This Thoughtful Thursday may be a little rambling because I suspect it will be an emotional Thoughtful Thursday.
On Tuesday, I had quite a few e-mail and text messages forwarding the news that Castro had resigned. A number of people, especially the political pundits, see it as a sign of welcome change. For a lot of others, like me, it’s just another end run in the game that Castro has been successfully playing for the last 50 years.
Let’s face it. Castro turned over power to his younger brother, Raul, in July ’06. Some say Raul is ready to make changes to better the Cuban economy and has made overtures to the United States since accepting power. With his older brother still alive, I find it hard to believe that the necessary changes will occur.
What kinds of changes? The right to free speech. The right to travel freely. The right to be able to earn a sound living and keep what you earn. The right to freely choose who will govern your country.
In other words, an end to dictatorship, whether it be Fidel, Raul or some other puppet. If that happened, I could finally say that Cuba was free, but not before that.
Many have asked me if I would go back if that happened and the answer needs little thought. I’d go back once Fidel was dead to see where I was born. To see the home my parents lost to the Revolution. The home were Fidel would send soldiers to harass my grandparents and two small children so that my parents, once supporters turned dissidents, would return and face their punishment.
I’d take my daughter with me to see it because she understands the wound in my heart that is Cuba. I remember the early years here in the U.S. and all the sadness in my family and with their friends. I remember being 5 or 6 and asking my mother when we’d go back. She said “Soon.”
I remember my daughter at 5 or 6 asking almost the same thing. “When can I go see Cuba?” I said, “Soon.”
Soon isn’t here yet. It may not be here for awhile. Not until there is true freedom in Cuba. That’s a vow I made to my grandparents and parents who never got to return.
But there’s one thing left to say when people ask me if I will go back. I will go back, but I will also return to what is now my home and my country — the United States. It’s the country that’s made me who I am and given me all that I hold dear, chief amongst that — LIBERTY!
I am proud of this country. Proud of how it treated me and so many others like me. One of the proudest days in my life was the one when I stood up and became a U.S. citizen.
Unlike some in politics today who can’t muster that pride in the United States, I have not doubts about my feelings for the United States and no doubts that freedom for Cuba may still be a long way off.
Copyright 2008 Caridad Pineiro Scordato, www.caridad.com