From the Friday email bag

Just recieved this email and cant help but share it with you all:

Hi Val,

I know you get tons of e-mails everyday, but I’d like to share with you two wonderful anecdotes having to do with Cuba.

When I go out to socialize, I end up talking A LOT about Cuba when people find out I’m Cuban. So is the life of a Cuban outside of Miami 🙂 I’ve been through periods of loving it and hating it. After all, there’s more to me than Cuba, and many, many people I’ve talked to in the past about Cuba have told me about their recent Cuba trip and how much they loved it, how bad we are for our embargo, and then it ruins my night becayse I always feel compelled to “educate” them, and you know how it is rationalizing with people like that.

I’m now in the period of loving to tell people about Cuba because of two recent encounters I’ve had. One was with a woman who appraised a pair of earrings that were given to me by a priest in Cuba who was my father’s very dear friend. They’re vintage 1940’s-1950’s and I have no clue how he got these pearl and diamond earrings out. I digress. When I told the appraiser that the earrings were from Cuba, she said, “I’ve been to Cuba.” Then I thought , great, hear we go again. But no! This time was different. She went on some missionary trip with her husband and she was disgusted with Cuba, to my surprise. She said, “Cubans are a first world people living in a country that’s worse than the third world.” I thought, wow, what an accurate description. She asked me if I’ve ever been and if I’d like to go.

I said, I would love to go when Castro falls. And she said “Great – I would never recommend travel to Cuba to anyone unless things change there. It was just awful, depressing, and is nothing like the paradise people want you to beleive. It’s just sad.”

A couple of weekends ago, I had dinner with a college buddy of mine who I hadn’t seen since we graduated. We used to study together back in the day, but I really didn’t know what she was up to in the past few years. After
catching up, she told me that she had been to Cuba. Again, I thought, great, now she’ll tell me how great things are and that the emargo is dumb, etc. But I was wrong again. She told me how awful it was, that the tourist
segragation was guilt-inducing, to put it mildly, and that she got to see the real Cuba because she traveled around and saw areas that tourists were clearly not meant to see. She was also disgusted with the prostitution – and how hypocritical it was that Castro doesn’t want to “sell out” to capitalism and instead whores his own people out to European perverts. She was glad to see it, to experience it, but she also said it wasn’t pleasant.

Both women told me about how wonderful the people are, how naturally beautiful Cuba is, and how recognizing that fact made it even more depressing.

I have a renewed sense of optimism that people are finally seeing the real Cuba. Could the tides be changing? I don’t know. But these two experiences have given me the push I needed to start loving the opportunity to educate people again.

Poco a poco…

6 thoughts on “From the Friday email bag”

  1. I was going to do a post on the following idea. I still may.

    Every time you read a travel review about Cuba they never fail to stick to the talking points about how great Cuba is. They mention the embargo, the great beaches, the old cars and the quaint old buildings. It’s all par for the course. But the thing they always mention that bothers me is when they mention how wonderful and warm the Cuban people are.

    You might be asking yourself why that makes me angry. Well it’s because 2 million Cubans are lving in exile. The same wonderfully warm people, yet we are derided and belittled. We’re seen as “repellent”.

    I wish these tourists would come to Miami and instead of going to South Beach would go to places where we Cuban-Americans gather and celebrate. I wish they would come to our parties and events. I wish they would go to domino park and stand at la ventanita to get some coffee and engage in a debate about politics or sports. They’d see that we are one people, unfortunately divided by 90 mile and one 80-year-old tyrant.

  2. Not to be negative, but for every one of these enlightened individuals that see the depressing reality of Cuba, there are ten or more assholians, college students, media types, feminists, clergy that think that Castroils Kuba is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think Castro has succeeded in part because he has a massive propaganda machine running all the time. It is refreshing to hear people like this speak the truth – the problem is that we don’t usually hear enough from them.

    But I have noticed that many Americans are ignorant about Cuba – so we have to be vigilant especially when pinkoids like from the National Council of Churches go and tell their congregations that there is no religious persecution in Cuba like the president of the Presbetarian Church USA said last week in Havana.

    What hurts most – and I am not making this up – and I have had already like 3 instances where this has happened is when I meet someone who was born in Cuba and is and they left like in 59 or 60 and they tell me that they just came from Cuba and they went to a resort there and had the time of their lives.

  3. That is a great point – people don’t realize that the saddest part of all this is that Castro has managed to divide the Cuban family, and when you destroy family, you destroy the very unit that free societies are based on (in my view). Here, you can have a family with Republicans and Democrats – it might not make for pleasant policitical conversations, but we are still family. Over there, the political rifts can mean a great life or a horrible life… why would a communist want to associate with a non-communist, even when he’s your brother??

    It just makes me cry because my own family has been torn apart by him. I hate him.

  4. Hi Val, I’m glad you posted this today. I had a conversation with many assholians(perfect description Mandingo) at work today. The saddest part is I work on a defense contract for the U.S. in Germany. These guys couldn’t be more clueless. Basically I had a steroid pumped black canadian, a panamanian, and a El Salvadorian telling me the virtues of Castro. Low infant mortality, free health care, embargo, blah blah blah. The other side was 3 leche white gringos telling them they were nuts. I am still angry and its been 5 hours. The El Salvador guy kept saying that communism is so much better because there is no stress and everything is provided. How do you argue with stupid?

  5. Adela:

    Same here. My family was torn apart by Castrol. On my mom’s side, the “educated” members of the family decided to stay and have a “good ole time” with the revolution. Now they have nothing! My aunt who was fluent in English is now toothless and she had to call my mother in Miami because she has no shoes to wear. My mom had to send her shoes! They were my grandfather and aunts and uncles that went to college that stayed. I have never forgiven them for what they did – didn’t they – the “educated” ones see that Castro was is out of his freaking mind – I mean, what leader of a nation goes around wearing combat uniforms and giving 3 hour speeches? My mom got out – my father who was a dentist fortunatly saw very early on that Castro was a freak and a lunatic and he got out in time leaving everything behind.

    I too hate Castro. I hope he dies soon – a violent long and painful death and an eternity of terror in Hell for what he has done to our families – the same goes fore those who support him. No prisoners taken when it comes to Cuba. We are not going to become Palestinian terroroists or blowe our selves up to free Cuba, but I pray there is one day some type of poetic justice.

  6. Why doesn’t someone start doing a “Reality Tour” of Miami Cubans for people who want to hear the other side? I would sign up!

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