I’ve been meaning to post a link to this excellent piece over at Cubanology. You may have already read it, and if so, its’ well worth reading it again, if you havent, you’ll be glad you did:
Cuba: Why I Care
By Claudia Fanelli 1/20/2007
I am not Cuban. I don’t attempt or pretend to be. I am Italian-American, the granddaughter of economic, not political, immigrants. As a result of my background, the concept of political immigration was foreign to me until I met my Cuban-born Spanish professors in college twenty years ago. Even so, knowing them as well as I did but never discussing their ordeals, I had only marginal knowledge of Cuban history. With regard to the Cuban exile experience, well, let’s just say that if I didn’t hear it from Tony Montana, then I didn’t know about it. My ignorance was never questioned much since I live in Pennsylvania where the Cuban population is sparse. However, now that Cuban history and literature are part of the high school Spanish curriculum where I teach, I felt compelled to know more than what the student textbook told me. Books, Blogs, movies, documentaries and talking to Cubans have helped me to understand what is so seemingly foreign a concept to the average American: the current situation in Cuba.
Other teachers ask me questions about Cuba and while I am in no way an authority, I do my best and get an answer if I don’t have one. You see, my colleagues have no clue about what is going on in Cuba, and until I began talking to them, they really didn’t care to know. Perhaps they are relieved that I keep abreast of what is taking place so that they don’t have to. After all, Cuba is barely a blip on the radar of most Americans. I am always sure to inform the curious about the suffering and the human rights violations that are taking place in Cuba as a result of a 48-year death grip on the country and her people. I cite my sources when I need to and I state statistics when challenged by a fan of Fidel. Once presented with the propaganda espoused by Hollywood and parroted by those who swallow it, I unload the litany of contradictions as well as the endless list of human and civil rights violations that people who don’t live in Miami either don’t know or choose not to acknowledge.
Trust me, you’ll want to read the whole thing.