My mom gave me a piece of Cuban history recently.
It's a list of names from 1960. The list was of a group of unaccompanied minors who were sent here to the U.S. by their desperate parents to protect them from Castro's plans for the youth of Cuba.
The exodus of 14,000 minors was dubbed Operacíon Pedro Pan. (Operation Peter Pan.)
1960. Young Irish Catholic priest, Father Bryan O. Walsh spearheads Operation Peter Pan.
Those Cuban children were separated from their parents. Many were never reunited. Some came to the U.S. to live with relatives. Some went to orphanages. This is a sad fact of the oppressive Cuban communist government - they are in the business of separating families and destroying lives.
The Cuban people now living on the island are calling for change. They are locked in what is now an island prison where their basic human rights are violated daily.
They have no right of free speech.
They're not allowed to travel.
They have no rights or the ability to access information.
They are denied basic economic freedom in ways inconsistent with universal values and fundamental human rights.
Hundreds are still rotting in Cuban prisons for offenses that consist of disagreeing with the communist government. Please visit my friend, Marc Masferrer's amazing blog, called Uncommon Sense where he chronicles the struggles of present day Cuban prisoners.
How is it possible that in our modern world these abuses are allowed to continue?
Today is Cuban Solidarity Day.
May 20th marks the 108th anniversary of Cuban independence from Spain. Cuban Independence Day - it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?
Many of those Pedro Pan kids grew up here in the U.S. You will not find a group of greater American patriots. They have a love for this country, but like many of us who left so young, they also continue to keep a love for "all things Cuban."
One of the names of that list of Pedro Pan's grew up to be an accomplished musician and entertainer. Last year he played at The White House. The White House, people! This sort of story is common here in America. Land of the Free. Home of the Brave.
For one day, this May 20, the world will stand in solidarity with the legitimate aspirations and hopes of the Cuban people for freedom and democracy.
And to all the Cuban people who have been waiting these last 50 years...
"Nuestro dia ya viene llegando." ~ Willy Chirino