What Cuba Needs from Cuban-Americans

Cuba rally, Union City

“So what can we do from here?” Cuban-Americans keep asking themselves. “How do we help those who are crying out for freedom since the July 11 demonstrations all over the island? How do we send them food, COVID vaccines and other medicine while avoiding the huge tariffs that finance and prolong the Cuban dictatorship?

For those questions, there are no easy answers. But other than holding our own Cuban-American demonstrations in the United States, to let our compatriots know that they are not alone, there are other things we can do right here, some things we have never done!

I think it has a lot to do with the Miami bubble. Cuban-Americans there actually believe that the rest of the country is as informed as they are on everything to do with Cuba. They act surprised when they see some fool wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, but few have tried to educate the American people about the hundreds shot by firing squads, or the many gay men sent to concentration camps following orders from Che. They see no need to combat the illogical romanticism that still exists, throughout this country, with the Cuban Revolution.

They have the tools to do it. But they don’t aim them in the right direction. They have the money to do it. But they spend it on American politicians who only give them hollow promises. They have the numbers to do it. But they seem to lack the unity required to mount a well-organized campaign against many years of Cuba misinformation that needs to be refuted.

That’s how we can help the Cuban people, by educating our fellow Americans outside of the Miami bubble.

We need a “Marti Project” — a new Cuban freedom war, named after Cuban independence patriot José Martí, to be fought in the media. 

Did you notice how many Americans were surprised with the images they saw coming out of Cuba on July 11, and with the Cuban people’s cry for freedom? We need to build a team of great Cuban-American writers and media marketing experts and create an eye-opening, multi-media campaign about the reality of living in communist Cuba.

We need successful Cuban-Americans, those who already contribute tremendously to American political campaigns, to steer some of those donations to a well-organized campaign to teach “Cuban Reality 101” to the American people.

Why successful Cuban-Americans? Because it has to come from reputable people who have no need to steal. Because Miami is full of Cuban spies who would undoubtedly try to create all kinds of impediments to such an effort by claiming corruption. Perhaps after the project is well-established, others could also contribute. But the startup must come from the wealthy, and from people with impeccable integrity.

We had one such successful and wealthy leader some 25 years ago. Jorge Mas Canosa and his Cuban American National Foundation, comprised on successful Cuban-Americans, achieved considerable recognition for the cause of Cuba’s freedom, especially among Washington politicians. Had he not died, at the age of 58 in 1997, perhaps the man who persuaded Congress to establish Radio and TV Marti, directed at the Cuban people, would have already established a “Marti Project,” directed at the American people.

Of course, the Martí Project would have to remain totally bipartisan in American politics. Siding with one party or the other would totally alienate a huge chunk of Cuban-Americans and defeat the unity that would be required to make this project a success. This should be strictly about exposing the ugly reality of Cuban communism. If it becomes a vehicle to promote or attack what Democrats or Republicans are doing about Cuba, the movement would be doomed.

Now we need other people like Mas Canosa, who made friends on both sides, to step up! And so, who are these people? We know who they are! Over the years we have read multiple stories about Cuban-Americans who have become multi-millionaires because of their success in all facets of American society, but especially in entertainment.

Mind you many of these successful Cuban-Americans have already stepped up, in one way or another, to help the people of Cuba. But now that the whole world is watching Cuba again, wouldn’t it be amazing to see them all working together on a project that could sway American public opinion and lead to the downfall of the communist dictatorship?

Call me crazy, but I believe a “Project Marti” could make that happen!

So, if you know any Cubans with deep pockets, please share my idea – free of charge!

Miguel Pérez

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One response to “What Cuba Needs from Cuban-Americans”

  1. Miguel,

    I agree with much of what you are proposing. Certainly most Americans have little understanding of the dynamics. My concern is the level of division and politicization that has swirled around Cuba for the last 60 years +.

    Hatred for Fidel and blanket opposition to communism (to most indistinguishable from socialism) has led to vilification of everything accomplished under the Castro regime – the incredible medical system, scientific accomplishments, service to Latin American and other countries, economic empowerment of women – just as Castro supporters cast a blind eye on the political corruption and virulent treatment of dissenters holding the common good in mind, hypocritical to the principles of the revolution.

    It seems like we have forgotten the brutality of Batista as dictator and the corrupt US – Batista relationship with some pretty horrific aspects: Cuban entrepreneurship was seriously impaired (no business competing with US imports could be started); the wealthy elite prospered tremendously while many lived below subsistence level; oppression of opposition was cruel and bloody. The various revolutionary groups were (secretly) hailed as heroes in most corners.

    The Cuban people are a creative, capable and amazingly resilient people. The value placed on education and entrepreneurship is a tremendous asset.. Along with their perseverance and optimism, the potential for achievement is huge. It is imperative that in taking initiative, we remember the oft-forgotten lesson that direction provided by a foreign interest is rarely on target for the nation. Working with the evolving government and those in power is critical to cultivate understanding, trust and collaboration, keeping the good of the Cuban nation in focus, not capitalist nor elitist benefit.

    Cuban faith in democracy, I sense, is still strong. But the pattern of centuries of egocentric strongmen in leadership leave a major challenge to making it work. I applaud holding up Jose Marti as a leadership model. He can certainly be inspirational to all sides. .

    Seeking a unity of purpose, hopefully based on building a future, not retrenching in the past, I think, is the way forward. But old wounds do need healing and acceptance/ forgiveness is necessary to come together to forge a new and prosperous Cuban society.

    Good for you for speaking out and may your voice be heard! .


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