Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sin fidelis

This a very nice story, that kind that makes your chest puff out about 3 inches. The young man comes to the US and soon thereafter, very soon thereafter, joins the Marines, and there he is having taken the oath to “defend and protect.” The story gets into the economic woes of Cuba, but I think that is it just the perspective of a young person that was never exposed to anything else under the communist rule. The real story that needs to be told is that of his father. I have enough of a tough time sailing out on the Pacific Ocean on a 50-ft yacht out of Dana Point Harbor for “a four hour tour,” much less on a rickety raft across shark infested waters. Oh, the desperation! That is the real story.


From his perch in a coconut tree, a five-yearold boy watched his father remove a boat from a thick covering of grass. The boat was essentially branches bound by wires and sealed watertight by the sap of a gum tree. If the Cuban police saw Roberlando Padilla set out for Florida, he would have been incarcerated for years or shot on the spot. But Padilla evaded communist authorities and made the four-day, 90-mile journey across the shark infested waters, occasionally throwing bags of food overboard to divert the underwater predators.

Fourteen years ago, Pfc. Roberlan Padilla, was the boy in the tree. Until 2002, he remained in Cuba with his mother and grandparents. In 2002, his father, after starting his own carpet company, claimed his as a dependent, and Roberlan received permission from the Cuban government to come to America. Roberlan flew to Miami, Fla., that year. Last June, he received his high school diploma, and this year, he joined the Marine Corps. Roberlan is now enjoying the freedoms of living in America and adapting to life as a Marine and an administrative clerk with IPAC. More [here].

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