Share This Episode
Our American Stories Lee Habeeb Logo

My Father Was Friends With Castro...Until He Wasn't

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2024 3:00 am

My Father Was Friends With Castro...Until He Wasn't

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 2243 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

June 5, 2024 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, "If We Get Called Back..." Mike Gonzalez tells this story of his family escaping the clutches of Castro's communist dictatorship.

Support the show (

See for privacy information.

Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

What's good? It's Colleen Witt and Eating While Broke is back for Season 3, brought to you by the Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio. We're serving up some real stories and life lessons from people like Van Lathan, DC Young Fly, Bone Thugs and Harmony, and many more. They're sharing the dishes that got them through their struggles and the wisdom they gained along the way. We're cooking up something special, so tune in every Thursday.

Listen to Eating While Broke on the Black Effect Podcast Network, iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Presented by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. This episode is brought to you by Navy Federal Credit Union. At Navy Federal, it's been the mission to help the military community for over 90 years.

And not just help them, but do everything to make sure they not only grow, but flourish. That's why Navy Federal Credit Union has all kinds of great savings and investment options like share certificates with sky-high rates. So don't hesitate. Start growing your finances today with a variety of savings and investment options. Navy Federal Credit Union. Our members are the mission. Savings products insured by NCUA.

Investment products are not insured. Non-obligations of Navy Federal and may lose value. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. Up next, a story from our True Diversity series, sponsored by the great folks at the Philanthropy Roundtable, the leading association for charitable giving in America.

Their True Diversity campaign is a clarion call for valuing all of us as the unique individuals that we are. Today, we meet Mike Gonzalez, a member of their campaign and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He was born in Cuba.

Here's his family story. I have a photo of my great-grandparents in my study taken in 1921 and this is my only set of Cuban great-grandparents and they were really the Cuban establishment. They went back to the first Spanish ships to arrive in Cuba in 1511. My great-grandfather was elected to the first Havana City Council in 1905 after the war with Spain and the U.S. intervention and none of their descendants are Cuban. All of the descendants are here in the United States and they're all one-fourth Cuban, one-half Cuban, one-eighth Cuban. They have disappeared as a Cuban family. This is a very Cuban establishment family that has given their offspring to the United States and they're all happy Americans.

In a way, that is a success story, that's a very good story, but it also means that that has been lost. Cuba, the reason why I talk about this is that you had what can only be described as cultural genocide. A friend of mine in New York two weeks ago described it this way. He said, if you walk along the streets of Havana and you point to a beautiful building, you can be assured that the architect who drew the plans, the lawyer who worked on the plans, the family who bought the house, and the doctors of the family have all fled. They're all here in the United States. It's the same story as my great-grandparents.

They're all like Cameron Diaz. They're all one-quarter Cuban and one-half Cuban. And all of the people who made Cuba left. And so Cuba has become this unrecognizable place to me. I'd never been back.

I left 50 years ago and I doubt I would go back. My grandfather was a politician, a lawyer, and a journalist. He was an essay writer who was very anti-Bautista, fought against Bautista for decades. Bautista was a fixture of Cuban politics from the 1930s to 1958.

Bautista was elected president, freely elected, in 1940. And then he had a coup d'etat in 1952. My grandfather, who died in 1954, was a man who fought against him, had to flee to the countryside several times. My father would tell me these stories.

I'd never met him and hide in the countryside so he wouldn't be taken away. Bautista sent policemen to my house in which my grandmother would open the drawers and show them the boxes of soap saying, you can see all I have here is soap, but inside those boxes of soap there was this ammunition. And then you had my father, who was anti-Bautista as well, and was thrown into prison. My father taught law at university and when Castro declared himself as a communist, Castro had always denied he was a communist while he was a rebel. My parents knew Castro. My mom and dad met in law school and they met Castro in law school. Castro was a lawyer and when Castro declared himself a communist after the revolution had succeeded, my father quit his chair position as a law professor at the university and they sent armed a delegation with weapons to my house to try to quote-unquote convince my dad to go back to university and he was very resolute. He said, well in a country where there's communism, there's no law for me to teach here, so that was it. I was penalized, but he was not able to get a proper diet. He was diabetic. The other day he died, the equipment that might have saved his life was being used on his Soviet officer by the hospital. He was at the hospital and he had one machine. You know, I was young then.

I was 11 years old. We had a farm that the government took away and it was used as a very nice place. My aunts were married there and it was used as a place to entertain Soviet generals for a time after they took it away from us. But I think the loss that I think I'd like to emphasize is not just the material possessions, it's the cultural genocide aspect of things. Communism must always destroy what comes before it.

In the case of Pol Pot in Cambodia, he actually declared the year when he entered Phnom Penh as year one. The Bolsheviks hated everything that was Russian and destroyed it. The cultural revolution hated everything that was Chinese and sought out to destroy it. When I lived in Hong Kong, for example, I used to go and shop in Hollywood Road.

Hollywood Road was the street in Hong Kong where all the antiques are sold. And you would come across a lot of furniture where people had been painted on furniture and dressers. And the faces in many of these pieces of furniture had been erased.

And the reason for that is that the Red Guard entered people's homes and erased the faces of people even on furniture. That's to what degree communism must exterminate whatever culture precedes it. So what happened in Cuba is what happened in many other countries that have had this great tragedy of communism. That's what can happen here. And what a story you're hearing from Mike Gonzalez. Communism must always destroy what comes before it, he said.

Also, his grandfather quit the law because under communism, there is no law. When we come back, more from Mike Gonzalez, a part of our True Diversity series brought to us by the Philanthropy Roundtable here on Our American Stories. Here at Our American Stories, we bring you inspiring stories of history, sports, business, faith, and love. Stories from a great and beautiful country that need to be told.

But we can't do it without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love our stories in America like we do, please go to our American and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot. Help us keep the great American stories coming.

That's our American What are you looking for in a new smart TV? 4K picture quality, high quality and immersive sound, a sleek design. All of those are givens, but only the new Roku Pro Series has all of those and the Roku Streaming Experience. An award-winning OS. Get fast, easy access to all your apps like iHeart, where you can stream all your favorite music, radio, and podcasts all day. And regular all-inclusive trips to Roku City.

The new Roku Pro Series, a smart TV built by the streaming pros. That world has eaten up and spit out a lot of young and attractive guys. This is the story of one of fashion's dark secrets. I was overwhelmed, like I had never seen anything like this.

At the height of Abercrombie and Fitch's success. This was me being carefully manipulated. Being lied to, tricked, and traded like a commodity. Investigating allegations that would take me into a world of money, sex, and power. This is World of Secrets. Season one, the Abercrombie guys. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

It is Ryan here and I have a question for you. What do you do when you win? Like are you a fist pumper, a woohooer, a hand clapper, a high fiver? I kind of like to high five, but if you want to hone in on those winning moves, check out Chumba Casino. At, choose from hundreds of social casino style games for your chance to redeem serious cash prizes. There are new game releases weekly plus free daily bonuses.

So don't wait, start having the most fun ever at And we continue with our American stories and with Mike Gonzalez's story as part of our true diversity series. As a kid, Mike was fortunate to escape communist Cuba, first to Spain and later to America.

He now brings us back to his day of escape. It happened over 50 years ago, but I don't think I will ever forget it. We were woken up early, I dressed, put a tie on a jacket, even though I was 12. One got dressed to go on airplanes in those days.

Even though it was my first airplane flight, I wore a jacket and a tie. We said goodbye to the grandmother who had raised me, who never to see her again. The woman who gave me a glass of milk every night, who woke me up every day, who practiced verbal conjugations with me and said goodbye to her never to see her again. Then we drove over to see my mother's parents who were in tears, in absolute tears, as they said goodbye to her, even though she was going to Spain, their land of origin. And I couldn't understand why my mother and her parents were crying. To me, it was the happiest day of my life. And it was the happiest day of my life. Well, my wedding and the birth of my three children, of course. But it was a very happy day of my life.

So I couldn't really understand why there was such consternation. And then we got to the airport and we were all there, all held up in a room. And my mother whispered in my ear, when we start walking towards the plane, if the authorities call me back, you and your sister Lucy run to the plane and you get on the plane. The plane is an Iberian airplane.

It belongs to the Kingdom of Spain. And you ask for asylum. Don't turn back. Don't look at me.

Just run as fast as you can and get on that plane. I don't like to discuss these things. They're hard. They're hard memories.

I don't enjoy talking about them in the least. I arrived in Spain at the age of 12, a few months after the death of my father. And I really realized then what shelves were for. And in stores I sold shelves with actual merchandise. I had never, ever seen that. No, I lied. I had seen it once before in Cuba in a photo my father showed me. And I was shocked to see cans of food in sacks of flour in the shelves of the store, because I never saw that in Cuba.

Never, ever. When meat would arrive at the butchers, every person, every adult left the house to go line up to get whatever. And if you were the last one to line up, then you could only get ground beef and have to eat picadillo, because everything else was gone. It depends where you were in line. There were lines everywhere. The only thing communists produce, they never produce bread.

They only produce bread lines. And I remember my mother, when we arrived in Spain and were working on, by the way, let's not forget that Spain at this time in 1972 is itself a poor country. And yet it was like pure heaven compared to Cuba. And I remember pointing to this very strange fruit and asking the store owner what it was. And my mother breaks into tears. And she asks the store owner, can I hold it? And he lets me hold it.

And my mother was like, he lets me hold it. And my mother was crying because it was a pineapple. And it had been produced in Cuba, obviously. Cuba was a tropical island before. And I had never in my life seen a pineapple, nor did I have any idea of what one looked like.

At the age of 12. So that gives you some idea of the kind of poverty that communism produces. But it's again, the real impoverishment that communism causes is a spiritual impoverishment and a cultural impoverishment.

That is the one that really is the worst. The idea that it cannot be any God, that it cannot be God because that takes away a place where Castro or the communist party should be in your heart. One thing that God gives you is hope. God gives you hope. And communists don't want you to have hope. Marxists don't want you to have hope because it's only when you're hopeless that you will launch the revolution they desire.

And they want you to feel completely bereft of any feeling that your situation will improve. So they really do go after God for that reason. That again runs against human nature. One thing we do know about human nature is that we all have religion. You can arrive at an unknown island today. And the only thing you will know for sure is that they have music and religion.

So I think the empty shelves in the cultural marketplace are much more searing to the human condition, to man, than the empty shelves of the bodega. Look, I came to America in 1974 and I landed in Queens, New York. And Queens, New York, the neighborhood where I lived, was really a, you had a multitude of people, mostly of European ancestry, but people didn't think of themselves that way. They were either Irish and Italian or Polish or Cuban or Puerto Rican. And by the way, there was a name, usually a bad name. Everybody was something. It was a bad term associated with all these groups. Everybody.

Everybody was something. We haven't vastly improved on that. That is no longer really the case. And I think that's a vast improvement from the America that I arrived in and that we don't put up with racial epithets. We don't think they're funny.

We don't think they're part of polite society. And I think that that has been a very, very good thing that has happened in this country. But now what we have over the last 20 years, at least 10 years is, is so we, what we did in the last quarter of the 20th century was try to de-racialize society, try to de-racialize ourselves.

And I think we succeeded with that. But now we're re-racializing. We're going back to thinking that a person is his race.

And there's a word for this. It's called essentialism. Essentialism means that, that we are our race. You represent whatever national origin you are, or I, my, I, I come from very different ancestors. I come from ancestors who were Cuban.

I come from ancestors who were Spanish. I come from wealthy people. I come from poor people. I come from the Lord of the manor.

I come from the serves. And, and, and I am who I am, not only because of that DNA, but also because of the things that I have done, the outcomes of the decisions that I have made since, since I became an adult. And even as a teenager, if you make better decisions over all them bad decisions, you're going to have a good shot in life, but has nothing to do with DNA, has nothing to do with race. Any scheme, whether it's charitable or government or educational that is based on race, that is based on the idea that people are ambassadors and spokesman for their race is going to fail and fail miserably because, because it is not true. We have to save America from this.

We only look at the lessons of what happened in Cuba, what happened in China, what happened in Cambodia in order that we can save what we have here in the land of the free. And you've been listening to Mike Gonzalez share with you his story. And my goodness, what a story he told here, a special thanks to the folks at the philanthropy round table. This is a part of our true diversity series. Communists don't produce bread.

They produce bread lines. And he went on to emphasize Mike that it's not just material poverty, but worse is the spiritual poverty that communism demands. There can't be God because Castro has to be in your heart. He said, God gives you hope.

Communists don't want you to feel hope. Mike Gonzalez's story, the story of so many refugees from Cuba, Eastern Bloc countries and countries around the world here on Our American Stories. An October morning in a quiet suburb in a town in Scotland, a man is walking his dog when suddenly shots are fired from a car.

The man falls to the ground and the car speeds off. An ordinary residential area, but extraordinary things happen in ordinary places. The instant right away was it was a political thing. We're talking about Russian trained, high ranking officer in the secret service.

An assassin comes to town. A six part podcast available now wherever you get your podcasts. What are you looking for in a new smart TV? 4K picture quality, high quality and immersive sound, a sleek design. All of those are givens, but only the new Roku Pro Series has all of those and the Roku Streaming Experience, an award winning OS. Get fast, easy access to all your apps like iHeart, where you can stream all your favorite music, radio and podcasts all day and regular all inclusive trips to Roku City. The new Roku Pro Series, a smart TV built by the streaming pros.

It is Ryan here and I have a question for you. What do you do when you win? Like, are you a fist pumper, a woohoo-er, a hand clapper, a high fiver? I kind of like to high five, but if you want to hone in on those winning moves, check out Chumba Casino. At choose from hundreds of social casino style games for your chance to redeem serious cash prizes. There are new game releases weekly plus free daily bonuses. So don't wait. Start having the most fun ever at
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-05 04:21:18 / 2024-06-05 04:29:21 / 8

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime