Must-Read of the Day – Drinking milk on foreign soil: Memories of Cuba’s cruel dictatorship

By Robinson Iglesias in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Milk on foreign soil, memories of a cruel Cuban dictatorship

Gerardo Delgado

When one thinks of Cuba, Guantanamo Bay often comes to mind.  The Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy — his presidency frozen in time by his tragic untimely death — and for the Cuban people, the most significant issue of their lifetime never fully resolved.

The failure of the Bay of Pigs forfeited every last bid for hope the Cuban people had of changing course.   For one man, my dear friend Gerardo Delgado (August 1938-August 2016), it was the beginning of the end.  When the Castro brothers discovered his plans to emigrate to the U.S., they confiscated his passport.  For 10 years he was forced to work in the sugar cane fields.  Not a single cent was paid to him, and ironically, his own town had no access to sugar. For his indentured servitude, he was given two meals a day and nothing else.

“Every day,” he explained, “was an eternity.” His American Dream was deferred and it sagged like a heavy load.  The reality is that Delgado was no threat to the Castro brothers.  He was a common man, a peasant, if you will, who just wanted out.

One day, without notice, a government official approached Delgado and provided him with his passport and said, “You paid your debt; now you can go.”  With some help, Delgado made it to Spain and then to America. He carried with him the pain, suffering and hunger of an entire people.  It was for them that he drank milk every day on foreign soil, never forgetting the food rationing he had left behind.

In Cuba, the Castro brothers divided neighborhoods with a government informant on every two blocks.  The informants knew what everyone was doing and reported back up the chain of command.  Delgado described an elaborate, malicious scheme where the government took away property and livestock from every single person in his town and made everyone dependent on government. Not even a single chicken could be kept for eggs; everything was rationed.  Every person received one egg per week, five pounds of rice monthly and five ounces of meat, and that was it.   Milk was reserved only for toddlers. Once a child reached five years of age, there was no more milk available to them or to anyone else who unavoidably aged out.  Sugar and salt were also not on the meal plan of Delgado’s town. If anybody had salt or sugar it was via the “bolsa negra,” or black market, facilitated by a member of another town.

Anyone caught violating the rules would be subject to a public trial, right on the streets, led by the Committee in Defense of the Revolution.  Delgado described a miserable life where no one trusted each other and neighbors turned against each other trying to curry favor to the government informant.  Many people were killed — friends and relatives.

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1 thought on “Must-Read of the Day – Drinking milk on foreign soil: Memories of Cuba’s cruel dictatorship”

  1. As long as Nosferatu has milk, there’s no problem. Slaves are hardy stock, or they’d damn better be. Besides, they can get powdered milk from Miami. They get “free” health care, of sorts, and education, of sorts, which impresses the hell out of the usual suspects, and that’s plenty good enough.

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