When I lived in Naples Florida for two years (80-82), I met and became friends with many in the Cuban community of South Florida. I found Cubans generally to be very devoted to family and possessing a strong work ethic. Here’s a few important anecdotes that I recall:
I interviewed one American (married to a Cuban) who was actually part of the Bay of Pigs invasion, sponsored and supplied by our government, but after endorsing the initial landing, President Kennedy abandoned any support and the invasion failed miserably. The Cubans never forgave that betrayal and are to this day largely Republican politically, detesting the Democrats. My friend was one of the captured and spent time in a Cuban jail. His story was not a happy one.
One family that were members of my church were farmers who lived on the Isle of Pines. When Castro took power, their two boys were taken from them and sent to the state school for which education, which consisted of some classes and half a day’s work in the fields. One was drafted into the Cuban Army and sent to Angola. He was never heard from again. I wrote a poem titled, “They Took the Baby Away,” published in a political magazine entitled, Voice of Freedom. You can read the poem and more about this family HERE:
Once, I needed to pick up someone at the Miami airport. The night before, I attended a Church of Christ congregation in Miami and spent the night in the church building. I was so impressed with the members’ warmth and love and they gladly shared stories about their lives in Cuba. I may add stories to this post from time to time. I’m searching for some photos to go along with the stories.
These are just a few of the stories I could share, but if you would like to read more, I would recommend the following books:
- Freedom Flights: Heirs of the Cuban Revolution Tell Why They Grew Disenchanged with Castro, and How they Were Obliged. to Flee His Regime.
- Los Gusanos: A novel by John Sayles.
- Bay of Pigs: by Peter Wyden