By RF Schatten
"The Cold War has been over for a long time...and I'm not interested in having battles frankly that started before I was Born" ~~ Barack Obama
For Official Records: I am an American! and very proud to be one. Pero, también soy Cubano! ... y muy orgulloso!
It's really so hard for me personally, talking about Cuban/American relations!...emotionally, so much sadness has come to me since 1961!
1961! the last time I visited Cuba, where I was born..the Vedado section of Havana. Remembering El Malecón, where my uncle would take me and go fishing every time I flew into Havana. La Habana Vieja! (Old Havana) Guanabacoa, El Marianao, El Miramar...remember going to the Club de Profesionales with my aunts to go swimming!
But, strangely enough! what I remember the most that last year in Cuba...oddly enough!!...was watching along with 50,000 other people at the Gran Stadium de La Habana; Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos play baseball in-between the AAA double hitter, between the Columbus Jets and the Havana Sugar Kings! Their team name was "Los Barbudos" (the bearded ones)...but I don't remember who the hell they played? 54 years!...can't remember everything, folks! Raul was there, by the way, but didn't participate on the field. He looked a little more Adventurous and Radical in those days...a small VanDyke goatee and a Ponytail!!
All my life, I was that 'kid' who was called an "Americanito", an American Kid, by Cubans...and Americans didn't have a clue what I was, except I didn't speak with an accent, so I probably was an American. Now days, since I don't have an accent in either English or Spanish...Cubans and Americans seem surprised that I'm both, one of them! What can I say...it's my destiny! A Cuban-born Mom who flew from Miami one night to visit her family...and suddenly! my World Debut arrived the next day!!...30 days early!
My Birther Papers? I was registered at the American Embassy before I was born, by my American Dad who knew the strangeness of 'shit happens' that runs in the family...and generations later, still does!! Yes!!! I'm an American, Born in a Foreign Country...and I can run for President, like Papa Romney, the Maverick, and that 'Canadian' guy!
Throughout my childhood, seeing and visiting Cuba while living in the United States, the different style of living, the different cultures...and yet so many things alike! It made me see things more objective Politically! Saw the good things of Cuba, saw the bad things...people, shot dead in the side of the road, left there by Batista's Death Squads the night before. The horrible conditions of an Insane Asylum called "Mazorra" on the road to Rancho Boyeros. And I saw a documentary years later of the changes at that Asylum...it just made me cry! All those poor people who suffered years earlier, just spirits now days!...they shouldn't have had to suffer like that!
How can you take sides when half of your family favors Castro, and the others Batista? Watching Fidel play baseball was fun! I was a kid! and to me and my Generation...not all was necessarily Political, we were just frickin' young kids watching a Game of Baseball and a bearded guy who wouldn't have been there pitching, if the Washington Senators didn't cut him!
54 years of listening to the same family fight over the same damn things! year after year...in Miami! In the Cuban Culture, not everyone that fled Castro was necessarily anti or pro...many fled just to keep La Familia together and continue that stupid crazy tradition of constant political arguments and bickering...it's in the Cuban blood!! El Ambiente Cubano! How many famous Cuban Politicos are buried in Woodlawn Cemetary, in Miami?? You have Statues erected for people whom half of Miami fled from...primarily because of their Death Squads. Rolando Masferrer comes to mind! And mortal enemies in Cuba, before and after Castro...you have hated rivals buried across from each other...and their families? waving at each other at the Cemetary...then going out together and grabbing un Cafecito!
You have generations who will never change, they will die hating the Castros. Then, you got generations that are open-minded to a dialog!! Enough is Enough!! Time to kiss and make up! What happened 56 or 60 years ago, people should just let go! You can't relive the past or change anything, And don't forget; you have Generations who, to them...Cuba is just their ethnic background, a place in the World Atlas, and Castro is just part of a History Book.
For so many years, my Cuban side of the Family were able to travel back and forth...Cuban Americans who are US Citizens have been allowed to visit the Homeland for quite a few years with restrictions, depending what Administration is in power! Yours truly, on the other hand...couldn't travel because I was an American Citizen born in a foreign country, and under a different section than a Cuban-born, Cuban-American who arrived after 1959!
For 54 years, I've been screwed for what? What has the United States gained with their Embargo? What have we lost since Jan. 1st, 1959? 56 Years of Life between two nations only 90 miles away...a 50 minute propeller plane ride! So fricken close, yet so damn far away for me!! I just want to see the Country where I was born!...just one more time! And if I could take my kids? even better.
Thank you, Mr. President. Whenever I think of this day, all the diplomacy and the hard work put into achieving this moment, my heart is with you, my friend!! I can only speak for myself, but there're a lot of Cubans in Miami, and throughout the Country who also say, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Time to break up that hatred and learn to live with each other!! That old animosity! For God's sake! we have to let go! 100 years from now, we're all going to be dead!...and those alive won't even know who we were. It's all about the future, what defines us as a people and as a Nation and how we can advance peace and harmony among our fellow man!
Funny thing about 1961, and I'm not making this up, my Cuban wife will tell ya!!...my last full day in Cuba, I was babysitting my 2 small cousins at my uncle's house in the community of El Fontanar, when a dear friend (who happens to still be alive and well in Miami) and I, took the kids to the Community Clubhouse to play. They were having some festivities and this cute little blonde girl, involved in whatever the hell they were doing, grabbed both of our attention! We both agreed that kid someday is going to have a stack of Boys lined up, calling her up!
It may have been Coincidence or Fate, call it Kismet or Karma!...14 years later I met that not so little girl anymore in Miami! And we've been married ever since!
Obama Meets Raúl Castro, Making History - NYTimes.com