Friday, January 7, 2011

Roberto González Echevarría: 'Exiled by Ike, Saved by America'

FIFTY years ago this week, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration broke off diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s government, placing Cuba in the middle of the cold war and changing my life, and that of many of my fellow Cubans, forever.

By January 1961, I had spent a year and a half in Tampa, Fla., where relatives of mine had lived since the 1930s, and where my parents had settled us in 1959, planning to spend as much time as it took for life to return to normal in Cuba, or perhaps to stay.

I was 17 and had gone back to the island about six times. This was because I had left behind my girlfriend, Mercy, and also because I could not get used to American life, particularly teenage mores, which I found silly. (“Teenager” did not exist as a role in Cuban culture.) I saved every penny from my various jobs as dishwasher and bag-boy to buy those plane tickets.

But with the diplomatic rupture, my travels were over. Though I did not know it at the time, Eisenhower’s decision turned me into an exile. I would not set foot on Cuba again for 18 years, when I went with a committee of exiles to discuss the release of political prisoners.

(Seguir leyendo en el New York Times)

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