> The Richmond Times-Dispatch
> Monday, July 7, 2008
> Excerpt from “Letters to the Editor”
> Beware Charismatic Men Who Preach ‘Change’
> Editor, Times-Dispatch:
> Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I
> celebrate my independence day. On July 4 I celebrate America ‘s. This
> year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my
> independence.
> On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba and a few months later I
> was in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond
> on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.
> I’ve thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year
> rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there.
> In the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they
> were right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least
> receptive.
> When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced
> the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned
> who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he
> would help the farmers and the poor, and bring free medical care and
> education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice
> and equality to all, everyone said “Praise the Lord.” And when the young
> leader said, “I will be for change and I’ll bring you change,” everyone
> yelled, “Viva Fidel!”
> But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner’s
> guns went silent, the people’s guns had been taken away. By the time
> everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By
> the time everyone received their free education it was worth nothing. By
> the time the press noticed, it was too late, because they were now
> working for him. By the time the change was finally implemented Cuba had
> been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time
> the change was over more than a million people had taken to boats,
> rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere
> else in the world the most fortunate Cubans. And now I’m back to the
> beginning of my story.
> Luckily, we would never fall–in America –for a young leader who
> promised change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out?
> What will it cost America ?
> Would we?
> Manuel Alvarez Jr.
> Sandy Hook .