I got a call the other day from the mother of a local high school student. It seems her son was assigned to represent Cuba at the school "international day" and he couldn't find a Cuban to interview.
So the mom turned to Google and found me.
Of course I agreed to be interviewed, but I had to first explain that I was very passionate (that's code for "politically incorrect") about Cuba and that I would probably give him waaay more information than he was actually looking for. She assured me it was fine and a bit later I received an email from her son:
Mrs. Marta Darby,
I really appreciate that you have agreed to do my Cuba interview. I have put all the required questions below, but you can add anything else you want. (is he kidding? =D)
I have been looking for a real-live Cuban for weeks and I can't believe I finally found one to interview!
Thanks soooo much,
U. High School
I answered the interview questions - in great (and passionate) detail.
I told about my beautiful home town of Havana.
I explained about the political climate of corruption that allowed f.c. to take power in 1959. I told about our idyllic life in Cuba as members of a successful upper middle class.
I told about our close extended family.
I told him in great detail about how Che's terrorists planted a bomb in my father's car and how and why my family fled our beloved homeland.
I told him about 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors sent to the U.S. by desperate parents via the Pedro Pan flights (my brother being one of them).
I described the social, economic and political status of Cuba right now. How the communists have turned The Pearl of the Antilles into a third world country.
I told him about ration books and poverty.
I told him that thousands have lost their lives at sea hoping to experience the freedoms we take for granted and I pointed out that those rafts only go one way.
I explained about Cuba having the highest number of prisoners per capita.
I gave him definitions and descriptions of apartheid and gulag.
I explained the difference between education and indoctrination. I also mentioned child slave labor.
I gave him a list of all the things Cuban people MAY NOT do.
I told him about so many fond memories of my poor brutalized homeland.
I told him I was happy and proud to be an American citizen and what life is like "on the hyphen" as a Cuban-American.
I gushed about how grateful I am for my freedoms and that I don't take them for granted.
I was exhausted and a bit weepy when I finished the interview.
Here is what he wrote to me later:
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
I learned so much more from your interview than all of the books I have read. The books just said that Cubans' freedoms were restricted, but never said how. Also the books portray Castro as a somewhat bad communist leader, but also said that he made great achievements in the educational system (which I now know is false). I think you should write a book, because all of the ones I read are way off!
No, thank you, Jeff.
For giving me the opportunity to show that a real-LIVE Cuban exists in the O.C.