latinos.

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what are you talking about?!






Praise Be / Oh My God / Holy Crap

Ay Dios Mio

eye dee•os me•oh

Oh My God

Ay Mi Madre

eye me mah•dray

Literally "Oh My Mother"/ Oh My God

Ay Yai Yai

eye yai yai

Oh No, No (negative situation)

Ay! / Ey! / Ui!

eye! / ey! / ou•yee!

Emotional reaction phrases




Bro / Broder

bro / bruh•der

Brother / Homey / Dude



Idiot / Asshole

Cada Loco Con Su Tema

cah•dah low•co cohn sue teh•mah

Literally, "Every Crazy Person Has Their Own Theme" / To Each His Own



Flip Flops (from the word for sandals chancletas)



Trashy ghetto Latina; wears big hoop earrings, and tight minimal clothing (see page 75)



Trashy ghetto Latino; wears baggy shirts, undershirts, and sandals with socks (see page 75)

Colita / Liga

co•lee•tah / lee•gah

Pony tail / Hair tie / Scrunchie



Literally "Shit Eater" / Bastard / Stupid

Coño / Ño!

co•nee•oh! / nee•oh!




The action of doing something / Go Ahead / Word / Awesome / Alright / Later

De Pinga

deh peen•gah

Expressing that something is very good, or very bad depending on the context

Deja La Muela

deh•ha lah mu•eh•lah

Stop Talking So Much

En El Casa Del Carajo

N ehl cah•sah dehl cah•rah•ho

Undetermined residence / In the middle of no where, or a bad neighborhood

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To fight either physically or a spat between lovers / To get upset / To be overworked



A Get Together




I’m Eating Shit

I'm eating shit

From "Comiendo Mierda" / Procrastinating / I don't know what I'm talking about



Can either be a endearing term for your mother or a cat call for a girl






Literally "Turd" / Fool / Liar






Listen! / Yo! / Hey!



Over Here



Can either be a enduring term for your father or a sleazy way to address a man






Idiot / Stupid



But (interjected in speech)







Que Bola?

keh boh•lah?

What's up?



Super Slut


seh• goo•roh

Sure /Certainly



Dirty Girl

Super Cute

suh• purr k'yute

Used in reference to everything

Tirando Flores

tee•rahn•doh floh•res

Cat calling



Majorly / Huge / "You've got nerve"

Vete Pal Carajo

veh•teh pahl cah•ra•ho Go To Hell

Ya Tu Sabes

yah two sah•beh

“Yeah, you know it!” 73 |

chongalicious ANATOMY OF A CHONGA Chongalicious is a 2007 homemade music video performed by Laura DiLorenzo and Mimi Davila, who were drama students at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Aventura, Florida. The song is a parody of Fergie's 2006 hit song "Fergalicious." It focuses on the term chonga, a slang term first coined in Miami-Dade County describing a stereotypical way of dressing and behaving among Latino girls in Hialeah, FL. The video quickly gained attention when it first appeared on YouTube, where it has had over 4.9 million views. Its popularity led local radio stations to play the song often. In the video, the Chonga Girls describe what exactly it means to be a chonga, officially making the term famous in Miami. "And I know you think its nasty when I wear my pants tight, Cuz my love handles be jigglin and it don’t look right, But I’m tryna tell, my Brazilian jeans look fine as hell..."

Cheap bling

Tight ghetto clothing

Lyrics from Chongalicious, 2007

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Mimi Davila and Laura DiLorenzo as the "Chonga Girls."

Intensely gelled hair Heavy eyeliner

Shiny skin

High arches Giant hoop earrings

Sharpie lip liner

Long acrylics

Bangles Brazilian jeans 75 |

afterword Compiling and designing this book has been an interesting journey. I never thought that I was going to learn as much as I did about Miami or my heritage. Growing up in a Cuban and Nicaraguan household, I always heard stories about my parent's history and exile but never understood the impact it had on their life in Miami. It wasn't until I moved to St. Louis that I realized how different my upbringing was. I had different traditions, customs, and ways of interacting with people (like kissing strangers on the cheek to say hello...yeah, that's a no-go in the Midwest). It was this realization that made me grow to appreciate my hometown so immensely. Go figure, in high school you couldn't have paid me to stay in Miami. Coming to understand how amazing Miami was eventually culminated in this book—my senior thesis project at Washington University in St. Louis. I hope you have enjoyed learning about my city as much as I did. It is truly one of a kind, and it will always hold a place of love and appreciation in my heart. This city made me what I am today, and for that I am always grateful.

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references TEXT Croucher, Sheila L. Imagining Miami: Ethnic Politics in a Postmodern World. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1997. Print. Froggatt, Charles. A Hedonist's Guide to Miami. London: Filmer, 2010. Print. García, María Cristina. Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 1959-1994. Berkeley: University of California, 1996. Print. "Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos - Field Centers - Miami Population." Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center. Web.

Janer, Zilkia. Latino Food Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008. Print. Levine, Robert M., and Moisés Asís. Cuban Miami. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2000. Print. "Quinceaneras: A Guide to Traditions." Party Spot. The Knot.

Rieff, David. The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. Print. Semple, Kirk. "Rise of Chávez Sends Venezuelans to Florida - New York Times." The New York Times. 23 Jan. 2008. Web.

"Traditional Nicaraguan Food." Web.

Tweed, Thomas A. Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami. New York: Oxford UP, 1997. Print. Wanshel, Elyse. "Noche Buena (Latinos' Christimas Eve) Survival Guide" The Miami New Times' Blogs. 16 Dec. 2010. Web. survival_gui.php

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IMAGES Acuña, Loly. Aimee’s Quince Portraits. LolyPix Photography. Photograph. Miami. Web.

Angel Y Marion. Quinceanera Photographs (pg.49-52). Photograph. Miami. Picasa. Web.

Baer, Ed. Miami Views 2008 - Calle Ocho. Photograph. Picasa. Web.

Brown, Bobby B. Calle Ocho 2011. 2011. Photograph. Flickr. Web.

Happy Holidays Travel. Quinceanera Photographs (pg.47-8). Photographs. Jshyun. Miami, Florida: Versailles Cuban Restaurant. Photograph. Flickr. Web. N08-72157626095495894/

Levine, Robert M., and Moisés Asís. Cuban Miami. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2000. Print. Perkins, Perry P. Whole Pickin’ Pig on La Caja China Semi-Pro. Just Another Day in Cubeville…. Photograph. Web.’-pig-on-la-cajachina-semi-pro/

Santeria. Latin American Studies. Photograph. Web.

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Acknowledgements This book would not be possible without the guidance and support of my professor Ken Botnick. Thank you for putting the idea in my head to create a book about Miami. I would also like to acknowledge the encouragement of my peers Megan Nadkarni, Laura Javier, Tracy Leibsohn, and Christine Stavridis. The many late nights in studio eventually paid off, girls. This book would not look the way it does today if it were not for our weekly MLV critiques outside of the classroom. This book is dedicated to my parents Regina Gallo, and Luis Jauregui who have always encouraged me in my artistic endeavors since such a young age. Thank you for putting up with the millions of phone calls regarding our history over the past few months. I love you both deeply and would not be who I am if it was not for both of you. I know your journeys have been hard, but I would like you to know that those hardships are greatly appreciated.

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Miami, Que Buena Tu 'Ta  

I compiled, wrote, and designed this book about Miami in an attempt to express culture through design. The imagery is heavily influenced by...