This month marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nerve-wracking peak of the Cold War. For Gisela Gugger, a World Language teacher, it also marked the day her childhood in Cuba was blown apart by Fidel Castro’s revolution.
“How can I not seize this teachable moment?” Gugger said.
Gugger, who has been writing a memoir of growing up In Cuba under Castro, is now newly published in the Boston Globe for her powerful essay reflecting on the near nuclear war and the oppression that still prevails.
"Besides the lessons in culture, language and history, this is a unique opportunity to provide to students a personal perspective and voice to a terrifying event lived in a moment in history, and the consequences that people suffer when freedom is stripped away,” Gugger said. “Therefore, I feel compelled to speak because I can. This is the beauty of freedom, and the power it offers to preserve our dignity and nurture our humanity."
In the essay, Gugger writes, “Cuba remains an island-prison …
“The average salary is the equivalent of $18 per month. Food remains rationed and scarce. The population may be largely literate but it is rigorously censored. The health care system so often acclaimed by the outside world is, indeed, free. Yet Cubans must take their own sheets, soap, and food to the hospitals and, often, little or no medicine is available,” she writes.
“The 1950’s cars along with the crumbling structures of once-glamorous buildings prove the extent of the abandonment and neglect the government has shown for the needs of the Cuban people through the years."