Cuban exile, Pedro Pan kid: from orphanage to Denver mayor’s office
Never mind all the crap down there in Castrogonia, or the way that the news media of the so-called Free World gloss over its infinite crimes against humanity.
Nothing good ever happens down there. For good news involving Cubans, you have to go to the exile diaspora.
So, forget the island for a minute or two, and take a look at this remarkable success story involving a Cuban exile.
Guillermo "Bill" Vidal, the current mayor of Denver, was one of 14,000 Cuban kids sent to the U.S.A. by their parents. He and his two brothers ended up in a hellish orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado. Four years later, his parents were finally allowed to leave Cuba. But the family reunion was far from idyllic, as was the case with many of the Pedro Pan kids. Parents and kids were often too scarred to resume anything resembling a "normal" life.
Guillermo Vidal not only survived these horrors, but transcended them, and he has written a beautiful memoir, Boxing for Cuba, which did not get the attention it deserves. Go HERE to buy it.
Never mind the stupid cover. Authors have no control over such matters, and American and European publishers think that every book about Cuba needs to feature an antique car on the cover, even if it deals with a Cuban's life in exile. This is how they see us, how they reduce us to kitsch they can gawk at.
This weekend Mayor Vidal's life story was featured by a Denver television station, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. But the producers of this news segment seemed so overwhelmed by the fact that a lowly "Hispanic" could end up as mayor of Denver that they didn't even bother to mention his beautiful book.
The news piece is far from stellar, but it is partially redeemed by its inclusion of a video interview with Mayor Vidal.
From 9News.com, in Colorado:
Guillermo Vicente Vidal: From fleeing Castro's Cuba to Denver mayor
DENVER - Guillermo Vicente Vidal, or Bill, was the youngest of three brothers born in the city of Camaguey in Cuba. His father was a pharmacist and his mother was a stay at home mom. They lived a comfortable lifestyle as a middle class family with nannies, maids, a cook, and even a gardener. But after 1959, everything would change as Fidel Castro took control of Cuba.
"Within that year, all that celebration started spiraling into chaos. Where all of a sudden properties were confiscated. Your neighbors started turning you in for being a counter-revolutionary and it was mayhem," recalls Vidal. "The schools were taken over by the militia, and the Catholic church was thrown out of the island."
Behind closed doors, the children began to hear the soft murmurs of their parents talking about sending them off of the island. In 1961, through Operation Peter Pan, Vidal's parents sent the boys to the United States on Pan American flights. They weren't the only ones trying to flee from Castro's Cuba.
Continue reading HERE