I am still on la-la land regarding Cuba. Following President Obama’s announcement to ease restrictions on U.S.-Cuba relations, I couldn’t stop googling speeches, reactions, and reaching out to family. I emailed a cousin on the island and began looking for photos from my visit to Cuba in 2002. I shared in great and painful detail my father’s immigration story and had my kids watch the President’s speech. Just as Cuba was a big part of my childhood in Miami, it is part of their history, too.
Here are the items that piqued my interest immediately following the President’s historic announcement:
• Video of President Obama’s speech
• Video of President Raul Castro’s speech (transcript in English)
• Video of protesters — divided along generational lines — in front of the historic Versailles Cafe in Miami
Here are two nuanced — and hopeful! — pieces by extraordinary Cuban-American writers:
“Sound bites don’t capture maturity of Cuban exiles,” Fabiola Santiago for the Miami Herald
“Cuba has always been a fantasy. Can it ever be something close to normal?” Cristina Garcia for the Guardian
For my family’s part, it is bittersweet. Yet necessary. It is a painful experience to be uprooted from your country when you didn’t want to leave. But we realize that the embargo hasn’t worked the last 56 years. It is time to move on.
The morning following the President’s announcement, I received a response from my cousin on the island. It was warm, inviting and she ended it with, “We are all family and we are all Cuban.” I am getting the itch to return to the island and take the kids.
On that note…Happy TGIF all! What else is in the news? What’s up with you?