Audio Recording of Interview
Born and raised in Cuba, Jorge discusses his upbringing, relocation to Mexico, and coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. He also describes his experience living in Miami, navigating the American education system, and plans for the future as a college student.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Jorge Quintas
Location: Hialeah, FL
Content Warning: Some violence mentioned throughout the original transcript; mention of human trafficking; description of crime (cartels); drunkenness
Summary: Born and raised in Cuba, Jorge discusses his upbringing, relocation to Mexico, and coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. He also describes his experience living in Miami, navigating the American education system, and plans for the future as a college student.
Topics: Family, childhood, historical context, education, cultural adjustment, personal finance, discrimination, immigration process, politics, gender, race, future
Section 1: (00:00:00 - 00:05:36)
Family, Childhood - Born in rural part of Cuba into a family with many assets,
Historical Context, Childhood, Family - Lost their assets due to the Cuban Revolution. When Cuba was helped by the USSR, family was able to rebuild in that time.
Childhood - Unlike others in Cuba, had access to fresh food items and nature, as they lived in a rural area (Holguin)
Section 2: (00:05:36 - 00:33:00)
Family, Education, Employment - Moved to Havana because of better employment opportunities, better housing, and better education.
Childhood, Cultural Adjustment - Havana was very different from Holguin; Holguin was safe, so he had more freedom; Havana wasn’t as safe, and so his mom was much more careful
Education - Starts going to elementary school in Havana; school gave him a sense of purpose
Education, Employment, Personal Finance - Moved to a nicer home, as both parents worked. Moved often and had to adjust to new schools/kids.
Education - Not structured the same as in the US. Cuban-US history presented differently.
Section 3: (00:33:00 - 00:58:25)
Religious Practice, Family, Discrimination- Grandfather was devout Catholic. Castro very hostile towards religion, but his grandfather continued practicing. People who practiced religion struggled to get jobs and were treated poorly.
Family, Politics, Historical Context - His mom got a job in Mexico, so had more access to Internet, and learned about what Castro was really doing. She felt manipulated by the Cuban government, and tried to tell his dad, but he did not believe her.
Politics, Pandemic - Discusses the black market and how the only way to obtain anything on it is through government influence. Also mentions that there has been greater enforcement against the black market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mentions that he and his family are very opposed to communism because of their experience.
Politics, Family, Gender - Many attempting revolutions in Cuba; mother is following many groups on the Internet who are attempting this. Also mentions the torture that occurs in Cuba for people who go against the system, including a group of women who peacefully protest against Communism
Section 4: (00:58:25 - 01:09:12)
Religion, Politics- Believes that Cuban government is against religion, because religion is something that promotes individualism.
Religion, Family - Mentions that he did not really grow up with religion, although his dad believes in God; never met his Catholic grandfather. Discusses the different religions in Cuba - Catholicism, Christianity, Islam (a little), Santeria (significant in Cuba). His aunt found Christianity to be a major solace during her struggles.
Section 5: (01:09:12 - 01:43:15)
Family, Education, Employment, Immigration Process - Mother worked in Mexico, and wanted to get her children out of Cuba. Daughter goes to university in Mexico; Jorge is able to move/receive family unification visa to travel to Mexico.
Family, Education - Decides to stay in Cuba; but Mom eventually realizes that Cuba does not have a good educational system, so decide to make trip across the border to the US after Dad, Mom, sister, and himself all finally reunited in Mexico; have family ready to receive them in the US
Discrimination - A lot of discrimination by South Americans and Mexicans against Cuba, because Cubans could just go to the US and immediately become citizens
Immigration Process (Undocumented Immigration) - When make trip to US, faced struggles from immigration officer and cartels; they try forcing them to pay money. Eventually, Mexican DA help them, and they stay at a hotel. Members of Mexican DA help them to cross the border to the US.
Section 6: (01:43:15 - )
Cultural Adjustment, Race - Because they lived in Miami, there was a large Hispanic population, so didn’t experience too much racism there. Struggled in school at first, due to the language barrier.
Education - Learned English in two and a half years, but until he left the ESOL program, he could not really advance as quickly as he would have liked to. But did eventually take advanced classes
Education, Future - In college, and plans to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering; wants to work on satellite or rocket propulsion