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Your Views: Lessons from Cuba apply to US election
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I am a Cuban-American who left his homeland 49 years ago and is grateful to this great country for all the opportunities provided to my family and me. I also am proud to be an American citizen.

As Election Day draws nearer, and I continue to read and hear about economic fallouts, bailouts and that "change" is needed, I remember of what happened in Cuba when a young, eloquent leader was telling Cubans that we needed "a change" based on redistributing the class wealth. By the time he was done, all Cubans were equally poor, which also carried the loss of our human dignity.

Contrary to the thoughts of many, Cuba's economy prior to Fidel Castro, was very favorable and not a casino-only island, as people were led to believe. Here are some facts: Cuba had a higher per capita income than half of Europe; the lowest inflation rate in the Western Hemisphere; a huge influx of immigrants; a larger middle class than Switzerland; and workers enjoyed the eighth-best industrial wages in the world.

After Castro was done, Cuba was only favorable to Haiti.

I am retired now, but after working for 40-plus years in this country with colleagues from Western Europe, I recall our conversations about 10 percent-plus unemployment and 50 percent-plus taxes. So I would not go there for pointers on socialist measures.

Based on our and many other Cuban families' experience, I feel frustrated and concerned over what is happening in this country. I hear the same statements about "change" from one of the presidential candidates. By the way, Castro's endorsement in the Cuban newspaper, Granma, said "Obama is the most progressive candidate for the U.S. presidency."

While Castro was talking about "change," we Cubans did not question who his friends were. As I searched thru Sen. Barack Obama's history of associations, I noted a radical racist preacher as his mentor (Rev. Jeremiah Wright); a self-proclaimed terrorist (William Ayers); a well-known anti-Semite (Louis Farrakhan), PLO group member (Rashid Khalidi), Islamist thug prime minister of Kenya (Raila Odinga); a convicted illegal fundraiser (Tony Rezko); a radical group investigated for voter fraud (ACORN); and former execs of Fannie Mae and now his advisers (Franklin Raines, Tim Howard, Jim Johnson).

Do the research and do not take my word for it; this is important. If we had questioned Castro at that time, we would have arrived to the conclusion that he was a communist and not a Christian, as we were led to believe. This was a lesson learned we Cubans will never forget.

As far as Obama's resume, previous work experience, achievements and references, I do not see the leadership credentials required to be commander in chief. When I looked at candidate applications for a leadership position in the company I directed here in Gainesville, I made sure that I reviewed the information closely to ensure that we would select the right person. We must all do that before we decide which candidate we will vote for.

As Election Day draws nearer, we must always remember that the foundations of our country are based on the values of life, faith and family, that we have a commitment to our Founding Fathers and to those who died for our freedom, to protect and strengthen these moral values and not redefine them.

I hope that the lessons learned from my experience will be helpful to some of you who share my same concerns.

Gustavo Menocal