Freedom Flight Memories

Sergio M. Capablanca

My sincere appreciation for the database project. I am certain it has been a tearjerker for so many “Freedom Flyers”. I cannot set aside thoughts about those who came on the Camarioca and later the Mariel boatlift. The Peter Pan kids of the 60s, the rafters of the 90s and those who keep coming in the new millennium. These Cubans wrote and continue to write indelible pages in the history of American immigration. I will be forever grateful to President Lyndon B. Johnson for accepting Fidel Castro’s challenge when he said, “All who are against the Revolution can leave. We do not want these worms here.”

And so the worms came and after consuming tons of leaves (washing dishes, delivering papers, peddling produce, selling handcrafts, etc) they transformed into beautiful butterflies (entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, clerks, public servants, actors, musicians, etc) sending a firm and undeniable message that the American Dream was and still is alive and well.

For the most part, the Cubans are indeed a bunch of hardworking, witty, and resourceful forward thinking but full of nostalgia creatures. Our contribution to the American society has been outstanding, despite a whole bunch of rotten apples (white and blue-collar thieves, drug dealers, common criminals, etc) that somehow find a way to tarnish our reputation.

By the way, my father and my grandmother are in the list; however, I observed that the majority of the first and last names are truncated. Is it the cell space in the spreadsheet? I know, some Cuban last names could be 30 characters long and if they are compound last names, you will probably need 50 characters within a cell. Please kindly add my name (Sergio Capablanca Rochell) and my mother’s name (Doris Rochell Nogueira) to the list and if you need a date, well let us make it February 20, 1969. Unless dementia destroys my neurons, that is a date I will never forget.

Thanks for the list. It was certainly a memorable trip for a Freedom Flyer in a Time Machine.


Sergio M. Capablanca