My dear fellow Cuban-Americans:
Regarding President Obama’s announcement yesterday about moving towards normalizing US-Cuba diplomatic relations, if in the past 55 years you, or anyone in your family has:
1. Traveled to Cuba – don’t care about your reason(s)
2. Sent packages
3. Sent money
4. Attended performances of visiting Cuban artists to the U.S.
5. Etc., etc., etc….
With all due respect, you don’t get to criticize the President on his actions. Why? Because in case you have not put two and two together, your aggregate cash infusions to Cuba over the past few decades have been key in propping up and sustaining the Castro regime. You were front and center in providing life-support to a dictatorship otherwise doomed to failure.
You see, that has been our dirty little secret. Un secreto a gritos. We too are part of the problem, and not as we like to think of ourselves, the obvious solution. We, the Cuban refugees living in the United States are overall largely responsible for the failure of the U.S. embargo. Whether you realize it or not, that one is on us. We created an underground economy in Cuba that made the embargo ineffectual and a certain failure. With our actions, we in fact violated the very embargo we so passionately have been trying to hold on to.
This is especially true of the period immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow was fighting for its own survival and could no longer help Cuba financially. That was the time to tighten the screws from our end. That responsibility did not rest solely on the shoulders of the United States Government. That responsibility was also ours as Cuban-Americans, and we failed the test miserably.
I am not questioning the humanitarian angle of the outreach and interaction of those who chose to visit Cuba and send money and goods to family; family that in many instances proactively chose to stay behind. What I am saying is that you do not get to have it both ways. The right to criticize President Barack Obama’s new policy towards Cuba is strictly reserved for those of us who never indulged or wavered in our steadfast opposition to Fidel Castro and the way he destroyed a thriving nation and decimated families.
I have a lot more to say about this. I’ve been waiting for over 40 years do so. Stay tuned.