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Cubans leaving island in rising numbers, fueling clash of new and old in Miami

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    In this Sept. 19, 2013 photo, Irka Ducasse Blanes, a recent Cuban immigrant, smiles during an interview at a tax preparation office where she works in Miami. Since 2002, the number of Cubans leaving has hovered around 30,000 annually, making the last 10 years the largest exodus since the start of the revolution. The influx of new arrivals is evident throughout Miami, the heart of Cuba’s exile population. In 2007, Blanes came to America when she was six months pregnant, bringing with her a 7-year-old daughter, followed soon after by her husband. The family wanted a better future for their children, and today Blanes does identify with the term “exile.” (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)The Associated Press

  • d519b608afa66d213f0f6a7067004c2a.jpg

    In this Sept. 19, 2013 photo, Irka Ducasse Blanes, a recent Cuban immigrant, smiles during an interview at a tax preparation office where she works in Miami. Since 2002, the number of Cubans leaving has hovered around 30,000 annually, making the last 10 years the largest exodus since the start of the revolution. The influx of new arrivals is evident throughout Miami, the heart of Cuba’s exile population. In 2007, Blanes came to America when she was six months pregnant, bringing with her a 7-year-old daughter, followed soon after by her husband. The family wanted a better future for their children, and today Blanes does identify with the term “exile.” (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)The Associated Press

Some 46,662 Cubans left the island legally and permanently last year, the largest migration in a single year since 1994, according to figures from Cuba's National Statistics Office. Since 2002, the number leaving has hovered around 30,000 annually, making the last 10 years the largest exodus since the start of the revolution.

The influx of new arrivals is evident throughout Miami, the heart of Cuba's exile population. Cubans arriving today grew up on the island after the revolution, and their relationship with their homeland is different than the wave of immigrants who arrived immediately after Fidel Castro took power. Their growing numbers are bringing those stark contrasts to the fore, leading to moments of friction between groups and putting into question what it means to be a Cuban "exile."

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