Because the Cold War CIA always had everyone's best interests at heart, right?
Considering Jose lived in Cuba during the CIA's last disastrous "operation" involving a bunch of young Cuban men, it's not hard to see why he wasn't keen on signing up to hench for the U.S.
As for Vivian, she started out in a beautiful residence owned by well-to-do relatives, but soon had to move with her family to ... less luxurious accommodations:
"Once, the paint came off our ceiling and landed on me in bed in the middle of the night. Between the paint and the ceiling ... roaches. They landed on me and crawled all over me. I screamed for many nights after that, couldn't sleep, and to this day I'm deathly afraid of cockroaches. We also caught rats so big that sometimes the trap didn't kill them, and my father had to finish them off with a hammer. One time he told me to leave the room while he smashed in the head of a huge, very much alive, trapped but hissing, monster of a rat. I didn't leave the room. I should have left the room. It was one of the low points of my childhood."
Unless your dad is Thor, Mjolniring vermin to Valhalla shouldn't be a part of anyone's childhood.
For the old, the change was simply too much.
"What I remember the most about when we moved from Miami Beach is that my grandparents, who had stayed behind to try to get some money out of Cuba, arrived penniless just like we did," Vivian said. "My grandfather had a heart attack and died in the roach and rat house -- I think of a broken heart, since everything he had worked for his entire life was stolen."
Hey, the next time you bump into some hip young kid wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, give him a good smack upside the head with a history book for Vivian's grandpapi, would you?
You can learn more about Dr. Garcia's refugee experience and his first return to Cuba in 30 years in the award-winning documentary Voices From Mariel. Vivian became naturalized on her 18th birthday and considers herself blessed and grateful to be a citizen of the greatest country on Earth. Jason is an editor for Cracked. He has a Facebook page. Robert Evans is the editor of the personal experience section of Cracked, and he tweets.
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