The Chinese Presence in Cuba
After the discovery of Cuba by the Spanish, many peoples felt attracted to the idea of trying their luck in the New World. Even from the distant China, a great migration took place, which strongly influenced our culture.
The culíes earned a relevant position in this country for which some of them died fighting for the independence. They worked very hard since they arrived; they created a space among Cubans. They contributed to the idiosyncrasy of the country providing cookery recipes and medicines and even with the yellow and the white and with the black race mixing that emphasized the mixed race with the presence of the Chinese-mulatto individual.
The Havana Chinatown became into their capital within the Cuban capital. It was the most populous in Latin America. There were also drugs, gambling, prostitution, and other vices brought by the Chinese émigrés from California in the year 1860. They consolidated their financial performance that way unlike the hardworking culies.
As time went by those dreams they brought from their far Amoy port were only remembrances, their survival in the island was a daily reality. Their mysterious potions that cured everything had great demand, as well as, fried food, cracklings, fried rice, fruit ice creams, clothes laundry and ironing and the cheap vegetables that sellers cried with large baskets carried on their shoulders.
If an old proverb says that time is a great healer, they had known how to deny it but although there are only few natural Chinese people in Cuba, their traditions are still alive with a strong influence in their descendants. The promoting group of the Havana Chinatown works very hard through the Oriental language schools, martial arts schools, restaurants with typical food and many other examples of the most authentic traditions of this twin town.
A huge portico, symbol of the Chinese architecture welcomes you to this Chinatown on Dragones (dragons) and Amistad (friendship) streets. What a coincidence in such names!