America needs spirit, courage of Cuban group
The other day one of those remarkable stories about people wanting to come to America was reported. It involved 11 Cubans who tried to take a boat to Florida. That's not that unusual in itself - many Cubans have tried to sail to America. In this instance, however, the "boat" was a converted 1950s Buick - yep, a Buick!
The group was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and sent back to their homeland, as required by our immigration laws. We think instead the government should have brought the men who created the floating car to Washington and penned a medal on them for their creativity and courage.
It was not the first time the two men who converted the car to a boat had tried to make the trip. It was reported they did the same thing last summer and with the same result - caught and deported. That time they used a 1951 Chevy pickup with pontoons on it. The pontoons were made from 55-gallon fuel drums.
The two men brought their families, as did another couple, when they set off for America in their Buick. There was undoubtedly danger, especially if a storm materialized, but the actions of the group were defended by a relative in Cuba, who told Associated Press, "My uncle is very brave. He is not irresponsible.
There is no danger to the children. The car is very safe."
What spirit! What innovation! These people were willing to risk everything to get to America.
These are the things that have made America great, as repeated waves of immigrants have brought that spirit, innovation and a desire to work hard to make good. We sometimes forget that America has been a nation of immigrants from its very beginnings - people who were seeking an opportunity and freedom.
The desperation of the Cuban group says a lot about the conditions in their homeland, as well as the lure of America. Freedom and economic opportunity are tremendous incentives, and it is doubtful any nation offers more of these than the United States.
We know some will have no sympathy for the Buick group. After all, they were breaking our immigration laws. But they represent the kind of people America needs in order to remain vital and energetic. We hope if they have the courage to try the trip again that they will not be turned back.