He was taken prisoner as a child in Cuba for going to church. He says it is because of his religion that he cannot feel happy for the death of the man who put him behind bars. We met with a Cuban who’s been living at the Texas-Mexico border for nearly 10 years. Fidel Castro’s death is bringing him peace, but not without re-opening painful memories.
Julio Molinete thanks us for the interview. He says bringing out the past is hard, you can’t live with those grudges.
The scars in the memory of Julio Molinete dig deep into the day he was a six-year-old-boy, and was taken prisoner in Cuba. It was under a Fidel Castro leadership.
“My crime was being religious.” Says Molinete
He says he enjoyed going to church. He was arrested at a retreat.
“It was something that scarred me for life.”
As a prisoner, he says he was displayed in public, while oppressors called him an unpatriotic, slithering worm.
“In one occasion, they spit on me. It’s one of the most terrible things, I think, that a human being can feel.” He says.
The Cuban government gave Molinete a break when his dream of enrolling in a university, met their demand for accountants. He graduated with his accounting degree, but was later given the opportunity to become a journalist. He took his skills and migrated from Cuba to Mexico. He now lives in the United States.
Despite the change in countries and professions. One thing he still has in common with his six-year-old-self is his religion, which is why he says he cannot be happy for Fidel Castro’s death.
Julio Molinete adds, “It feels very weird to hear this man has died. You’re not happy because your principles and your values do not allow you to say you’re happy, but I do feel peace.”
Molinete says he doesn’t plan on going back to his native country despite Castro’s death. He also says there are many Cubans celebrating the passing of Castro. And knows that’s one of the privileges that we have in our democracy.