Cuba to USA: Welcome Back! August 28, 2016Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Cuba, Latin America , trackback
By Tracy L. Barnett
For Westways Magazine
It was my first walk down the Malecón, the famous seawall that has protected Havana for a century along the Straits of Florida. I ended up at a seaside café, where I met a friendly man with a baseball cap. He called himself John and showed me his ID card, which identified him as Juan.
“My parents named me John, and I was John until the revolution,” he explained. “Then, with all the problems—you know, John Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs—it just wasn’t possible to have that name anymore, and the government changed it.”
He wanted to be sure that I knew, however, that he had no hard feelings about the difficult past between our countries.
“We Cubans have nothing against the American people,” he declared.
For years, I had dreamed of traveling to Cuba, whose story captured the imagination of a generation of romantic idealists: In 1959, an audacious and poorly armed band of revolutionaries — led by a young Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the itinerant doctor from Argentina — achieved an unlikely triumph against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship. The young revolutionaries’ decision to ally themselves with the Soviet
Union had led to a trade embargo and half a century of a Western Hemisphere Cold War that simmered on long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The faded glamour of Cuba’s golden years, the allure of the forbidden, the grudging admiration for a tiny nation defiant of global homogenization—it all called
to me, and I dreamed of seeing it before everything changed.
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