Is it a Change-up or a Spit Ball? My Personal Response to the US in Cuba

I’m leaving the courthouse in Bartow, “relieved” of jury duty, thinking about the fact that I live in a country, the “greatest country in the world,” blessed beyond words that my Cuban grandparents believed in freedom so strongly that they gave up everything (everything except love, faith and each other) to come to this country because it would provide opportunities – even an opportunity to be “inconvenienced” as some consider Jury Duty to be – for a life they would have not had in Cuba, and I receive a text message from my mother with a link to this article by Dan LeBatard  – Obama in Cuba brings the pain of loss to a Miami exile family

And I sit in the parking lot, writing this post, filled with a mixture of emotions: Anger, sadness, frustration, loss – my mother’s loss, my aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather’s loss and our country’s loss, the loss of Cuban lives, real people desperate enough to put together rafts made of NOTHING and attempt to cross an ocean, instead of live a life of suffocating suffering, of controlled thought, of the absolute removal of the most human of all human rights – the ability to enjoy free will. Something I have never had to think about.  Something No American citizen has ever had to think about, but something Cubans, living in Cuba today know nothing about, and likely will not as a result of the 56 year old Embargo between the US and Cuba being lifted.

We are the greatest country in the world. And yet, we create this faux celebration to honor a president who has just made a statement: The USA, this great nation – a nation based on principles and ideals not shared by this communist nation – has chosen to become “friends” with the dictatorial self-appointed ruler of Cuba, because our president wanted to make history. To me, to my family, this is comparable to the US making friends with Adolf Hitler – if that seems extreme, so be it.

I cannot forget the fact that so many people seem to be ignoring, that this is a symbolic move toward accepting socialism. It’s not just a selfish statement suggesting that President Obama broke down the barriers, ended the embargo and brought the US and Cuba together. I have heard this compared to Reagan, tearing down the Berlin wall. This is not even close. This is Obama tearing our great nation even further apart. And our people don’t even see it.

So, as I feel the pain, shared with my mother’s family, and understand all that has been lost, I hope someone who reads this article and my post, will understand how much has been lost. And maybe look at this baseball game a little differently. Like the families of Cuban exiles see it – our country is in trouble. This is a big red flag and we, as a nation, the people of the greatest country on Earth are the only ones who can do anything about it.

I encourage you to read Dan’s post.  If you aren’t interested enough to click the link to his post, here’s what I hope you’ll read from his perspective:

So much happy coverage on the television this week. Historic visit! America and Baseball celebrating themselves. Obama and Jeter and ESPN head toward communism like it is another cruise port, so many symbols of Americana descending on a rotting island stuck in the 1950s, and it doesn’t feel quite right back in Miami, like watching a funeral morph into a party. The history of my own people feels like it is either being ignored or trampled here, and I’m not quite sure which of those feels worse.


The ocean between our countries is filled with the Cuban bodies that tell the story, lives literally thrown to the wind in desperation, hoping to reach America’s possibility-soaked shores on boats made of old tires and wood and poverty’s debris. No free press. No elections. No freedom. That’s the Cuba that still surrounds the baseball diamond where we play this game. That’s the Cuba people still get on makeshift boats to flee today.


Understand something please: My parents are exiles, not immigrants. It is an enormous difference. They didn’t come to this country looking for money. They left money behind and came here to risk poverty. They did so because they were exiled from a land they didn’t want to leave and still miss, a land they will not visit until this regime is ousted or they see real change that can be trusted.

Fidel Castro outlived my grandparents. His regime continues to haunt my old-exile parents. My pain might be borrowed. But, damn, as that sting returns to my eyes, I can assure you that it is real.



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