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Among Cuban exiles, an old toast goes silent

December 29, 2013 • National News


A bottle of Cuban eggnog made by Cuban food blogger Marta Darby is photographed on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, in Mission Viejo, Calif. Darby will be making a toast to Cuba this year, accompanied with a glass of the rum-based eggnog known as the “creme de vie” or “cream of life.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

MIAMI (AP) — In their first years of exile from Cuba in the 1960s, Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s family uttered the toast as a wish they anxiously waited to fulfill.

Pérez Firmat’s parents and grandparents would proclaim “Next year in Cuba” as they lifted glasses of scotch at Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The words were uttered by thousands of Cubans who fled after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution and settled in Miami and other cities around the world. In those days, they believed it was only a matter of time before the revolution would blow over and they could all return to their island home.

More than five decades have now passed. Pérez Firmat’s parents are dead. He no longer makes the toast his father recited hopefully until his death in 2002.

“It would be too painful to do it today,” said Pérez Firmat, an author and professor at Columbia University.

As another year approaches, some Cuban exiles will still toast to return to a land they last saw decades Login to read more

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