During stressful times, I always try to put things into perspective. I try to think of tough situations that people got through.
Being the son of Cuban immigrants, I got a lot of those stories. The story that I’m gong to share with you, is of one of our family friends. It’s a story of how they came to the United States and how they overcame their struggles.
Star came to the US as a kid in 1969 at the age of 2. But Star did not get here the normal way, and her story is amazing.
Star, her mom, and her sister, were all in Cuba. Star’s mom, Estrella, was recently divorced and was raising 2 girls on her own. It was just the three of them. She wanted a better life for her daughters and did not want them to grow up under communism.
People in their town were planning to escape through the American military base of Guantanamo. The plan was to get a large truck and stuff it with about 100 people, looking to escape
Then they would drive up to the American base and jump out, requesting political Asylum.
On Christmas eve, they all met at a park, to construct their plan, because the town was having a parade. It didn’t look suspicious because there was already a large crowd. The next morning they all loaded up into the truck.
They took off on their journey. Just as they were arriving, their truck got stuck in a ditch. Their truck was only yards away from the base. They could see it.
The drivers jumped out and opened the back and told people to run towards the base.
They were lucky that the truck got stuck because the Cuban military had placed mines on that road and their truck would have blown up.
Star and the unknown man made it to the base. Star’s aunt, in Miami was notified about the incident and Star was flown to Miami to be raised by her aunt.
Estrella was placed in prison and her other daughter was taken from her. The Cuban government gave her a 5 year sentence, but told her she could get out, if she signed a document.
This document would say that she wanted her daughter, Star, returned to her from the United States immediately. In addition, they would return her other daughter, Vivian, to her also, if she signed it.
She told them that she’d rather rot in jail, than have her daughter be raised in a communist country.
Star’s mother finished her 5 year prison sentence and was never allowed to have custody of her eldest daughter. She was now being raised by her dad.
She was only allowed to see her daughter, Vivian, on her front porch under the supervision of two armed soldiers.
Star’s mom was in prison from 1969 to 1974. Through diplomatic channels, the American government was able to get her out of Cuba in 1979.
Star’s mom arrived in Miami when Star had just turned 13. Her aunt had raised her from the age of 2. Star wasn’t ready to move in with her mother because she had developed a very close bond with her aunt.
Star’s mom told me, this really hurt her, but she understood. She did not want to make Star move in with her. On the weekends, Star would stay with her mom. Their relationship developed and now it is indestructible.
They are very close.
Shortly after Estrella arrived from Cuba, her new mission was to get her other daughter, Vivian, out of Cuba. She succeeded in 1990 and now both daughters live in Miami.
I asked her, if she had any regrets, and quickly, she responded, “No. I would have done it all over again.”
Reader’s Digest did a story on Star’s mother’s struggles in 1970.
I hope you enjoyed this story.
Floss like a madman!
Emilio “Putting into Perspective” Couret