A Letter to the Editor: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Monday, July 7, 2008. Written by Manuel Alvarez, Jr., a Cuban-American.

My comment: True story or not…this comparison is so close to what our political situation is today, it scares me.

Dear Editor, Times-Dispatch:

‘Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice.

On June 30, I celebrate my independence day, and on July 4th I celebrate America’s. This year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence.

‘On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba, and a few months later, I was in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.

‘I’ve thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they were right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive.

‘When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all, everyone said, ‘Praise the Lord.’ And when the young leader said, ‘I will be for change and I’ll bring you change,’ everyone yelled, ‘Viva Fidel!’

‘But nobody asked about the change, because the executioner’s did their job to keep dissidents quiet. By the time everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone received their free education, it was worth nothing. By the time the press noticed, it was too late, because the media were now working for Castro. By the time the change was finally implemented, Cuba had been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over, more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most fortunate of Cubans. And now I’m back to the beginning of my story.

Luckily, in America we would never be foolish enough to fall for the promises of a young, inexperienced, unproven leader who pledges to make changes for our good. He did not deign to tell us what will change and how he intends to accomplish this change? How will he carry it out? What will it cost America?

“Or…would we?’

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