Freedom Flight Memories

Ana M. Sanchez-Medio

Hello Ms. Yanez,

I wanted to thank you for your story “Fifty Years: Revolution and Exile.” It is always re-affirming to read about our history as children in exile. I am Ana Maria Sanchez-Medio. I came to el exilio on April 15,1960 with my mother, Josefina Medio de Sanchez. . My three brothers, Narciso, Manolo & Jorge were sent to a military academy in Jacksonville before my mother and I left Cuba. My father, Narciso Sanchez-Cangas, was a tobacco grower and manufacturer in the tiny town of Ovas in Pinar del Rio. He stayed behind because there was hope that somehow things would turn around and we could all be reunited back home in our world of music, good food, and family. Unfortunately that never happened so he joined us in Miami via the very last ferry from Habana to Key West.

I still remember the day we left from Jose Marti Airport with nothing but a suitcase for all our clothes. I was just four years old. I will never forget that right in front of me was a little girl my age that had a gold chain with a medal of “la caridiad” on it. A (miliciano) communist military told her to take it off; she begged to keep it explaining that she got it from her grandmother who had stayed behind. He ripped it off her neck. Finally we boarded the plane. I was looking out the window at the airport and my mother said remember it well as it will be a while before we come back.

My father died in May, 1980 never again to see the beautiful palms of Pinar del Rio. My mother and my oldest brother Narciso also are gone now. My brothers and I are so proud to be Cuban-Americans. We really appreciate the opportunity to read about our history and to share it as well. Thank you!

Ana M. Sanchez-Medio