In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month
The Cuban People have had Enough, Liberty for Cuba
I was born in Havana Cuba in 1965. Our family basically consisted of My dad, mom, older brother (9 years older), and myself. My father was with the Cuban National Judo Team (6th Degree Black Belt) that competed abroad including Pan American Games, Olympics, etc… Being a highly recognized athlete for Cuba, that status comes with benefits (Fidel Castro loves his athletes). We were pretty well off in the sense that we had a house, car, food, etc…! This was still early on in Castro’s post takeover from Batista.
My family, not wanting to live under a socialist/communist regime, commenced making plans to leave the country. Time was also of the essence in that my brother was almost at an age where he had to serve in the obligatory Military Service. The plan consisted of meeting my dad in Spain (The team was supposed to go there for a tournament). Once my dad got there we were basically going to “Defect” and never return to Cuba. Word however got out of our plans and the government kept my father in Cuba. We stayed in Spain for about a year while we had people in Miami help us with our papers so that we could enter the United States. I would not see my father for another 16-17 years.
Back in Cuba, my dad was stripped of his “status”! He was never allowed to compete or travel abroad with the team again. He was used only in the training and betterment of the team. He was now looked down upon because he was one of the growing numbers of Cubans with family members that had left the country. A term still used today… “Gusanos”! “Gusanos,” or worms is the term Fidel used to describe the first 1960’s waves of wealthy white former landowners who fled Cuba to the United States after the overthrow of U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
A little over a year after leaving Cuba, we made it to Miami. My mother struggled for most of her life working odd jobs. Doing the best, she could keep a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. Due to the separation, my dad ultimately remarried and started a whole new family/life. After high school, I joined the US Navy (served 11 1/2 years and I’m also a Desert Storm Veteran). Toward the end of my service, I started Modeling, Commercial work, and ultimately film and television. Like most Cubans, I am grateful and blessed for the sacrifices my family had to endure to ensure a better life for us. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of that.
Concerning the current uprising in Cuba: It is heartbreaking seeing how the people are being treated, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed by the Cuban Government for speaking out against the regime. I am grateful that even though Cuba shuts down the internet, some videos are able to get out into the world. So, the world can see how things really are in Cuba. It’s been 62 years! The Cuban people have had enough. They want, actually… demand…liberty! ¡¡¡¡LIBERTAD!!!!
Roberto Sanchez, Actor
Roberto has been a guest star in so many television series such as SWAT, MacGyver, Law and Order SVU, NCIS: LA, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, Queen of the South & many more.