Yanqui, Go Home
I arrived in
I celebrated New Year’s Eve with a family of exiled Basque separatists. In their kitchen, we smoked romeo y julieta cigars, drank anejo rum, and debated revolutionary theory until long past midnight. Then, the conversation stopped and the singing began. We sang epics from the Basque lands, peasant hymns, and anarchist fight songs. The older generation knew the verses. The rest of us shouted the refrains, beating our glasses on the table. When the last one ended I stood and offered a song of my own: a ballad about Americans who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. I remembered most of the words, and everyone joined in for the chorus. Singing about the Abraham Lincoln Brigades to Basque revolutionaries in the socialist capital of the world—this was a superabundance of forbidden political delights. If only the airport guards could have seen me then.
This was six years ago. Like most American leftists, I had been raised to idealize the Cuban revolution. Fearing that Castro would not be around much longer, I wanted to see a socialist state when I had the chance. Last week, after fifty years in power, Fidel, 81, transferred authority to his brother, Raul, who is 76. Though this was just a half-step toward a post-Castro
For fifty years,
Critics might see this as a sign of radical naiveté, but in fact the idealization of the
The island, to be sure, is not completely isolated. It participates in the global economy, but does not trade with the
The American Left is not the only group concerned with