Houston Cubans participated in activities supporting Elián Gonzalez,
the little Cuban boy who survived a miraculous journey to the United States
by way of sea. With much symbolism, Elian was found on Thanksgiving Day
floating on an inner tube, after his mom, among others, died at sea.
Elian's story symbolizes everything which all Cuban-Americans
have experienced. Cuban parents have sacrificed everything for their children;
when given the opportunity to leave Cuba, they have taken the risk and
begun a new life abroad. Along the way, many Cubans have also tragically
lost loved ones, as Elian did. As you'll find in the experiences of most
refugeed Cubans, the parents work harder than ever to regain lost time
in Cuba and to support the children and the extended family members (if
they are lucky enough to have been exiled with the entire family).
migration, eventhough still young, has seen the fruits of its labor thrive
in a short amount of time. Cuban-Americans have made a tremendous impact
in South Florida, New York, New Jersey, among other U.S. cities and in
other parts of the world. The Cuban-American contribution is seen through
many of the Cuban-American congressmen, CEO's of companies, as well as
seen in the everyday, hard-working Cuban-American.
The fact that Elian defied all odds and made it to U.S. waters, alone,
in shark-infested waters, dehydrated, scared, and protected by dolphins
is none-other than a miracle. Cubans, being traditionaly Roman Catholic,
also know and understand the power of the "Guardian Angel" prayer
which Elian endlessly repeated during his journey to the U.S.
The Elian incident
didn't end as we would have hoped. But, Cuban-Americans did everything
in their power, as provided to every American under the U.S. constitution,
not only to protect our own Cuban brother, but also to exclaim to the
world "we all need to protect our constitutional rights, whether
Cuban or not. Your constitutional rights can be at risk, if you don't