Gay Cuban Emigre Community Gardeners in NYC
- Subject: [cg] Gay Cuban Emigre Community Gardeners in NYC
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 22:07:34 EDT
The wonderful organic gardening practiced all over Cuba is well documented
and exemplary - and the Cuban pharmaceutical industry is producing, according to
the BBC all the retrovirs it needs and exporting some to Africa.
However, over the years in NYC, as volunteers in the fight against AIDS,
through neighborhood and political work supporting the creation of the NYC Dept of
AIDS services, support of the Spellman Center at St. Clare's Hospital in NYC
( now St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital) and in our local Hell's Kitchen
Community garden my late wife, Allegra, a RN and I kept encountering gay male HIV +
Cubans who were part of the Mariel and later expulsions by raft by the Cuban
government of "undesirables."
The story of "detention for weeks/months without food or medicine," was
almost uniform among these individuals, who either died or managed, with Medicaid
supplied healthcare and suportive comunities, like our gardens to live. Some
found the US capitalist system ( I don't care for the euphemism "free
enterprise") oppressive, others embraced it - but the "detention for weeks/months
without food or medicine," story was uniform, and I'm describing about 50 or so
individuals that I've known over a 25 year period.
Readers of this listserv may have encountered my reports of the work ACGA
members did to help save the Bellevue Hospital Sobriety Garden. One of the
gardeners is a "Marielito," and the story of "detention for weeks/months without
food or medicine," was heard, again.
While this is hearsay, and would be considered so in any court of law, as the
child of two Holocaust survivors who heard the same stories repeated over and
over by friends and relatives, I tend to believe these kinds of stories told
to me, one-by-one by gay Cuban friends and fellow gardeners who would have
nothing to gain by recounting them to me.
Cuba may indeed be a "worker's paradise," and all of the things that their
active foreign ministry says about it - lord knows enough of my friends took
cane harvest trips to the Island during the 60s & 70s, and ecotourism may provide
and equally wholesome vacation...
However, 25 years of stories about "detention for weeks/months without or
medicine," before being shoved onto a leaky boat or raft because one was an
undesirable, a homosexual makes me a little less apt than others, especially
Canadian promoters of the wonders of the the Cuban organic gardening revolution, to
want to buy a ticket to Mexico or Canada and head off to that beautiful green
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