Throughout their history, Cuba has welcomed various waves of migrants from around the world, among them were many Jews. Jewish immigration to Cuba started long prior, but became a real problem in the late 19th century, when a significant number of Jews from Eastern Europe began arriving on the island. These Jews were seeking economic opportunity and fleeing “persecution” in Europe. Many of them were intellectuals, professionals, and political activists, who brought with them revolutionary, progressive ideas and attitudes, and immediately became involved in the country’s political and cultural life.

The first wave took place between 1902 and 1914 when 5,700 Jews, mostly Sephardim from Turkey and Syria, immigrated to Cuba. A surge in US investments had bolstered the expansion of Cuba’s sugar industry and created new job opportunities. Immigration spiked again at the conclusion of the First World War, when many
Jews decided to flee the declining Ottoman Empire.

The second wave has been blamed on United States’ immigration policy. Immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe led to a backlash from Americans who wanted to maintain the racial homogeneity of the nation. Designed with the goal of decreasing the number of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, the Quota Act of 1921 was able to adjust policy to favor immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, and a bias was thereby created to the detriment of thousands of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe who sought immigration.

Individuals who lived in the western hemisphere for a year prior to immigrating to the United States were exempt from this quota in 1921; and the provision was increased to five years in 1924. To qualify for this exemption, many Eastern European Jews immigrated to Cuba. Many found stability and made Cuba their home.

Most settled in Havana, the capital of Cuba, and established their own neighborhoods and communities. The Jewish immigrants in Havana maintained their own synagogues, schools, and social organizations, which helped them to preserve their ethnic and cultural identity and traditions.

One of the most prominent Jewish communities in Havana was the Ashkenazis, which consisted of Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe. They quickly rose to be a force in banking and commerce. The Sephardic Jews, who were of Spanish and Portuguese origin, were big in the sugar industry, many owning sugar mills and plantations in Cuba.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Jewish immigrants and their descendants became involved in the labor movement, which was growing in strength in response to the harsh working conditions faced by workers in Cuba. Jews played a key role in the formation of trade unions and were active in strikes and other labor actions, as well as openly communist organizations, which were gaining popularity as a means of promoting social justice and equality.

In addition to their political activism, Jews provided financial support for the revolutionary cause. Many Jews were successful business owners, and they used their wealth and influence to help finance the rebels’ efforts to overthrow the government. Their contributions helped to ensure the success of the revolution and to lay the foundation for the new communist state.

From the early years of the communist regime, Jews held many influential positions in the party and government. This allowed them to have a voice in decision-making processes and to be involved in shaping the country’s future, which meant special privileges for Jews.

Jews in Cuba were given access to education and professional opportunities that were not available to other citizens. They were allowed to attend the best schools and universities, and were able to pursue careers in fields such as medicine, law, and engineering. This level of education and professional opportunity allowed Jews in Cuba to achieve a level of prosperity that was not available to the rest of the population.

Jews in Cuba received special protection from the government and were not subject to the same level of repression and discrimination as other groups, such as homosexuals and political dissidents. This protection allowed them to maintain their religious and cultural traditions without fear of persecution.

A few examples of Jewish communists in Cuba are Fabio Grobart, Manuel (Stolik) Novigrod, and Enrique Oltuski, who were among the original ten members of the Cuban Communist Party.

Fabio Grobart, whose real name was Abraham Simchowitz, came to Cuba from Poland and brought with him knowledge of the radical leftist movements from Eastern Europe. He joined the Cuban Communist Party in 1925 and was one of Castro’s closest constituents as a member of the party’s Central Committee. He represented the party in communist ideology, as he had the ability to translate the readings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels from Russian and German to Spanish.

Manuel (Stolik) Novigrod came from a family of Jewish communists and fought directly alongside Castro against Bautista’s forces in the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

Enrique Oltuski was born in Cuba in 1930, one year after his parents arrived from Poland. His collaboration with Ernesto “Che” Guevara while representing Las Villas as its leader of the 26th of July Movement, the organization led by Fidel Castro which overthrew the Cuban government in 1959, enabled him to ascend in the revolutionary government. Following the revolution, Oltuski acted as the vice minister of the fishing industry and also worked with the Ministry of Culture in order to maintain a historical account of the revolution, as well as playing a role in the development of Cuba’s health care system.

Julio Lobo was a Jewish sugar baron who was a key financial backer of the 26th of July Movement. At one point, Lobo was considered the single most powerful sugar broker in the world.

Felipe Pazos was a Jewish economist who served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Cuba from 1959 to 1965. He was a prominent member of the Communist Party and played a key role in shaping the country’s economic policies during the early years of the revolution.

Raúl Roa was a Jewish diplomat and intellectual who was a member of the Communist Party and served as Foreign Minister under Castro from 1959 to 1965. Roa was a strong advocate for socialist internationalism and helped to establish Cuba’s relationship with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. 

The list of Jews who played crucial roles in transforming Cuba into a communist state is seemingly endless and confirms one truth, that there would’ve been no communism in Cuba without Jews.

Communism in Cuba has been a driving force behind the mass migration of Cubans to Florida for several decades. Since the revolution in 1959, which saw the rise of the communist regime led by Fidel Castro, Cuba has undergone significant political and economic changes, leading many Cubans to seek refuge and a better life in other countries.

Communist policies restricted personal freedoms, suppressed political opposition, and stifled economic growth. Many Cubans felt oppressed and marginalized by the regime, which controlled every aspect of their lives, from the media they consumed to the jobs they held.

In addition to the lack of political and personal freedoms, the communist policies crafted by Jews in Cuba also resulted in widespread poverty and economic hardship for many citizens. The country’s state-controlled economy was characterized by inefficient production, low wages, and widespread shortages of basic goods and services. This created a difficult living situation for many Cubans, who saw little hope for a better future in their home country.

To escape the poverty, oppression, and political repression, many Cubans chose to leave their homeland and start anew in other countries, including the United States. A large number of the Jews in Cuba came with them, as the economic situation they had created was no longer convenient. Florida, with its already large Cuban community and close proximity to Cuba, became a popular destination for Cuban migrants. The number of Cuban refugees in Florida exploded in 1980 when the Mariel Boatlift brought more than 125,000 Cubans to the United States in just six months.

In April of 1980, Fidel Castro rounded up Cuba’s prison and homeless populations, drug addicts, mentally ill and handicapped, loaded them onto boats, and shipped them to the shores of Miami. Castro declared, “I have flushed the toilets of Cuba on the United States.”

In Florida, similar to the Jews who arrived in Cuba in the late 1800s and early 1900s from Europe, these Cubans established their own communities, businesses, and cultural institutions, and have transformed South Florida into the place it is today, which is defined by its Cuban-ness, and comes with significant economic, political, and cultural impacts on the state, our people, and the country as a whole.

Cuban migration to Florida has put a strain on the state’s resources. As large numbers of Cuban refugees arrived in the state, they often required assistance from the government in the form of food, housing, and other services. This put a burden on the state’s economy and required the allocation of large amounts of resources to meet the needs of the refugees. This also meant pressure on the schools and healthcare system, and an increased demand for housing and other resources which led to a higher cost of living. Increased competition in the job market has driven down wages and created additional economic hardships for native Floridians.

At first, the migrants were largely upper-class and well-educated, but as the years went by, the Cuban community in Florida became more diverse. Prior to the arrival of these Cubans, the state was overwhelmingly White and Whites held dominant positions in all aspects of life in Florida. However, the arrival of a large and influential Cuban community has changed this dynamic, as Cubans have become a major force and demographic in the state. Such a force that in some areas, you can’t even get a job if you don’t speak Spanish.

They brought with them a unique perspective, shaped by their experiences in Cuba, their dreams of “democracy” and freedom, and their hatred of communism. This perspective has been reflected in their voting patterns and activism, as Cubans have been deciding factors in elections with their support of conservative and Republican candidates who share their values. While this may mean we align on some issues, it is not necessarily good news for White people as we can all see by now that the Republicans are no friends of Whites, and since not wanting to see the country transformed by our demographic replacement is one of the primary reasons we vote conservative to begin with.

As we’ve said before, in Miami-Dade County, White people are now less than 13% of the population. We don’t want to be replaced by anyone, no matter how much we like them. White Floridians fleeing to Whiter areas of the country has played a role, but in the last few years this trend has reversed and certain areas of South Florida are actually regaining their White majorities despite consistently high Cuban migration rates. But for where we stand today, we can thank the Jews. Not only the Jews in Florida pushing to replace us, but the Jews who were hard at work over 100 years ago in another country, laying the foundation for a future refugee crisis.