Time to accept change in relations
BY MIKE FERNANDEZ
Cuban Americans everywhere, but especially the diaspora in South
Florida, have been awakening to the reality that Cuba’s isolation was
and is not a sustainable strategy.
The case has been made for decades that Cuba’s failure is a
self-inflicted wound by its dictatorial leadership.
Unfortunately, those of us born on the island — and in partnership with
U.S. policies — provided the strategic scapegoat that perpetuated the
cover that allowed the Cuban government to blame the embargo and
Washington for all its failures.
As I look at my five children and my parents in their 80s, years have
passed that seemed like minutes. Where has all the time gone?
I cannot forget, nor should any Cuban American (or anyone who has
suffered alongside us) forget, the brutality of the regime.
When I was only 9 years old, I saw a man killed by a firing squad. I can
never forget that awful moment. Another family member returned home one
day to find his father hanging in his apartment with a handmade paper
sign tagged to his chest with a single word, “Gusano” (”worm”).
We will never, ever forget such barbarism, but we also should not remain
hostages to such evil. We need to free ourselves from the nightmares,
the anger, the “We will get even” attitude. We need to redirect our
energies and emotions toward making sure that we do not react to the
Cuban government’s efforts (which will come) to shut the door on this
The regime will do whatever it takes to make us react. In order to roll
back the clock, they have shrewdly, cleverly manipulated all of us by
making us react to their actions.
The opening of the door scares that regime, and that should not surprise us.
Rationality compels us to say what we are almost embarrassed to say —
Cuban Americans living outside the island have succeeded in living a
life denied to those who are imprisoned by the blue Caribbean waters
that surround our birthplace.
Our minds are not trapped by a system that punishes choice. Our bodies
have seen places and things that the Cuban people have not even seen for
almost 60 years.
Our children have been educated in a system of our choice and not under
monolithic Castroism. We enjoy the democratic right to speak our mind
and vote our convictions. Lastly, we are financially better off with
freedom as to where we live, pray and work.
Most all of us are financially better off than where we would have been
had we stayed on the island. We found a land, a country that opened its
doors, guaranteeing us the right to follow our dreams, but not the
guarantee to succeed. That was our choice.
We were adopted by this great land, earning us the right to be its legal
citizens. The United States of America gave us our home and
opportunities, and it is time for us to be part of the changing
landscape as our old home and our new homeland move forward.
Let’s not forget that as Americans we lost 58,000 American children in
the jungles and swamps and highlands of Vietnam. Some of these were
Cuban-American children. Tens of thousands of other Americans served
Even after all those dead, the American people ultimately chose to open
an embassy in Vietnam.
It’s time to accept change. Let us not heed those relatively few voices
who would go on continuing to trap our minds in hatred. Let’s not allow
our minds to imprison ourselves. Let us move forward.
Biology will take care of those who enslaved our families. Let us focus
on helping the Cuban people.
Let the embassies open. Let Google and Yahoo, the press and Yoani, and
the memory of Paya and many others be the order of the day.
Let’s support the Cuban people’s hunger for a future, a future that has
been denied to them for decades now. Let’s us be a force of change, not
a people of unremitting anger.
My friends, my family, my fellow Cuban Americans, let’s set our people free.
Let us free our minds of hate and memories and thoughts or revenge.
MICHAEL “MIKE” B. FERNANDEZ IS CHAIRMAN OF MBF HEALTHCARE PARTNERS.
Source: Time to accept change in relations | Miami Herald Miami Herald –