Wednesday, April 8, 2009

237- CUBA and U.S.A. RELATIONS....OCTOBER 1992....

I found it interesting, this week, to hear about an American goup being sent to Cuba to begin, possibly, TALKING with our country and Cuba! Let's see...it's now April of 2009. When this historian began the process of bringing our country and Cuba, just 90 miles away, to the table to at least talk---Squire started that in October of 1992---Pres. Clinton refused to talk with me about it, but a Clinton aide, Leon Panetta, did send me a letter.
(Much more coming...letter from Pres. Findel Castro...boxes of letters from average Cubans)...and what I still believe is the best solution!

I uncovered a letter in the National Archives in D.C. dated Nov. 6, 1940, and sent to Mr. Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States and signed Sr. Fidel Castro.
Quoting parts of it: "My good friend Rossevelt. I don't know much very English, but I know as much as write to you. i like to hear the radio, and i am very happy, because i heard in it, that you will be president for a new (periods). I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much but I do think that I am writing to the President of the United States. If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never, i fave not seen a ten dollars bill green american and i would like to ahve on of them. My address is:
Sr. Fidel Castro
Bolegiv de Dolores
Santiago de Cuba
Oriente. Cuba
I don't know very Engish but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don't know very Spanish but yoi know ver English because yo are American but I am not American."

I did write a letter to Pres. Castro, dated october 26, 1992, and asked if he indeed was the little boy who had written to Pres. Roosevelt and asking on of my American government classes if they wanted to "join me" in my quest to bring two nearby countries to the table to at least talk, NOT ignore as has been done for tens of years.
I did keep receiving calls at school, in Spanish, a few weeks after that letter, and finally asked a Spanish teacher friend to interpret the calls. The Cuban "consulate" (the American govt. does not recognize Cuba...all communications had to go through another country) was calling me to tell me that they had a hand-delivered letter for me from their Pres. Fidel Castro!!
Remember, my only purpose was to think outside that "box" and bring the two countries together...to meet and talk!
Oh, I sent a fresh ten dollar bill along with that October 26, 1992 letter. You're invited to read my entire letter sent AND the letter from Pres. Castro (Spanish) and his English translation.

I only wish that you could read his loooong letter to me.
Two Cuban representatives did come to meet and that one class and hand-deliver the Castro letter to me. I escorted the two, and their families, around Busch Gardens, as a gift because one had mentioned that his children were excited about them being in Williamsburg and near Busch Gardens! Ha, the afternoon before the BG trip, the FBI came to my school and asked what car I would be driving, times and anything extra they would be doing....hmmm. ABC, CBS and NBC did go on a frenzy overnight to send a TV crew down to Williamsburg the very next morning for a live international interview. Two of my students were chosen to sit with me. NBC, Katie Couric and crew, did not quit to "win" the interview. And what an experience!
Also, CNN News during the same period set up an interview debate on live TV in Williamsburg with my students doing like we did in class, using the Socratic-style of debate...on national TV.
Shortly afterwards, Cuban TV came to my class for another debate, with my students looking at both sides of the issue of Cuba and American meeting. A Florida Representative came to represent the other view opposing the meeting!

I received boxes and boxes of letters from Cuban citizens from all branches of society! Every one expressed sincere "like" for me and my fellow Americans. It was exciting to receive a call from Brussels asking for views on bringing Cuba and American together at the table....a call from Cincinnati for a live interview. I also received, a time or three, calls at the school calling me a communist and threatening me.

I was ignored, on the issue, by Pres. Clinton, but did, as mentioned earlier, get a communication from Clinton Aide Panetta. I received NO support from the then-Supt. of Schools and NO support in any way from 97% of my education "friends." Now...again, it's amusing to see the wheels moving in the direction of meeting with Cuba. Where was everyone back in 1992?...huh?

Yes...I am proud to call myself a visionary!!!!!

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