Interview for

Eduardo Jerez

8/3/2020

Interviewed By:

Rosmeilyn Jerez

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 1:11:43
Summary

A Cuban refugee, Eduardo discusses his life growing up in rural Cuba, persecution by Communist militants, hiding his faith before coming to the United States, and the importance of family. He also discusses the power of storytelling between generations.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Eduardo Jerez

Date: 08/03/20

Location: Hialeah Gardens, FL


Content Warning: Some discussion of gun violence.

Summary: A Cuban refugee, Eduardo discusses his life growing up in rural Cuba, persecution by Communist militants, hiding his faith before coming to the United States, and the importance of family. He also discusses the power of storytelling between generations.

Topics: Education, Family, Childhood, Financial Struggles, Politics, Career, Immigration Process, Cultural Adjustment, Language, Healthcare, Pandemic, Religion, Violence.


Outline

Section 1: (00:00:00-00:10:12)

  • Education - Eduardo attended a “countryside school” and lived in a rural town, where grades one through six were taught in a single school room.

  • Family, Childhood - He was a very mischievous child and described his antics at home and at school.

Section 2: (00:10:12-00:19:48)

  • Family - Eduardo described living in the countryside, which was very “tranquil,” the hard work of cutting sugar cane, and making the trip into town via horseback.

  • Family - He began dating his now-wife as a teenager and would bring her soaps with heart-engravings.

Section 3: (00:19:48-00:28:01)

  • Family - Eduardo got married and started a family at a young age.

  • Education, Financial Struggles - Based on an academic points system, he studied law, but eventually left because of several difficulties, including financial ones.

Section 4: (00:28:01-00:42:45)

  • Politics, Career - Eduardo lost his job because of conflict with and discrimination by “party militants.”

  • Politics - He described the structure of party militants and why he feels the country is suffering politically.

  • Religion - Many homes in Cuba had “Jesus hearts,” including Eduardo’s, but these had to be hidden, and they were not allowed to go to church or participate in religious processions.

  • Politics, Violence - Eduardo believes that people should be allowed to own guns, since many Cubans had theirs taken away, but he believes large numbers of guns are unnecessary.

Section 5: (00:42:45-00:59:45)

  • Family, Immigration Process - Eduardo’s sons immigrated to the US, one through Mexico and the other on a raft. He and his wife applied as refugees because of his persecution. Since he was persecuted by the government, he could not find a job anywhere except working in the fields.

  • Family, Healthcare - He is very proud of his grandchildren, and he worked to make sure his granddaughter (the interviewer) had appropriate medical care in Havana. He discussed how healthcare in Cuba is often based on one’s relationships with doctors and spoke of the great lengths he went to in order to ensure his father had hip surgery.

Section 6: (00:59:45-01:11:36)

  • Pandemic - Eduardo is unsure about the Coronavirus situation and Cuba and expressed worry that he had been told misinformation about the virus.

  • Cultural Adjustment, Language - It was difficult to adjust to life in the United States, especially given the language barrier at his job at Publix. His grandson, who was born in the US, speaks both English and Spanish and translates for Eduardo.

  • Religion - Eduardo considers himself Catholic. For him, faith means what one believes, not if they go to church. Eduardo spoke about a negative experience in a church in the US and was told to come “better-dressed.” In Cuba, Eduardo’s faith was focused on charitable acts, like making breakfast for the elderly.

  • Family - Eduardo feels it is important to pass on stories from generation to generation, like he is doing in this oral history with his granddaughter.