TL;DR: Communism is bad and should feel bad, people should encourage Cuba to be a democracy but shouldn’t, like, invade it and appoint some guy.

Orret lived in Cuba from 1967 to 1999. Childhood good, lived in a non-Havana town (note: avoid tourist traps and Havana residents are allegedly crude and seedy). Cuba is sm0l but with subcultures.

She grew up in Santa Clara, which is near the center and has a major university. She lived in the college because her parents worked there, and she learned in a Sycamore-like school at her own pace. I would say that most of the country shared a passion for education.

Revolution wanted to make the country more educated & bring everyone literacy. Her parents were 16 and 17 when the revolution started. They wanted to make a better future for children. People who left Cuba for Miami were seen as dead. Her parents chose to never tell her negative things about the revolution, so she grew up Communist, participated in youth organizations, and participated in protests that weren’t about anything.

School would have US-invasion-drills and everyone was afraid of US attacks. US was going around creating military dictatorships, speaker was told about that, and only got that sort of stuff, so she hated all Americans and was brainwashed. She thought people could only live well within communism. Brainwashing kids is easy and whoever is in power will try to do it. Knowledge is important to democracy, and wherever you go, defend the right to know.

Education in Cuba was educational for things like math, everyone had to be good at math & languages. There wasn’t enough analysis or critical thinking, and disagreeing with the government was very dangerous.

Universities were isolating. Everyone who works in a university in Cuba … either they are Communist or they say they are.

She studied engineering and met lots of different people in college. She learned previously unknown history facts and she was shocked. He just unwashed my brain, and I let him do it, because I liked him. She learned that Cuba disappeared people. That’s impossible! That’s something that Americans do, not that we do here!

We are Methodists! Speaker thought everyone was an atheist in Cuba.

Went home, why don’t we have a religion?. Mom: We have a religion! I’m Catholic! I believe in the virgin! She had a secret shrine in her closet. And then she also learned that she had relatives in Miami and held as political prisoners. Her parents had lied to her to keep her safe, but she didn’t feel okay with in the moment.

College opened up a new world for me, I dropped my belief in Communism, I turned in my membership which put me on a blacklist. She got assigned a job after getting good engineering grades.

People got ration cards, and all other goods were from the black market. Buying stuff there made you a Bad Communist.

No Miami-Cuban communication allowed, no sending mail, people sneaking mail got caught a lot.

Other people got raised communist outside, anti-communist inside. Was that her husband? I forget.

She married her husband to avoid being separated from him. We didn’t want to have kids in Cuba. (Although she did have one.)

Telling people your opinions about communism would lead to long prison sentences for you and much interrogation for your family, in theory, but eventually didn’t cause that. Castro wanted to suck up to the EU. EU wanted to invest in Cuba, especially Spain.

Eventually, they were able to apply for visas to Everywhere because Being Nice to the European Union, and they came here as refugees and through some program moved to Claremont.

I embrace capitalism. I really like it. She could visit lots of (public) schools with different styles and choose where to send her kids, she could choose her own job, she could choose where to live…

I think capitalism with democracy is a good combination.

She got a job as an engineer in 6 months, her husband got one as a programmer in 6 months, she worked at the company that became Verizon.

Communism helped me understand, even though I don’t like Communism, that humans are all equal. People are encouraged to interact with lots of different people and don’t think about gender discrimination and racism and so on much. At least on the surface, there wasn’t racism and sexism and so on. Instead, there was lots of opinion-based discrimination.

Everyone keeps asking for her opinion on Obama’s behavior towards Cuba. She has both a US and Cuban passport and she’s a US citizen. There were no elections in Cuba, and she voted for the first time at 35.

Everyone thinks China is great. It still has communism, it cannot be great. [stuff about how it needs democracy] The economic system, in my opinion, sucks.

When I use my American passport, I’m happy that we have relationships, I’m happy that people can go to Cuba, because yay freedom of movement. We should all move on from the Cold War, right?

As a Cuban, this is killing our chances to make major changes, because everyone’s backing off from making Cuba less communist because things are fine, right? The US is there! The US is legitimizing the Castro administration. Castro is a dictator and a criminal that kills his opponents.

America is not doing this for the Cubans. America’s doing this for the Americans. Including me! … The Cubans are not getting anything out of this. Even if people work for US corporations, they’ll still get payed low wages by the Cuban government, even if the Americans pay Cuba lots of money to employ Cubans.

[Obama] called the president President when he is not a president!

We don’t want people to intervene, we want people to support us. Nobody should randomly appoint a non-Communist to the presidency.

Why didn’t Obama read the list of people he wanted released in the press conference? He already had the list. We [referencing the Cuban community] gave it to him.

[Obama] did a good job of [representing US interests in making there be less of a conflict].

I stayed in Claremont even though it’s not very Latin, because people are open to diversity in America.

Cubans are good at saying what they want to your face, but in a nice way. People are laid-back, and into sharing time with each other, and less concerned about personal space. Not as into work.

I was so eager to immerse in the culture here, that I went to a preschool with no Spanish. She taught her kid Spanish, but wanted her kid to see herself as equally Cuban and American.

She doesn’t like the American(?) idea that people can only find community within their own culture.

Latin culture is crazy! It’s not as open as you think. There is discrimination against blacks all the time.

Cuban culture is kind of any culture! Good and bad.

Confidence good, overconfidence is bad. Cubans big in pride.

Lourdes and a Hungarian woman met at Bodnar’s house, and they had similar childhoods because Communism, and they’d both seen all the same TV shows because the TV came from the USSR. The USSR didn’t care about Cuba and only wanted a satellite near the United States. They made Germany develop the entire education system.

They were big in washing brains, and one of the ways to wash the brains was television. There was one channel, cartoons were 5-6, news was every 15 minutes instead of commercials and about crazy Americans. She’d watch Boleg and Roleg(?) and be confused about lack of hair.

We all watched the same things and our brains were washed equally.

Brands weren’t a thing, all the Communists looked the same, food was always bought in bulk.

Her family was at one point Spanish immigrants to Cuba, a difference between Spanish and British slavery was that there were way more mixed-raced kids in Spanish-controlled regions, therefore people in Cuba are generally mixed-raced.

Corporate America was a big culture shock, she needed to learn to not act like she was friends with her co-workers. The biggest culture shock was having to learn English, though. She knew English before, but at about the level of bad HS English.

Corporate America is a bit communist because it’s like a dictatorship.