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    « My Life's In Jeopardy! | Main | C stands for Confusion »
    Saturday
    Nov262016

    Nadie es profeta en su propia tierra

     

    For eleven years, I worked as an artist for an ad agency in Orlando. I moved to the area in April of 1981 and was hired that August. There were three (and sometimes four) artists in one room, each of us having our own artboards and niche styles reflected in our work. We were old style artists compared to today’s. Alicia was our premier fashion artist. Extremely talented, she was from Cuba and left the island nation soon after Fidel Castro took control.

     

    Before Castro, Alicia’s family was successful. They were rather upper-middle class. Poof! It was gone. Their loss, our gain. To work with her was a real delight and I deeply appreciated her insight, especially when we discussed her homeland. It was her pure passion that resonated inside my heart. This wasn’t hearsay, it was a first-hand account of what took place in her beloved country; what happened to her and her loved ones.

     

    After the 1959 overthrow of President Fulgencio Batista, Castro set up shop and proceeded to expropriate land, bank accounts, and personal possessions; everything the new government deemed to be an asset. Many people, including her family, fled the country. Everything of theirs - everything of value and every personal possession they accrued over the years - was taken away. Businesses were nationalized and socialism took hold. Communism immediately followed. All of her father’s hard work went down the drain, where a thirsty regime hungrily lapped it all up. She and her family came to the United States with nothing but a strong desire to rebuild their lives in the land of opportunity.

     

    Alicia was married when she left Cuba with her family. Her husband soon followed. She brought one suitcase filled with clothes. That was it. Even her perfumes were confiscated. While going through a security checkpoint at the airport’s departure gate, a guard stopped her.

     

    “Give me your ring,” he demanded. 

     

    “But this is my wedding band.”

     

    “Give it to me or we will take it from you and you will go to prison.” Reluctantly, she turned it over. 

     

    Today, millions of Cuban Americans in the US are celebrating the death of Fidel Castro. I haven’t seen Alicia in 26 years, but I can certainly understand why she would feel no remorse at all. How many of her compadres lost their lives or rotted in prisons?

     

    Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se pierde.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    My surviving sister has a good college friend from Cuba with a somewhat similar story, but with the addition of her father having been one of those involved later with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and then captured and imprisoned. It'll be interesting to see how all this evolves over time- so much pride is involved, with the David and Goliath story-line folks in Cuba are so committed to.

    November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKaren C.

    I wonder how much American policy will change under the Trump administration.

    December 20, 2016 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

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