Out of Cuba: Memoir of a Journey is an inspirational story about a woman who embraces a challenge to help a Cuban man change his destiny. Together, they struggle to overcome political and cultural obstacles, as they create a family bond and transform despair into hope.
The manuscript presents a more complex view of Cuba than is usually given in the American media. The narrative will resonate with anyone who has helped someone escape from oppression, and anyone who has had to leave home in order to have a future. The story shows how love, cooperation, and perseverance can change lives. The reader will come away with a renewed appreciation for the human spirit.
Anavy, who grew up in the Midwest, recounts her youthful involvement in radical politics. In 1971, she travels to Cuba illegally, to cut sugarcane with the Fourth Venceremos Brigade, in support of Fidel Castro’s Ten Million Ton Harvest. This was the first brigade to allow participants from the Gay Liberation Movement, and Anavy, although not gay herself, soon is appalled by the aggressive prejudice against homosexuals, on the part of both the Cubans and the other brigadistas. Everyone, she comes to think, is obsessed with being more-revolutionary-than-thou, and her disillusion with the reality of the Revolution leads to a sense of alienation. She returns home with a new-found appreciation for the liberties in the U.S.
Thirty years later, Anavy goes to Cuba as a tourist. She finds herself drawn to the intelligence and bravery of Teseo, her tour guide, and they form a friendship. He ultimately confides that he is desperate to leave the island, the only way he can imagine a hopeful future. Remembering how someone helped her Jewish grandparents escape the pogroms in Russia, Anavy promises to help him. She will be the Ariadne who helps Theseus out of the labyrinth.
Out of Cuba describes Anavy’s subsequent travels to Cuba, all journeys part of the secret plan to take this man to freedom. As she comes to know the culture of the island, she begins to scrutinize the dynamics of the organized tours and humanitarian trips that are licensed by the U.S. government, and contrasts them with the real conditions in Cuba that tourists aren’t supposed to see.
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Customer ReviewsSee All
This true story chronicles the struggle of a Cuban family to attain freedom and the selfless dedication of an American woman. Worth reading.
A real life story of determination, survival, compassion and love. An inspirational tale of overcomi
This is an incredibly powerful and moving real-life portrait of Cuba and the daily struggles of the Cuban people, as seen through the eyes of a courageous and dedicated American woman and her Cuban friend Tesseo. The author tells a heart felt story with real life heroes, packed with reality and objectivity. It pulls you in immediately and holds you until the end. It is a sad but triumphant book to read!
The author, Regina Anavy, gives her Cuban friend, Tesseo, that second chance we all deserve. Through the prism of Tesseo’s struggle and the author’s compassion, many of the harrowing problems that plague Cuba are revealed. Anavy has captured and has been able to write with clarity, the day-to-day struggles of Cuban men, women and children who risk their lives trying to reach freedom. I was touched by the author's personal accounts of her time spent on the island; it helped me to see a side to Cuba that is not often revealed.
Throughout the book, her sense of humor is always present to lighten things up: “Cuban men aren’t afraid to flirt; no one is going to charge them with sexual harassment, and of course, there is always the chance that they’ll find a foreigner to help them out. But I’m already taken.”
The book enlightens the reader on the consequences of a society forced to turn on its heel and abandon its culture. It states, in a very objective simple manner, how the forces of a totalitarian regime seep in and rupture the very fabric of family, friends, schools, work, play, worship. For an immigrant (as myself), an old memory will be surfaced with every other page turn.
As a Cuban Venezuelan and now American who was fortunate to leave Cuba in 1956 and find a new and wonderful life, first in my beloved second country, Venezuela, and now in the United States, I have heard many first person accounts of similar experiences. This book helps people like me, that have lived the Cuban experience for more than fifty years, first in Venezuela and now in South Florida, learn a little bit more of what might have been.
Anyone who has loved Cuba will relate to this book. Venezuelans living the current turmoil in their country will also relate to this book. Anavy’s first-hand experiences bring this book to life and help those of us who take our freedom for granted, remember just how fortunate we are.
As with so many other barbaric events in history, when the official history of the Cuban people is written, many of us will wonder in amazement why we didn't do more to destroy Castro's madness and be more sympathetic to the Cuban plight. This book is a must read to maintain alive a truth that is, if not currently being buried, at least being successfully ignored by many. This is a "MUST READ" for anyone.
Ms. Anavy should be very proud of this book.