01 August, 2008

Things That Make You Go... Hmmmm?

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,
it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence.

On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba, and a
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 disagree.

I've thought a lot about the anniversary this
year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a
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
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
'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
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 were 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.

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