Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 02:20PM
Maruchi Mendez

On a day like today, July 27th, 1959, I left Cuba with my sister Olga, to join my father in Miami, who was exiled by the Guatemalan Embassy.  I was only 12 years old.  That day, in a tiny room at the airport, as the “milicianos” (militia)  searched for answers or anything that I could be smuggling out of Cuba, I was stripped of my clothes, my dignity, and my childhood -but they never crushed my spirit. That was the day I became a woman and joined a broken generation.  That was also the day when I last saw the palm trees of my beloved island.  I never thought I would not see them again.

History had erased the path and maps that had been etched by our parents and ancestors. They were replaced by a life in exile.  We have gone through rough times, my sisters and I, but we have grown strong.  This morning, as my sister Olga and I reminisced, we laughed and cried but gave thanks to God for another day together- another day in freedom- and we prayed for those that remained behind in our island and in many other countries that are still the victims of oppression.  Leaving Cuba was the price we paid for freedom, but many have paid with their lives.  I salute them today and will keep praying for a free Cuba.

Article originally appeared on Maruchi Mendez | Writer and Author (http://maruchimendez.com/).
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