August 12, 2022

The Handshake

President Obama seemed happy to greet Raul Castro at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.  The video shows him talking in a friendly manner and, it even looked like he was bowing.

To the media, it was just a proper act of diplomacy, but to those of us, Americans of Cuban descent, who can clearly remember the atrocities, the persecutions, the splitting of families, the lack of freedom and the eventual exodus that forced us to leave behind country, home, family, friends, all we knew behind to begin an unknown destiny, it was an act of betrayal.  That handshake was saying that there were no hard feelings about the missile crisis; that there is forgiveness for Cuba’s desire to annihilate us; that murdering and incarcerating innocent Cuban patriots is not our problem; that practicing apartheid wasn’t the same as in S. Africa, and that progressives today welcome Marxist tyrants.

Many of us were exposed to evil early in life, you know, like children watching live executions on TV?  or being terrorized in the middle of the night by government thugs waking you up with machine guns?  Oh, but this didn’t happen to you; I forget, this was long ago in a tropical paradise that the US government chose to ignore.  And ignore it did, not just the government but also the news media, the entertainment industry, the schools, and all means of communication.  How were you, American citizen and taxpayer supposed to know?  We tried, many times and in different ways to convey to you the dangers ahead but, most of you either were too busy working and raising your children or simply didn’t feel the urgency.  We mostly just gave up; we too had to work, raise children, besides learning a new language and adapting to a new culture.  We just moved on!

It is difficult to realize fifty years later that we find ourselves in a similar situation; that as we get old the nightmare returns in our adopted country that was meant to keep us free and safe. It is an indignity to watch our president reach out to the tyranny that caused us so much harm; to realize that after all these years our fellow Americans have rejected our story and now are ready to embrace the evil we suffered as children. History is repeating and we feel powerless to stop it. Obama offered the handshake not because he had to, but because Raul Castro is a fellow traveler in his warped leftist world.  So warped indeed, that as the world leaders honor the memory of a Black man for fighting Apartheid, the First Black American President shakes hands with a man who is responsible for incarcerating Black Cubans for the crime of publicly quoting the works of Marin Luther King and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. Among these prisoners is Dr. Elias Biscet an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush in 2008.  “Many Cuban blacks suffered longer incarceration in Castro and Che’s torture chambers than Nelson Mandela suffered in South Africa’s. In fact, Castro’s victims qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history.”  (Humberto Fontova on, April 5, 1913).

To add to the betrayal, we had to witness the exultation of a man who was a devout Marxist; one who had often praised the Cuban revolution, the Castro brothers, and the sadistic murderer Che Guevara. As someone of Cuban descent, I have viewed the Mandela funeral as a celebration of evil by a cast of characters who represent the worst our world offers today.  The Devil must indeed feel in control.  But God’s final judgment will come to them sooner than they think.


Elvira Fernandez Hasty was born in La Habana, Cuba, to immigrants from Spain.  She attended a private Catholic school for women, French Dominicans School, until the age of fifteen.  At that time, the Castro regime militia invaded her home one night in order to question her 20 year old sister, Rose, about her involvement in “counter-revolution” at the University.  After some months of anguish, my father arranged for Rose to obtain diplomatic protection from the country of Honduras, and the decision was also made to send me away before confiscation of private schools by the communist government.  My sister flew to Honduras under the protection of the Ambassador on January 24, 1961, while I left the country for Florida the next day via the Pedro Pan organization that was formed to protect Cuban children from Marxist indoctrination.

After finishing high school in Florida and working at an electric company billing department, Elvira continued her studies at St. Mary College in Kansas.  She graduated cum laude with a BS in Chemistry and later received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana, IL.  Dr. Hasty spent twenty years in college teaching and research, becoming Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chairperson at Mundelein College in Chicago.

In 1997, Elvira and her husband James, moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where she currently resides.  She has been politically active since then, first in the Republican Party and lately in her own conservative organization, Ponte Vedra Conservative Women, a group of conservative women concerned about the future of our country. We are united by our common desire to preserve our Constitution, the principles of our Founding Fathers, and our Judeo/Christian values.