Friday, May 26, 2006

Nobody has the right to tell me who is my family and who is not

“They pick who is my family!”

Roberto, 66
Radio journalist
Miami, FL/Tortora

Roberto came to the U.S. with his wife and son in 1980. His two other children stayed behind, a son who is now 54 and a daughter who is 42. He has three grandchildren in Cuba.

As a journalist Roberto can legally travel to Cuba. He visits his family while there. He volunteers at a Miami radio station in part to maintain access to his family. Still, the restrictions bother him deeply. As an outspoken critic of the restrictions, he fears that if he applied for the license required to make a family visit he might be denied because of his political views.

Roberto is offended at the thought of having to ask permission to go to his own county. “If my granddaughter is going to be 15 and the party is in Havana, it is my right to go. That’s the way I see it.”

He also objects to the government’s deciding who is family. ”I cannot send a belt to a cousin because a cousin is not family… I am very upset because they pick who is my family and who is not. My family is my family! Nobody has the right to tell me who is my family and who is not.”

Source: Latin America Working Group

The picture is one in the exhibit Love, Loss and Longing that opened this month in Washingto, D.C. You can view all the pictures at the LAWG website.

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