Monday, April 03, 2006

Cubans in America are refugees, not immigrants

Val Parieto pens Babalu Blog, the preeminent Cuban voice in the blogworld. Been doing it a long time, too. He points out there is a big difference between immigrants and refugees.

ref·u·gee n. One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.

im·mi·grant n. A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.
Contrary to what today's media prefers to call Cubans who risk their lives to reach US

Don't expect him to have either patience or participation in Monday's "Day of Action." It's a subject that rubs him the wrong way, for good reason.

Contrary to what today's media prefers to call Cubans who risk their lives to reach US shores - lately the term has been "migrants" - those Cubans are fleeing political oppression and are, thus, refugees. As I stated in a previous post, when Mexican "migrants" are faced with systematic violations of every basic human and civil right as the people of Cuba are, then perhaps I would accept a similarity.

What I will never accept, however, is the undignified treatment of a symbol of the United States of America under the caveat that as a "latino" or "hispanic" it is done on my behalf. While this country may not be perfect, it offered me refuge and the freedom to be me and I take great umbrage when an American flag is desecrated supposedly in my name. That's my flag that was being burned. That's my flag that was being hung upside-down and below the flag of another nation on my own soil.
Now, if you think you can criticize me for not supporting your protest while insulting me by desecrating the flag of the country that has taken my family in and offered me liberty and prosperity, and then all the while proudly displaying the image of a man who murdered countless of Cubans and was instrumental in the destruction of my country of birth and the reason for my family having to seek refuge in the first place, you got another thing coming.

1 comment:

Michelle Jo said...

Actually, the terminology most appropriate for Cubans in the United States is "exiles." We did not leave our country because we *wanted* to and we are waiting till the repressive regime falls to return.