Cuba has always been held captive by the Castro regime from the time I was born, and I was only vaguely aware of the sequence of events that put Fidel Castro in power. I recall some scenes from “The Godfather II” showing the turmoil and the attacks. But there is so much more to the story.
It seems that Castro came to power on a wave of popular support, as the US had stopped helping the corrupt leader Batista it became obvious to all that he was doomed. Castro had not declared himself a communist but acted as one as he brutally enforced a distributionist economic system that enriched only a very few. However, to get to power, he promised liberty and prosperity — which sounded great to a population chaffing under the rule of a corruptocrat.
It was the old bait-and-switch routine.
One of the concepts that came across in Silvio’s experiences was during the implementation of Castro’s vision, was the complete absence of private property. Silvio saw that the high-tech radio his father worked hard for and prized was being eyed by officials, who stated that the family didn’t own it. Sadly, the concept of the state owning everything, no matter the effort it took to obtain an item, is one we may have to get used to in this country.
Richard Baehr of American Thinker offers further details on what happened to the Canto family once Silvio’s banker father, who was forced by the new government to be a baker, when they decided to head to the United States:
The journey makes up a good part of the book. Today, many of us have vague recollections of Cubans flying out of Havana to Miami in the first years after the Castro regime came to power. But it was not that simple. Once a family became “Gusanos” (worms) in the eyes of the community for choosing to emigrate from Cuba, there was nothing automatic about applying for and getting permission to leave. Some families sent their children out first. It took several years before Canto’s family received their departure papers, a process that involved their having to give up pretty much all of their possessions beforehand. The journey to Madison was not a one-shot affair either. From Havana, their plane flew to Mexico City, after stopping in Meridia. The plane’s landing gear failed approaching Mexico City, and emergency vehicles were at the ready to deal with a possible belly flop landing. After a one week stay in Mexico City, the family boarded a plane for Kingston, Jamaica, a county of extreme poverty, from which the family could first apply for entry visas to the U.S.
Perhaps the person I identified with most was Silvio’s mom Angela, who valiantly protected her children from the chaos of the new world order. For example, one particularly irksome official named Bello tried to whisk young Silvio away to the surgacane fields. Silvio’s mom sharply rebuked the official, bravely saying that she would be going along with her son. Silvio didn’t have to cut sugarcane, but the family was subjected to a retribution in many ways after that incident.
Another incident touched my heart. At one point, the Cantos were considering participating in Operation Pedro Pan, which would get the children out of Cuba while the parents stayed. Angela would not hear of it, as she would not be parted from her children and insisted the family go together — which led to many adventures Silvio entertainingly chronicles in his book.
As a Californian, I read the Canto family experience with their first earthquake in Mexico City with some amusement.
Silvio’s book is a very engaging read, and should be picked up by anyone who wants to see how a relatively free society transforms itself into a thugocracy. There is a wide array of behaviors displayed, from going along with the brutality of the regime to fighting back via stealth and strategy. As Americans see the IRS used to enforce Obamacare, and other examples of statist power-grabbing, Silvio’s book could be valuable insight as to how we respond unless we change the direction of the country.
Silvio’s mom is a driving force in making a better life for her children in the United States. That ties into a post I did for Legal Insurrection yesterday: American Women, not Koch Brothers, birthed the Tea Party Movement
Most of the original “Tea Party” organizers joined the developing national-scale protest in 2009 because we were deeply concerned about our children’s futures. Between the enormous expenditures of the Toxic Asset Relief Program and the “Stimulus Package”, many of us were reeling over the fact our taxpayer concerns were being ignored, and the result would be making our children indentured servants of the state to pay off the enormous debt.
This ties into a the Thursday Canto Talk show, I am doing with fellow San Diego Tea Party – SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition co-founders: Dawn Wildman and Sarah Bond. We three activist moms will be discussing the 4th anniversary of the organized Tea Party movement with Silvio. It should be a blast. (CLICK HERE FOR PODCAST LINK).