Middle class Cubans, who have fled from the government of Fidel Castro, have managed to preserve their customs, their language and their architecture -- in fact, their whole way of life -- in Union City, a suburb of New York.
GV PAN Nightclub with singer performing.
SV People watching.
SV People watching.
GV Band and singer.
SV People drinking.
CU Man smoking cigar.
GV People at tables.
GV Singer and drummer on stage. (2 shots)
SV Boy served in shop. (2 shots)
GV Street (3 shots)
SV Large window.
GV TILT DOWN TO Classroom and teacher.
SV Children in class and teacher. (2 shots)
SV Children at desk and in class.
SCU Woman serves food. (2 shots)
SCU Food placed on plate.
CU ZOOM OUT TO SV Woman and girl eating PAN ACROSS table.
SCU Girl and grandmother eating. (2 shots)
GV Family at table.
This nightclub scene looks like it should be taking place in pre-Castro Cuba around 1958. It isn't. This actually is Union City New Jersey 1974.
So many Cuban refugees have come to Union City in the last few years that they have been able to re-establish their traditional culture - even the elaborate entertainment so many Cubans love. Most of these people were middle class before they fled their country. Economically they have done amazingly well, just like earlier groups of immigrants.
What makes the Cubans different is that they are also determined to remain Cuban, to keep their own life and ways of doing things.
They insist on doing their shopping in Spanish and they want familiar Cuban products.
Even the architecture of Union City has begun to change. This row of homes was built by Cubans in the somewhat Americanized version of the Cuban style. There are Spanish-American touches inside too.
Even the schools now seem as Cuban as they do American. This is a geography lesson at the Roosevelt school were about eighty five per cent of the students speak Spanish as they native language.
Newcomers are taught regular subjects in their own language for about half the day. They spend the rest of the day learning English. Eventually they switch over to English entirely. The parents of most of these children want them to continue speaking Spanish as their first language. Some still hope to return to Cuba. Other parents and most of the children we talked to want to be both Cuban and American. That won't be easy.
Unlike the average American family a Cuban household commonly includes grandparents and an aunt and uncle. Family ties are very close. That is one reason why Cubans have been able to preserve their culture so far. There are few broken homes and a very low level of juvenile delinquency. Cuban girls are beginning to date boys American style but only if the girl's mother or aunt or grandmother goes along.
Initials VS 16.30 VS 16.53
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Middle class Cubans, who have fled from the government of Fidel Castro, have managed to preserve their customs, their language and their architecture -- in fact, their whole way of life -- in Union City, a suburb of New York.
The very close family ties -- a family u nit often includes aunts, uncles and grandparents -- largely accounts for the Cuban resistance to the American way of life. Most Cuban parents want their children to keep Spanish as their first language.
Most of the families were well off when they went to the United States and have continued to do well in business. They can afford to build rows of houses in the Cuban style and to re-create the nightclubs of their homeland.
In the schools of Union City, 85 per cent of the pupils are from Cuban families. When they start school, they spend half the day learning general subjects in Spanish.
One part of the American way of life that is making some headway is 'dating' -- Cuban girls going out with boys -- but even then there is always a m other, aunt or grandmother in attendance.
This film is accompanied by a synchronized commentary by T.V.N. reporter, Carl Stokes. It is transcribed overleaf.