We cry over this news — but not for Fidel
BY MANNY NAVARRO
I wasn't born in Cuba, thankfully.
But the blood flowing through my veins has carried my family's tears for
I'm a second-generation Cuban American. My dad left Cuba when he was 1
in 1956, three years before Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista. My
grandfather saw what was coming and did the smart thing.
My mother, meanwhile, fled Cuba with her family in the early 1960s after
Castro took everything from them.
I'm telling you all this because as someone of Cuban descent, I've come
to learn over the years that when you talk to another Cuban you have to
define your suffering.
The questions are the same: Were you born there? When did you or your
parents leave? Did you get here by plane or on a raft? What did Castro
do to you or your family?
It's like an awful ranking system and the more you or your family
suffered, the more Cuban you really are.
And the thing is I didn't suffer one bit. My parents didn't really,
either. They benefited from coming to this country. I received a great
education, went on terrific family vacations and hardly spoke Spanish
until I got married 13 years ago to a woman whose parents are much more
Cuban than mine.
And yet, when I learned shortly after midnight Saturday that Castro had
died, I felt something that caught me off guard, something that truly
I felt sadness.
Not for the tyrant. Not for the man who had my father-in-law shocked and
jailed for refusing to join Castro as a young man in his 20s. Not for
the bearded bastard who made my grandfather's blood boil every time his
name was brought up.
I felt for everyone in my family who didn't get to see this day, the
ones Castro outlived and who wished for his death every day. I cried for
the ones who truly suffered through things I and many other young Cuban
Americans will never really truly be able to comprehend.
What is it like to lose your country? What is it like to flee
oppression? What is it like to start a new life in a country where you
don't even know the language?
I'm grateful today for the life I have. Two days ago I was celebrating
Thanksgiving in a five-bedroom cabin in the mountains of North Georgia
with my parents, my two brothers, my wife and two daughters. I spent
five days enjoying America and all of its wonderful gifts and charging
it all on my credit card.
Somewhere in Cuba, some family member I've never met, some distant
cousin with the same blood running through the veins will never know
what it's like to live the way I've lived. And I'll never know what it's
like to suffer the way they have — to be hungry and living in a country
where you can't even get on the internet in 2016.
The man to blame for all this finally died late Friday night after
nearly five decades of rule. His brother remains in charge of a country
that is still run the same way it has been since my parents left it so
long ago. And that's probably not going to change anytime soon.
And yet, somewhere deep down inside my heart, there's a hope that one
day I'll be able to go to that little island I've always heard about and
read about and seen pictures of and step foot on it when it's finally
I want to go there not for myself, but for my family who dreamed of this
day and somewhere are still praying for the Cuba they left behind.
I want to go there so somewhere up in heaven they can pump their fists
in celebration. I hope it happens. I hope to live to see that day.
Until then, Rest In Peace, mis abuelitos.
That awful man is finally dead.
MANNY NAVARRO IS A MIAMI HERALD SPORTS WRITER WHO COVERS THE MIAMI HEAT.
Source: Why Cuban-Americans in Miami feel the way they do about Fidel
Castro | Miami Herald -