Monday April 17, 2006
Right off, you’re probably wondering, ‘who IS that good looking fella?’ Nevermind for a minute though, I’ll get to that. I have a story to tell first.
I was born in what is now the Czech Republic, and immigrated to Miami in 1980. Lived here ever since. Even though I was a little kid at the time, I’m a bona fide first-generation immigrant from a communist country. Look: I get to refer to fidel castro without capitalising his name! Seriously, though, my parents take this stuff very seriously, and do not appreciate anything with a taint of pro-communism, however tongue-in-cheek. When I came back from a trip to New Orleans (half a decade ago) with a Che Guevera shirt (can you read it? it says “art critic”), I got an earful about it.
Some research revealed the truth. The Communist revolutionaries, in the Americas as in the rest of the world, may have started out meaning well, but they soon allowed their ideas to overtake their humanity. Any system, if it is to be truly strong, must allow itself to be criticized from within. Che and Fidel are two in a very long, and very global, line of leaders who’s good intentions will forever be overshadowed by their ultimate inhumanity. Many people suffered and died, and many continue to suffer and die, and that’s why wearing shirts with Che is not cool.
OK, but so anyway, since I’ve been doing CM, I’ve been on pretty good terms with the local Cuban-American bloggers. I exchanged a couple of e-mails with Henry, of Cuban-American Pundits and Trenblindado, told him a version of this story, and he declared me an ‘honorary member’ of the Miami Mafia and sent me the other groovy shirt (the only one I wear out anymore), which, by the way, thanks, Henry (it’s a nice shirt – you can get yourself one (and catch up on some truth) at the Trenblindado site). By the way, “Miami Mafia” is a disparaging term used toward the Miami Cuban exhile community by the Castro regime. Communist leaders are known for their lack of irony.
So, all this happened a couple of months ago, and I should have probably posted about it at the time, to save this from being a hideously long post. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, what with the immigration protests all over the country, and especially the mention of some protesters wearing Che shirts. Now, I’m on record as being of the opinion that anyone who wants to live in the US should be allowed to, regardless of where they’re from. I have no issue with those who live in the country and want to criticize some of its policies. But I, like many others, was initially surprised that the protests in Miami were so much smaller than in other cities.
On reflection, I think the Herald article comes closest to the truth. While conditions in Haiti, and even much of Mexico, are more than any human should have to tolerate, there really is a difference between these countries and Cuba. Taking nothing from the other immigrants living in the US, but their experience of America and their relationship to their home land is something quite different. Fair or crooked, these countries have at the very least had elections, and had a chance for improvement. Meanwhile, Cuba has been in the control of a Communist dictator for close to 50 years, and that really is something qualitatively different. It’s a very profound type of exile; one which I personally experienced from 1980 to 1989.
To my Cuban friends, I can say that there is a better future, but they already know that. My parents are today living back in the Czech Republic, and just as that country struggled loose from Communism, so shall Cuba. One day, I’d like to visit Cuba, but unlike some Americans, I won’t consider it until it’s libre.comments powered by Disqus