This Sept. 4th marked 55 years that I am a member of the Cuban exile community, the bulk of those years spent in Connecticut. My parents made herculean efforts to leave the island in 1961, fearing the new regime and its policies.
We settled into work and school, became American citizens, and enjoyed the freedoms afforded us by this country . . . never for one day forgetting the circumstances that brought us here.
I question the sincerity of the new developments surrounding Cuba, and see them as simply an effort to gain entry into yet another American playground that stands to be a profitable venture for American business.
Today’s young visitors did not know the Cuba of the early 1960s, and they are seduced by the aura of beaches, cuisine, and vintage cars still on the road. I know that when they sip their stylish mojitos, they will fail to taste the bitter herbs of exile woven into their refreshing cocktail.
I hope to visit Cuba someday, and bring my three American-born sons. It will be a visit to a free and democratic country, free of human rights violations and the specter of Communism. A visit dedicated to the memory of my parents.
Miriam Arango LaBella,