On April 15, 1961, I awoke to the sound of gunfire. My mother immediately came into my room and told me to get under the bed. It was the beginning of the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba, when planes piloted by Cuban exiles bombed the Castro government’s air force base near Havana. A few days later my parents informed me that we would soon leave the country of my birth.
My parents did not want their only child to grow up in a totalitarian Marxist regime. They instilled in me a love of my native country, and especially an appreciation for Cuba’s patriots José Martí and Antonio Maceo. After a year in Cali, Colombia staying with relatives, we arrived in the U.S. We were grateful to the United States for providing refuge to Cubans fleeing the Castro regime. I was 11 years old. [Read more]