La Yuma

Nat Chediak is a Havana native, Grammy Award-winning music producer, and founding director of the Miami International Film Festival. In this clip, he reflects on the ubiquitous nickname Cubans on the island have given to the United States: “La Yuma.”

The name is derived from the 1957 western 3:10 to Yuma, about a struggling Arizona rancher (Van Heflin) who volunteers to escort a captured outlaw (Glenn Ford) to the jail in Yuma. The 3:10 of the title refers to the train that will take them there and, indirectly, to the impending showdown with the outlaw’s gang. The film, directed by Delmer Daves, was based on a short story by Elmore Leonard.

Interestingly, “La Yuma” does not appear to have become a common term for the United States until decades later and, as Chediak points out, is likely a product of the film’s extended life on Cuban state television.