Father’s Day

All over this great free nation, families pay homage to el Padre, the father. There are as many different kinds of celebrations as there are fathers. Brunches, Lunches, Barbecues, Dinners. ..

It’s not so easy for Cuban exiles. The revolution, castro’s supposedly great humanitarian gift to the world is in fact responsible for human pain on a scale too huge to categorize. I’m talking about the pain of separation from family.

Children sent to the States during Pedro Pan who never saw their fathers again. Fathers who sent their wives and children ahead, expecting to follow them in a few months…but that was before castro closed the door. Imagine, month after month waiting, hoping, dreaming, and finally reconciling to the fact that he’s not coming. He can’t get out.

Twenty years later, Mariel … how many finally were reunited. Such joy, but how many were reunited with familes they no longer knew? More pain thanks to fidel.

Those years were just the beginning, castro has been in power for 47 years. Through all these years, Cubans have been fleeing in anyway they are able. Lawfully, waiting for a visa, sometimes for years; or on rafts, or defecting while on “special” allowed trips for business, or art, or sports. Cubans are very resourceful, they’ve created boats out of old used cars and any material that will float.

Each of these exiles knows that family left behind may never be seen again.

Imagine that last goodbye.

This fathers day, give your Dad a hug and tell him that you love him, and then say a prayer for all those who suffer family separations imposed by a dictator. Cuba libre.

6 thoughts on “Father’s Day”

  1. The comunist party with means Fidel and his cronies and separated since decades ago,the
    former strong cuban familiar structure,many
    are in exile,in the states or as me in Europe,
    some with all family members,the majority not
    at full together.I think one of the most important lesson for us to learn is when being
    Together again,to eschew any political fanatism
    and always put family in the first place,b/c at
    the end of the day La Patria is firstly our family,so let’s put away any other sort of tripes.

  2. Ziva,
    What a great, GREAT, post.
    It made me cry.
    A grown man, crying in front of this silent screen. So it goes.
    I had to leave Cuba shortly after I had turned 15 years old, and I was a “mama’s boy,” a kid protected and cared for during every one of those 15 years.
    AFter I left Cuba –and my family behind– I would not see my father again until five years later, when I was a strapping 20-year-old man who had had to make his way in an orphanage, fist-fighting his way out of situations when it came to that, or talking his way out of confrontations when it *could* come to that.
    And the re-enconter with my father and the rest of my family was HARD. If nothing else, if there were no other factors affecting the situation, THAT reencounter alone would me make hate fidel and his tyrannical government until the day I die. And even after that, if it is possible to hold a grudge after one is dead and gone.
    I never appreciated the sacrifice that my father –and my mother– made when they put me in a propeller-driven airplaine in 1962 and sent me to a refugee camp in the edge of the Everglades in Florida until many years later, when I myself became a father and knew what it meant to have a child and what it meant to have to say good-bye to that child without knowing when, if ever, you would see that child again.
    I would not see my father again for about five years until I left the island, years when I *had* to grow up into the man that I am today.
    I dearly love that man, my fatherl.
    I worship his memory, I cry like a baby every time I think of him… for the times we never had together as I grew up by myself in the U.S., …for the country that we didn’t have any longer.
    It’s so painful a memory that I can hardly see through the tears as I type these words… and yet, I don’t want to harbor hate in my heart, not even for the worthless, lying, communist system that took my father away from me.
    I guess this is one of those times when Jesus himself might have said one should turn the other cheek.
    Will *I& myself be able to turn the other cheek?
    Who knows?
    I want to live according to the teachings in the scriptures. Will I be able to do so?
    Who knows?
    One thing is for sure: I will do my best.
    I wish each and every father out there a Happy Father’s Day. I urge each and every one of you to rejoice in your family, in what you have, rather than pine for what you don’t have, for what you might think you might have had, for what you might think might have been the “ideal” family life.
    Just appreciate what you have, because an awful lot of people in this world don’t have, or haven’t had, the same blessings that you enjoy today, particularly if you live in these United States of America –yes, even with all its defects and shortcomings. Because it is *still* the best country in the world.
    Want proof?
    The rafts are still coming this way… not away from here.
    A belated Happy Father’s Day to you, and and all!

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