Posted on January 19, 2020

The Late Great City of Miami

Derrick Anderson and Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, May 1994

City of Miami Seal

Two facts — just two — explain almost everything about Miami: In 1960, the city was 90 percent white; by 1990 it was only ten percent white. Virtually everything else about Miami today — crime, poverty, race riots, cultural decay, third-world squalor — follows from this astonishing change in population.

To be sure, it is important to understand the mix of people who displaced whites. Cubans, especially those who arrived first, have had a very different effect from that of Haitians or Nicaraguans. However, no city could show more clearly how dependent upon race and ethnicity are a city’s character and civility. No city could show more clearly that large-scale displacement of whites marks the end of everything commonly thought of as “American.”

Miami is one of the bellwethers for the nation that will result if the silent invasion from the third world continues. It is therefore important to know what has happened to the city and why.

First Came the Cubans

Cubans are now the dominant group in a city that is 63 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black. Even Dade County, which surrounds Miami, is about 50 percent Hispanic and 21 percent black, with whites making up no more than 29 percent of the population. Aside from a few quickly-shrinking enclaves of white influence, Cubans control business, politics and culture.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled to Miami after Fidel Castro’s victory in late 1958, but they did not come simply because it was near by. Florida and Cuba have connections that are centuries old, and the post-Castro migration was only part of a long history.

From the earliest times, imperial Spain had ruled Florida and Cuba under a single administration. There was no political border between the two territories until Andrew Jackson conquered Florida, and the United States annexed it in 1821.

Even before the city of Miami was founded in 1896, the area had long played a part in the ructions of Cuba’s tropical politics. The South Florida coast was an important supply route for Cubans fighting Spanish colonial rule, and the smugglers and gun runners were largely unmolested by Americans intent on building a vacation resort.

The Spanish-American war brought American-imposed stability to Cuba, but once the country tried governing itself, it reverted to opera buffa politics. In his 1917 essay, Gore in the Caribbees, H.L. Mencken describes the “Latin exuberance” of a failed revolution. “It was an exhilarating show,” he concludes, “but full of strangeness for a Nordic.”

Revolutions routinely deposited refugees and counter-revolutionaries in Miami, and former exiles would sail back to Cuba with the next violent change in government. In 1933, for example, Gerardo Machado was overthrown and Miami teemed with his henchmen. In 1952, Fulgencio Batista staged a coup and his predecessor, Carlos Prio, packed his bags for Miami. In 1958, it was Batista’s turn to move north. All three are buried in Miami, where residents got used to itinerant dictators and their hangers-on.

The immediate effect of the Castro take-over was to reduce the number of Cubans living in Miami. Many had been scheming against Batista and streamed home in the wake of Mr. Castro’s victory. They streamed back to Miami when Mr. Castro began to build the workers’ paradise.

The real exodus from Cuba did not start until a year or two after the revolution, but when it came, Miami was the obvious destination. During the Prio and Batista years, even middle-class Cubans took annual vacations in Miami, and after airplane service began it was fashionable for rich Cubans to take one-day shopping trips to Florida. The Cuban upper classes escaped to a familiar and comfortable refuge.

At first, Miami’s whites ignored the post-Castro rush, confident that like all previous waves of political casualties, it would wash out again with the next coup. Moreover, the first crop of Cubans was the wealthy, well-educated white elite who spoke English and slipped easily into Miami society. However, by 1965, 210,000 Cubans had come to Miami, and by 1973 another 340,000 had boarded the twice-daily “freedom flights” for Florida. The quality of immigrants steadily declined, though few Cuban blacks and mulattoes had yet to come north.

During this period the Miami Herald still reflected the views of whites, and its editorials echoed rising alarm over the alien invasion. However, Cubans fleeing from communism made first-rate cold-war propaganda, and the federal government flouted the wishes of whites by welcoming the Cubans as refugees. It was Mr. Castro who finally stopped the “freedom flights” in 1973, but Miami’s transformation was well under way. The first wave of Cubans came to plot counter-revolution in the hope of going back home; later waves expected to stay.

Cubans quickly established a distinct community. They came not only with a common nationality, but with a fierce anti-communism that set them apart from the soft liberalism of America. They employed and did business with each other, continuing relations that had been established for years. Some businesses simply moved across the Florida Straits. The Caballero Funeral Home, for example, advertises that it was founded in 1858, at a time when Miami did not exist. It was founded in Havana.

Many entrepreneurs had scant regard for American legalities or customs, and they brought with them a corner-cutting, under-the-table mentality that still characterizes Miami. However, Cubans were scrupulous in their relations with each other because a violation of trust meant exclusion from the community.

The fact that well-off businessmen had come first made things much easier for the later arrivals. Cane-cutters just off the plane were grateful for any kind of work, and were both loyal workers and customers for Cuban businesses. At the same time, perpetually rocky politics in Latin America sent north a steady flow of flight capital. Naturally, it went to Miami, where nervous Argentines and Colombians could count on fellow Hispanics to invest their nest eggs in solid American banks.

What was the effect of the Cuban presence on the Miami labor market? One of the few “respectable” criticisms of non-white immigration is that it displaces blacks, and it is widely maintained that this happened in Miami. In fact, it was whites who were replaced. The garment industry, for example, was 94 percent white in 1960, but by 1980, it was 83 percent Hispanic. Black participation in the industry held steady at 5-7 percent.

Likewise, in the hotel industry, when Cuban participation went from 18 percent to 40 percent between 1970 and 1980, this advance was entirely at the expense of whites. During the same period, blacks increased their participation from 14 to 23 percent — likewise at the expense of whites, who saw their participation cut in half, from 68 to 34 percent.

The professions saw the same trend. From 1970 to 1980, black participation nearly doubled from seven to 13 percent. Cuban participation grew even faster but, again, the only group that saw its numbers decline was whites.

This was not because whites could not compete for jobs, but because they simply moved away. The arriving Cubans naturally steered clear of black neighborhoods and moved in among whites. This was the obvious choice for the first group of well-to-do, light-skinned Cubans, and when poorer immigrants began to arrive, they settled around the margins of already-established Cuban areas. As neighborhoods became unrecognizable and unintelligible, whites moved away. The departure of hundreds of thousands of citizens in the face of an alien onslaught is the great, unrecognized tragedy of Southern Florida. Blacks, whose uninviting neighborhoods were shunned even by poor Cubans, were largely unaffected.

1980: Annus Mirabilis

By 1980, it was clear that Miami was sliding out of the European-American orbit, but several events in that remarkable year confirmed it. One was what became known as the Mariel boatlift. After a few Cubans successfully broke Mr. Castro’s travel ban and shipped out to Miami from the port of Mariel, Cuban authorities decided to let anyone leave who wanted to. Miami Cubans joyfully spent millions of dollars chartering boats in the hope of freeing relatives, but most of the passengers turned out to be strangers. Cuba made no secret that it was emptying prisons and mental hospitals onto the waiting boats. “Those that are leaving from Mariel,” explained Mr. Castro, “are the scum of the country — antisocials, homosexuals, drug addicts, and gamblers, who are welcome to leave Cuba if any country will have them.”

During 1980, 125,000 Marielitos floated across to Miami, 45 percent of them with criminal records. They unleashed an unprecedented crime wave, including as many as six airplane hijackings to Cuba in one week. Even the most staunchly anti-Castro Cubans began to realize that accepting Mr. Castro’s scum was a mistake. “The Marielitos are mostly black and mulattoes of a color I never saw or believed existed in Cuba,” marveled one Cuban-American official.

President Jimmy Carter, ever unmindful of the damage he was doing the country, welcomed the boatlift as yet another testimonial to America’s greatness. He stopped letting the boats land only after Miami Cubans themselves — disgusted with Mariel dross — told him to.

1980 was also marked by the beginning of what has come to be almost a biennial Miami ritual: black riots. A black man had died at the hands of police under questionable circumstances, but a jury concluded no crime had been committed. Blacks reacted with several days of riot, arson and murder, during which they deliberately attacked whites. Eight whites were lynched in a variety of colorful ways — set afire in their cars, beaten with concrete blocks, stabbed, shot, run over — and scores barely escaped with their lives. The Dade County court house was one of many buildings put to the torch in an orgy of destruction that left $80 million in property damage.

Just to top off the year, 1980 also saw a rush of Haitian boat people. About 60,000 paddled in between 1977 and 1981, and the largest number came at the same time as the Mariel boatlift. This was no coincidence. A government that was rejoicing in the arrival of criminals and mental patients could hardly turn away able-bodied Haitians without being accused of racism. As it happened, Haitians were bringing their own peculiar scourges: AIDS and tuberculosis.

They brought incongruity too. Some boats landed on exclusive beaches, where sun-bathers gaped as starving, ragged blacks shuffled ashore. In one famous incident, 20 bloated corpses from a Haitian shipwreck drifted onto the powdery white sand behind expensive condominiums. Whites could be forgiven for thinking that civilization was coming to an end.

How did they react? In their civilized and utterly ineffectual way, Dade County residents voted by a huge majority to prohibit the county from conducting business or funding activities in any language but English. In that fateful year of 1980, the forces of cohesion could manage no more than this — and even this was worse than nothing.

Cubans decided that the “anti-bilingual ordinance” was a huge insult to them. Until then, they had concentrated their political energy on undermining Fidel Castro. Now that whites (and blacks) had mounted a feeble attempt to keep Miami from spinning completely off into the Caribbean, Cubans resolved to remake the city even more explicitly in their own image. They began to promote Hispanic causes not just in Cuba but in America as well. They became U.S. citizens and ran for office. Thousands who had never bothered with naturalization mouthed the words of the oath of citizenship and started voting for fellow Cubans.

By the time of the Falkland Islands war in 1982, Cubans and other Hispanics were not at all inhibited about expressing partisan, ethnic interests. Even Cuban-Americans who had fought with U.S. forces in Vietnam helped raise money for the Argentines and joined rallies denouncing Britain’s campaign to retake the islands. Whites supported the British, out of cultural affinity and respect for international law. Many were startled by the fierce, ethnic solidarity that drove fellow “Americans” to support the Argentine invasion. However, it was during the controversy over Nicaraguan immigrants that Miami’s Cubans clearly demonstrated their power to make national policy.

After Somoza

Just as Cuba had done, Central American countries had long used Miami as a staging area for the series of farces that passed for politics. Thus, when Anastasio Somoza felt support disappearing in 1978, he quietly bought a $575,000 house in Miami. The next year, the Sandinistas persuaded him to go live in it.

The Nicaraguan exodus that then followed was like the Cuban exodus writ small. The “capitalists” were the first to abandon ship, and by the early 1980s, Miami had a Nicaraguan-American Bankers Association. Ordinary Nicaraguans did not start coming to Miami in large numbers until the mid-1980s, as the Contra war wound down.

Republican administrations did not welcome these newcomers the way Democrats had welcomed Cubans. Ronald Reagan and George Bush thought the best way to fight communism was for Nicaraguans to stay home and dust it up with the Sandinistas. The government treated the new flood as illegal aliens and tried to
stop it.

Cubans felt otherwise. They sympathized with their brother Latinos, who were fleeing a familiar sort of tyranny. Also, Nicaraguans made good, grateful stoop workers in the fields and seamstresses in the sweatshops. The Cubans of Miami rose up against the deportation policy. At first, they simply defied it. Any Nicaraguan who could make it to the city was swept into a Hispanic network that immigration officials could not penetrate.

Miami whites were actually talking angrily about the need to control American borders, and the federal government’s official position was to deport Nicaraguans — to no avail. In 1986, the Justice Department threw up its hands and announced that no more Nicaraguans would be deported. All asylum seekers would get temporary work permits while their cases were reviewed. Of course, this only increased the flow, and by the second half of 1988, 5,000 Nicaraguans a month were filing asylum claims. The Cubans had won and the nation had lost.

Illiterate Nicaraguans quickly became a welfare burden. Clinics suddenly found they were treating more Nicaraguans than anyone else. Schools were swamped with yet more children who spoke no English. As usual, the city gave way. There is now a Ruben Dario Street and a Ruben Dario Middle School, both named after Nicaragua’s best-known poet.

It was about this time that the Miami Herald defected to the other side. Cubans were incensed that it had run editorials in favor of deporting Nicaraguans and in October, 1987, they bought a full-page ad in the Herald to denounce the newspaper. There was talk of boycotts, and spineless white editors quickly capitulated. Whites were leaving town anyway, they reasoned, and Hispanics were not going to read a paper that didn’t promote their interests. Before long, the Herald was writing cheerily that Nicaraguans would make wonderful contributions to the city just as Cubans had. These days, its publisher, David Lawrence, urges whites to learn foreign languages and looks forward to hearing The Star Spangled Banner sung in Haitian Creole.

Whites continued to put up ineffectual resistance. In 1988, a state constitutional amendment to make English the official language of Florida passed with 84 percent of the vote. One can only assume that a majority of that size means that whites were overwhelming opposed to nonwhite immigration, easy citizenship, liberal asylum laws, welfare for non-citizens, and all the other measures that make a mockery of citizenship and turn whites into refugees in their own land. But of course, they were afraid to defend their interests as whites and hung their forlorn hopes on symbolic gestures.

Just how symbolic they were was shown last year, when a newly confident Cuban power structure overturned Dade County’s English-only ordinance. Miami is now free to conduct official business in Spanish. As the former mayor of Miami, Maurice Ferre, has pointed out, “Anglos” have a choice: They can learn Spanish or leave. It is hard to think of a more arrogant, thankless attitude to the country that has welcomed newcomers, but the Herald, glorying in defeat, purred delightedly when the English-only rule was voted down.


What lies ahead for them?

Although thousands of Jamaicans, Trinidadians, and Tobagoans have moved to Miami in recent decades, Haitians have set the tone for black immigration. They have not always gotten on well with American blacks. The mulatto elite tends to be responsible and hard-working and to look down on American ghetto-dwellers. For the most part, though, the neighborhood of Little Haiti looks like big Haiti: rows of clapped out buildings sitting in piles of trash. Of course, there is a public school named for Toussaint L’Ouverture, one of the leaders of the Haitian slave revolt against France that turned into a race war. As in so many other Miami neighborhoods, an occasional patrol car is the only reminder that this is, theoretically, the United States.

Haitian children have quickly acculturated — to the black sub-culture. In the early 1980s, when they first started appearing in schools, American blacks taunted them and beat them up because of their accents. Haitian children quickly learned black slang, music, and misbehavior and all the anti-white clichés that nourish black resentment. Worried Haitian parents watch helplessly as their children slip into the despised American underclass.

Blacks, whether Haitian or American, have never had good relations with Cubans. Cubans generally ignore blacks, leaving the rituals of propitiation to whites. After the 1980 race riot, it was whites who raised $7 million for a Business Assistance Center to give money to black companies. Later the center raised another $8.3 million, but much of the money was wasted on black shysters, and the average rioter got nothing. Neither the city’s black set-aside program, which ran from 1982 to 1990, nor a series of enterprise zones and tax holidays in black areas have alleviated the squalor. Every riot brings a new infusion of tribute money, but nothing changes.

Puerto Ricans — four percent of Miami’s population and mostly poor — have noticed this municipal largess and decided to get some, too. In 1990, they started their own little riot in the Wynwood neighborhood. “The other people, the black people, this is how they did it, and it worked,” explained a 17-year-old girl rioter. “We’re the invisible community,” said Florida’s representative of the National Puerto Rican Forum; “[T]his is the only way we have gotten recognition.”

It is mainly blacks, though, who continue to burn down their neighborhoods and then blame racism for it. They have seen Cubans, Nicaraguans, and even Haitians pass them by, and now that Cubans largely run the city, it must be Cuban racism that makes them fail. This raises an earnestly debated question: Were Cubans always vicious racists or did they learn from whites?

Cubans particularly angered blacks when they snubbed Nelson Mandela during a visit in 1990. Miami officials were among the few people in America with enough backbone to denounce Mr. Mandela as the communist admirer of Mr. Castro that he was. This was an unspeakable crime in the eyes of blacks, who started a campaign to drive convention business from the city. Blacks, who neither study Spanish nor have the initiative to move away, increasingly resent the Hispanic takeover of what they thought was an American city.

Recently, racial animus got official recognition from an appeals court judge. In 1989, Colombian-born policeman William Lozano killed two black criminals who were about to run him down on a motorcycle. After the usual two days of riot and arson, Mr. Lozano was convicted of manslaughter. In 1991, the appellate court threw out the conviction on the grounds that Miami was so racially divided it could not possibly have given him a fair trial: Blacks were ready to lynch him, while Hispanics paid his legal fees — contributing as much as $150,000 after a single radio appearance.

Racial cleavage got another official boost in 1992, when a federal judge outlawed Dade County’s decades-old system of county-wide elections for commissioners, and carved out 13 separate districts, each with a solid racial majority. Commissioners, the great majority of whom are Hispanic, can now officially and openly represent their co-racialists.

Capital of the Caribbean

So what is life like today in the Capital of the Caribbean or the City of the Future as boosters like to call it? It is possible, in the beautiful neighborhoods of Coral Gables, Old Cutler Road, and Pinecrest in south Dade County where wealthy whites live, still to believe oneself in paradise. It is possible to glide from half-acre estate to private club to private school, and remain in a world that is overwhelmingly white and civilized. Most Miami whites even think they “celebrate diversity.” They speak a few words of Spanish, and they know some light-skinned Latinos with impeccable manners who appear to fit into their social class. Only dimly do whites, in their golden enclaves, sense the rising tide of aliens — aliens who hate them because they are rich, and despise them because they are weak.

There are over 150 square miles of metropolitan Dade County that simply no longer exist for whites. Here live the nearly 60 percent of county residents who do not speak English at home. Here live the half of the population of Miami and of Sweetwater that were not even born in the United States. Here live the one in ten county residents who are illegal aliens.

Every month, another 1000 foreign-born students enroll in the county’s schools. This year, there are more than 16,000 illegal students in the system with a legal right to an education, which will cost the county $68 million. This does not include “bilingual” education costs such as the salaries of 40 Creole-speaking teachers. It is difficult to teach this mix of school children and many a career has foundered in the attempt. The Miami school district had four different school superintendents during a 14 month period in 1990 and 1991.

Since the Haitians, Cubans, and Central Americans who keep coming have nothing to offer an employer, Miami is poor. During the 1980s, the typical Florida family enjoyed a 12 percent gain in income. In the city of Miami, the typical family lost 12 percent. Half of the children under five live in poverty, and the number of poor people rose during the decade from 25 percent to 33 percent. One in eight dwellings in the city is so run down it should be demolished.

A growing problem for Miami is people who are both poor and old. Many former construction workers and sewing machine operators spent their lives in the underground Hispanic economy. They have no retirement plans, no social security accounts, and no savings. The taxpayer will have to keep them in their old age.

The taxpayer also heals the sick. In 1992, Jackson Memorial Hospital alone staggered under an unpaid immigrant medical bill of $93 million. Since 1990, Cubans have stiffed the hospital for $40 million, Haitians for $26 million and Nicaraguans for $22 million. Spongers from virtually every Caribbean and South American country have run up bills, including $700,000 for Guyanese, of all people.

Florida leads the nation in heterosexual transmission of AIDS, and today one in every 40 Dade County residents is infected. Since each AIDS patient costs about $85,000 from diagnosis to death, the county can expect to spend something over $3 billion on the disease during the next decade. Many of the dead will be women, so after New York City and Newark, New Jersey, Dade County is likely to have more AIDS orphans by the year 2000 than anywhere else in the country.

Miami has also become a center for the practice of a quaint “religion” called Santeria, which lower-class Cubans brought with them. Best known for ritual animal sacrifice, Santeria combines the outlandish beliefs of African animism with equally outlandish borrowings from Catholicism. One common ritual for driving evil spirits out of a house is to cut off a chicken’s head and drink the blood straight from the chicken. Miamians used to be arrested for this sort of thing, and for hacking up goats, sheep, dogs, turtles, snakes, and roosters during their worship services, but in 1993 the Supreme Court decided that Santerian rites are part of a Constitutionally protected religion. Sacrifices are now undisturbed, and children are excused from school to attend them.

Top of the List

However, it is crime that is the most piquant spice that “cultural enrichment” adds to the Miami stew. Some people still remember the 1950s, when Miami was a white city and people did not think of locking their doors even when they went on vacation. Now, they live behind steel bars, triple dead bolts, and electronic alarm systems.

Recently, Dade County has had the highest crime rate of any American metropolitan area. Each year, the county reports 12.3 serious, FBI index crimes for every 100 inhabitants, which puts it well ahead of San Antonio, Texas, which is next with 9.5 for every one hundred. The county’s crime rate is fully 45 percent higher than that of New York City.

Miami leads the nation in several crimes that are not even part of the FBI’s index. In 1990, more than 770 people were indicted for drug smuggling, 200 more than in the New York/New Jersey area, which came in second. Miami is also America’s favorite distribution point for counterfeit money; $50,000 in bogus bills go into circulation every week. Much of it is printed in Latin America and comes in with drugs.

Miami is also back to its old business of gun running, and may well lead the world in this trade. Weapons obtained in Florida were used to assassinate three candidates in Columbia’s 1989 presidential election and to stage a failed Islamic coup in Trinidad in 1990. Both the U.S. Customs Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have their largest offices in Miami.

Violent crime has increased by more than 82 percent in the last ten years, which helps explain why private security is a booming businesses. Miami was one of the first cities in America to wall off entire residential areas and hire off-duty cops to patrol them. Criminals are piling into the jails at such a rate the judges order their release because of crowding. Even the most dangerous convicts often serve no more than 30 percent of their sentences.

Some of the city’s highest-profile crimes have been against tourists. In a period of just a few months in 1993 and 1994, black thugs killed four European tourists, and Miami temporarily stopped advertising itself as a vacation spot. A favorite crime against tourists is to smash their car windows and grab everything in sight. In 1990, there were 4,040 roadside robberies, or 11 every day.

In 1991, the Dade County Commission tried to protect tourists by making it harder for robbers to tell which cars are rented. A new law forbids rental of a car with company stickers on it, so when Miami rental agencies turn around one-way cars from other cities, they have to scrape off all the advertising.

Miamians have gone numb to violence and degeneracy, and some even find entertainment in it. On one occasion, police found themselves surrounded by a crowd of 500 curious onlookers as they prepared to remove two decomposing corpses from the trunk of a gold-colored Cadillac. People spent hours waiting for the spectacle to begin, sipping lemonade, bouncing children on their shoulders, and sniffing the odor of rotting flesh. The police tried to block the view with vans, but people crawled under them. Others hurried home for binoculars and stood on their own cars for a better look. There was no sense of horror; just the happy buzz of a crowd waiting for a good time.

Andrew Strikes

In 1992, Miami got an extra dose of third-world bad luck that was a perfect metaphor for the past 30 years: Hurricane Andrew blew in from the south, just like the immigrants, and wrecked 80,000 homes and 82,000 businesses. One hundred sixty thousand shelterless people were left staring at $20 billion worth of property damage.

Miami promptly ceased to be the capital of the Caribbean. Venezuela sent no utility repairmen to help the city get back on its feet; they came from South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. No Cuban or Dominican or Nicaraguan churches sent food or set up soup kitchens; the Baptists and Presbyterians took care of that. And, of course, it was the American Red Cross, the U.S. Army, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Salvation Army that came to the rescue. Oddly, no one complained that the rescuers spoke only English. When it came time to staff the We Will Rebuild Committee, who should step forward but the remnants of the old “Anglo” elite. “We have no tradition of philanthropy,” mumbled the rest.

The hurricane was a perfect demonstration of who invades and destroys, and who pays the price. Somehow, no one noticed.