Letter to the Editor from a Cuban . . .
A most interesting and foreboding letter.
From Richmond Times-Dispatch, Monday, July 7, 2008 ~
Dear Editor, Times-Dispatch:
Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I celebrate
my independence day, and on July 4 I celebrate America's. This year is
special, because it marks the 40Th anniversary of my independence.
On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba, and a few months later, I was
in the United States to stay . That I happened to arrive in Richmond on
Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.
I've thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year
rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In
the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba neede d a change, and they were
right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive
When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the
old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his
friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the
farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all,
everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all,
everyone said, 'Praise the Lord.' And when the young leader said, 'I will be
for change and I'll bring you change,' everyone yell ed, 'V iva Fidel!'
But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner's guns
went silent, the people's guns had been taken away. By the time everyone was
equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone
received their free education, it was worth no t hing. By the time the press
noticed, it was too late, because they were now worki ng for him. By the
time the change was finally implemented, Cuba had been knocked down a couple
of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over, more than
a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call
those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most fortunate
Cubans. And now I'm back to the beginning of my story.
Luckily, we would never fall in America for a young leader who promised
change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out? What will it
Manuel Alvarez, Jr.