In turn, very few Cubans left their country for good before 1959. Sure, there were some who emigrated to the United States, but compared to the masses [immigrating] from Europe it was a very small group per capita.
If you’ve stuck with me thus far, what comes next should be obvious. Simply put, after castro and his bandits took over in 1959, the boats and airplanes changed directions. They began leaving instead of arriving in Cuba. Estimates place the Cuban-American emigration to the United States at over a million. From a population of 6 million in 1959, that’s staggering. This doesn’t count the many Cubans who emigrated elsewhere in Latin America, as well as to Europe and even Australia. A country of immigrants became a country better known for its human export. A country which boasted sugar among its exports now spits out its own flesh and blood.
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It also doesn’t count undocmented immigration to the USSR. When I lived in the Soviet Union, things were not horrible in the Gulag sense, but life was a whole lot tougher than in the West – there is no way I would have taken a semi-permanent job there. After the Cubans in my dorm got used to talking to an American, I began asking some personal questions. When the leader of their group announced he had taken a job in cold, cold Novosibirsk, I asked him if he planned to go back to Cuba. He looked at me as if I had just landed from the planet Stupid, and said simply: “Nyet”.
Good point. I’m sure it applies to the rest of the Eastern Bloc as well.
Here’s my own personal anecdote: I’ve had an excellent lunch in a cafe in Portuguese resort city of Lagos, owned by a Cuban. The guy served most delicious sandwiches and espresso – prepared by himself. He was about the only small business-owner who spoke near-perfect English; “want a real good cup of coffee – find a Cuban”, he told me.
Of course, those who emigrated were various, but in my youth the head psychiatrist at the local mental hospital in the sparsely populated Platte valley was a friend of my aunt’s – he and his family had escaped from Cuba to a land where as a professional he first had to establish his credentials before setting up his own practice. Both the state institution and later his patients benefitted from a trained expertise that a country should be sorry to lose. Of course, as Fred Thompson observed in his response to Michael Moore, what was done in the name of that doctor’s specialty probably did not require trained psychiatrists but rather ideologues.
Sorry – sent it from my office – Anonymous is Ginny
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