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Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy (Carlos Eire, 2010) spacer Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy (Carlos Eire, 2010)
BY: Denis Haack
The cruelties of the Nazis are well known, and it is just as well since they must never be repeated. The cruelties of the Marxists seem less rooted in our collective consciousness, but that is not because Communism was kinder than National Socialism. Both ideologies extracted more than their share of bloodshed and both must be remembered as experiments in social engineering that reduced human beings to the status of mere objects. Nazism is by and large past, except for the occasional skinheads for whom brute power has become a god. Communism however, still remains in power, in the collective famine known as North Korea and in the isolated island that resides a mere 90 miles off the coast of Florida known as Cuba.

In 1962, three years after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, over 14,000 unaccompanied children were flown out of Cuba to the United States. Though life had its difficulties under the dictatorship of Batista, the people of Cuba could see that life under Castro would be far worse and wanted to get out. Some parents were able to follow their children into exile later, but many were not. The harsh fragmentation of families this exile represents is one of the bitter legacies of the Castro regime in particular, and of Marxism in general.

One of the children on board the airplanes flying from Cuba to America was an eleven year-old boy named Carlos Eire. Today he is the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, and author of two memoirs that tell the story of his part in the airlift known to history as Operation Peter Pan. His parents thought Carlos and his brother would be able to return relatively soon, as soon as Castroís Communist government was overthrown. That, of course, was not to be. Years later Carlosí mother was able to join her sons in America, but the boys never saw their father again.

Eire begins the story of his forced exile in Waiting for Snow in Havana (2003), a brilliant memoir that reads like a novel and is all the more poignant for being a true story. Now, Eire continues his story in Learning to Die in Miami (2010). Like all exiles, he discovered that if he was to begin a new life in a new place he first must die, to Cuba and to a past that was no more and could never be recovered.

Eire tells a story that is as painful as it is hopeful, a narrative that is unlike anything I have ever experienced and yet accessible because it partakes of the essential vitality of what it means to be human in a badly broken world. It is a story that needed to be told. And it is a story that must never be forgotten.



Recommended book: Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy by Carlos Eire (New York, NY: Free Press; 2010) 304 pages.
about the author
Denis Haack
Denis is the author of The Rest of Success: What the World Didnít Tell You About Having It All and has written articles for such journals as Reformation & Revival Journal, Eternity, Covenant, and World. He holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.
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Ransom Fellowship
Ransom Fellowship
spacer On August 18, 2015, our dear friend, sweet pastor, and respected Ransom Board member, Ed Hague, passed from this life into the next. Even as his cancer progressed he was hopeful, certain that grace was capable of not merely healing the brokenness but of overcoming death.

We grieve, and feel the loss deeply. We also are comforted by the assurance that Ed has been welcomed home and is now in the presence of the King he adored and served so faithfully. It is this hope, and the Christian faith that gives rise to it that we celebrate and explore on this site.

Denis & Margie Haack
Anita Gorder

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