Carlos Lopez is my Dad. He was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba either on April 26th or sometime in November, 1951. There was some dispute about this matter some years ago.
He now resides in Guadalajara, Mexico with his girlfriend Karina. This is him as a Marine looking very cool. My friends call him the Cuban George Clooney. I call him Daddy.
1. What was it like to leave Cuba when you left? What were the circumstances surrounding your leaving and how did it come about?
I WAS 10 YEARS OLD, SO, IT WAS STRANGE AND DISORIENTING. I REMEMBER THE DATE WE LEFT, IT WAS JUNE 13TH, 1961 AND CASTRO HAD BEEN IN POWER SINCE 1959. I WAS ALREADY STARTING TO BELIEVE THE COMUNIST PROPAGANDA AND THAT THE U.S. WAS AN EVIL POWER, SO I WAS NOT VERY HAPPY WHEN MY MOM TOLD ME WE WHERE GOING TO VISIT MY AUNT JUANITA IN THE STATES. IT WAS NOT UNTIL MANY YEARS LATER THAT I FOUND OUT THAT MY MOM AND DAD HAD SEPARATED AND SHE WAS ACTUALLY FOLLOWING HER BOYFRIEND TO NEW YORK TO START A NEW LIFE. SILLY ME!
2. What were your first couple of years like in America? How did you adjust?
IT WAS HORRIBLE. REMEMBER THAT I WAS AN ONLY CHILD AND SPOILED. WE MOVED TO NYC AND MY MOM HAD TO GO TO WORK IMMEDIATELY, SO I WAS LEFT ALONE AT THE AGE OF TEN FROM MORNING TILL MY MOM ARRIVED FROM WORK AT 7PM, EVERYDAY. I WAS SHY AND AFRAID ALL THE TIME, DID NOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE AND LIVED IN AN ITALIAN/IRISH/GERMAN NEIGHBORHOOD, SO, BEATINGS WERE FREQUENT. IT TOOK A COUPLE OF YEARS TO START HITTING BACK, BUT ONE LEARNS. LOOKING BACK, I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING, BECAUSE IT’S TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT WHAT DOES NOT KILL YOU, MAKES YOU STRONGER, NIETSCHE, I THINK.
3. When did you finally start feeling American? Did you ever?
GREAT QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE TO ANSWER. THE U.S. SCHOOL SYSTEM IS JUST AS GREAT AT PROPOGANDA AS WAS CASTRO’S DICTATORSHIP. IT IS SINGLEMINDEDLY DESIGNED TO PRODUCE GOOD, OBEDIENT, UNQUESTIONING CITIZENS. THAT’S WHY WE CAN CONTINUE TO ELECT PEOPLE LIKE GW BUSH. TO THAT END, IT FAILED MISERABLY WITH ME, SORT OF LIKE RELIGION, ACTUALLY. HOWEVER, THE AMERICAN STORY IS HARD TO DISMISS AND NOT FEEL SOME PRIDE IN HAVING A GROUP OF HIGHLY DISFUNCTIONAL, UNWANTED PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AND CREATE SUCH A COUNTRY, OF THAT, I AM PROUD.
4. Why did you choose to move to Mexico to live?
IF YOU EVER REALLY THINK YOU GET TO CHOOSE EVERYTHING IN LIFE, YOU’RE IN FOR A SAD AWAKENING. I DIDN’T CHOOSE, MEAGAN, I CHASED THE MONEY. I WAS MADE AN OFFER I COULDNT REFUSE, AS GRANDPA HARRY WOULD SAY, AND WHEN I TRY TO PULL OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN, AS THE GODFATHER WOULD SAY. NOW THAT I’M HERE, I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I ENJOY THE FREEDOM OF NOT HAVING GREEN, ORANGE, YELLOW, AND RED ALERTS FLASHED AT ME ALL THE TIME AS THEY DO IN THE STATES. ACTUALLY, I DON’T EVER RECALL A GREEN ALERT. I WONDER IF PEOPLE IN THE STATES ARE ACTUALLY AWARE OF THE CONSTANT FEAR LAVISHED ON THEM BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT AND NEWS AGENCIES. THAT’S HOW IT ALWAYS BEGINS, PEOPLE USUALLY DESERVE THE GOVERNMENT THEY HAVE.
5. Do you think you’ve become accustomed to always being “the foreigner” in some way? How has that shaped your life?
NO, I NEVER FELT LIKE THAT. I ALWAYS FELT THAT I BELONGED NO MATTER WHERE I WAS. THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY SHAPED BY MY EARLY YOUTH, YOU ADJUST. JUST REMEMBER HOW MANY TIMES I’VE MOVED.
6. What gives you the most pleasure out of life? Has that changed over the years?
I KNOW IT SOUNDS CORNY, BUT SEEING HOW YOU KID’S ARE HANDLING YOUR LIVES AND HOW PROUD I AM OF ALL OF YOU GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE. THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN A CONSTANT. OH, OF COURSE, THERE IS GOLF, READING AND WAKING UP IN THE MORNING, BUT YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT.
7. And, finally, what would you like your children to learn from your mistakes? A piece of advice.
WHAT MISTAKES? I’VE MADE NONE THAT I KNOW OF OR I’M ABLE TO CHANGE, SO THERE IS NO POINT IN DWELLING ON IT. THAT’S MY ADVICE, DO THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW AND LIFE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST. LOVE YOU TOOTS!