A Part of Me


Emigration has taken my friends, my childhood acquaintances, neighbors from the place where I was born, and people I greeted once or twice in the street. One day it grabbed my paternal uncles, cousins, classmates with whom I shared the joy of graduation, and even the shy mailman who brought me the paper once a week. And, as if still unsatisfied, now it has come back for more, taking also the part closest to me, the most intimate of my life.

I remember when my sister told me she’d entered her name into an international visa lottery. Yunia was always very lucky in games of chance, so I knew what to expect from the outset. My mother tells of the day she gave birth to her, the doctors and nurses crossed themselves seeing a baby emerge from the womb with its amniotic sac almost intact.

“You came into the world in a bag,” they told her, as if this guaranteed prosperity, love, happiness. Hence, this Island seemed too narrow to contain the good fortune of my older sister. And more than twenty years ago she reached the same conclusion as the majority of my compatriots: How can one set down roots in a country where so few can bear fruit? I didn’t even try to convince her, I just watched her in a blur of paperwork here, a line waiting for permission there, meanwhile knowing that the moment of parting was near.

Finally, on Friday, her plane took off, taking also my only niece, my brother-in-law, and a little stray dog they could not abandon. My mother cried the day before, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!” while my father hid the tears of one for whom “a man who is a man doesn’t cry.”

Nothing prepared you for the separation, Mami, for knowing that the ones you love are only ninety miles away but in an abyss of immigration restrictions.

You are right to mourn, Papi, because this distance should not be so definitive, so harrowing, so conclusive.

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24 thoughts on “A Part of Me

  1. “Doesn’t Damir realize that his bullying and abuse validates all of the allegations of oppression?”

    To Komar: “Your existence here vindicates this blog. Don’t you realize that?”

    Miami Web Master, those are good questions that I’ve asked myself also. For me or any open-minded reader, the answer is yes, Damir and Komar and the other Castroites who post here definitely vindicate what Yoani writes. I would assume that those who hate Yoani don’t bother reading what she writes, but rather go to the more numerous pro-Castro sites, but there are probably many exceptions. So perhaps Damir does have his fans here, although even Castroites might have difficulty making sense of his rants.

  2. Have you ever traveled outside of Cuba, tovarich? I’m curious what would motivate you to defend your comrade’s distorted caricature of Miami? I can only think of one reason: that both of you are part of a coordinated propaganda effort. Your existence here vindicates this blog. Don’t you realize that?

  3. Miami Web Master
    Junio 12th, 2011 at 13:41

    @ #18:

    I’m an American living in Miami Beach and I must report that post #18 is inaccurate.

    In the mornings drug dealers, prostitutes and their pimps sleep after hard night’s work. Try Tai Chi in the evening.

  4. @ #18:

    I’m an American living in Miami Beach and I must report that post #18 is inaccurate.

    I welcome each morning with Tai Chi exercises with my wife on South Beach without fear of crime, and I can assure you that the beaches of Miami are not controlled by Mexican gangs selling drugs and guns and stealing wallets. What kind of bizarre propaganda is that? The Cuban community in South Florida is thriving and rising in political prominence on a national level. I, myself, have been very impressed by the prosperity achieved in only a few short years by recent visa lottery arrivals from Cuba. In many cases they succeed beyond the level of Americans who have been established here for their entire lives. Cubans who legally emigrate to South Florida do not face “absolute poverty”. They are instead welcomed into a tight support community that makes many Americans envious.

    I rarely read this blog and I have never seen a post from “Damir” before, but these posts are obvious attempts at defamation. What would motivate a person to say these things? Doesn’t Damir realize that his bullying and abuse validates all of the allegations of oppression?

  5. I was going to comment on the actual text from the team “yoani”, but this time I’ll pass the opportunity to draw the attention of the public to another cheap and quite pathetic hypocrisy by the by now certified hypocrisy club , the team “yoani”

    A hint:

    “Nothing prepared you for the separation, Mami, for knowing that the ones you love are only ninety miles away but in an abyss of immigration restrictions.

    You are right to mourn, Papi, because this distance should not be so definitive, so harrowing, so conclusive.”

    Pathetic and fake “emotions” from someone who was an immigrant in Switzerland and Spain for mere two years, only to run back to Cuba when no job and no prospects came forth…

    But, there’s always Miami, where Cuban mafia, themselves living in absolute poverty while dealing the drugs and the guns for Mexicans, and stealling wallets on the beaches of Miami (Mexicans only pay in lead…, ya katch my drift?) to survive another day in “paradise”… They will “help” you settle and become a valuable member of society in Miami.

    Mafia society, that is.

  6. Post 13, should learn some maths before posting numbers next time:

    From quoted numbers “Cubans voting with their feet” represent only 1/5 of the total population. That is 20%.

    Does 80% to anyone seems a smaller number that the 20%, after reading the post 13?

    Maybe it’s the number?

    13.

    Unlucky…

  7. Love Cuba
    Junio 9th, 2011 at 16:14

    That’s a good one. Links to Yoani website statistics are blocked. I guess everybody has to Google for them. So much for freedom of speech on this website.

  8. More insightful comments from Damir, although the moon conspiracy is missing this time. I believe Yoani is somehow mixed up with the Apollo 18 conspiracy, or might even be a visitor sent by pragmatic capitalists from nearby solar systems who feel very threatened by the success of the Cuban model. I am eager to hear Fidel’s and/or Damir’s reflections on the matter.

  9. Let me get this straight: a sister of a “known dissident” and a “public menace”, the person that longs for a Blueberry telephone (while handling three according to the team “yoani’s” own admission), canot have a decent computer so has to use, “sadly” the latest laptop (Dell, according to one of the team”yoani’s” own recent photos here), and is maltreated on a daily basis (and still manages to write a 400 pages book, meet every day with the party underground ell, despite police practically sleeping at the door, hold classes of something, and tweet 24 hours a day), the sister has left the country legally?

    And what happened to all the tantrums spilled here on a daily base about how people who disagree with the government have chance in hell of having a passport and leaving the country, including every member of the family, all the way to the fifth generation?

    Not to mention the next thread where the team “yoani” was invited to another city/vilage to another underground party cell meeting, all the while complaining here how to travel within Cuba one needs a permit and people like the team “yoani” cannot receive it for being such a nuissance and a pain in teh proverbial to their idols Castros…???

    In a civilised world, a fast shrinking one with so many born-again “some kind of pragmatic capitalists” with no idea whatsoever what that is, this is called a HYPOCRISY.

    And a really big one.

    Happy travelling opressed “some kind of pragmatic capitalists and democrats”.

    Now go and have a haircut. That’s an order…

  10. I have arrived to the conclusion that when Progressives speak of civil rights, they really mean socialist rights. When the civil rights come into conflict with Socialist regimes, their support for civil rights violations by those regimes disappears. Most the time they keep silence about those violations, and sometimes they mention that it is “for the greater good.” What that means is that if you are not a socialist, something awful and sometimes deadly will happen to you in the name of “the greater good of the people.”

  11. When Cubans escape from Castro brothers workers paradise, they are voting with their feet. So far there are 1.7 million Cuban-Americans living in the US. Another 600,000 are living in other countries. This amounts to a total of 2.3 million. Since the actual Cuba population is 11.24 million (source: Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas, http://www.one.cu/ Cuba. http://www.geohive.com/cntry/cuba.aspx), the 2.3 million living abroad account for 20% of the population in the island.

  12. This post is absolutly touching and so real… In a few months, my best friend and her family will quit Cuba to join us here in Canada, after more then two years of a long process of immigration. Essentially, to give her kids a future. Her father already quit for US, her brother too and soon, her sister will join them in Florida.

    I am really touched because I see in her mother’s eyes, every time I go in her village, both sadness and joy. Deeply happy for her daughter but so sad to see her precious girl going so far away, not knowing when they will be together again.

    I hope it could be different for all of you. Families and kids are a country’s future.

  13. Dear Yoani, I could not read this without tears in my eyes. For your sister and her family I feel glad yet, for you and your family and parents it is like a death. The wonder if you will ever see them again….

    Love to you from Canada

  14. CUBA is RIPE for changes,REAL CHANGES that is. A GOVERNMENT for the PEOPLE and of the People. The ruling class has been MILKING the Cuban people for TOO long.

  15. Kirbe! Lets call it what it is a MAFIA!! with not competition! A MAFIAMONOPOLY! Violence (against dissidents), extortion (charging exorbitant fees), money laundering (convertible dollars CUC and they get 10% or more)and drug trafficking!

    YOUTUBE: FRONTLINE- “Cuba And Cocaine”
    Proof of the Castro regime’s involvement with the narcotraffic in Cuba

  16. kirbe
    Junio 6th, 2011 at 11:48

    How about Castro’s lottery? Your son may get lucky.

  17. It has actually got worse, Comrade Komar. I have just paid 2.500 N.kr ( about $500) to the Cuban Embassy in Norway just to have my son´s invitation form handled. Thats´s what they charge – and we are not even guaranteed a positive reply! Everyone suffers because of the Cuban bureaucracy and restrictions.

  18. It has actually got worse, Comrade Komar. I have just paid 2.500 N.kr ( about $500) to the Cuban Embassy in Norway just to have my son´s invitation form handled. Thats´s what they charge – and we are not even guaranteed a positive reply! Every suffers.

  19. So a lottery which cannot be tracked, and can be EASILY manipulated is better?

    Wouldnt it be better to just give everyone, regardless of race, political sattus and affiliation, or religion the chance to stay or leave as they care?

    Things are not better. The castros are just throwing everyone a bone because they are afraid of what happened in africa. They are buying time.

  20. Things in Cuba are getting better. Castro runs visa lottery so Cuban people don’t have to pay bribes to corrupted Cuban officials to get visa.

  21. This one tugs at the heart of each and everyone of us that has had our families torn asunder by the Castro tyranny. Those of us that had the right to be at the side of our grandparents in their final days taken away. Those that have had to endure separations from mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and so many others we loved and shared much of our lives with.

    Yet this binds us together, those living on the island and those scattered in the Cuban diaspora. This binds us in the pain and sense of loss for the time that we will never have to share and the opportunities, forever lost, to have learned from one another. If for no other reason this regime that has done so much to split our country, our families, our lives apart needs to be brought to an end and a future made up of reconciliation and inclusion of all Cuban citizens regardless of where they may have had to reside during this exile to join with those there and rebuild what has been left to ruin.

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