Soon after the founding of Ybor City, Cuban, Spanish, and Italian tobacco workers established comprehensive health maintenance organizations. For small weekly dues they received medicines, hospitalization, and medical services.
On June 18, 1888, Don Enrique Pendas, a Spaniard, organized El Porvenir. Later came El Centro Espanol, 1891; L'Unione Italiana, 1894; El Circulo Cubano, 1902; and El Centro Asturiano, 1902. This is the oldest example of cooperative social medicine in the United States.
These self reliant people, proud of their independence, have never been a burden on society, and through the years have saved tax-payers millions of dollars.