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Degrees of Separation

[By Castle Denizen: Boquisucio - since it's No More Che Day here's a reposted rescue of a post apparently destroyed in the mists of time and server-crashes.]

How many degrees of human contact separate this WOMAN, from these MEN?

Cuba this, Cuba that; Cuba blah-blah-blah. Ever since one of those two megalomaniacs decided to spend the remaining days of his life planting red petunias, all we hear is Cuba-Cuba-Cuba. Well, growing-up in the Island of Tropical Breezes, you couldn’t help but hear about Cuba all the time.

We all know that Miami is the nexus of Cuban exiles World-wide. But few of you know, that my island is home to over 20,000 Cuban-born exiles, not counting their direct descendants who over the decades have been born and raised in Puerto Rico. Given that both islands share the same language, and in the case of Eastern Cubans, the very same culture, it is not surprising that many chose to settle in Puerto Rico instead of the U.S. Mainland. Cubans from the area around Santiago are almost undistinguishable in accent, culture and mores to Puerto Ricans. Cubans from around Habana, on the other hand are very different from us.

Though for over 500 years, Cubans have settled in Puerto Rico, they came in mostly in dribs here and drabs there. 1959 changed all that. The first mass wave came in shortly thereafter. Growing-up in The Island during the 60’s and 70’s you couldn’t help having a Cuban Doctor, Engineer, Accountant and/or Teacher as your neighbor. Just when the fervor of many of these exiles began to wane in 1980, the Marielitos gave their community a shot in the arm. As a result of their migration the Puerto Rican economy and culture benefited greatly. Those highly educated yet destitute Cubans came not seeking a hand-out. Instead came with a fire in the belly to rebuild where they had left; creating in their wake much needed new businesses, services and employment in The Island.

One of those luminaries, is this MAN, Padre Enrique A. Méndez, S.D.B.. One who became my greatest mentor, cheerleader, pastor, teacher and confessor. Among many things, you can “blame” him for sparking a life-long thirst for Latin and Classical Studies. You see, this priest was born and raised in Santiago Cuba in 1926. The following year this other MAN was born in a nearby neighborhood. Though their families knew of each other, their lives didn’t meet until both went to study at the La Salle Middle/High School in Santiago. From that point on, they hung-out, romped in the streets, and even shared altar-boy duties at their local parish. Can you imagine little Fidel carrying a Brass Censer all fuming behind his priest? Fidel also had a snot-nosed brother, whom Padre Méndez still refers to as Raulito (Little Raul).

Well the Castro Brothers grew-up to become leftist rabble rousers, while Padre Méndez answered to a higher calling.

Years latter, The Castro Brothers had taken over all of Cuba, while Padre Méndez became the headmaster of a Salesian High School near Santiago. That’s when this WOMAN almost had two degrees of separation with this other BEAST. You see, one of his disciples impudently made a wrong comment against Castro and his new regime. His secret police rounded him up and threw him in jail. When the school had their class picture taken, they bravely left his chair empty in a show of solidarity. Well, THIS picture almost cost Padre Méndez his life. (That’s the good Padre sitting in the middle). Once the picture was published, the secret police rounded Padre Méndez up, and threw him into a baseball stadium. The stadium served as an impromptu Stalag, where many middle class men (accused of been class enemies) were been thrown in. They all awaited for the following day´s processing through the Tribunal de Depuración – The Kangaroo Court presided by The BEAST, to rid Cuba off all “bourgeoisie depravity”. According to Padre Méndez, he could hear the firing squad do its work all throughout the night, right over the wall. What saved his skin was that one of the guards recognized him as a family friend, and absconded him to safety. With that cue, the good father left his island and came into mine.

And the rest is history. Padre Méndez took this YOUNG LAD under his wing; which decades latter led to an evening of Pupusas at a Salvadorian restaurant in Silver Spring Maryland with this FINE LADY. But don’t be to harsh on her, she’s an upright citizen in this great land. Just blame the Rican for making her rub shoulders so close to ilk like THEM .

And her degree of separation with THIS other miscreant? Just one, but that’s just another story.


I'm guessing you put a powerful con job on the fine lady and that her only failing is you, Boq. :-)

I'd say you prolly married up, like most of us do.