“Cuba, Before and After…” Part three of three, calls Americans to action

This post is the last of the three part story titled “Cuba, Before and After…”  Please share this story so that it will not be re-written in a different place at a future time.  If we do nothing electorally to stop the totalitarian actions of Obama’s America, one of our children could, like Mr. De Cardenas, be writing a similar story from a freer country in the year 2062.

Thank you Ralph for allowing us to share your story.  Your story has motivated me even more to protect our Church and America.  God bless you and get well.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

“Cuba, Before and After…” Part Three of Three

By Rafael De Cardenas

Rafael (Ralph) H. De Cardenas II comes from a long line of prominent families in Cuba. His paternal great-grandfather was a Major General of the War of Independence against Spain and Justice of the Supreme Court.  Dr. Humberto De Cardenas, his paternal grandfather served as Attorney General of Havana.  Ralph came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan” where thousands of Cuban parents saved their children from communism.

Upon my arrival to the United States on December 4, 1961 from Cuba, I  was immediately taken to the Customs Department in Miami International Airport. My arrival was anticipated and a government official was  waiting to talk to me on the telephone. A few days before leaving  Cuba, I was approached by a family friend while paying a visit to my  Aunt Bertha’s home. This friend was an American citizen who had been a  former Ziegfeld Follies Girl then residing in Cuba. I cannot comment  on her affiliation with our government or any of its agencies because  the matter was not discussed. She was aware of my work with the  underground and my willingness to do anything to undermine the  communist regime currently permeating Cuba. Because of this, she gave  me certain information to memorize together with a telephone number to  call upon arriving in Miami. I was to ask for “Uncle George.”  This was  the telephone call that was waiting for me. The man on the phone  wanted to know where I would be going from the airport and we agreed  to meet later that afternoon.

Prior to my sister and I leaving Cuba, arrangements had been made for  us to live with my aunt on my mother’s side. It was supposed to be a  temporary situation until my parents would be able to get out of Cuba.  My aunt and her children were living alone in Miami since her husband  had been imprisoned for his participation in the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  My aunts husband was finally released a year or so later when the  United States agreed to an exchange of prisoners for tractors, or any  kind of agriculture equipment and especially medicines. As we were  driving to my aunt’s house she asked if there was anything that I would like to do along the way. My immediate reply was “Yes” and we  made one stop for a good old-fashioned hamburger with everything on  it, with french fries and a vanilla malt!

Within an hour of arriving at my new-found home “Uncle George” was  knocking on the door. He identified himself as a FBI agent and  presented his credentials. He asked that I ride with him in his car.  While we were driving I relayed information to him about ammunition  depots and missile sites located in Cuba. I gave him names of Cuban  citizens who would be accepted by the rest of the populace to run the  country if the current regime were overthrown and communism  eradicated. After we drove for a length of time (about 45 minutes) and  I had told him everything that he wanted to know, I returned to my  aunts house to begin a new life in the United States. I never heard  anymore from “Uncle George.”

For the next three days, my sister and I had to go to the offices of  The Cuban Refugee Center. We were given medical tests and began  processing all the paper work required by the United States  Immigration Department for us to remain in the country on a refugee  status. I really got off lucky because some of the men on our flight were taken to Opa-locka Air Base for what was called debriefing.  They were interrogated and their responses written down and analyzed  so a determination might be made as to whether or not the individual  was a spy. I think that in my case “Uncle George” had something to do  with my being processed with very little effort on my part.

Regardless of my previous educational background, my sister and I had  to enroll in school. Prior to the upheaval in Cuba, I had earned a  Bachelor of Science and Arts Degree from the Instituto De Camaguey and  was attending the University of Havana Law School. I was required in  High School to take four years of math, two years of logic,  psychology, world history, philosophy, chemistry, French, physics and  four years of English. I even had an English tutor at a very early age  at my fathers insistence. My father was educated in the United States.  He graduated from High School in Ashville, N.C. and then went on to  attend Louisiana State University. As a consequence he placed heavy  emphasis on my learning and speaking the English language. Regardless  of my prior studies I had to enroll in school in the United’ States and take English along with a,, course; in American Government.

There was a sharp contrast between my former trips to the United States and what was taking place now. My  previous visits were full of good times and fun-filled, carefree days.  Aside from trips to Miami with my grandfather, I, along with two  cousins, attended The Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne,  Pennsylvania. We also spent a summer at Camp Susquehanna in New  Milford, Pa. One of the counselors was paid by my father and uncle to  personally chaperon us around New York while seeing the sights. I now  had to return to High School to validate my High School Diploma!  The rest of my time was  spent cleaning peoples kitchens, attics, bathes and entire houses for pay. As you can see, my life was changed dramatically and irrevocably in a very short amount of time.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was once again reunited with my  parents on April 4, 1962 at Miami International Airport. I cannot  begin to convey the feelings that welled up inside of me when I was  finally able to embrace them once more.

Upon my fathers arrival in this country, he immediately found a job working  as a truck driver for an oil company located in the Everglades. We were both determined not to take any handouts and to work at whatever  we had to do to support our family.

The following year we were presented with an opportunity to come to Oklahoma. My father had been ready for a long time for us to leave  Miami. He relayed to me recently that I and my friends were  constantly devising ways to get back into Cuba and once again resume  the fight against Fidel Castro. He feared that the likelihood of my  accomplishing that would be greater if we remained in Florida.  A close  friend of our family, Dr. Socarraz was living in Oklahoma City. He  talked to Oklahoma City Mayor James H. Norick ( and his wife Madalyn about us and they wanted to set up a meeting. They flew to Miami and  met our family. A week went by and we had a telephone call letting us  know that they had arranged for B. G. Wilkes and his wife Jean to  sponsor us. We arrived in Oklahoma City on a weekend in January of 1963. We were met at the airport by Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Norick. I will never forget the dreary rainy afternoon when our plane landed. While  driving to the city I noticed that there was even ice on the curb and  after driving a few more blocks the sun was shining. This was my  introduction to the expression “if you don’t like the weather in  Oklahoma just wait for a few minutes and it will change.” An apartment  was waiting for us to move into, the furnishings had been gathered  from among Mr. Wilkes friends, and the cabinet was full of groceries.  The following Monday my father and I started to work for the B. G.  Wilkes Company. My father worked full-time and I could only work part time since I had to attend school.

On November 21, 1969 I was presented with my Certification of  Naturalization. The Honorable James H. Norick presented me with a  certificate making me the Honorary Mayor of Oklahoma City and Governor  Dewey Bartlett made me an Honorary Okie. (A few years later while  making a speech I was presented with an Okie From Muskogee  certificate).  Mr. Norick made the remark to me that he envied me  because I had to choose to become a citizen of this country and that I  should be a better citizen because it was my choosing.

In my mind there could not have been any other choice. I was proud to  receive these documents but I took a special pride in receiving my  Certificate of Naturalization since it served to validate what I  already felt in my heart. America was truly my country and my home and  I was indeed one of her citizens. Despite the hardship of starting my  life over with nothing to my name, i was grateful to be living in a  country free of tyranny and oppression. I no longer had to fear that a  troop of militia would come into my home and steal me or my family  away in the middle of the night to confinement or a firing squad.  I could walk about free and without fear of being shot or arrested.  I could talk openly without watching what I had to say and I did not  have to meet my friends in secret or watch them be killed. After  everything was taken from my family and myself and everything that I  had owned in this world was lost to me forever, the things that are really important to life  were once again mine. I have my freedom, my happiness and the chance  to maintain them based upon my own resources.

As for the future of Cuba, I can only speculate. I, along with many  others, believe that communism will be forced out but not before an insurrection and a lot of blood will be spilled.  Fidel is egomaniacal, and Regardless of the suffering the people will have to  endure, he is capable of doing anything and everything to preserve his  way of life and his regime. He is another Saddam Hussein. Brother Raul  is the “henchman of the revolution his nickname is “THE BUTCHER.”

This dictator is just 90 miles from our shores with his Army and  missiles still intact.

I have hope of someday returning to Cuba to visit my friends I would  like to see the place of my birth, regain the happy memories of my  childhood.  Most of all I would like to be able to place flowers in my grandparents mausoleum and once again gaze upon the most beautiful  beach in the world, Varadero Beach. If I should ever get to do this I will be looking at a free Cuba through the eyes of a free citizen of  the United States of America. That honor and privilege I will never surrender.

As an American, and an Oklahoman, I truly love our country. I would  gladly fight to defend her honor, her beliefs and most of all her  freedoms. It hurts me every bit as much as it did in Cuba to see our  citizens held prisoner, put through unspeakable horrors and in some instances even killed. It hurts to see our planes shot down, our  standards ridiculed and our flags torn down and burned. It hurts even  more when our flag is desecrated in our own country. Our eyes have  been opened to the fact that in one blink, an individual’s life of  tranquility can be changed to one of horror.

Because we had American Soldiers willing to die to defend all that  America stands for and to fight against tyranny and an oppressive  regime, I feel that we are on the brink of a major change in this  country. Any pacifism on our part has been eradicated. We have become  intent on making ourselves aware of atrocities in other countries and perhaps recounting what happened in Cuba and how  its ultimate demise could have been altered. Tyranny on any level  should not be tolerated.

As Americans we should be willing to stop tyrants in their tracks.  Looking the other way does not work, it will only provide the needed  time for things to worsen. “Speak softly but carry a big stick”  Theodore Roosevelt. We can be benevolent to a country in need of help  but we must not reward a country that brutalizes its citizens or those  of another country. We must be aware of what is happening around the  world and analyze it against what has happened in the past. The future  of our great nation is in our hands and the hands of generations to  come. As Americans we have an obligation and a mandate to preserve  this great nation, its heritage, its way of life, its future and its  youth. If we ignore any of these our country will suffer Anything  worth possessing must be preserved and worked at. It can never just  take care of itself and without watchful maintenance it will erode and  fade away. Any organization is only as great as the people that embody  it. Nothing stands static.

My life, my patriotism and my personal convictions have been enhanced  since becoming an American…

END

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