Cuban Voices: Amanda Garcia

Amanda's last day in Cuba at the Airport

Historical moments like what is occurring in Cuba must be heard from many points of views. Our voices must be heard and our unique experiences are invaluable in bringing in the attention to the correct issues of our people. Our next Cuban Voice to be featured is Amanda Garcia. Amanda is an incredibly hard working Cuban-American who came here at a very young age. She is a critical thinker that brings excellent points and sheds light on many issues that make up the SOS Cuba movement. I encourage you to dive into her story and her commentary and learn about what it means to be Cuban

What does it mean to lose your rights?
In the context of Cuba, I think it’s important to explain that kids are born without rights. Many of the individuals born after the 1960’s were born into a country where they don’t have a right to own property, to own businesses, to invest in an education that can provide more to their family, to openly oppose policies, to travel. If I stayed in Cuba, I would have never “lost my rights” because I wouldn’t have had them to begin with. To lose some of the rights and liberties I have now, would be heart breaking because those are the rights my parents gave up so much for me to have.

What does it mean to be an immigrant?
To be an immigrant to me might mean something different than to many others. To my parents, being an immigrant meant sacrifice. They sacrificed the only world and family they knew, so that I could live in the United States. My mom worked in a factory, my dad minimum wage, without really knowing English in America. I wouldn’t say they left so they could necessarily have a better life, they left so that I could decide my own life freely. I think for a lot of older immigrants, they leave their country hoping that the sacrifice is worth it for their family.

Amanda's last day in Cuba with family

How it influenced my perspective:
The fact that my parents have sacrificed so much for me is something that influences me every day. I’m in the travel industry, and that’s something I can honestly say I don’t take lightly. There’s no such thing in Cuba as a travel industry. To get to travel to other countries only if you are part of the military or are traveling to allied countries for some sort of mission. Those that get to travel to Miami, are only able to because they have connections or family. Imagine a United States where a president comes in and says “you are only allowed to be Republican from now on” those that are opening democratic, are then stripped of their ability to travel, to work, to provide for their family. That’s what it is like in Cuba. Put that into perspective.

What does it mean to me to be Cuban?
I’m a lot of things. I’m Cuban, born in Cuba. I’m American, raised in American. I’m Spanish, because of my ancestry. Honestly, at the end of the day, I’m human. And I want other Cubans still in Cuba to have the human rights of freedom of speech and freedom to choose the lives they want.

What can you do?
The SOS Cuba movement has opened my perspective enormously. I think because I am from Miami, and because being a Cuban that left is all I have ever known, I never realized what the rest of the world thought or knew of the situation. I’ve been brought up to not bring attention to the issues in Cuba because “it won’t make a difference”. Well, that was before social media. I never really realized that people literally don’t understand why some of us Cubans choose to leave. We are considered “exiles” and I never considered myself that before to be honest. I understand that back when Fidel took power, those that opposed him were forced to leave. However, my parents weren't forced to leave, they CHOSE to leave. All I and other Cuban Americans can do now is share their stories on the injustices that are happening in Cuba and the world. I don’t know how much will change from this movement, but I know nothing will ever change unless we speak up.

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