LOWER THAN AMEBAS
As Cubans left their island looking for freedom in the US they found it. This generous country received them with open arms and here they were given a second chance to rebuild their lives starting from zero.
The majority of Cubans leaving their land were allowed to carry with them only the clothes they had on, a few meager belongings but no money.
Soon after Castro took control, he began expropriating all religious and private schools, converting them to "revolutionary" schools in his effort to take control of the lives of children. Many parents, in a desperate effort to avoid losing their right to educate their children outside of communist indoctrination, chose the traumatic experience of sending their children to the US. This secret operation that ran from December 26, 1960 through October 22, 1962, brought 14,048 unaccompanied children between the ages of 6 and 18 to the US. It was the largest exodus of children ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere and was known as Operation Peter Pan.
The deep scars left by departing against their will, being uprooted from family and friends, arriving to a foreign land deprived of their possessions made the struggle very difficult for the children as well as their parents. But against all odds, the Cuban’s spirit and entrepreneurial skills, acquired by working in the free enterprise system that existed before Castro, put them back on their feet again.
They began to re-group in Miami but later began to move all over the US. In Miami, they moved into the slum areas. This self-sufficient group with their hard work and talent revitalized those areas and prospered beyond expectation in a relatively short time. They helped convert Miami into the vibrant center that it is today.
According to the 1990 US census, 587,950 Cubans live in Miami, 154,000 in New York, 57,884 in Los Angeles, 32,208 in Tampa, 17,334 in Chicago, 16,339 in Palm Beach, 10,412 in Orlando and 9,097 in Washington, DC. There are also sizeable communities in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas, Naples, Florida and other cities throughout the US.
In 1990 there were 1,053,000 Cubans living in the US. But that amount has increased due to the 1994 boat people crisis and other legal and illegal arrivals.
Although the Cubans regained in the US the freedom they always wanted, they did not forget their roots, culture and country. Since day one, they have been loyal to their ideal of obtaining for their compatriots the same freedoms they enjoy in the US.
For keeping the connection to their countrymen, for being knowledgeable about the nature of a regime they know so well by their first hand experience and for being focused on the pursuit of their ideal, they have been misunderstood, maligned and attacked by a hostile press sympathetic to Castro and to economic interests.
The hatred toward Cuban exiles, especially the ones in Miami, for what they have to say and represent against Castro, transpires in uncountable articles and television reports in the land that supposedly values freedom and democracy. For example, the virulent anti-Cuban exile editorial published in the St. Petersburg Times on September 17. They would not dare to publish a similar hate-piece trashing Jews, blacks or other minorities in the US.
Even politicians are jumping on the bandwagon. Recently, a Clinton Administration official singled out Cuban exiles for holding US foreign policy "hostage". He overlooked the Jews, the Black Caucus and other interest groups that have been shaping the American political scene locally, nationally and in the area of foreign policy. The Cubans are considered a nuisance to the Administration on behalf of unscrupulous business dealers.
Yes, Cubans have gained freedom of speech in the US, but they pay dearly for exercising that freedom.
They can say whatever they want, but they do not make it to the national news. Cubans are not covered, while Castro, his officials and agents are provided with an ample platform to disseminate their propaganda to confuse public opinion.
Cubans can write what they want, but they are not published. For the bastion of the left establishment, The Washington Post, Cubans are a pest. My articles have the honor of have been 100% rejected by the Post editorial staff, while on the other side, The Washington Times is in second place with a rejection rate of 98%.
Thus in the land of freedom, Cubans customarily find an insurmountable wall of rejection. On the narrow road of "political correctness" imposed by the intellectual left in charge of shaping-up America’s thought, Cubans, who want to end tyranny in their homeland, are "politically incorrect."
Deprived of their right to convey their views in the mainstream media, the Internet has given an opportunity to Cubans to discuss the reality of what is going on with their families and friends inside island. But that outlet is being curtailed, too.
First, Castro’s regime, his agents and his support groups have successfully invaded the net. Well financed and supported they have created a powerful front to distribute propaganda designed to discredit Cuban exiles and to lure uninformed tourists and investors to Cuba. Even Cuban natives are being offered as "call girls" as part of their sexual tourism scheme.
Many Cuban exiles in the US are finding that their comments and articles expressing the reality of life inside Cuba are mysteriously disappearing from the net. Their individual accounts are being arbitrarily cancelled and their WebPages blocked. They receive threats – many times with obscene language - and warnings from pro-Castro agents throughout the net.
According to various sources, AOL is one of the most infiltrated by Castro’s agents. But in spite of protests by the victims and letters written by politicians on behalf of the affected individuals and WebPages, censorship against Cuban exiles on AOL continues, users report.
Sources say that the Clinton Administration, in their ill-advised rush of unilaterally relaxing tensions with Castro’s regime in a futile attempt to appease him and go down in history as the one opening up Cuba to American business exploitation, is very much interested in keeping the lid on what Cuban exiles have to say. The Administration’s agencies are alleged to participate in the current violation of freedom of speech on the Internet singling out Cuban exiles by sending warning messages to them to keep quiet.
Seemingly, what many US citizens in power hold dear to their hearts and think of as their inalienable right to live in freedom and democracy, it is only their own right and not necessarily applicable to other lower forms of life.
It appears that after the cowardly betrayal and abandonment of the pro-democracy Cuban Brigade 2506 by the late President Kennedy on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs in April, 1961, Cuban exiles in the US are steadily descending from the human scale to something lower than the amebas.
Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton.
Mr. Blázquez is the Producer/Director of the documentary COVERING CUBA.
in addition to CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES.