Is Miami the capital of Latin America?
When I was spending time in South America, I would often land in Miami for a layover whenever I was going to the region or returning to the US.
There was one particular day I remember back then.
I was at the Miami Airport and asked some middle aged white looking woman about "where is x."
Maybe I was looking for the bathroom or a specific exit or whatever it was back then.
She looked at my confused and responded in Spanish.
She didn't speak English.
And, as you can read here, that's not uncommon in Miami where 70% of the people speak Spanish but not everyone speaks English.
Compared to most US cities, that's definitely a cultural difference more aligned with Latin America.
And the day went on with more similarities to the rest of Latin America to be seen.
I left the airport to get to my hotel and there were some things I saw along the way that kinda reminded me a little bit of Latin America.
The music on the radio in the taxi was in Spanish.
Playing Pitbull as you can see here.
Pitbull -- Taxi
To the trees outside looking "relatively more tropical" than what you see in Iowa.
It was warm.
A nice beach nearby the hotel I was staying at.
The hotel itself was more colorful with bright colors painted all over it.
When I left the hotel to get some food, there was some street I encountered that had no shortage of specifically Cuban food.
And, along the walk to the restaurant, spending time in the hotel and walking back, one could hear more Spanish language music.
By all accounts, one could easily confuse themselves for being in a Latin American city.
Of course, there were differences.
The streets were not as dirty for example with trash everywhere.
The buildings looked nicer.
The cars in the streets were more modern and relatively more expensive than the average car in any typical city I had been to in Latin America by that time.
And, to be fair, it wasn't like everyone was speaking in Spanish.
When I got to the restaurant or the hotel, the staff obviously interacted with me in English as that was their native language too in most cases.
And, as you can see here, it wasn't always heavily influenced by Latin America as Miami used to be a city with a majority white non-Hispanic population just some decades ago.
Above all though, it was certainly a city different from your average Midwestern town that I grew up with but also had many similarities to various cities in Latin America that I had gotten to know by that point.
In the years before and after that night though, I had even heard other expats claim that Miami is the "capital of Latin America."
For example, you'll occasionally hear the idea casually expressed on this podcast here called Expat Files.
In a new podcast that was just launched not too long ago by a long standing blog known as Expat Chronicles, the idea was also casually said in their first episode that you can find here.
But it isn't just podcasts by gringos with experience in Latin America that have referenced the idea.
In fact, one of the earlier proponents of the idea was from Time Magazine in that last article cited from 2001 where reference some of the cultural importance Latin America had on Miami back then (and even more so now). Here's some key quotes:
"Today there is no other U.S. city in which so much of the day-to-day business is conducted in Spanish. "Almost everyone in international business here is bilingual, even the Americans," says Fred Brenner, general manager of SunBank's International Banking Division and himself bilingual. Unlike in New York or Los Angeles, where Spanish is primarily heard in the barrios, it is spoken in Miami not just by the exiles playing dominoes in Little Havana but also by businessmen in the boardrooms of Brickell Avenue.
About a third of the country's 50 largest Hispanic-owned firms are located in the Miami area."
"As the Western Hemisphere becomes more Hispanic, Miami has become the frontier city between 'America' and Latin America," explains Guillermo Grenier, the Cuban-born head of FIU's sociology department. The city offers not just trade but also services that range from banking and insurance to medical care. Miami remains Latin America's Wall Street, with about $25 billion in foreign deposits, but now Latin Americans also come for kidnap insurance and trendy laparoscopic surgery on their gallbladders."
"Visible proof of that real business already flows daily through the city's seaport and airport: perishables from Latin America, electronics from the Far East, perfumes and alcohol from Europe. Going out are the goods -- everything from bulldozers to blenders -- that Latin America needs to rebuild its infrastructure after the dormant decade of the '80s. In return, Central America, Chile and Brazil send about 350,000 tons of refrigerated produce annually to Miami. The airport runs the largest cut-flower operation in the world, daily processing 15,000 boxes of buds from south of the border."
"The Latin flavor that has attracted businessmen has also turned Miami into the capital of Hispanic TV and music, complete with a "Latin Hollywood" of resident stars like Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan. "Miami has become the meeting place of the Americas for the Spanish-speaking world," says Ray Rodriguez, the Cuban-born president of the No. 1 Spanish-language network in the U.S., Miami-based Univision."
"With so many Latin stars in residence, "Latin" Miami has gained the upper hand over "Anglo" Hollywood in attracting Spanish-language TV and film production from all over the world. Both the top Spanish-language networks in the U.S. base their productions in Miami. "Miami is a magnet. There's not a day goes by when somebody doesn't want to cut a deal with us -- Warner, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Argentine producers, Peruvians, Venezuelans," says Blaya."
Among so many other details back then in 2001 about Miami's importance and connection to Latin America.
But, as you can imagine, it's gotten even more noticeable and solidified since then.
Including this 2014 article by the NYT about how South Americans are "driving Miami's reinvention" as you can read here.
You even have former President Obama claiming as such as you an see here.
Obama: "Miami is the Capital of Latin America". Subtítulos en Español
And can you see any behavior in real life that supports the idea?
Well, in my time going through South America specifically, I remember meeting some families down there that took quite a liking to Miami.
For example, there was a Bolivian host family I lived with that were relatively wealthy and remember how they casually mentioned their trips to Miami to "go shopping" and "see Disney World nearby."
When I spent time in Barranquilla of Colombia, I went to one of the nicer universities on the Caribbean coast that was full of more upper class Colombians called Universidad del Norte that you can read about here.
And there were some people I met who, when they talked to you about their experience in the US, it always involved a story about going to Miami.
Of course, I remember other cities getting some love too like NYC for example.
When I was in Buenos Aires, it was similar in that I met an Argentine guy in a club named Martin who also talked a good bit about his travels to me (including to Miami) during our brief time getting to know each other.
He also gave me a story about how someone in his family invented or was somehow deep in the company that made Heineken Beer. So he might've been full of shit. I'm not sure. But he did appear to have money and we did spend time in a very fancy club.
Regardless, you definitely do notice the appeal Miami seems to have to some Latin Americans and also the influence Latin Americans have on the city.
So, when gringos casually call it the "capital of Latin America," I suppose it's not the biggest surprise in the world.
But is it true?
Well, obviously it's not the literal capital of Latin America.
We're only talking informally here.
But let's cover anyhow some of my thoughts on the matter with whatever comes to mind.
How Many Latin Americans Know of Miami?
This perhaps isn't the biggest point against the idea of Miami being "the capital of Latin America."
Plenty of people have not been to the literal capital of their respective countries.
However, as I sit here in "the barrio" of Mexico City, I can't help but wonder how many people here actually go to Miami for "shopping trips."
In such a neighborhood where crime and relative poverty is more common.
I have my doubts.
And there are countless Latin Americans who have nothing to do with Miami that are not poor either.
As I was demonstrating in the beginning of this article though, it really was my impression early on that it seems mostly the richer or upper middle class Latin Americans at least can afford that "shopping vacation" to Miami.
Which is relatively few.
Still, let's move on.
The Latin American Capital in the US?
This is another thing that should be mentioned.
Some Latin Americans -- at least those who spend too much time on the internet -- would be the most likely to get annoyed at the idea of any city in the US being labeled "the capital of Latin America."
Given the history between the US and Latin America, obviously any such claim might be seen as "appropriating" Latin America somehow.
Not to mention the fact that Latin America and the US see each other as distinct from each other (despite the many influences they hold on each other and both being part of the larger Americas).
This is arguably the biggest point against the idea of Miami being "the capital of Latin America."
Because it's in the US.
If Miami could be donated to the Dominican Republic (not Cuba because their government would fuck it up), then maybe more Latin Americans could jump on it being "the capital of Latin America."
But that tension with the US, its influence on Latin America and how it's seen as separate from Latin America will always keep most actual Latin Americans from seeing it as the best "informal contender to being the capital of Latin America."
And, to be honest, I'm not sure that'll ever change.
You'll always have a lot of Latin Americans who wear their victimhood like a badge to explain why their respective country is relatively shit and accepting the US as somehow being "part of Latin America" like with its cities such as Miami could challenge that for them psychologically.
On top of that, the US will always have its own culture, mannerisms and so forth that are different from most of Latin America.
Though, on that last point, I'm not entirely sure how important that is given there are noticeable differences between many Latin American countries (Argentina to Guatemala for example).
Still, on the first point, I'll be fair too in saying it works both ways.
As long as the US continues to see Latin America as its backyard or, in with Joe Biden, its "front yard," then you won't have the two sides seeing each other as part of the same region or experiencing the same reality so to speak.
And there are likely many other reasons for why Miami couldn't ever been seen as some "informal capital."
But, like I said, the inferiority complex from a certain percentage of Latin Americans will keep them from ever seeing Miami as some "informal capital" and they'd always pick some actual Latin American city for that purpose then.
It's almost like telling them "we do Latin America better than Latin Americans themselves" by claiming to have "their capital."
....Maybe we do.
So, having said that, which Latin American cities could be alternatives?
Alternatives to Miami in Latin America
One does have to wonder if there'd be better alternatives to the informal title of being "the capital of Latin America."
It isn't hard to think of alternative contenders though.
Without question, nobody here is thinking of Xela in Guatemala or Ushuaia in Argentina.
....Potosi of Bolivia?
Not that either!
So which alternatives?
Well, I'm not Latin American anyhow so it's not my place to say necessarily which city should be "the capital."
But I can easily imagine which cities would be seen as such contenders and they'd probably be the more influential ones with bigger population sizes.
Cities such as Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.
Honestly, if retard governments had not fucked their economies, I could see Caracas or Havana being in the list of potential contenders also.
Outside of those cities, you have some "soft contenders" that I don't think would be taken as seriously but perhaps are worthy of a mention.
Those being Panama City and Lima.
But that's basically it.
Anyway, let's move back to the US.
Alternatives in the US: Los Angeles?
If we were to be looking though for an "informal capital of Latin America" in the US, then is Miami really the only place to give consideration?
We have various cities in Texas (Houston, Austin) and we also have Los Angeles.
Obviously, we have other cities with considerable Latin American influence but let's keep it simple by focusing on the more notable cities.
So, when compared to places like Houston, Austin or Los Angeles, is Miami really the better example?
Well, let's think about it.
Let's first focus on demographics.
For Houston, about 2.7 million people who live there are Latino/Hispanic and it is the 4th biggest city in the US for total Latino population as you can see here.
For Austin, there's only 460,000 Hispanics as you can see here. So not as impressive. Let's disregard Austin now.
For Los Angeles, there's 4.8 million Latinos that make up 48% of the population as you can see here.
For Miami, there's 310,000 Latinos but they make up 70% of the population as you can see here.
So Miami actually has less Latinos than Austin even but, in terms of a percentage of the population, Miami is definitely up there. Seemingly higher than many.
Though, as you can read here, there are various areas in the US that have a higher Latino percentage of the total population (including East LA).
But many of those places are areas nobody gives a fuck about, never heard of and have little cultural influence abroad to Latin America as a whole like Salinas of California or McAllen of Texas.
We'll get to the importance of cultural influence soon.
Second, which cities used to be under control of Latino or Hispanic people before the US?
We all know California and Texas used to be controlled by Mexico and so maybe that's helps their claim to having the capital of Latin America.
But Miami is part of Florida and, as you can read here, Florida used to be under colonial rule of Spain for a few centuries.
"Florida was under colonial rule by Spain from the 16th century to the 19th century, and briefly by Great Britain during the 18th century (1763–1783) before becoming a territory of the United States in 1821. Two decades later, on March 3, 1845, Florida was admitted to the Union as the 27th U.S. state."
So Los Angeles and those cities in Texas can't really claim superiority on this matter by being the only places under former control by Latino/Hispanic entities.
And, to be fair, being part of a former Latino/Hispanic country shouldn't be the only quality to look for.
After all, Utah used to be owned by Mexico but nobody considers any city in Utah to be a potential "capital of Latin America."
Outside of demographics and history, current cultural importance is something to consider.
Let's get to that also.
Third, we have Latino entertainment.
Which city is better at being a Hollywood for Latinos?
Honestly, I'm going to ignore Houston and Austin because I'm fairly confident that they can't compete with Miami or Los Angeles.
And, given I'm not Latino, this is harder for me to think about.
I know the Latino Music Awards have some connection to Miami it seems as you can see here.
Still, if we at least go back to the Times article cited before, we know at least Miami has had for a few decades now a significant cultural influence for Latin America.
But, beyond that, let's revisit demographics just for a second.
Latin American Demographics
First, we have this article by the BBC as you can see here that titles Miami as "the capital of affluent Latin America."
One of the main themes of the article is how, when compared to places like Los Angeles, many of the Latin Americans who come to Miami are much wealthier as you can see here.
"In Los Angeles, when you hear Spanish, it is often the language that the waiters or the cutters doing your lawn speak in the background. In Miami, the people who own the restaurants and the lawn are the ones who speak Spanish."
Though I have never lived in Miami, that isn't a surprise to me as it has often been my impression that a lot of wealthier Latin Americans like to go there.
For example, there's one Argentine chick I went to college with that I know currently lives there and she definitely came from money.
Among the other Latin Americans I have mentioned that I knew who liked to take trips to the city.
To some degree, I would argue though that the over representation of wealthier Latin Americans doesn't make it the best representation of Latin America as most of the region is not as wealthy as some of those described going to Miami to buy homes with cash and have easy lives.
While Latin America is more of a middle income region, this description that the BBC article gives makes it seem not as representative of the region.
However, that's just based on my impression from the article and from the few Latin Americans I knew who like living or traveling there.
Speaking of diversity though, Miami does have one thing going for it as you can see in these quotes here from that same article:
"Cubans began coming here (after the Revolution) in 1959 and after that, you had layer upon layer of Latinos coming in from different countries," says Mr Grenier.
In the past few years they have been followed by around 100,000 middle-income Latin Americans from countries including Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil among others, he tells the BBC."
Still, when compared to Los Angeles, I'm sure you do have a variety of Latin Americans who live there also (and not just rich ones).
Well, according to this article from Pew Research here, we can get an idea actually of which places in the US have more Latino diversity in terms of nationality.
Let me break it down for you here:
1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA: 78% Mexican, 1% Puerto Rican, 8% Salvadorian, 1% Cuban, 5% Guatemalan and 7% other.
2. New York-Northeastern NJ: 12% Mexican, 28% Puerto Rican, 5% Salvadorian, 3% Cuban, 21% Dominican, 2% Guatemalan and 28% other.
3. Miami-Hialeah, Florida: 3% Mexican, 6% Puerto Rican, 1% Salvadorian, 54% Cuban, 4% Dominican, 1% Guatemalan and 30% other.
4. Washington D.C./MD/VA: 16% Mexican, 6% Puerto Rican, 32% Salvadorian, 2% Cuban, 2% Dominican, 8% Guatemalan and 34% other.
5. Providence-Fall River-Pawtucket, MA/RI: 8% Mexican, 28% Puerto Rican, 4% Salvadorian, 26% Dominican, 15% Guatemalan and 18% other.
As a side point, I couldn't find online any statistics on what percentages of residents in actual Latin American cities come from other Latin American countries. Just keep that in mind when we make comparisons here.
Anyway, when taking into account these statistics, it doesn't make Miami sound as big of the capital it is claimed to be if we went by simple diversity of the Latinos living there.
I'm mostly looking at that "other" category to guess how many of the remaining are not part of the dominant groups but spread out among other Latino nationalities.
Clearly, NYC and Washington do give Miami some run for its money.
While NYC doesn't surprise me, I wasn't expecting as much Latino diversity in Washington DC.
Anyway, given the importance of these two cities as they were brought up in the Pew Research, what other numbers can we find out about them?
For NYC, we have this:
"Hispanics and Latinos make up 27.5% of New York City's population. According to the American Community Survey, there were 2,287,905 Hispanic or Latino Americans residing in New York City."
For Washington DC, we have this:
"More immigrants from Central and South America, along with the Caribbean, have settled in the area. Hispanics are the third-largest minority group in D.C. The population of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the District as of July 2019 is 79,477, or 11.3% of its population."
So, at least when it comes to total numbers, we can kick Washington DC out of the running for competing with Miami on the title of the capital.
When it comes to comparing NYC to Miami, I guess it comes down to what matters more to you: Having a higher total amount of Latinos with seemingly more diversity in terms of nationality or a higher percentage of the total population being Latino with seemingly slightly less diversity in terms of nationality.
If I had to guess too (and I'm only guessing), probably NYC has more diversity in skin color also as Miami was described by that BBC article as having wealthier Latinos (who I assume are whiter on average).
It might be the case then that, based solely on demographics, that NYC better represents Latin America within the US than Miami.
But, as we have seen before, there are other things to consider like the total percentage of the population being Latino or not and also cultural and economic ties to Latin America.
One other thing to consider too is the amount of people locally who actually speak Spanish.
If we are going to declare any city in the US to be a capital of Latin America, then we need lots of people who speak Spanish, no?
Fuck Portuguese. Portuguese is lame. We aren't considering Portuguese as important for the locals to know.
Anyway, we have this bit from Wikipedia that can kinda help us on this front also.
Here is what is interesting:
1. 45.1% of people in Los Angeles are Spanish speakers (5,979,000 speakers).
2. 19.8% of people in New York are Spanish speakers (4,780,000 speakers).
3. 39.8% of people in Miami are Spanish speakers (2,554,000 speakers).
4. 11.6% of people in Washington are Spanish speakers (906,000 speakers).
So, as we can see, we can again completely disregard Washington D.C.
And,. on this metric anyway, it looks like Los Angeles wins on both the total amount of Spanish speakers and the percentage of the population who speak Spanish.
.....So Los Angeles as the capital?
You be the judge.
Though, having said all that, there is one thing I'd like to mention.
US Latinos Are Not Latin Americans
You might've already noticed some discrepancy in the numbers between how many people speak Spanish in these US cities and how many are Latino or Hispanic.
Of course, out of those who claim to speak Spanish, it'd be interesting to know how many actually speak it as a native language versus those who speak it as a second language, not very well, etc.
And so one issue that I'm getting at to the claim that a city like Miami (or anywhere else in the US) is a "capital of Latin America" is that there is a difference between US Latinos and actual Latin Americans.
Just because a certain high percentage of the people in those cities are Latino does not mean they are Latin American (as in born and raised in Latin America).
Many (though not all) are US Latinos with imperfect Spanish, American mannerisms, limited to possibly no experience in the country their ancestors are from, etc.
Just something to think about when asking if Miami is "the capital of Latin America."
There's another issue one might bring up also.
Limited Access to the US
Another argument against the idea of Miami or any US city being a "capital of Latin America" is that most Latin Americans do have limited access to travel to the US.
You have plenty of poor ones who crossed the border illegally to Texas.
Plenty of rich ones who had good visas to Miami.
And many in between.
But there is a certain irony to claiming it as a "capital" of Latin America when such visa restrictions do exist for most people in Latin America.
Anyway,those are a few arguments that come to mind as I write this so.
So let's go back to some of the articles online that discuss this idea of Miami being the capital of Latin America.
There are no shortage of other articles that discuss or reference this idea of Miami being the capital of Latin America as you can see some here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
And that was from just the first two pages on Google!
So let's check out their arguments too.
In this article here, the argument is made that Miami is a strategic home for Latin Americans and that is one reason why it can be seen as the capital.
"From the south, Miami represents an entry point into the U.S. economy. But coming from the opposite direction, it’s the gateway to one of the strongest and most promising economies in the world today: Latin America."
That's definitely an advantage and makes it more of a capital than Ann Arbor, Michigan.
However, you do have other cities in the US that are close to Latin America like Los Angeles and Los Angeles does have, as we mentioned, some of the benefits that Miami has.
NYC is a bit farther away though but obviously has no shortage of international flights to Latin America.
So I'm not sure how much of an advantage this really is for helping the claim that it is a capital of Latin America.
....Especially when compared to influential cities already in Latin America.
Still, there are some employment and investment opportunities that the article mentions but we'll get to those briefly next.
Business Connections to Latin America
The basic argument is that Miami makes an ideal location for business travel between the US and Latin America and that Miami has certain business advantages that other ideal cities in the US (like NYC or Los Angeles) don't offer.
Here are some key quotes from The Economist article (you can seemingly find another version of the same article but without the paywall here):
"Miami has become a commercial hub for the hemisphere. Miami-Dade County, which includes the city of Miami and about three dozen municipalities, is where 1,200 multinational corporations have established the headquarters of their operations in Latin America. The county’s GDP was about $172 billion in 2019, making it the 14th largest county economy in the United States, and about as large as the combined GDP of Ecuador and Uruguay."
"The Miami airport handles 43% of all flights from the United States to South America. It is the “meeting place of the hemisphere,” says Alejandro Portes of Princeton University. “It’s easier to travel from Latin American capitals to Miami than between Latin American capitals,” he says."
The article also mentions how Latin Americans of certain countries like Cuba or Colombia find Miami to be a better place to invest in property than back home and that ever increasingly more and more people are coming even to this day.
"And if more leftists are elected in Latin America, the more conservative ones can show their rejection. Some Colombians are nervous about the prospect of a victory for Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla, in this month’s presidential election. Capital flight from Colombia is already evident, says Paul Angelo of the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank. People fear that Petro will turn the country into “another Venezuela,” he says. In March, Colombia was the largest source of international searches on MiamiRealtors.com, a property website, accounting for about 11% of international traffic. Members of Colombia’s armed forces have asked Angelo about the US asylum process, fearing they could become targets of leftist guerrilla groups if Petro is elected."
Finally, the article also mentions the increasingly important tech role that Miami has for Latin America as you can see here:
"Miami also attracts younger tech profiles. Its startup environment is thriving. Entrepreneurs can find security and abundant capital there, which is why Miami has become a “no-brainer in a post-COVID world,” says Shu Nyatta, who co-heads a Latin American fund at SoftBank, a large technology investment firm. Today there are around 2,500 fintech companies in Latin America. That is more than double the number that existed in the region in 2018, according to the IDB. Many Latin American founders choose to make their headquarters in Miami or work there for part of the year."
Which is interesting when you look at the first article cited in this section that you can again see here.
Some of the main arguments made are:
1. Again, when compared to other US cities, Miami is better for business travel.
2. Hiring is cheaper there than in places like NYC.
3. Is more friendly to Spanish speakers.
4. Rent isn't as high.
5. A lot of VC and PE opportunities, including the examples cited below:
"The consistency of exits will attract a growing amount of capital to Miami. In the past two years, a few notable deals have given investors faith that Miami can become a place for great returns. Ultimate Software, an HR platform, was acquired for an eye-popping $11 billion last year. In 2018, construction management platform e-Builder was acquired for $500 million, and Farelogix, a travel industry management platform, was acquired for $360 million."
Above all, there definitely seems to be a business appeal to Miami being an economic leader of Latin America (and a capital too?).
Here's another article also that covers briefly the economic importance and connections of Miami to Latin America.
Well, if none of the above convinced you, there is also this interesting bit of information here.
Miami: The Center of Interconnection
In terms of business importance for Latin America, we also have this article here that shows what importance Miami has in terms of internet connectivity.
Here are some key quotes:
"In the heart of Miami sits one of the city’s most recognizable buildings, yet only a few people know what happens inside its 7-inch thick reinforced-concrete walls, or under the roof that supports three massive white radomes. We at Equinix simply call it “MI1.” But to rest of the world, it’s the “Network Access Point of the Americas,” or “NAP” for short."
"MI1 was conceived in the early days of the public internet with two things in mind. First, it was to become a place for carriers to peer and exchange their traffic, particularly those from Latin America and the Caribbean (LA&C). Running terrestrial fiber optic cables through LA&C is almost impossible because of Latin America’s extremely challenging geography, such as the Andes, the longest continental mountain range on the planet; the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest; and the Antilles, which is made up of thousands of islands with more than 30 different flags. For connectivity, the region relies mostly on submarine cables that terminate in the Miami metro area and extend to MI1, which puts this unique building at the region’s economic and digital center."
"Secondly, the NAP allows government, public sector organizations and enterprises to place their infrastructure as close as possible to the backbone of the internet. The vast majority of telecommunications traffic to and from LA&C travels through this massive 750,000 square-foot, purpose-built data center."
The article goes on anyway to explaining the importance of all of this for Latin American businesses wanting to stay connected to the internet.
"With its superior infrastructure and interconnection possibilities, as well as access to multiple cloud and IT service providers, MI1 is a prime location for LATAM organizations working to transform their digital operations to meet the demands of the 21st century."
Anyway, those were all some of the main ideas that I encountered when looking through some of the more ranked articles that discuss the idea online.
Let's end this with some last minute thoughts I've had on the subject and then wrap it up.
Irony on the Demographics
To be fair, I think it's a little bit dumb to focus so much on the demographics as we have but that is a central part of the argument to Miami or any US city being "the capital" of Latin America.
It's just ironic to me that people focus on which city is the most Latin American influenced as a way to determine which is the capital when literally any city in Latin America has more actual Latin Americans (instead of some of them being born and raised elsewhere but of Latino heritage) and who are guaranteed to speak Spanish properly.
Like we are completely overlooking the entire region of Latin America to find our capital in some other country that nobody considers part of Latin America.
"Miami is More Culturally Similar than Los Angeles"
One argument that perhaps could be made in favor of Miami over Los Angeles is that you have more music produced in Miami that is heard across Latin America.
More salsa, reggaeton, etc.
Versus some brands of Mexican music that is more popular in Mexico but not the rest of Latin America.
Like Norteño music.
To be honest, I've never been to Los Angeles so I'm just guessing some forms of Mexican music are more popular there than in Miami due to the greater Mexican demographics in the city than what you see in Miami.
But that brings up another point.
The Upper Class of Which Countries?
As we saw in the BBC article cited, Miami does seem to attract certain types of upper class Latin Americans but not as many upper class Mexicans.
I only say that because, while discussing diversity of Latin Americans in Miami (which it has), obviously some nationalities are less represented.
I associate certain cities in Texas for example as attracting more upper class Mexicans than Miami by far.
One Difference in Terms of Roads
Though there are cities in Latin America that are more car friendly, I'd also say that one characteristic of Miami that isn't "very Latin America" or non-American anyway is the reliance on cars to get around.
Versus a city like NYC that might be more representative of so many cities in Latin America (and in places like Europe) where one can get around without a car and use public transportation.
Just a point to consider.
"Just a Saying, Bro"
To be fair to those who say Miami is the capital of Latin America, I'm sure some just say it half seriously.
Like how people call certain areas "little China" or "little whatever culture/country" based on the amount of people from said background living in whatever city.
Nobody actually thinks "Barrio Chino" of CDMX is literally China.
Just a saying.
Though, after reading some articles today on this subject, it does seem to me that some folks do actually think Miami is an informal capital of Latin America.
Anyway, let's wrap this up.
So is Miami the Capital of Latin America?
As you can tell, there's obviously a lot of different ways to look at it.
When it comes to asking which city in the US would be the best candidate, we have things to look at like:
1. Business connections to Latin America (which we didn't do as much of a job for other cities to be fair other than Miami).
2. Cultural ties
3. Total number of Latinos and percentage out of the total population.
4. How many speak Spanish (again, fuck Portuguese).
So on and so on!
For a US city, Miami is definitely a contender.
Based on what I read today, only NYC and Los Angeles look like serious competitors for the title within the US.
....But that is within the US.
A country that technically is not part of Latin America despite having a lot of Latinos, despite being the second biggest country of Spanish speakers and despite having territory formally owned by either Spain or Mexico.
As I said way before, one could argue that a city within Latin America is more appropriate to be given said title.
And I personally believe that, after reading enough into the topic, the idea of Miami being the capital was inspired by Time Magazine and basically everyone else ran with the idea.
I'm more of the opinion that any "capital" should be within Latin America.
Even though Miami has many characteristics of Latin America and has a wide variety of Latinos from numerous Latin American countries.
For those reasons, I can see why some people would call it the capital given it has more variety.
If we were to look at other cities mentioned before, I have my doubts about a place like Rio de Janeiro or anywhere in Brazil simply because they speak Portuguese.
Most of Latin America doesn't speak Portuguese.
Granted, English is used in Miami also so what stones do I have to throw?
Then you have Buenos Aires and Mexico City.
Between the two, Mexico City is probably better because it simply has a bigger population and is more diverse in terms of the people who live there.
Also, I'm probably biased in favor of Mexico City since I live here.
Anyway, I completely get why some people would call Miami the "capital" and am not opposed to it entirely.
But my preference is for a city actually in Latin America and so, if I had to shoot from the hip and pick a random city, I'd probably pick a place like Mexico City or maybe even Panama City.
Panama City sounds good too because I imagine it, like Mexico City, has a wider variety of Latin Americans living there from all over.
And that is important for me to consider because, like Miami, to be the capital should involve having various Latin Americans instead of just only people from one country.
Though a lot of cities mentioned today in this article have some variety. It's not like any of them are void of that.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
I don't got any personal stake in the matter anyhow since I'm not Latin American.
Above all, Miami is, without question, a contender for the title but there definitely are other worthy contenders.
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Thanks for reading.