Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Family - I'm So Tired of my Involement in Doping - but I can't end it

Does anyone who reads this blog realize that I'm married to an amazing woman, who was herself a world class rider, comparatively better than me as an athlete and an all-around-good person? The only problem was that she is Cuban and I am American. I was recently asked if I was divorced, because it said in my wikipedia that my wife, Yuliet, and I were separated or something. Well, yes, we are separated by the evil tyranny of the Castro regime in Cuba and the inefficient system in place by the US to grant visa's to the foreign spouses of US citizens. I haven't seen Yuliet for nearly three years, our last reunion being in late-2006. Emigration plans were in place, and she might have been in the US that spring - but for the fact that she became pregnant.

If the Cuban and US bureaucracies would have gotten off their collective asses and considered this situation for what it really was, maybe they would have showed a bit of humanity to get Yuliet out then and there, but they didn't. By the time the US papers were ready (and I commend the staff of the USIS in Havana for their self-less efforts on behalf of my wife), the Cuban papers weren't, and probably never will be. Eventually, too pregnant to travel, Yuliet gave birth to a boy in Cuba in July 2007. Two years and around two months have passed, and yet I've never held him in my arms. But he kept calling me "Papa, Papa!" during one of these rare phone calls we can make work. There might be internet in hotels and state offices in Cuba, but the normal, average Cuban is lucky to find food on a daily basis - let alone have access to email and broadband.

If you're ignorant of the horror of the modern Cuba, visit The Real Cuba. I competed (doped and clean ) in the Vuelta a Cuba five times, and with my own eyes I saw the deprivations that Castro claims don't exist there.Yet Cuba has the potential to be the most beautiful country in the world. If my shit was together, and there was a foreign multi-national hiring MBA students to work in Cuba, I'd be there in a second. Three years without my wife and the son Ive never seen, who called me "Papa! Papa!" tonight , have left me a tormented man. Trying to be correct and proper we did our best to follow the legal process for securing Yuliet's departure from Cuba. If I came from a family of means, I would have paid a team of mercenaries to extract her and our child from a remote beach somewhere so we could be reunited... Powerball loterry anyone?

SO if you think I am dick or a jerk or a putz as a result of our having an interaction at some point during these last three years, keep in mind that I'm very negatively affected, always by the notion that my wife and I, who love each other very much, stand little change of being reunited again. That weighs heavy on my heart, and it's a big reason why I don't write much about Cuba anymore here at Pappillon.

The reason I don't write about my family here is because to do so forces me to confront the terrible, horrible pain that accompanies the impotency of not being able to free your wife and a little two-year old boy from the clutches of a tyranny only 90 miles south of Miami.


  1. Man, I truely feel for you and hope from the bothem of my heart that you reunite with your family soon and have a beautiful life.

  2. I hope the best for you. I could not imagine the torment of not having my family.
    Best of luck.

  3. Joe, I truly wish you only the best this world has to offer, you truly deserve it! KEEP the faith! I will say a few prayers for you. Mike

  4. Yea my brother, I didn't ask about it when we last spoke for fear of irritating that wound, but I think of your situation often. I'll be praying for you and your family.


  6. Joey- I have refrained from asking; you told me it was to painful to discuss. I am glad to have some answers, yet pained by the absence you bear. I cannot imagine being separated from my daughter for more than a day, let alone nearly three years. I pray for you and your family, for thier health and safety in that far away place, and for a timely and safe return to you.


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