I was in Cuba on the day President Kennedy was killed
President Kennedy was killed in Dallas this week in 1963.
Yes, I remember that day. We were in Cuba waiting for "el telegrama," the telegram with the official authorization to leave the country. Between the Missile Crisis of 1962 and the Freedom Flights in 1965, Cubans had to get special permission to leave the country. We could take a plane to Mexico City, Madrid or risk getting on a boat and hit the dangerous waters of the Florida Straits.
In the early afternoon, my brother and I were lying down on the living room floor. The phone rang, and my mom answered. She said, "Mataron a Kennedy" or "They Killed Kennedy." My mom put the phone down, and there was a long silence. My father came home a bit later.
Later that day, I watched Castro on TV talking about the assassination. I did not really understand the ramifications of the day's events, but my dad watched TV and seemed worried.
We sat around and listened to "The Voice of America" shortwave in Spanish. My memory is scant, but I do recall hearing my parents say President Kennedy's body had landed in Washington with the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, on board.
Last, but not least, I listened to my father and a couple of neighbors say Castro would be blamed and Cuba invaded. Apparently, Castro thought the same thing, according to files released much later.
It just does not seem possible that it happened so many years ago. My father is now gone, and my mother remembers the moment.
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