Cuba Return to Miss Universe

Cuba Returns to Miss Universe: A Historic Comeback

For the first time in 57 years, Cuba will have a representative to run in the Miss Universe pageant, although they will choose their contestant from Miami. Since 1968, Cuba has not been allowed to participate in Miss Universe due to a combination of political factors and financial crises. Recent developments, fueled by social media activities and a newly active “Miss Universe Cuba” Instagram account, suggest that Cuba is gearing up to return to the international stage at this year’s pageant in Mexico (Remezcla)​​ (Babalu Blog)​.

As a first-generation Cuban-American born and raised in Miami-Dade County, this news strikes a deeply personal chord. Growing up in South Florida, surrounded by a vibrant Cuban community, I have always felt a strong connection to my cultural roots. The announcement of Cuba’s return to Miss Universe is more than just a beauty pageant for me and my people; it symbolizes resilience, cultural pride, and a long-awaited reentry onto the global stage.

A Historic Legacy

Cuba’s participation in the Miss Universe pageant has a rich history that predates my own family’s journey to the United States. From 1952 to 1967, Cuban women graced the Miss Universe stage, showcasing the island’s beauty and talent. The highest-ranking Cuban contestant, María Rosa Gamio Fernández, placed as the third runner-up in 1957 (Remezcla)​.. However, political upheavals following the Cuban Revolution in 1959 led to Cuba’s withdrawal from international competitions, including Miss Universe, by 1968.

For decades, the absence of Cuban contestants in such global events has been a poignant reminder of the island’s political isolation and the struggles faced by Cubans both on the island and in exile. My parents, who left Cuba seeking freedom and opportunities, carried with them stories of a vibrant culture that could no longer fully express itself on the world stage. This cultural silence has been a lingering void for many Cuban-Americans like myself.

The Miami Connection

Due to the political climate in Cuba, the contestant for Miss Universe will be chosen from Miami, home to a large Cuban exile community. This decision underscores the strong ties between Cuba and its diaspora in South Florida. Miami, often referred to as the “Capital of Latin America,” has been a haven for Cubans fleeing political and economic hardships. It is a place where Cuban culture thrives, from the aromatic cafecitos and lively salsa music to the passionate conversations about our homeland’s future.

Choosing a contestant from Miami is not just a logistical necessity; it is a celebration of the Cuban-American experience. It acknowledges the contributions of Cubans in exile to preserving and promoting our culture despite the distance from our homeland. For me, it is a source of immense pride to see a representative from my community stepping onto the Miss Universe stage, embodying the beauty, resilience, and spirit of Cuba.

Cultural Significance

Cuba’s return to Miss Universe is laden with cultural significance. It represents a step towards greater visibility and recognition for Cuban culture on an international platform. For many Cubans, both on the island and in exile, this comeback is a source of national pride and an opportunity to re-establish our cultural identity.

Growing up in Miami-Dade County, I have witnessed firsthand the vibrant tapestry of cultures that make up South Florida. The Cuban community here is a cornerstone of this diversity, contributing to the area’s unique character. Events like Cuba’s participation in Miss Universe help to highlight and celebrate this cultural richness, allowing the world to see the beauty and talent that Cuba has to offer.

Challenges and Hopes

Despite the excitement, Cuba’s re-entry into Miss Universe is not without challenges. The political situation in Cuba remains complex, with ongoing human rights concerns and limited freedoms. Critics argue that the Cuban government might use this opportunity to improve its image internationally while continuing to suppress dissent domestically.

As a Cuban-American, I share these concerns. It is important that our participation in global events like Miss Universe is not used to gloss over the struggles faced by those on the island. However, I also see this as an opportunity to raise awareness about these issues and to advocate for a better future for all Cubans.

Social media has played a crucial role in rekindling interest and support for Cuba’s participation in Miss Universe. Platforms like Instagram have provided a space for Cubans and Cuban-Americans to voice their excitement and rally behind the idea. The Miss Universe Cuba Instagram account has become a hub for updates, garnering significant engagement from the community.

Personal Reflections

For me, as a first-generation Cuban-American, Cuba’s return to Miss Universe is a deeply personal and emotional moment. It brings back memories of my parents’ stories about the Cuba they left behind and the hopes they carried with them to the United States. It is a reminder of the strength and resilience of our community, both on the island and in exile.

Living in Miami-Dade County, I have always felt a strong connection to my Cuban heritage. Our community is a testament to the enduring spirit of the Cuban people, and this moment is a celebration of that spirit. Seeing a representative from our community on the Miss Universe stage is a powerful symbol of our cultural pride and a reminder that, despite the challenges we face, our heritage remains strong and vibrant.

Looking Ahead

As the Miss Universe pageant approaches, the anticipation and excitement within the Cuban community in Miami are palpable. This historic comeback is expected to draw significant media attention and could pave the way for further cultural exchanges between Cuba and the international community.

For the Cuban community, both on the island and in exile, this moment represents hope and a step towards greater inclusion in global events. It is a reminder of the power of cultural representation and the importance of maintaining connections to our heritage, regardless of political boundaries.

As a Cuban-American living in South Florida, I look forward to cheering on our representative and celebrating this milestone with my community. It is a moment of pride, reflection, and renewed hope for a future where Cuba’s beauty and culture are once again celebrated on the world stage.


Cuba’s return to the Miss Universe pageant after 57 years marks a significant cultural milestone. While political challenges remain, this event offers a unique opportunity for Cubans to showcase their beauty, culture, and resilience on a global stage. The decision to select a contestant from Miami underscores the enduring connection between the Cuban diaspora and their homeland. As preparations continue, the world eagerly awaits to see Cuba’s representative take the stage, embodying the hopes and dreams of a nation long isolated but never forgotten. For me and my fellow Cuban-Americans in South Florida, this moment is a source of immense pride and a celebration of our rich cultural heritage.

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