Sweet and Sour History – Cuba is a country with both a sad and a proud history, and inextricably linked to that of the US. Few people know, for instance, that early in our own Revolutionary War, wives in Havana raised $25 million to send to George Washington to help fund our struggle for Independence. As a result, an argument could be forwarded that without, Cuba, we might still serve a monarch in Great Britain.
Knowing Heroes – My honor has been to become acquainted with Cuban patriots who fought against Fidel Castro. My own father-in-law fought at the Bay of Pigs, was captured, and incarcerated in the worst of his prisons. Stories of torture fall very close to home.
“Curse The Moon” brings to life actual events that took place in the attempt to overthrow Castro before he could consolidate power. Those familiar with modern Cuban history know that exiled Cuban patriots mounted the invasion. Certainly, it was done with CIA assistance and expressed support from both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. But, it was the tenacity and courage of Cubans that engaged with Castro’s troops in the swamps near the Bay of Pigs and other places – and official US leadership betrayal brought it to an end.
“Rasputin’s Legacy” is a fictional account that includes activity by members of Brigade 2506, the military unit of Cuban refugees who landed at the Bay of Pigs to re-take their homeland from the tyrant, Fidel Castro. Although that story developed in my imagination, it came from the true exploits of fighters of Brigade 2506 who, in real life, fought Castro’s forces in Angola and the Congo. These dedicated patriots of both the United States and Cuba put their lives on the line many times to preserve and expand freedom in various parts of the globe. The United States gained and Cuba lost when they came to our shores and became citizens contributing in every facet of our lives, including and especially, in our armed forces.
Courage Under Fire – In the face of debilitating and literally tortured captivity, the Cuban fighters, whether part of the invading force or part of the groups of residents who mounted resistance against Castro; these brave men and women (my late mother-in-law also participated in the resistance) conducted themselves with dignity and courage, and exhibited leadership qualities that are still exemplary. Despite President Kennedy’s betrayal while already on the battlefield for instance, the members of 2506 Brigade made a deliberate decision to never publicly criticize the US or the President. To a man, they held true to that self-imposed dictum, and met Kennedy gracefully when he greeted them at Orange Stadium in Miami on their return to the US from Castro’s dungeons a year after the battle.
Knowing A Demagogue – Many of those brave fighters have since passed on. Many, however, are still among us. Some express the same fears for our country that is now their adopted home, and for which they show no less fervor than they had for Cuba. For them, there is a sense of deja vu. They remember a charismatic populist leader who entered a proud, thriving country with a healthy economy. They witnessed his appeal to the masses for fairness, redistribution, and all things wondrous and munificent. In the early days following Castro’s emergence, few people thought he could really topple the way of life that had existed there for centuries and that had made Cuba the most prosperous country in the western hemisphere behind the United States. They watched the impossible happen, and took up arms to try to reverse the calamity.
Fears of US Parallels – For years, they’ve seen parallels here, in our beloved country. They believe that America is the idea that free, virtuous people live by tenacity, and act responsibly. They fear for the demise of that idea under a demagogue bringing about a repeat of history: they’ve seen and lived it before. Now, with a new president, the thought is that we might have dodged a bullet.