Today, I am an immigrant in the United States

Yenisel Rodriguez

Havana street vendro. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — I lived in Cuba until March 30, 2013. Today, I live with my father in the city of Miami.

I have found compelling reasons to engage in political, grassroots activism in both Havana and Miami, though these cities are ninety miles apart. In a few words, I intend to lead a life based on the principles of self-management, driven by a political and religious commitment to individual and collective freedom.

My engagement with the field of Socio-Cultural Anthropology 8 years ago awakened a committed love towards human diversity in me, and my new status, as an immigrant in the United States, has served to deepen this sense of knowing and revelation.

Above all, it has stirred in me a need to explore the different ways Cuban identity can be expressed in the United States.

While in Cuba, Havana Times gave me the means to step beyond the official screen of disinformation and to overcome the alienation imposed one by the island’s authoritarian regime.

Havana Times continues by my side in Miami, helping me in the arduous effort of rising above the mind-numbing influences of the American Dream and in my struggle against the self-perpetuated colonialist mentality of the Third World immigrant.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

14 thoughts on “Today, I am an immigrant in the United States

  • May 12, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Por favor hold on to our culture NEVER EVER become too amerikkkn that you cannot BE WHO YOU ARE You are always El Cubano!

  • April 16, 2013 at 8:55 am


    PLEASE, PLEASE take the time while your memories of Cuban life are fresh to note the big differences between the two societies both pro and con for all of us who rarely get to hear from someone as objective as you.

    What we see and experience in a new country, those major differences we experience when we first arrive are often the sharpest and clearest images we will ever have and now is the time to at least make extensive notes and hopefully several, ,many posts that tell us what you feel

  • April 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Which Communists are you referencing ?
    Since there has never been a communist society or economy on the planet, you really need to better define which country and system you are talking about.

    You need to understand that communism necessarily involves the societal ownership of the means of production and a bottom-up, democratic running of that economy and society in order to be termed communist.

    Neither the Soviets, the Chinese, the Cubans , Vietnamese or Koreans were or are communist .

  • April 16, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Beyonce wants you to download her songs and pay to go to her concerts. Luan Santana, a Brazilian, wants me to do the same thing. Beyonce is simply better at it so she sells more songs in Brazil than Luan sells in the US. McDonalds wants you to buy hamburgers and Starbuck’s was you to buy coffee. Hollywood wants you to go to the movies. This is not rocket science Luis. Nor is it “cultural imperialism”. Americans just want you to buy our stuff. Socialists are generally poor and don’t buy as much. You seem to have read a lot about the history of Socialism, but you understand so little about what really is important.

  • April 16, 2013 at 7:10 am

    It was precisely your type of ‘commiephobia’ that let my countrymen into the torture chambers. You do make excuses in the name of it. They didn’t want us to follow our own way and thus, cared very much about what we thought, even managing covert propaganda war and operations about 2 years before the coup.

  • April 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I make no excuses for the US backed coup in Brazil, but to be precise, the Americans didn’t care what Brazilians think. They just didn’t want Brazil “going commie”, & they wanted access to your resources and markets. What you think is irrelevant. It was the Communists who insisted on making everybody think alike, hence their thought police.

  • April 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    “Americans don’t wish for the rest of the world to think as we do.”

    Really? Coming from YOU? Yeah right. Nevermind the canned pop culture that comes from Hollywood movies, Billboard top 10’s and junk-food franchises. Cultural imperialism? What’s that?

    “We just want you to think for yourself.”

    No you don’t. JFK and Lincoln Gordon orchestrated a COUP in my country in order for us to think what you think.

  • April 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Which sentence of what I wrote says “we’re number ONE”? Yes, I am proud to be an American. Americans don’t wish for the rest of the world to think as we do. We just want you to think for yourself. The largest population of your countrymen outside of Brazil live in the US. Surely we are doing somethng right?

  • April 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

    in u.s you have the freedom to politically criticize but no one listens to you, so U.S political freedoms are actually cynically nonexistent and inconsistent with the actual concept of freedom
    U.S Political Freedom = Shut up and show me the money
    nuff said

  • April 15, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Welcome to the United States, Yenisel. In addition to struggling with the usual personal problems of resettlement, I hope you will find time to apply your genius and unique perspective to the social and political problems of both Cuba and the US. Good luck!

  • April 15, 2013 at 10:43 am

    My best wished to you on this new chapter in your life. I do hope you will continue to write your intelligent and engaging essays for Havana Times.

  • April 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I’m so tired of ‘we’re number ONE!” bragging of your part. Yenisel himself said he’s in Miami to continue his sociocultural studies from a different perspective, not to be mentally colonized as you, the USA, wish the people of the ‘rest of the world’ to be.

  • April 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Congratulations! Welcome to my country. I hope you quikly come to understand the imperfect and sometimes bittersweet tastes of freedom that Americans have established for ourselves. Prepare yourself to work harder than you ever worked in Cuba. Please be aware that most people could not care less where you come from, their interests lies in seeking a common destiny of better life for themselves and their family. You can choose to be whomever you desire, say whatever pleases you and associate with whomever you like. This are among your new freedoms. But keep in mind, my freedom is to criticize your choices if that pleases me. Enjoy!

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