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Thank you for visiting the website of "A Time To Look Back. An extraordinary journey for the pursuit of liberty and freedom. My book includes my experiences during five years of my life, beginning on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1958, when Cuba’s dictator, Fulgencio Batista, fled the country just as a militant group led by a young and charismatic leader, Fidel Castro, began to take control. It includes the consequences the new government’s policies and dangerous political responses had on me and my family, the U.S. and Soviet Union’s reactions which changed the course of history, and my reflections when I returned to Cuba 60 years later with my husband and two friends - all rolled into one story.
I lived in La Habana as a child when my family was forced to accept a new dictator and raise a family in the middle of a new Cuban revolution. I felt their crushing disappointment when a revolt to return democracy to Cuba failed. I experienced a military raid of our home by government officials and armed militia. I saw the look on my mother’s face when we heard my father was sent to jail without cause. I was taught in school that capitalism was evil and that we must learn to live in a socialistic and communistic society. A constant parade of military vehicles, political assassination attempts, bombings, and gunfire in my neighborhood was the norm.
I was sent by my parents at the age of 8 with my 10-year-old brother to the U.S. in 1962 as part of Operation Pedro Pan, the largest exodus of children in the western hemisphere, to escape the indoctrination of communism and live in a safe and free democratic country in hopes that the rest of the family could soon follow. I was welcomed to my new homeland by a network of charitable, religious organizations, corporations, private citizens, and a country that had empathy for families seeking asylum from repressive and dangerous societies.
At an age when most boys were playing cowboys and watching “Lassie,” I was living in another country, apart from my parents. No-fault of my sponsors, I had to live in numerous locations, including a regretful stay in an orphanage for troubled young boys from broken families who could not be placed in foster homes. I watched the horrors of a close encounter with nuclear war while I was still separated from my family.
During my visit in 2018, I witnessed the outcome of political decisions made over the past 60 years. I visited my childhood home in La Habana and met with the current resident. I realized what I had learned and experienced between the ages of 5 and 10 were great lessons that shaped my life. I understood my parents' positions and the decisions they were forced to make to survive. I learned about life from their brave example.
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