Boxing for Cuba
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Author: Guillermo Vicente Vidal
Narrator: Brent Harrison
Guillermo Vicente Vidal's memoir chronicles his journey from Castro's Cuba to the United States—a tapestry of his coming of age, a broken family, and disorientation of political unrest.
Vidal was barely ten years old when the rise of Fidel Castro brought an abrupt change for the family. Though once staunch supporters of La Revolucion, Vidal’s parents soon found they could no longer keep their sons safe in the new face of Castro’s reign, making the difficult decision to send Vidal and his brothers to the U.S. via Operation Peter Pan in 1961. Once in the U.S. the Vidal boys were sent to Sacred Heart Orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver and went on to become executive director of the state department of transportation and head of the Denver Regional Council of Governments before he was tapped by Mayor John Hickenlooper to become Deputy Mayor. When Hickenlooper became the Colorado Governor, Vidal became the Mayor of Denver.
"Boxing for Cuba" was a finalist for the 2008 Colorado Book Awards for nonfiction.
2007 Guillermo Vicente Vidal ℗ 2016 Brook Forest Voices
Wonderful insight into the life and struggles of a refugee child, his relationship to the parents who had to send him on alone to a new land, and his thoughts on both Cuba and the US. Very personal and open.
Bill Vidal's portrait of pre-Castro Cuba compellingly reveals how the regime change of 60 years ago affected both his family and the island's other well-to-do residents. Initially supportive of the new government, his father lost both his property and his livelihood, resulting in a decision by him and his wife to send their three boys to the U.S. on one of the so-called Peter Pan flights, along with 14,000 other Cuban children. Despite their parents' very dysfunctional relationship, life without family and homeland proved an almost overwhelming challenge. Instead of the promised foster home, the children ended up in the startlingly abusive environment of a Catholic orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado, until their parents were able to rescue them and once again establish a home. Readers will empathize strongly with the efforts of the boys' father to reestablish himself in an alien environment, and with their mother, who finally leaves the family to be near family in Miami. Bill's eventual success as Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works for the City and County of Denver offers hope and inspiration. The rapprochement between Bill and his complicated parents before their deaths is a poignant testimony to the power of family and the character of the man. Reminiscent of Carlos Eire's moving memoir, "Waiting for Snow in Havana," Vidal's book is more gritty, more personal, more frank, more open.