As a Cuban-American, I’m fascinated by the complex story of the Cuban people, a mixture of many races. A working writer and marketer for most of my career in the United States. I’ve been part of marketing and public relations teams selling products and services to Hispanics, and met Latinos from many countries of the Americas. Latinos are more than caricatures; each country has its own story, its unique history, and the past continues to shape their present and future.
People came to the New World for many reasons. Europeans came in search of riches, sometimes fugitives from the violence or persecution they’d experienced in their homeland. Enslaved Africans came to work in the fields and others joined them, escaping brutal poverty. The Chinese emigrants who traveled from Macao and the Mayan Indians who came from Southern Mexico were seeking a better life. They were joined by the Irish who escaped the Potato Famine and Jews leaving the pogroms of Eastern Europe.
My family tree is represented by a host of people, including a French émigré who fled the Haitian violence of early 1800s when the Haitian generals, Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines decimated the French white population remaining in Sainte Domingue, later known by the Taino name of Haiti.
Other ancestors came from Spain, and I will share their stories through the narrative of my female ancestors. Females who survived a long civil war, courageously sending their men to war, fighting to feed their children and maintain stability under the struggles between opposing political interests; always sassy, intelligent and full of courage in spite of the social morays of their age.
Three hundred years after their entry into the world stage, we see how political gamesmanship took over Cuba and its people. Cubans continue to survive, even thrive, marking their descendants with an indomitable will to leave a legacy and make a difference.