COMING TO AMERICA: Santiago, CUBA

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week we continue our series of interviews with immigrants to the USA.  Many of the immigrants featured in this series came from countries with oppressive governments.  Citizens Journal is eminently proud to showcase these valuable works which highlight real immigrant stories.  These stories illustrate the important human story that accompanies each and every immigrant that reaches our county. 

Santiago, Cuba

Interview with Rolando Chinea, conducted May 2021

“My American Dream”

Kathleen S. Roos, Ph.D.

Cuba: Before Communism and After

This is the 7th installment in the series: Coming to America. With all the discussion that immigrants make this country strong, why are those in power not asking these legal immigrants what their take is on all these people massing across the border and not following the same laws they followed to get here? One must also ask why if Afghanis and Haitians and too many to identify from South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East are literally pouring across the southern border of the U.S. why are Cubans directed by the U.S. State Department, not to come? In these trying times also ask why all these peoples with no masking or vaccines are allowed to be disseminated within the States with no warning or information as to their whereabouts to local authorities or the citizenry. This practice is dangerous at least to the nation’s health and security to irresponsible at best.

In a recent conversation with a relative she related she had a heated discussion with her medical doctor. She told me she is not sure how the discussion started but when she mentioned the unprecedented flow of migrants coming across the southern border as a danger to the Country, the doctor stated emphatically there was no major increase in immigrants coming across the border and this was just fake news! This is an educated individual and this response is beyond frightening.

Cuba: Before and After Communism

I have traveled a great deal for work and required vaccinations to travel to South America, Africa and many Middle East Countries. These vaccines are for cholera, yellow fever, measles, small pox, tuberculosis, pertussis, hepatitis to name a few and the reason these vaccines are required is because these locations still have major outbreaks of these diseases. These are long standing requirements (from U.S. CDC and State Department) prior to COVID, yet people from these locations can enter the U.S and subject our population to all of these diseases, not to mention disease carrying parasites they may also carry.  The additional ironies to protections within the U.S. are that one can be quarantined if one attempts to bring a fruit from another country to California or Hawaii by the FDA or the EPA and its serious concern about invasive species entering sensitive habitats, and yet the government allows these immigrants, with iPhones and backpacks who can easily act as major vectors to travel anywhere within the States. Our regulatory protections are broken to say the least.

I spoke with Rolando about his perceptions of Cuba in the past and comparisons to the America he is seeing now. He told me that where he came from one had to have a passport to buy eggs, tires, gas. Events are unfolding in Cuba as we speak. People fighting for their freedom. The news has been overshadowed by the ever changing and ‘hungry’ news cycle.

Rolando, tell me what Cuba was like.

You had to have a card stamped and were limited as to how much or what you could buy. In Cuba during my time everything was socialized and mandated by the State. If you had an emergency or accident and needed emergency care you had to go to a clinic. These clinics are not like medical clinics in the sates. They did not have the equipment or expertise to care for these emergencies and people were not allowed to go directly to the hospitals.

The clinics or dispensaries as they were known were transfer places for you to get to a hospital. They would have no medications and sometimes the hospitals didn’t either. Many Americans make so many assumptions because they have always had everything.

The education system in Cuba they say is the best. Everyone was brought out of having no education to be educated. The government had good intentions to increase the education level but it became and is an indoctrination tool.

My mother was a dentist in Cuba. When the Communists took over, the State forced her to close her practice and work for the State.

What I see happening here in U.S. during the COVID crisis with all the empty shelves in stores is identical to what happened in Cuba. It is happening yet again and I see it as a means of control over the population. I came home one afternoon, when the COVID pandemic had just started, after going to the market. My wife Gloria looked at me in shock. She said I was white as a ghost and asked what happened? I said “It’s happening here!” The Russian Communists destroyed all of Cuba’s history. They burned all the books. They silenced communication amongst the people. If you don’t see the comparisons with the progressive left and the Big Tech censorship of differing views, you are blinding yourself.

The Economic Cost of Cuban Communism

The following is taken directly from the writings of Rolando Chinea: Definition of the American dream.

 The idea that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. “She or him could achieve the American dream only by hard work.”

A happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful. With good jobs, a nice house, two children, and plenty of money, they believed they were living the American dream.

The Real Meaning of the “American Dream” … The term “American Dream” was apparently invented in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams; he was referring to “That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.”

What does it really mean if you are not U.S. born?  Can we achieve the Dream as well?  We all know that everything is possible if you set your mind properly, follow some steps and move forward; it is the Universal “law”, in some cases harder to achieve than imaginable, but not impossible.

I was born in an Island in the Caribbean, Cuba.  I am the only son of a married couple also from Cuba, Rosa and Rolando.  They both were very accomplished individuals back in our land. My father, an Electrical Engineer, was the Head of the Power Generation and Distribution Office for the Island.  My mother was a Dentist MD with her own medical practice as well as a job in a local medical facility back in Havana. The year was 1959-60, I was five years old. Life in Cuba was rapidly changing.  The country faced a new reality, Cuba became a communist and socialist country. Both of my parents did not approve or like the changes; they were willing to put everything on the line for me and my future.  It didn’t matter to them, they were focused and determined to protect me and my future from both communism and the socialism regime.  They moved forward with the decision.  They requested permission to relocate the family – “leave the country”- and at the same time requested permission to come to the United States of America (USA).  What happens next is hard to imagine, but it really happened.  My father was removed from his post (position) and banned from work anywhere.  He was 39 years old, on top of his professional career path…suddenly terminated. My mother’s private practice was taken away from her, “closed out” by the government and on top of that she was mandated to work in a clinic every night, 60 miles away from home.  At the time we didn’t know it, but for the next 7 years she became the head of the household.

The Government really tried hard to break the family apart, but once again they both were determined to reach their goal.  Finally, seven years later the waiting was over.  The Cuban Castro regime and the US Government granted permission to leave the country via Madrid, Spain.  My parents agreed, I was six months away from reaching another communist ideological milestone.  At age twelve (12) especially for Cuban males, the indoctrination is moved into a higher gear.  Kids are considered “STATE” property; in other words, your new family is the “STATE” and not your biological parents. The government removed the kids away from family nucleus and place them on “pioneer camps” for heavy duty indoctrination camps.  As a family we all went together to Madrid, Spain.  What a relief!!!!!!

Madrid, Spain was what I am going to call now the LIMBO LAND.  Why?  We had to wait until the vetting process by USA was done and completed. We knew the law from the beginning and my parents agreed to the terms.  During our temporary staging process in Madrid, we couldn’t work in any capacity, we couldn’t get any help from the local government or any government agency and we were 100% dependent on our US American sponsors, period. In our case they were my uncles who were already citizens of the US living in Puerto Rico.  To emphasize, if for any reason, any of the agreed conditions were broken by any family member, the contract between us and the governments was considered not valid anymore (BROKEN) and for that reason the complete family was mandated to return to the country of origin, in our case, Communist CUBA. Can you imagine, or even better, do you have the courage to give up everything you previously earned in your life, your wealth, your career, your home, your savings, your securities.  Everything, just for a DREAM. The future of your soul made reality through your son or daughter.  That is for me what I call the ultimate SACRIFICE.  It is PRICELESS.  The good news arrived; our vetting was completed and we were able to come to the States.  WELCOME TO AMERICA.

State Controlled Economy (source: NPR)

No, I did not have any idea at that time, of what they both did for me, but now I know.  I also know for certain my parents are my HEROES and what they represent is PRICELESS.  I think everything in life happens for a reason and sometimes is not obvious.  My father’s birthday was July 4, 1920…July 4.  THE US INDEPENDENCE BIRTHDAY.  Why do they choose the United States of America as our final destination? The new beginning, the new journey?  You Tell Me.  I call it “INDEPENDENCE.”

After arriving to USA, about three months later my father suddenly passed away. Who said life is fair?  My mother, again took control of the household role and did what she had to do. It was not easy for her, as you can imagine, not a time for grievances, no time for vacation, no time for rest.  She re-invented herself on a different career path, and in a nutshell, she pulled me over the hump into our new life.  One more time, nothing was given to us – nothing was free. Everything came about due to the hard work and dedication that she invested. the way I believe it should be.

In about mid 1971 I met somebody very special, very special. We became friends, good friends, sweethearts, we dated for several years and in 30 Dec 1976 we became one. By the way she also was my Citizenship Sponsor around 1972-73.  She also was instrumental in my college education; she invested in me, just because.  Together we have two beautiful daughters and two grandchildren. 

After 40 plus short years and one more time we came together to a critical crossroad.  I would say that for over 25 years or so, I had mentioned to her, our kids and some limited number of friends that this Great Nation of US has been under attack. I am sure, that they looked at me and probably they thought, what are you taking about?  They did not have a clue on my message, because they never were exposed to what I was exposed to in my childhood. They had no idea.

My Friends, the Socialism, wanted or not is here (in the Unites States), infiltrated in our own blood; is almost like a terminal type of cancer, and is up to us to cure America, our America, our USA.  We know it.  It has been proven over and over again, Cuba, Venezuela are the latest victims of the socialism.  These countries have collapsed. Their broken, corrupted, anti-humanity political social system is not the answer to a better USA. 

I invited every US citizen to join the movement, I call the FREEDOM MOVEMENT, to protect our legacy, our US Constitution and what it represents for generations to come.  Our rights, freedoms and the abilities to pursue happiness are at grave risk.

The current situation in Cuba as of this writing in July 2021 is dire. Rolando’s story will be continued in future installments. 


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