To Cuba

An Open Letter
From Linh Duy Vo, Poet 


To: Cuba c/o NBC Dateline

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

My dear Mr. President Fidel Castro:

Having watched The Dateline on NBC tonight, I, like other human beings, feel deeply sympathetic for the little 6-year-old boy, Elian Gonzalez, who drifted in the cold sea with only a few breaths left if it were not for the Americans saving him in time. 

Do you believe in the human spirit, Sir? Do you feel the soul of the little boy's Mother? She gave him Birth. She found only Death behind the Iron Curtain. Only the fragile boat gave her hope to slip onto this side, the side of human Freedom. She had herself drowned in order to gain a Rebirth for her little son.

My Father stayed behind in Vietnam so my Mother could take my 8-year-old brother on a small fishing boat, making a daring escape to America. In case his wife got caught and put in prison, he would be there for her. I took my little brother under my wing in the place of my Father. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, class of 1996. (The rickety boat did not match the roaring sea, it broke down, staying afloat for 18 days with little food and water. But with faith in God and His promised Country...)

Could you grant the boy's Father a visa for 6 months to America? I would love to be the one who helps him and his son. Only six months. Then you will let the father and son choose to stay or to go back home. Six months in honoring the boy's Mother, for her soul, if you believe in the human spirit.

When the time comes, Father and Son will have tasted the core of liberty here. Then you can be proud to match it. How? Let the boy and his dad decide their own freedom.

Remember Kim Phuc? She was the 9-year-old girl burned by the napalm. The South Vietnamese ordered their pilot to drop the bomb to uncover the atrocities being committed by the Vietnamese Communists. What did you do to her, Sir? You dragged her all over Cuba to show her burned skin for Cuban Communistic Propaganda. How do I know? I met Kim. You know where she is now? She escaped to Canada on her way back to Cuba in 1992.

Are you doing this to the little boy in the place of Kim Phuc? The picture of you on TV is worth a thousand words.

Humanely yours, 

Linh Duy Vo
(The Boy in the Poem) 

"Give America A Break"

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