[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Knowing the Truth

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Knowing the Truth

For those of you who may have missed it, the Palm Beach Post finished running a five-part series last week on Post sports writer Carlos Frias' trip to Cuba to visit relatives.

I had never heard of Frias until this series began, and I must say that I was extremely impressed with his writing. The series is a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking account of Frias' experiences while visiting his family and friends in the country of his parents and grandparents. An unfortunate side-effect of this blog and reading so many stories on Cuba from other media outlets is the sense of frustration, and eventually jadedness, from reading so many articles and stories which totally miss - or turn the other cheek to - the sad reality most Cubans face today.

Honestly, when I started reading Frias' series, I was expecting the eventual dig at the "embargo" and the "Miami Mafia". It never came. How wrong and negative I was to even expect it.

You see, Frias wrote this series from the heart. He wrote it from the perspective of a Cuban-American who saw the place of his parents' upbringing and eventual heartache for the first time. It could have been many of us. It could have been me. Because of this, I totally related to his story, although I have never visited Cuba myself. What Frias, and I, felt was all the painful stories of our parents, uncles, grandparents and cousins all rolled up into one.

The most impressive thing about the series is that it is virtually devoid of any politics and rhetoric. There are obviously references to the hardships that Cubans face as a result of the regime, but not once was fidel's name mentioned as far as I can recall. The fact that Frias managed to keep it a personal account while at the same time painting an accurate picture of today's Cuba as too few MSM outlets do is commendable. So many of us, myself included, get so wrapped up in the politics that we sometimes lose sight of why we do this, of why we want our voices to be heard. This series served as a much-needed reminder.

This excerpt from the very end of the series says all you have to know about the way so many Cuban-Americans feel about a land that many of us have never seen:

We are having cafe con leche, milk with Cuban coffee, and toasty buttered Cuban bread at my parents' house on the morning I begin to write.

My mother is saying something about the roof that is about to fall in at my Aunt Sofi­a's house. She wants to ask my cousin how much it will cost to fix, so she can send money to help pay for it.

My father is going down memory lane. It's a rough road, from the restaurants at La Plaza to the jail cells at La Cabaña. He is not crying, not emotional. It is just a truth.

A truth I now know.

They are speaking to me differently now. Not like the day I told my father I was going to Cuba amid Castro's illness, and he later blurted out to my wife, "How can the newspaper dare to send a boy into a situation like that?"

I know them deeper now. I understand them in a way I never have.

And they look at me, like I, too, know a deeper truth.

"No one can tell you stories, anymore," my mother says. "You've seen Cuba. Now, you know how things are."

You can catch a narration and slide show of the series here.

Gracias Carlos.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Rick said...

Totally agree, Robert. Excellent stuff and very enlightening.

10:31 PM, October 01, 2006  
Blogger St. Jose said...

This is a great blog.

Saludos!
¡Viva Cuba Libre!

10:58 PM, October 01, 2006  

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