Why Cuban Exiles Are Conservative
"I saw communism with my own eyes," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Republican National Convention in 2004. "I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. I was a little boy, I wasn't an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I'd never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear...."
Well, I'm not an action hero even now, Governor Ahh-nold, nor are thousands upon thousands of Americans of Cuban descent.
We hear you, Governor Schwarzenegger! Should it surprise anyone that those who experienced Communism, and its oppressive nature, overwhelmingly skew Republican?
It seems that the overwhelming majority of “Hispanics” in the USA lean to the left. Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Dominicans – they seem to favor the left-wing attitudes and practices of the Democratic Party. Not so Cubans, especially those of us first-generation refugees who escaped the jaws of Fidel Castro’s repression.
Some natural-born Americans may wonder why most of us who fled Cuba are different in our attitudes and persuasions. That may well be because we have much in common with the following:
n Hungarian and Czech refugees from 1956 and 1968;
n Vietnamese boat people from 1975;
n Russian Jews oppressed by Stalin and his successors for decades;
n East Germans who threw their Trabants under the bus, along with Erich Honnecker, in 1989; and
n Poles who replaced Communist dictator Wojciech Jaruzelski with Lech Walesa and Solidarity
The list goes on. We Cuban exiles have seen crazed demagogues spew the politics of hate, lies and stupidity, almost as rabidly as Michael Moore. We've seen the politics of class envy taken almost to the Far Left’s taste. We've seen flip-flops: "Death to the putrid Yankees! I'll kill two million gringos!" (Castro while snuggling with Soviet sugar daddy in 1962); and "America and Cuba share the goals of peace, trade and friendship" (Castro when stone broke without a sucker creditor left to stiff, in 2002). “Beep beep!” says Fidel Roadrunner as he zooms by a frustrated Wyle E. Coyote.
Why do most of us exiles prefer conservatism? Perhaps because hundreds of thousands of Cuban-born Americans knew Arnold's childhood fear first-hand. Except our fear often shifted to gut-freezing panic, when the Czech machine guns were raised and pointed. Then to a paralyzing desperation, when the communist goon barked his order. Finally, when our father or uncle (or even mother or aunt) was actually yanked out of their cars – or living rooms, or even bedrooms. I saw this happen, people. I’m not exaggerating.
Yes, Governor Schwarzenegger, it's true. Thousands upon thousands of Cubans never saw their father, or uncle, or aunt, or brother or cousin again. You'll often find these people, with itchy noses and red-rimmed eyes, ambling amidst the long rows of white crosses at Tamiami Park in Miami. It's a mini-Arlington cemetery called “The Cuban Memorial,” in honor of Castro's murder victims. The tombs, however, are symbolic. Most of the bodies still lie in mass graves dug by bulldozers on the orders of Ted Turner's fishing buddy, George McGovern's bosom pal, Barbara Walter's favored dinner companion, and the Congressional Black Caucus’s preferred idol.
Never heard of this “Memorial Cubano” (www.MemorialCubano.org) in the mainstream media? It honors the tens of thousands of Fidel Castro's and Che Guevara's victims (many of them U.S citizens, by the way). Need I say more about the media blackout?... I didn't think so.
The “Memorial Cubano” organizing committee recently announced the approval of the building plans for the monument at Tamiami Park. Construction of the monument began in 2009.
Some of these Cuban Memorial visitors will be kneeling, others walking slowly, looking for a name. I remember a similar scene from the opening frames of Saving Private Ryan. Many clutch rosaries. Many elderly Cubans will be pressing their faces into the breast of a younger relative who drove them there; he or she is often too young to remember the face of the martyred uncle, father, or cousin – the name on the white cross.
"Fusilado ," – firing squad execution – it says below it.
Shades of our Vietnam Wall in nearby Washington.
These total 15,000, all at the orders of Michael Moore's number one fan (Fahrenheit 9/11 is shown for free in every movie theater in Cuba, in case you hadn't heard. Why not? Castro himself couldn't confect better anti-Yankee propaganda.) One day a cross will honor all 15,000 martyrs. Even many of the older people walking among these crosses will be red-eyed, choked up. There’s no denying it. We're an emotional people, and certainly not ashamed to show it, at the proper time.
That is why we Americans of Cuban birth and/or descent are overwhelmingly conservative in our political outlook. It isn’t so much that we agree with, or are attracted by, the American conservative movement; it’s that we’ve been pushed to the Right by the excesses of the Left. It is those on the American Left that choose to idolize Fidel and Raúl Castro. It is those on the Left who make excuses for the Castro brothers’ murderous, despotic rule – then turn around and tell us how health and education are so far advanced in Cuba, in comparison to ours in the United States.
Castro murdered our relatives, shattered our families, and plunged a nation, which had double Japan's per capita income in 1958 and net immigration from Europe, into a pesthole that repels even half-starved Haitians, even today. He jailed, tortured and murdered more political prisoners than pre-war Hitler, and several times as many as Mussolini. He asked, pleaded, and finally tried to cajole the “Butcher of Budapest,” Nikita Khrushchev, into an obliterating nuclear strike against the United States.
Yet this is the same Castro who is hailed as "One Helluva Guy" by Ted Turner; as "very likable, a man I regard as a friend!" by George McGovern; and "Way Too Cool!" by Bonnie Raitt, among dozens upon dozens of other accolades by dozens of other left-wing fellow travelers in politics and the media.
“Beep-beep!” continues to be uttered by the Roadrunner, also known as Fidel Castro, as Wyle E. Coyote, the American Left, again and again plays the sucker.