The Development Of Chinese Immigration In Cuba


The Chinese immigration started in the year 1847. During this period, the Spanish settlers had brought contract workers from Cantonese to work in their sugar schemes. More thousands of Chinese migrated from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan over the next years, to occupy the place of the African slaves. They finally settled permanently in Cuba

after their 8 years of contracts. Since then, their descendants have intermarried with the local Cubans, which have led to the increase of their population. The overseas Chinese population of


was at one time large although it is now diminishing with time, thus the Chinese Cuban community is clustered around the dying Barrio Chino.

However, after the Cuban revolution of 1959, many Chinese Cuban entrepreneurs ran away from the country to the United States. This has greatly affected the economy of Cuba in that its has been hard to attract the Chinese immigrants back to the country, since the developments in Chinatown seems to encourage and demand for the much private investments, which the political environment in Cuba does not recognize as an attraction to entrepreneurs. Recently there are policies being effected to encourage the revitalization of private investment in Chinatown

through revolutionizing the major economic factors to enhance tourism attraction improvement.


The main question here is what factors led to the immigration of the Chinese to Cuba, and the trend of their migration i.e. has their number increased or decreased. It may seem as a simple question to answer without much a do, but one has to vividly understand the underlying factors


and features, while underlining the causes of their diminishing in number, and its implications

given the fact


is an economically favorable country i.e. with good environment and minerals. Now that the

number of Chinese in


has been descending with many opting for

United  States

what could have gone wrong.

In this study, we will be able to see the main factors that led to the immigration of the Chinese to Cuba. This as a result will help us understand as to why the Chinese Cuban community is currently scattered over and diminishing with time. We will also be able to understand as to why the Cuban government together with the environmental factors has not attracted many people to the country, a factor that has also affected its economy largely. At the same time, we will

analyze the manifestations of the Chinese race in Cuba i.e. its political, economic and social influence on the local ethnic values.

Hence, we will be in a position to understand the main problems that contribute to the immigration of the Chinese in Cuba i.e. the growth stages of their immigration and its implications, either positively or negatively. Consequently, we will be in a place to come up with relevant conclusions and recommendations, as pertaining to our study findings and at least know the way forward politically, economically or socially. For instance by increasing the rate of tourist’s attraction and reduce the rate of environmental degradation or at least come up with more favorable political and economic policies which will attract potential entrepreneurs to the country to help them stabilize their economy as a whole.


The main factors that contributed to the immigration of these Chinese to Cuba was the introduction of slave trade where by, the laborers were sold at a certain price, so that they could offer the required services important for the improvement of the economy. The potential clients


bought them. These slaves were induced to gamble and loose money, so that their counterparts would benefit from the same. The slaves were kept in confinement both in the inlets and the outlets of the country, so that they could not run away nor come in with illegal things, but offer the services as expected of them so that the economy of the Chinese would remain stable although they kept migrating from place to place.

Similarly, Levies were highly imposed to any transfer of money by the slaves so that this money would benefit the economy as well. This also made these slaves to settle fully and work for the country so that they would keep the economy stable, as the money needed for transport was too expensive for these slaves.

The slaves were forced to accept the work at low wages as the creditor’s agents demanded. This as well would benefit the economy of the country, as industries would spend less money when paying for the services offered but get beneficial services. The slaves were highly watched and terrorized by the spies of the society. This made them work hard and do the expected job to their employer’s satisfaction, as they feared confrontation by their clients and punished for the same or even denied their dues for the services they offered in general. These slaves were sometimes beaten, robbed and even sometimes killed although this was rare. This acted as the ultimate reason as to why they had to work hard and do their work perfectly so that they would remain peaceful. Thus, the country would benefit as well as its clients who owned or employed these slaves through their good work, yet lowly paid despite their hard work.

The Chinese immigration was due to lack of proper sanitary and medical arrangements in their home country China. Therefore, the immigration arose so that the Chinese would access to the services that are basic in their day-to-day life. Immorality had also gone up in the country where by a report showing that out of 144 women in the country, half were prostitutes and many others were concubines. There was need therefore, for them to migrate so that their women would not also be victims of circumstances, as this would spoil the reputation of the Chinese people in general and they really treasured their cultural beliefs and practices. Medical reports from Colombian also showed that practically all Chinese in the colony were infected with a virulent form of syphilis. Therefore, their migration was of great importance so that the attitudes of people about them would change.


The Chinese immigration to Cuba was due to developmental entrepreneurship and economy. Since they wanted to develop more economically, there was need for them to move to countries where they would improve economically. The immigrants worked hard but never forgot their families back at home. They would work hard in their businesses and invest in profitable businesses and activities. However, they never forgot their people back at home and they would always send part of their earnings to their families back in china, which they would use as upkeep. This is because, they were aware that at some point in life they would be expected to go back to their home and therefore needed to maintain the good relationship.

The immigration was also due to overcrowd ness in their homeland. Therefore, the resources were over utilized to a point of diminishing returns, hence no matter on how hard they worked no profits were gotten. This acted as the reason to why they had to search for greener pastures. As the people immigrated, room was formed for the few resources to be well utilized by the people that remained so that they could de able to come out with fruitful outcomes. This has also contributed to the improvement of the environment and the sites that were the major sources of tourism attraction. This contributed to the economy of the country, as it was major source of foreign exchange, as tourism is a major source of growth and development to any country, as it engages in foreign trade easily without any deficits.

The villagers overseas also contributed greatly to the development of their country in that they would sponsor these immigrants by assisting them pay money for the trips. This enabled even the poor in the society to access the resources that they would not have accessed at any point in life. They also contributed much by finding jobs for these migrants so that they would also earn a living for themselves and assist in the development of the economy of the country as well. They did this by having them get jobs in their workplaces through their own networks where they would recommend them to their respective bosses. For instant, they would employ them in their own businesses or farms and give them the remuneration that is good enough to make them also enjoy a better life in general.



Firstly, Chinese migration to Cuba was influenced by various factors including search for greener pastures i.e. better entrepreneurial opportunities, better jobs. More so overcrowding in their home country had left very opportunities for individual expansion. But after the Cuba revolution of 1959, many of the Chinese citizens fled to other countries such as United States as political conditions became unfavorable for business; dictatorial leadership which led to so much oppression of the foreigners. Their rights rarely observed, and never given the same business opportunities as the Cuban citizens angered them more. At the same time, the

opening up better opportunities in United States and other countries contributed to their number decrease.

Socially, there were much intermarriage between the two races, these led to adoption of each other values and ethics, consequently the Chinese Cuban race came to existence, which until this day exists though not in large numbers.

Finally, there is need for economic and a political policy change to attract other communities for Cuban economic benefits, as of now its economy has been deteriorating. Hence, there is greater need for some critical changes such as easy access of credit by foreigners and see that human rights are highly observed.


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Tian Yu Cao, (2005) The Chinese Model Of Modern Development, Routledge, China

Cuban History, retrieved on 2nd October 2007, available at t.htm