Monday, February 20, 2006


Amazing people...
Their stories are similar and different--Laida, an artist and human rights activist---Manuel, a prize winning poet, author, journalist--both exiled from their beloved Cuba... Laida left the island over 40 years ago, expecting to return within a year of her arrival to the United States, and Manuel came to Miami seven months ago after serving 16 months (many in solitary confinement) of incarceration in Cuban prisons. Neither know how much longer they will have to wait before they return to their island homeland; neither can predict what sort of situation they will find once they get there.

Laida remembers the Cuba of her youth as she works infatigably from her home on behalf of Cuban political prisoners. Manuel's memories of Cuba are more recent; he tells of spending days on end alone with his books, traveling in his mind to various places in the world from his darkened cell.

I listen, as always, absorbing not only their memories but also the pain of their expatriation and their compassion for all Cubans. I get a glimpse of a sparkle in their eyes as they remember Cuba before the Revolution, and I watch the sparkle quickly fade to saddness as the reality of the past +45 years sinks in yet again.

One day, we will all go there...Laida and Manuel returning to their native soil....I, accompanying them to a country whose people have made a tremendous impact in my life, to a country I know almost as well as my own, at least in my mind and my heart....

1 comment:

MaryAnn said...

I await your inspiring tales!!!