Am I a political refugee?

Help to buy food.

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — I’ve just got back from the supermarket. I bought a whole load of delicious and healthy food which is difficult to get a hold of in Cuba: Whole wheat bread and brown rice, fresh apples which keep you away from the doctor, orange juice… Clean and fresh vegetables, kind salespeople, eco-friendly bags for a small price… It’s wonderful! And I’ve got all of this for free, without having to pay a single cent.

I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, US taxpayers who indirectly pay for the aid I’m receiving. I want to extend my thanks to all the workers in the world who in some way contribute to this great nation and its strong currency, in a more indirect way. The most diverse ways: brain drain, petrodollars supported by the force of weapon sales, outsourcing the environmental cost of its ecological footprint and many other mechanisms which we regular Mesa Redonda (Cuban TV roundtable) viewers are familiar with. I would like to further extend my thanks to “Pacha Mama” (Mother Nature) who must be fed up with us.

The Bridge Hotel

But, this is just a store and not what I wanted to talk about in this article, so here goes.

At the Bridge Hotel (the Cuban camp set up on the Rio Bravo river), everybody was confused about the Cuban Adjustment Act; fellow Cubans thought that they should seek refuge under this law at immigration, or something like that. A public debate kicked off in the morning which blocked the constant flow of Mexicans, who were returning with South Korean goods they bought on the US side of the border. Mexicans are a very sweet and easy-going people… I didn’t see any of them get annoyed. On the contrary, they asked for permission to pass and waited kindly for the Cubans to let them by.

There was a fun and well-informed Venezuelan among us – married to a Cuban woman and with three children – who explained the situation to us very well: You can’t take refuge using the Cuban Adjustment Act, you can only do that after being in the US for a year. Now you need to enter as political refugees and show Immigration officials that you are afraid of the Cuban government, that you’re being persecuted or something like that.

Patrol Boat on the Rio Bravo.

That brought everybody down, even me. A young woman from Cojimar, who was sitting next to me, remained lost in thought for a little with her eyes fixed on the Rio Bravo. Suddenly, she burst out: I know what I’m going to say! We waited for her to share her idea, to see if it could give us any clues, but she turned her head and kept her mouth shut. She didn’t want anybody to steal her idea.

Then, I got lost in my own thoughts, like only I know how to, and told myself: “You have nothing to worry about. If there’s anyone here who has chipped a little paint off the Castro dictatorship it’s you, and it’s perfectly demonstrable.  So don’t stress.”

But, that night when I laid my head down on the pillow in my suite at the Bridge Hotel, overlooking the Rio Bravo, anxiety suddenly beat whatever was left of my sponge-like brain: Am I a political refugee? Is it honest for me to ask for political asylum?
Note:  I support and raise my voice with others so that a humanitarian visa is given to those Cubans who are now camping at US border crossings. They were tempted to leave their country by a law which was suddenly revoked without any prior warning.

Mexicans in line to cross over the border.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

Erasmo Calzadilla has 408 posts and counting. See all posts by Erasmo Calzadilla

8 thoughts on “Am I a political refugee?

  • It won’t be a crisis if he is sent back to Cuba. I don’t think he’ll be sent back.

  • You ARE a refugee. The US has been strangling Cuba for over 60 years. You are a refugee of the embargo.

  • This cry baby gets food completely free courtesy of the US government. With availability, quality, choice, and cleanliness unheard of in Cuba. Yet he still finds a way to bitch about the United States. I said it once, and I’ll say it again. If you don’t like it here; then go back to Cuba and don’t return. If you think you’re life here is better then a simple “thank you” will suffice. I’m glad Obama ended wet foot/dry foot. At least now I won’t be forced to feed any more ungrateful people like him.

  • Too late, I already reported it and it’s stored in the Internet Archive Machine. Sorry Erasmo, you are going back to Cuba to earn your political refugee status with blood and hunger like the rest

  • He is already living in Texas, is not a political refugee he is what we call a vive bien

  • “Am I a political refugee?, No, you are not. If after so many years living the regime BS lie and not questioning it, you’re not a political refuge. You’re simply a refugee looking for a better way of life, which the political part is at the bottom of the list factors why you decided leave Cuba.

    Now question yourself something. Since the U.S is the center of the brutal-materialistic capitalism. With you liberal mentality, why didn’t you apply for political asylum in MEXICO, PANAMA, COLOMBIA, CHILE, ARGENTINA, SPAIN, ITALY, FRANCE and some of those “more liberal minded” societies instead of trying to make it in LA YUMA??? Because the probabilities of being accepted are 1 in a million, and if any of them do they will read you first their own ‘Riot Act’ as to what you can do with your political writings, especially MEXICO.
    But LA YUMA, if they let you in, what you do later on is your problem. and then you still have the idea that all the Media should be under Government control and censored. HOW ABOUT THAT!!! Isn’t that a contradiction?!?!?!?!, and you have been living here less than a year…

  • What are you doing back on the border?! Thought you were somewhere further into Texas, and later traveling by the “Grey Dog” in the South. I’m confused. Also, the bridge seems to have Xmas decorations, and they should have been taken down by now–but oh, this is The South, where they tend to leave these up ’til July (or maybe the whole year)! In any event, welcome to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Literal (i.e. non-ironic)!

  • Is Erazmo Calzadilla a pseudonym? If not I advise you to remove this post. You would not want the immigration authorities to use it against you.

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