By Jorge Maspons
I remember that day, more than thirty-eight years ago, when the messenger in a motorcycle came to deliver "the telegram." My parents had been trying to leave Cuba for more than two years and take along their sons into a new land and away from communist tyranny. Finally, after much tribulation, we were headed for freedom. We were given forty-eight hours to complete final preparations before boarding a Cubana flight to Madrid, Spain.
The Cuban communist state kept (stole) everything. I remember the representatives of the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) coming into our house to double check the "inventario" to make sure that nothing was missing. They had already taken this inventory soon after we started immigration proceedings; they counted everything in the house. One glass was broken between the two inventories and we had to save the broken pieces for these communist collaborators. These CDR's are nothing but a political police with vast powers to control all aspects of the population; they have the authority, among other things, to come into your house without authorization to check on anything you bring in or take out of your home. These people remind me of the German "brown-shirts" and later the German "storm-troopers" who pledged their allegiance directly to Adolph Hitler. These committees too many times reported "suspicious activities" in their neighborhoods. Because of them, many Cubans were sent to the firing squads or to long prison sentences. For those leaving legally, such as ourselves, the insults and harassment's were endless. After giving their approval, one committee member took our house keys, put a seal on the door and we said our farewells to our earthly possessions.
Most Americans living today, specially those who were born here, have no idea what it is like to live in a police state. However, it seems to me that the United States of America is slowly but surely heading into totalitarianism. We do have some freedoms and still enjoy the simple things in life such as traveling around the country, but the ordinary American today does not want to know about life under tyranny such as in some nations of the world. Some examples are Cuba, Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, and others. Too many Americans have forgotten the sacrifices of their parents and grandparents and are not willing to fight for and protect their liberties.
It is difficult for Americans to imagine living under the conditions I described before. Here we have so much and we are so free! Most people do enjoy blessings that many in other countries do not have. Americans go where they want to, shop where they want to and do just about everything they like. Perhaps this can be a curse too for I have talked to many Americans born here and they simply respond to me with something like "well, that will never happen here." In places like Cuba, the government tells you how to live your live and they control everything you do. Americans can no conceive such a thing.
As long as we are living on this planet we call earth, among humans, there always will be evil, there will always be men and women who would like to rule and enslave their fellow citizens. This is why it is so important for Americans to start paying attention to their God-given liberties and take appropriate action to insure that our way of life continues for our children and grand-children. I see too many danger signs and much trouble ahead as the government grows too dangerously big and becoming too oppressive. And Congress always legislate these new laws such as "The Patriot Act" and "The Department of Homeland Security" for our security when in reality they are using terrorism to punish the law-abiding citizen. We should not have to fear our government, rather the government should fear the honest, law-avaiding citizens. Once this is reversed, the door is open to tyranny.
This article is not an attempt to explain why there is evil in the world, nor an article on the theological views of sin. Evil men and evil systems of governments do exist and today many millions of people around the world live under various types of dictatorship. It is our duty as Americans to continue fighting for liberty, to warn others that "power corrupt, and absolute power corrupt absolutely." Granted, we are not going to make this world perfect but as American citizens we do have a duty to protect our Constitutional rights. Sadly too many Americans do not even vote in local as well as state and national elections and in particular, it is very disturbing that people who call themselves Christians stay home and do not vote. Too many Christians are waiting for "The Rapture" to take them away from this world and while they wait we continue to loose our freedoms.
On New Year's Eve 1959 the Cuban government of Fulgencio Batista crumbled. After loosing the support and confidence of the United States, Batista fled the island and the rebel forces of Fidel Castro were free to enter Havana. The American press, in particular the New Times and Newsweek had been praising Castro for years and had assured the American people that Castro was not Communist. Many Cubans believed that a new era of peace and prosperity had come to Cuba. Some had warned us about Fiddle's past and his secret plans to turn Cuba into a Communist nation. One such voice was Robert Welsh who told Americans repeatedly about Castro's criminal past long before seizing power. But few people paid any attention to these warnings. Sadly, our own State Department did not paid any attention, rather, they supported Fidel's and his "barbudos" (the bearded ones) as they turned Cuba into a satellite of the Soviet Union.
I have read many books and articles about Nazi-Germany and Communist Russia. As I reflect on my own family's experience in Cuba, I see little difference between these totalitarian systems of government. Perhaps the number of millions of people slaughtered by the Communists in contrast to the millions killed by the Nazis is the only difference. I have often lamented the fact that the American media goes out of its way to avoid reporting on Communism's crimes. It is very easy to discuss nazi-Germany; surely, nobody in his right mind would agree with them, yet when it comes to Communist Russia and its satellite nations it seems like something out of fairy tales books and little or nothing is reported.
I was very blessed, we were able to leave the island and although totally disposed, we did start a new life in the United States of America. Yes, that "telegram" we received on July 24, 1964 was indeed the beginning of a new life. I will forever be grateful for this great nation we call "America."
At the same time, I will never forget the past. I admire my Jewish friends because the don't forget their history and their tribulations. We do not want a repeat of these atrocities. I will always defend freedom and the United States. It is my desire and hope that our nation will continue to be an example of freedom to the entire world.
Jorge A. Maspons