Yesterday, Sunday, February 6, marked the 100th birthday of America’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan. This serves as an important occasion to reflect on not only what a great President Reagan was (which Frontpage did in yesterday’s edition) but to also recall how much Cuban-Americans loved — and continue to love — Reagan.
Cuban-Americans gave Ronald Reagan 90 per cent of their vote. No other American ethnic group approached this level of devotion. Even “southern whites,” America’s most reliably Republican voting bloc, fell short of this “Hispanic” group’s support for The Gipper. A visit to Miami’s Cuban Memorial Cemetery might help explain the phenomenon.
You’ll often find people with itchy noses and red-rimmed eyes ambling amidst these long rows of white crosses. It’s a mini-Arlington cemetery of sorts, in honor of Castro and Che’s murder victims and those who—utterly without allies—fought and fell trying to free Cuba from the proxies of an Evil Empire. Twenty five years later, President Ronald Reagan ensured that any such fighters in Central America had an ally in the U.S. Worse still (in liberal eyes) he unashamedly defended the Nicaraguan Contras as “freedom-fighters.”
The tombs and crosses in the Cuban Memorial are mostly symbolic. Most of the bodies still lie in mass graves dug by bulldozers on the orders of a man Democratic presidential candidate George Mc Govern called, “very shy and sensitive, a man I regard as a friend.”
Never heard of this Cuban Memorial in the mainstream media? Well, it honors the tens of thousands of Fidel Castro’s and Che Guevara’s victims. Need I say more about the media blackout? I didn’t think so.
Some of these Cuban Memorial visitors will be kneeling, others walking slowly, looking for a name. You remember a similar scene from the opening frames of “Saving Private Ryan.” Many clutch rosaries. Many of the ladies will be pressing their faces into the breast of a relative who drove them there, a relative who wraps his arms around her spastically heaving shoulders.
Try as he might not to cry himself, he usually finds that the sobs wracking his mother, grandmother or aunt are contagious. Yet he’s often too young to remember the young face of his martyred father, grandfather, uncle, cousin–or even aunt, mother grandmother– the name they just recognized on the white cross.
“Fusilado” (firing squad execution) it says below the name– one word, but for most visitors one loaded with traumatizing flashbacks.
On Christmas Eve 1961, Juana Diaz spat in the face of the Castroite executioners who were binding and gagging her. They’d found her guilty of feeding and hiding “bandits.” (Che’s term for Cuban peasants who took up arms to fight his theft of their land to create Stalinist kolkhozes.) Farm collectivization was no more voluntary in Cuba than in the Ukraine. And Cuba’s Kulaks had guns—at first anyway. Then the Kennedy-Khrushchev pact left them defenseless against Soviet tanks, helicopters and flame-throwers. When the blast from Castro’s firing squad demolished Juana Diaz’ face and torso, she was six months pregnant.
On Aug. 7, 1961, Lydia Perez was eight months pregnant and a political prisoner of the man Andrea Mitchell describes as, “old-fashioned, courtly–even paternal, a thoroughly fascinating figure.” Lydia somehow annoyed a guard who bashed her to the ground, kicked her in the stomach, and walked off. Both Lydia and her baby were left to bleed to death.
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