Guillermo V Vidal Ramos
Guillermo V's Story
Like many other children who were sent to the United States, I, along with my two brothers, Juan and Roberto, were sent to an orphanage in Colorado named Sacred Heart Home. Although life was difficult there, I remain grateful that my brothers and I had a roof over our heads and food to eat while we awaited the arrival of our parents three years later.
Although my brothers and I had certainly experienced the great trauma of being separated from our parents and sent to a place where we did not know the language or culture, it is really at the point of our reunification with our parents that our true immigration story begins. It was with them that we truly faced the challenges of culture shock, poverty, language barrier and discrimination that accompanies these sagas. Adding complexity to the situation, was the fact that my parents’ marriage had greatly deteriorated over the years, a condition that was exacerbated by the pressure of these huge life changes. They were also disappointingly reunited with three children that were mostly Americanized and had lost their filial bond with them.
The complexity of our relationship, combined with the pressures of our immigration, shrouded the coming decades with great struggles to survive, become educated and ultimately succeed.
All of us—with the exception of my father, Roberto, who passed in 1998—are still living in Colorado and, like many other Cuban children and families, we succeeded. My brothers and I have had successful careers. I became a civil engineer and spent decades in the field of transportation. In my forties, I landed a political appointment to join a governor’s cabinet. Later on, I even managed to become the first Cuban born Mayor of the great City of Denver, Colorado. The USA has been a great country for my family and me.
I wrote my memoirs in a book titled Boxing for Cuba, An Immigrant’s Story. It came out in 2007 and was a finalist for Colorado Book of the Year. I am proud to say that it is being reissued in Spanish at the end of this month. It is also available as an e-book through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or it can be ordered through your local bookstore.
I am always reminded that no matter what I have accomplished or have yet to accomplish, those things are all rooted in the decision my parents made to send the three of us to this country. It is by far the greatest act of love I have ever received from anyone, as my life has been—and continues to be—full of hope and opportunity because of them. More importantly, the sacrifice my parents made far supersedes their failings as human beings, for I understand now that they were given a very difficult hand to play and they did the best they could, given their circumstances. I don’t think I could have played it any better than they did.