Aug 29, 2007

The Tale of an Offensive Cartoon and a Thank You Note to Uncle Sam

Oh, my dear colleagues at the Washington Post! It looks like some newspapers and other media never get enough offending the Cuban refugees and Cuban Americans in the United States.

It looks that it is not enough that we are successful, educated, able to support ourselves without busting the welfare funds, empowered in key political positions... no, is just not enough.

Pat Oliphant's cartoon, recently published by The Washington Post, is offensive and is hurting our community. But, apparently, that's not important, or has never been.

The Cuban blogosphere is commenting a lot about the cartoon and the community reaction to it. We are also looking in our old drawers and dusting off reflections and letters like this one, that fellow Cuban blogger Alberto De La Cruz received a few years ago, in the middle of the Elián Gonzáles scandal.

It looks like, from time to time, we, Cubans and Cuban Americans living in the United States, really need to take a stand y aclararle la mente a algunos equivocados...

Are you guys really getting so upset because we are successful and hard workers and stick to our plans and you can not call us immigrants because we are refugees?

I truly believe there is a need to refresh all those brainless memories out there, so, here his our letter to Uncle Sam:

Dear Uncle Sam:

I am writing you to apologize for all the terrible things that we Cubans have done to you while living in the United States. Please let me begin with my own humble plea for forgiveness.

Forgive me for being too Cuban, too Spanish, too European and too white. I know how painful it must be for you to have Spanish speaking Caucasians living on your soil.

I also beg you to forgive my Afro-Cuban brothers and sisters for being descendants of the Yorube people of West Africa, one of the most highly cultured and sophisticated African ethnic groups. It is not their fault that they are both intelligent and beautiful or that they overcame the horrors of slavery with courage and dignity. Nor is there any malice in their ability to live in harmony with their white compatriots. I ask you to forgive them for being thoroughly Cuban.

On a collective level, please forgive us for having a strong work ethic, for being educated, and for enjoying a certain level of economic prosperity. Forgive us for paying our taxes and for obeying your laws. Above all, forgive us for having served in your armed forces and for having suffered casualties in your Vietnam War out of all proportion to our numbers.

Forgive us for having transformed Miami from a sleepy Southern town into a thriving world-class metropolis. Also, forgive us for contributing billions of dollars to the American economy. Forgive us for having successfully run major American corporations such as the Coca-Cola Company.

Forgive us for not being a burden on your social welfare system, for being economically self-reliant, for being charitable, and for believing in equality and social justice.

Forgive us for helping the Nicaraguans and the Haitians in South Florida. Forgive us for our contributions to both American popular and high culture.

Forgive us for Desi Arnaz, Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito de Rivera, and the Buena Vista Social Club. I assure you, we meant no offense or harm by providing you with so much entertainment and pleasure, as well as for all the intellectuals and professors whom we have given to your universities.

Forgive us for major leagues.

Forgive us for adding to your culinary diversity. Forgive us for our black beans, roast pork, arroz con pollo, fried plantains, shrimp enchilado, Cuban sandwiches, flan, pastelitos de guayaba and a host of other dishes that lack the refined sophistication of your meatloaf.

Forgive us also for brewing coffee that actually looks, tastes, and smells like coffee and most of all, forgive us for cooking with garlic.

Uncle Sam, forgive us for actually practicing family values instead of simply talking about them.

Forgive us for loving our extended families and our children and for treating our elderly with affection and respect.

Forgive us for enjoying life, for being both passionate and compassionate, and for sharing whatever we have with those who are less fortunate.

Forgive us our humanity.

Please Uncle Sam, I implore you to forgive us for our participation in the political and civil life of your nation, for becoming US citizens, for voting in your elections.

Forgive us for having elected Cubans to all levels of your government and please, please forgive us for having alienated our Latin-American cousins by defending your interests in the region.
Also, forgive us for learning the lessons of Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as for mastering that most American of all political acts, civil disobedience.

I now realize that we Cubans are terrible people, and we have hurt you in unspeakable ways, but I assure you that we will get out of the country as soon as we regain our homeland.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that this will happen any time soon, therefore, if I may be so bold, could you please allow us to remain here just a little longer? I promise that we will do our best to behave more like a stereotypical minority.

Oh, and by the way, could you find it in your heart to forgive us for choosing freedom over fascism?

Unknown Cuban-American

Arriba, !Camina pa'que te conozcan!

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