What you see in this photo is a group of people who grew up together in small towns, married and had children. One of them -- the little girl pointing her nose in the air on the last row -- is me.
The Cabreras were comfortable after years of working hard, but it was not always so. The adults you see in the picture grew up relatively poor, giving each other a leg up along the way, until life finally fell into place and they were happy.
We spent as much time together as we could. We took vacations together (sometimes all the kids would sleep in one room laughing into the night), celebrated life's events and welcomed babies into the fold. (There are a few more of us in the clan that were just gleams when this shot was taken.)
But along came "the revolution" and life as we knew it ended.
But jump forward to this week -- in which President Obama stepped off Air Force One with his entire family onto the land where we Cabreras were born, a land none of us has been to since we left. Some of my cousins have been talking with each other about the pain that the photo has engendered.
Obama is making the rounds, including the mandatory laying of a wreath on a monument to Jose Marti, one of the founders of Cuba and a poet in his own right.
Well, here it is, in part. Our families were destroyed, life as we knew it vanished. We don't belong there anymore, but in a sense, we don't really belong where we are, either, in some fashion.
And now the so-called Leader of the Free World is shaking hands with one of the people responsible for exploding an entire country, splintering families and creating a "socialist democracy" which by all accounts is an abysmal failure. Obama's communications people, meanwhile, are putting lipstick on this pig of a trip -- which began by Raul Castro failing to meet Air Force one at the airport, an insulting slap to Obama's face which he has chosen to ignore.
As to the rest of you who voice opinions on Cuba and the Cuban people based on a tiny amount of knowledge -- get an education. There's more to my homeland than cigars.
Jose Marti wrote, "Better a minute on your feet than a lifetime on your knees." How could Obama lay a wreath in memory of this Cuban icon and not know he was dead wrong in carrying out this travesty of a visit?
Read about Marti, and then we can talk.