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Posted by on Apr 13, 2009 in At TMV | 9 comments

The Walls Against the Heart: CUBA The Most Profound Restriction Will Be Lifted

Some may think the Cuban trade embargo is the most profound hardliner restriction all these years. It may be.

But there’s another embargo that has gone on since many Cubans fled the island in the 60s during a military takeover…

and that is the embargo on hearts and minds that has kept families separated from one another between mainland US and mainland Cuba…

The latter hardline embargo has extracted a ‘right of humanity’ by setting barriers for decades against family members being able to freely move back and forth to visit, to love, fight with, care about, watch over, joke with, walk with, heal, guide, help one’s own relatives, visit the graves, do the feasts, play the music, on either shore.

Free movement of family members between the two countries has been littered with difficult…. and as we saw in the Elian Gonzales case- politically charged dirt scrabbles– so in the Gonzales case, a decision was made by governance, not for the child to be able to be loved and cared for by all his relatives here and in Cuba, but that he could be with only one or the other with no visiting back and forth. And this to a child who had just lost his mother to the sea.

Too, in the conquerings of my own people, Mexicanos, called by the Spanish, Aztecs, but we ourselves go by our group tribal names and by our larger original 16th century name, Nahua peoples…. the idea to continuously overwhelm the people was to cut a family in pieces, leave part here and deposit the other part many kilometers away, and then build walls between the family members, by politically rewarding some and aiming opprobrium toward other family members. In essence, to kill the legacy stories –and love— and the plethora of ideas that came from all the family members being together at will, not just as quarantinees.

Its the lack of the richness of stories that often make a person small of heart and mind, the perseveration on just a few that makes a person,

as my father used to say about matters like these… ‘a man is so lonely without family, for he has only two stories, yesterday and today… while the little birds who fly in flocks, even though they fly far and wide from one another, always come together… and they carry thousands of stories from having been thousands of places and lived thousands of days and night… and they tell their stories to each other constantly.’

So that’s what my father said, he an immigrant to the US who was blocked from returning to his huge peasant family by the outbreak of Hitler’s machines. He was not able to go back to the home of his childhood, nor to send medicines or tools again for sixty-one years, not until the fall of the Soviet states. I know the ongoing sorrow of separation from family and land. It lived in my house silently, as in crying silently, day and night.

So, during the election, now President Obama promised to look anew at the US relationship with Cuba, the beautiful gemstone of an island 90 miles from the tip of the United States, so close and yet so far.

Today, he is expected to take some bricks out of the long concrete wall built between Cuban and Cuban America people of great heart: literally so they can see each other.

Another phenomena is also being reported hereat Wapo by reporter Michael D. Shear… that not only will Obama ease the prohibitions that restricted Cuban Americans from visiting their relatives in Cuba…

but also, President Obama is also expected to initiate his vision of filling Cuba with new ideas, and will thus allow some satellite radio companies and television providers to create business partners in Cuba and bring service there, as well as allowing the exporting of cell phones, computers, and satellite receivers to Cuba.

That flood of communications network and equipment, may be the great uniting/electronic storyteller that, crud programming and porn highways aside… there will be plenty of room for a flood of new stories in all directions, good ones, nourishing ones, some delivered by telephone and text messaging and internet… but many, most of all, told with love, person to person.

And for those developers who are salivating over the idea of ‘building out’ the gem of Cuba so that, as in other places, the poor are left out of the equation except as housekeepers and gardeners… just this…

Get a new idea that builds but/and helps people to be enabled to be in more than just low pay serving/assembly line positions. There’s more than just two stories (today and yesterday) for developers to learn and live out, too. Such as development married to more education for all. Cuba and the US will both be the richer for educating the people rather than keeping them as lowly work fodder.

For Fernando, Acilia, Guillermo, Constantin, Lupe, Maria, DiSantos Cuban families who fled to the US and who have themselves carried great bitterness in their broken hearts, but great love over all… and for Los Cubanos who are the same– hurt from years of separation and political slanders about ordinary people, yet filled with huge heartfulness nonetheless– as I know them all to be firsthand despite political wrangling…. the day it seems, has come at last, after having waited for 40 plus years.

It may be that you together, US Cubanos y Los Cubanos, will freely walk again on the shores of your childhoods… and whenever you like, and with whomever you like… for as long as you like.

That alone ought be a ‘political-free’ zone for all, for being together with one’s beloved, difficult, funny, argumentative, sweet and smart relatives is a blessing that belongs to the soul.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • DLS

    Starbucks, KFC, and McDonald’s (and Burger King, and Denny’s) on every corner…gated communities…didn’t happen in Iraq, won’t happen in Cuba, necessarily, either.

    But it would be better than having the far-left 60s dinosaurs (the Dellums era crowd from Congress) happy.

  • DdW

    Good post.

    It is time to stop punishing the peoples—the friends, the brothers, the sons and daughters–on the two shores for the misdeeds of an ailing dictator, for the unfounded hates and fears that have been around now for over fifty years, for the political convenience and strawmen of a few.

  • archangel

    Hello there DLS, it is nice to see you again. It has been a long time. Come back often. As we know, there are many well educated people who live in Cuba, doctors, lawyers, professors, and they and others of the Cubanos are often also such PROFOUND Cuban artists, writers, teachers and performers. It will be interesting DLS to see who holds the line in Cuba against the least of imported ‘culture’… and who will hold the line stateside for Cuba evolving, rather than being overwritten.

    There are other critival issues that need ongoing articles too about Cuba, that is the inability for people in the States to help bring the most modern medical equipment into Cuba, (even though they have developed good equipment and import from nations that are not hostile to them) especially for outlying regions for the Cubans, as we have often done, elsewhere in the world… especially when we have a large population of immigrants/ refugees from that country in our nation.

    I think a Cubanista KFC, McDonalds, etc would be a good idea if only the food actually fed the body instead of essentially putting in an I.V. the equiv of Crisco. Here, people might just as well drive up and order a half cup of melted lard to go. ‘Sad but true’ tag. Actually in many parts of Cuba, the diet is still decent: fresh fish, fresh fruits. And of course, handmade pasteles…. just to add a bit of levity… these are cookies, rolls, buns, cakes… considered the other food group by many?


  • archangel

    Tx D.E. Rodriguez, I hope you are feeling better this day. I dont understand exactly how it is springtime and people here too, are ill with a flu-like thing. Be well. And then, even ‘weller.’

    And I am glad you could read this article about family resonance and how it ought not be broken by political leaders, as you said so succinctly.


  • StockBoySF

    I don’t see what the Cuban restrictions have accomplished the past 40 some odd years.

  • archangel

    Hi there StockBoySF, I am glad to see you again. I missed your insights on all and every.

    I think the restrictions have likely done what the Berlin wall and the Iron Curtain did, dont you?… to not allow freedom of movement, freedom of love, new and different solutions, real medicines, evolving technology to move freely among the people, keeping the people impoverished in so many ways….whilst the guys at the top argue through FOUR generations of souls.

    I am pretty clear, StockBoy, that the Cubanos, including those who fly for freedom and those who attempt to flee, as well as those who are pretty happy where they are, would, like many of us, prefer free movement of ideas without being pounced on. Let’s hope it will be a new time now.


  • $199537

    I am no Cuba expert, and agree with the loosened travel restrictions, but aren’t there still some pretty heavy duty human rights concerns about Cuba? Everyone seems to want to make nice with Castro but it seems to me he should be doing the perp walk for human rights violations.

    Is the goal to normalize relations with Cuba and hope they change? I apologize if I am being dumb here but it seems like many of the concerns of the past couple of decades have disappeared for some reason.

    • CStanley

      To me it seems that people are realizing that the policy of attempting to isolate Castro hasn’t worked. I think more broadly, we need to accept that policies of embargos and sanctions really haven’t worked to bring about the demise of dictators, and those same policies end up hurting the people that are living under the dictatorship.

      The problem is that I don’t think anyone has any ideas for better solutions either. The idea of sanctions itself is meant to be more benign than potentially going to war or instigating revolution or coup, but if this solution makes conditions worse instead of bringing about the desired outcome then we’re right to reverse course. I just wish someone could find a third way, because I agree with you DaGoat that we still shouldn’t treat Castro with any legitimacy or respect.

  • Ghostdreams

    Hey Doc. 🙂

    I’ve seen what you’re talking about when you speaks of an “embargo on hearts and minds that has kept families separated from one another between mainland US and mainland Cuba…” and also when you said, “The latter hard line embargo has extracted a ‘right of humanity’ by setting barriers for decades against family members being able to freely move back and forth to visit, to love, fight with, care about, watch over, joke with, walk with, heal, guide, help one’s own relatives, visit the graves, do the feasts, play the music, on either shore.”

    Such a true and deep sorrow.

    For those who have never lived near, been friends with, a person who’s been kicked out of their own country, there is a palpable feeling to the heartbreak these people suffer – day in, day out. The denial of their rights, as fellow human beings, to be able to ever go to their physical “home.”

    Home. Such a deep meaning that word has for all of us.

    Every person I’ve ever met, knows what the term “homesick” means. To imagine that one is separated from the country of their birth with no recourse. Also, there is a strange belief amongst many Americans I know that, “Well, at least they’re out of that hell hole that deprived them of their freedom, their basic civil rights, etc. They are in a much better place now.” And, yes, to an extent that is true….But what of the heart place. The home of the heart. Indeed, most people I know who have come to the United States for political reasons were much better of in terms of their basic liberties, civil rights, religious freedoms…but that does not mean that this is not a heartbreak for them. For these people, they can never (at least not in the foresee-able future) put their feet on the earth, or breath in the air of the locality from which they came. They can no longer speak with their neighbors (and for most of the people I’ve known in this situation, they GREW UP with their neighbors..these are people they’ve known and loved all of their lives – they are, in a very real way, “familia”).

    It is a strange bittersweet sorrow they hold in their hearts…and it is so rare that they speak about it as, most typically, in my experience, they don’t wish to ever be thought of as “ingrates’ (and I’ve seen some American people be short with folks who have the heartbreak of losing their home place – for some Americans – certainly not all but – there is this assumption that every person born on the planet wants to come here no matter what their situation is). So for those who have come here who suffer a grief and a longing for their original home place….they suffer a deep abiding homesickness with no reprieve and very few people they can share these thoughts with.

    Such a sad and tragic and emotionally traumatic situation.
    I always keep these people in my prayers.

    Thank you for your insightful post Doc!


    PS I’ve been living out here in the midwest/northern plains for going on 7 years and still, to this very day I will get physically ill when I see pictures of my home…so deep is my grief and homesickness for the city of my birth and it’s in the same country (although one would never know that to look at the geography, politics, etc. even the dialect of English is different out here), 1616.32 miles away. For people forced from their homes from foreign countries, I can only imagine the depths of their grief and it must be an ongoing “dark night of the soul” for many of them (if I guage it on my own homesickness – which is very subjective but ….).

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