December 20, 2014

Someone needs to explain to cable news talking heads that they don't get to advance spin some things, nor should they expect to.

It's not the Cuba policy Ed Lavandera is upset about; it's the way it was announced. Not enough bells and whistles, no falling wall, no shouts of joy at the gates.

It was just too low key for him. As a Cuban with family still on the island, he had imagined the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba as a bigger event.

To the families of Cuban exiles, the island is much more. It's a complex and sad reality. Cuba is not a novelty or an unchecked box on a bucket list. Cuba is the rhythmic heartbeat of a life lost long ago but still beating in our souls.

Castro's revolution split my family apart like so many others. I still have extended family in Cuba. I've had only a few chances to spend time with them. (I've worked as a journalist twice in Cuba, covering Pope John Paul II's visit in 1998 and former President Jimmy Carter's visit in 2002.) I'm the only person in my family who has traveled to Cuba since most of my family left.

All my life, I've wondered if this historic moment would ever come in my lifetime. In my mind, it was supposed to be a moment like the Berlin Wall coming down; a highly anticipated event the world would watch together. But instead, the news seemed to come out of thin air on the week before Christmas. Unexpected and unpredictable, that's the way it always seems to be with Cuba.

Sometimes, Ed, things don't happen the way they're supposed to, and it's a little unreasonable to expect they would. Not everything is a press event. Some things happen because the time is right, or the policy is ripe.

It's a little disturbing to have it become some kind of disappointment because it wasn't something the world watched together.

Get a grip.

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