An American woman’s memories of communist Cuba

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Maria (Yabor) Hormilla stands with her son, Julio, in early 1960s Cuba. Photo courtesy of Natalie Hormilla

Maria (Yabor) Hormilla stands with her son, Julio, in early 1960s Cuba. Photo courtesy of Natalie Hormilla

copyright the Chronicle January 7, 2015

Editor’s note: Maria Hormilla is the paternal grandmother of Natalie Hormilla. This interview reflects but a small portion of her experiences in Cuba.

by Natalie Hormilla

Ask Maria Hormilla of Cranford, New Jersey, what she thinks of the United States normalizing relations with Cuba, and she answers with a question.

“Why now?”

It’s a move that comes too late to repair the damage done to her and her family, and to people in her home country after Fidel Castro came into power in 1959, she said.

Mrs. Hormilla emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba with her young son in 1968. That was seven years after her husband came to the U.S. and nine years after Fidel Castro’s communist government began the reforms that forever changed Cuba.

She was born in a very different Cuba than the one people know now.

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