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Latino Americans (Episode 4) | PBS America

Episode four, The New Latinos, takes up the story after the Second World War as immigrants began to arrive in numbers from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. To escape the economic conditions in their country, over a million Puerto Ricans left for the US, only to be met with hostility and discrimination. Ethnic tensions exploded in youth gang warfare depicted in films such as West Side Story. Rita Moreno won an Oscar for the role of Anita in the film, but for most Puerto Ricans empowerment remained elusive. The early 1960s saw the first Cubans fleeing the left-wing Castro regime, forming a refugee community in Miami. A typical example was that of Manuel Capo, who built a thriving business there. In 1965, fearing another Communist takeover in the Caribbean, President Lyndon Johnson sent troops into the Dominican Republic, triggering a third wave of immigration. Best-selling author Julia Alvarez, whose family fled to the US in 1960, would later expound on the immigrant experience in her novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. A hybrid identity was gradually taking shape in a new generation of Latinos, who were beginning to demand their place in American society.