The Florida Keys are a popular vacation spot for many people, but few realize that they also have a long history of welcoming Cuban migrants. When Fidel Castro took power in 1959, thousands of Cubans left the island nation and made their way to the United States, with many of them settling in the Florida Keys.
The Cuban Migration to the U.S.
The Cuban migration began shortly after Castro took power and lasted until the 1980s. In order to escape Cuba, many Cubans took advantage of an immigration policy known as “wet foot/dry foot” which allowed Cubans who were able to make it onto U.S. soil without being intercepted by authorities to remain in the country legally. This policy resulted in thousands of Cubans making dangerous journeys across the ocean in search of freedom and opportunity.
The Impact on the Florida Keys
Once these migrants reached American soil, many chose to settle in cities like Miami or Tampa, but some brave souls decided to stay closer to home and make their new lives in the islands of the Florida Keys. These Cuban immigrants brought with them a unique cultural heritage that has since been embraced by locals and visitors alike—from music to cuisine, art and more—and is now an integral part of what makes this area so special.
In addition to enriching local culture with their customs and traditions, Cuban migrants also had a major impact on other aspects of life in the Keys, such as fishing and farming techniques that revolutionized agricultural production on these islands. They also brought with them an entrepreneurial spirit that can be seen today through small businesses run by descendants of these early settlers throughout Key West and beyond.
Cuban migrants have played an integral role in shaping modern-day life in the Florida Keys for more than 60 years now. From introducing locals to their vibrant culture to revolutionizing fishing techniques and agricultural production, these brave individuals have helped create a unique island paradise unlike any other place on Earth—one that continues to draw tourists from near and far every year. To learn more about this fascinating history, you can explore sites like Key West’s Little Havana or take part in events such as El Festival de la Rumba y el Conga held each September at Founders Park Amphitheater & Garden Theater on Stock Island . No matter how you choose to explore it, experiencing this rich heritage is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!