I asked an older Cuban friend once, why she hated the Democratic party. She was losing her vision and couldn’t walk very well — her husband was also in very poor health and would pass away only a few months later. Between the two of them they had extensive medical bills and needed government assistance to survive. For all intents and purposes, the success of Obamacare should have been a high priority for them. But it wasn’t. You see, there is an equation many Cubans draw between the communism that Castro ushered into Cuban reality, and the “socialist” tendencies of the Democratic party.
In the 1960s and 70s, Castro’s recently empowered regime which held a strong anti-American position was closely aligned with America’s nemesis, the Soviet Union. Castro implemented communist doctrines to level the imbalance of financial prosperity facing the nation, penalizing the wealthy by taking assets from them to give to the poor.
To escape this anti-capitalist movement thousands of Cubans, especially business people, fled the country to seek asylum and to start a new life in the US — a life where they could take their work ethic and business acumen and build what would now become their American Dream. To older Cuban immigrants, American taxation and the social safety net, according to the Democratic party, meant more of what they left behind. So they still shun Democratic policies even to their own detriment.
Today, our Democratic president is making strides toward reestablishing a relationship with Cuba. That older generation of Cuban immigrants seems to be holding on to grudges for issues that might now be cast as water under the bridge. They would want the rift to be maintained because they hate Castro, but maintaining that rift seems to be causing more harm to the people of Cuba than to the country’s leaders.
For the English-speaking Caribbean, Cubans are our family. The island trains our doctors, dancers and artists. Our countries continue to support reconciliation between the United States and Cuba, and we’re looking forward to the new age of open communication that the American government has bravely decided to usher in.
Calibe Thompson is a personality, author and the Executive Producer of “Taste the Islands”, premiering on South Florida’s WPBT2 on April 27th at 7:30PM. For your free preview of her 2015 collection of writings, Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say, visit www.calibe.net.