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Subject: Letter to the Editor from a Cuban

Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 8:50 AM Letter to the Editor from a Cuban

. From Richmond Times-Dispatch, Monday, July 7, 2008 ~

Dear Editor, Times-Dispatch:

'Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I
celebrate my independence day, and on July 4 I celebrate America 's. This
year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence.


'On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba, and a few months later, I was
in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on
Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.

'I've thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year
rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In
the late
1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, so when a young leader
came
along, every Cuban was at least receptive.

'When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced
the
old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who
his
friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help
the
farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all,
everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to
all,
everyone said, 'Praise the Lord.' And when the young leader said, 'I will
be for change and I'll bring you change,' everyone yelled, 'Viva Fidel!'

'But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner's guns
went silent, the people's guns had been taken away. By the time everyone
was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time
everyone received their free education, it was worth nothing. By the time
the press noticed, it was too late, because they there now working for him.
By the time the change was finally implemented, Cuba had been knocked down
a
couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over,
more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes.
You
can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most
fortunate Cubans. And now I'm back to the beginning of my story.

'Luckily, we in America would never fall for a young leader who promised
change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out? What will
it cost America ?
'Would we?'

Manuel Alvarez, Jr. Sandy Hook
 
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