The Cuban Revolution did not happen overnight. There were skirmishes and battles for years leading up to Castro's victory. And even after Castro assumed power, he was unable to enact his total dictatorship immediately. So, for a while, people didn't completely understand how far Castro was willing to go.
Fairly early on, however, the regime put "the committee" on every block; someone to report back any contra-revolutionary behavior. My grandfather was in his mid-teens at this point. He and his friends very anti-revolutionary. They were losing their houses and their family businesses. They'd go around and shoot BB's at pro-Castro signs and do other crud like that. One of his friend's dads owned a store, and one day when a man on his way to a Castro rally came in asking for pineapple juice came in, they gave him a bottle full of pee instead. They did a bunch of stupid stuff, but nothing too serious.
At some point though, he saw "something" (and when I say something, you should think Cuban Missile Crisis and super cool Russian weapons). When the committee found out about this, they tried to make him join the army or go to jail. But the wife of the committee member on his block was good friends with his mother, my great-grandmother. She managed to convince the committee that my grandfather was just being a "teenage boy" and that he'd grow out his behavior shortly. My bis-abuela decided that she had to get my grandfather out of the country and about a year later he was able to come over as part of Operation Peter Pan, a program that brought Cuban children to the US.
During that last year, he was able to "fight the system" far more efficiently, though at a much small scale. They began to ration food in Cuba and they got very little meat. My grandfather began to go spear-fishing (the beach was right in their backyard) and so he was able to bring some extra food home for his family.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Cuban Revolution
So Little Brother got me talking to my grandfather and what he went through during the Cuban Revolution. There are a lot of parallels between the youth reaction in Cuba and the one in Little Brother...except the Cuban one was far lower tech and far less successful.