Dripping River Water


An Open Letter to Cuban-Americans June 22, 2008

I come to you with an open heart knowing that what binds us is being Cuban and American. Having those two things in common we also have many differences. It is 2008, our families and ourselves have been immigrating to this country for decades now. We have come before the Cuban Revolution with a family history in the tobacco industry, right at the start of the Cuban Revolution leaving everything behind, on Peter Pan, for economic reasons, for political reasons, en el Mariel, on balsas, on planes and crossing borders illegally. Some of us haven’t even been to Cuba. Our status in the United States also varies from economics, education, gender identity, politics, race, sexuality and spiritual beliefs. We all don’t fit into one category. We are just as diverse as humanity. We all may not agree and we are not afraid to show it but when the end of the day comes we must accept and celebrate our differences.

I come to you with an open heart to ask you to vote for Barack Obama in this coming presidential election. Change needs to happen in this country and Barack Obama can help facilitate that change. He can not do it alone and he doesn’t want to. He wants us to be part of the political process. I have always lived on the hyphen not knowing which identity to dangle on: Cuban or American. I am thirty-two now and have resolved many of my identity issues. I know that I am a unique mixture of both. Not every Cuban-American is the same. The United States is my home and it is here that I must work to bring about change. I write this letter with an open heart because I believe that you can also be part of the change this country needs by supporting Barack Obama.

There are many reasons why I believe that Barack Obama should be president of the United States. I will highlight a few.

1-He’s a good person. Maybe you are surprised that being a good person is on the top of my list for who should be president of the United States. Eight years of George W Bush has led many residents and citizens of the United States to mistrust our government. Barack Obama comes from a hard working family like many of us do. He has struggled to get a good education and uses his knowledge and experience to help others. He is an excellent father and husband. He labors for his community. He believes in the unity of the American people.

2-He is invested in the education of young people. Not all of us have the opportunity to a good education. There are children in this country that are learning in overcrowded classrooms with underpaid teachers who don’t understand them. There are young people who drop out of high school and end up on the streets, a low end job or in jail. There are young people that still don’t know how to read. My parents struggled financially but they managed to send me to Catholic school. Not that it was the best education but it kept me in school and I am thankful for that. There are children whose only option is the public education school system that is failing them.

Barack Obama plans to expand the early childhood education by supporting parents, expand Head Start and provide high quality childcare to working families. He plans to reform the failing No Child Left Behind Act, make math and science a priority, he will fund schools to implement better programs and education to lessen the high school drop out crisis.

“Obama will Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Obama will also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of enrollment by using prior year’s tax data to deliver the credit when tuition is due.”

I have $100,000 worth of college loans to pay. That’s a done deal I have to pay it. I don’t want another person to struggle to get an education in this country. I want our people to have the opportunity to finish high school, get a college education, get a masters degree, get a PhD, become a lawyer, a doctor, an architect. I want us all to have that opportunity and so does Barack Obama.

3-Barack Obama will bring the troops home. I don’t agree with the war in Iraq. It has killed many lives and destroyed families. It has affected people living In Iraq and people living in the United States. The war that should have never started must end. The only way to help Iraq is for the United States to leave. He will implement programs to help the 2 million Iraqi refugees and the other 2 million who are displaced in their own countries. By leaving he will give Iraqis the opportunity to heal and reconstruct their government and lives on their own terms.

4-Barack Obama will strengthen our civil rights. Too many of us are subjected to discrimination because of our skin color, our accents, our race and ethnicity.

“Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that curtails racial minorities’ and women’s ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

He will end racial profiling in federal law agencies and implement programs and incentives to state and local agencies to also end racial profiling.

5- Obama will make healthcare available to everyone. My father was a baker and he developed asthma because of his work. He always stressed the importance of healthcare because it was a necessity to him. I try to eat well, excercise, I don’t smoke or drink so I am pretty healthy. But I need new glasses, I had to pay out of pocket to fix my teeth. I don’t have healthcare because I have chosen to eat instead of paying for health insurance. Not all of us have the opportunity to access good healthcare in the country. Barack Obama will make available a national healthcare plan that serves all Americans. He will also make it mandatory for children to be insured and young people up to 25 years old to stay on their parents’ insurance.

6-Barack Obama will change policies towards Cuba. Now this is where I might hit your soft spot but remember I come to you with an open heart. We have all been affected by the embargo on Cuba. All Cubans, on and off the island. It has been over 40 years that the United States has not had a relationship with Cuba. This hasn’t been the best tactic. My parents came here in the 70s. The Cuban government did not want them to go back. They said if you leave it will be forever. My parents took that risk because they didn’t want my brother to go without milk. My father wanted to aventurar. My mother couldn’t take to stand in one more cola and worry that she will get arrested for buying meat en la calle.

When a group of Cuban-Americans had secret talks with Fidel Castro that led to him opening up the country to exiles my parents went back. So, did I for the first time. I was born in Brooklyn, New York but I didn’t learn English until I started kindergarten. I went to Cuba at ages three and five believing that I was just Cuban. There I was called la yanqui. I remember being five and mad at Fidel for not letting us go back sooner. It has always been a back and forth between both countries. Sometimes it’s Cuba sometimes it is the US. There are many of us that remember the 5 minute phone calls that we made to our families in Cuba through Canada that cost $40. We remember that we couldn’t send money. We remember the telegrams, the letters in international envelopes, the stories our parents told us about how they grew up in Cuba. I was filled with these stories growing up and I also had memories of my own. One of my brothers was raised in Cuba and I had my abuelas, tias, tios and primos to think about.

Cuba has always been in my heart, its sugar runs through my veins. I go back to Cuba as often as I can. My family buys clothes all year long to send to our family in Cuba when someone goes back. We send packages of medicine, letters filled with love. We can now write to each other over email. I call mi primo on his cell phone. I have dreams that I am at my Tia’s house for a long weekend. I want to see my family more frequently. I also want them to come here.

I write to you with an open heart to say that US policies on Cuba does not work. There has been no change just frustration. Opening relations with Cuba will not give the Cuban government more power it will just let them be. We may not agree with the Cuban government but its their government. We left and have to make our homes here. En Cuba people say, No es facil. Its true Cuba can be very difficult but the US government continue to impose sanctions that hurt the Cuban people doesn’t make their lives any easier.

I wish Barack Obama would have stuck with his first plan to lift the sanctions on Cuba. He changed his stance and that happens. We are allowed to change our minds. He does want to lift travel restrictions. We need the opportunity to go back to Cuba freely. Every American should be given that right. As Cuban-Americans we can no longer dream of a Cuba from before. The past will never come back. There is still beauty and life in Cuba. We need to experience that. Every time I am in Cuba I realize how American I am. Every time I am in Cuba I wish I could be closer. I wish I could feel the salt from the ocean on my skin, hear the Cuban sounds in heartbeats. I wish there wasn’t a barrier for me being Cuban.

Barack Obama also wants to have a dialogue with Raul Castro. Some of us do not want this to happen unless Cuba agrees to change. But how can change happen without a dialogue? How can we really force people to change? Change comes from within. It does not come from outside forces. Just think of the little things that weren’t working for you. Did you change them because someone ignored you, yelled at you, gave you an ultimatum? Or did you change because you knew for yourself it would be the best thing for you?

In the United States people are going hungry, children aren’t in school, people are left to choose crime over a low end job. Thousands of young people are choosing the military because they can’t afford college. Gas prices are so high I wish I didn’t have una madre que tenia dolor de los nervios that couldn’t teach me how to ride a bike. Change needs to happen in this country. Barack Obama as president will facilitate that change. You can be part of that change. We must invest in our lives and the lives of the future generations. Our families came to this country for opportunity. We came because we believed in the American dream. Sometimes it feels like a nightmare. I don’t want my reality to be a dream or a nightmare. I want to go to sleep at the end of the day and feel that my life is rich. Not economically but spiritually. Part of this richness is to serve and bringing change to the country will fulfill that.

Mi gente, I do write to you with a open heart and I ask for you to question, to research, to not believe the propaganda against Barack Obama and find out what is really going on. I ask you to go to Barack Obama’s website and read more on his issues: I ask that you support Barack Obama and tell others why they should too. Read his books go on YouTube and watch his speeches. I ask you to open your hearts as well. Please vote for Barack Obama.

I pray that you will always be filled with light, that your hearts are swollen with love, that your souls are lifted and your minds at ease.


con mucho amor cubano,
Maceo Cabrera Estevez


All quotes are taken from the Issues section of the Barack Obama website: http://www.barackobama.com


Selfish Cuban-Americans and Barack Obama June 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 8:24 am
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When Elian Gonzalez was rescued years back I knew this was what Miami Cubans were waiting for. And to start off right, I don’t mean all Miami Cubans because my mami lives there and she is not one of the Miami Cubans I am talking about. I mean Miami Cubans that spend their days talking about Fidel and what they are going to do to bring democracy to Cuba. From the get-go I knew that Elian needed to be with his father in Cuba. That was the right thing to do and it would be done if Elian was from another country. Pero, no, the Miami Cubans didn’t think this and Elian Gonzalez was paraded all through the news with lots of candy and trips to Disney. Elian was the revenge they were waiting for. Elian was the way they can say, “Vayate a la mierda, Fidel, esta vez nosotros vamos a ganar.” Although I am glad that the US decided to give him back to his father in Cuba I am not happy with the way they took away Elian.

Several years have passed, there are more Cubans living in Miami that don’t have such strong anti-Cuban government views. People want to help their families survive in Cuba, they want to be able to travel freely and not once every three years to see an immediate family member. The climate in Miami is changing. Alhumdulilah. So why is it that there’s going to be a protest at Barack Obama’s visit to Miami on Saturday, June 21, 2008? Why?
Because “At issue are foreign-policy advisor Greg Craig, who represented Elián’s father in the custody battle with the Miami relatives, and legal advisor Eric Holder, a member of Obama’s vice-presidential search committee who was deputy attorney general when the 6-year-old boy was seized by federal agents and returned to Cuba.”-Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald

The article’s headline says “Some Cuban Americans” which is a blessing but still will these people just let things rest? Every time I go to Miami I am amazed with the amount of Cuban American poverty that is never mentioned when talking about Cuban Americans in Miami. I am so upset about this protest because they aren’t even protesting anything that Barack Obama believes in. They are protesting that he works with two people that were involved in the Elian case. Do they run their whole lives like this? How selfish can they be? Barack Obama will bring so much change to this country. So much change that will affect all of us including Cubans and Cuban Americans living in the US.

Every time I see a video in support of Barack Obama I cry. I cry because I believe in him. I cry because he has brought back hope to my life. I cry because for the first time in my adult life I am REALLY proud to be American. Thank you Michelle Obama. I cry because he is gifted, he is blessed, he has a light shining on him and surrounding him and coming through him. He is not perfect. I don’t agree with everything he believes in pero he can resurrect this country and bring about change in this world.

When Barack Obama won the nomination to run for President my mami called me to congratulate me. Not that I worked on the campaign. All I did was pray but she called because she knew that I believed in Barack Obama therefore she believed in him as well. My papi called as well he left a message saying that he was fine and Barack Obama won the nomination so everything was now fine. He congratulated me as well. All I did was pray. I always believed in Barack Obama but I didn’t believe that they were going to give him the nomination because someone is always pulling something in order to win. So, I didn’t want to believe it was true until i read it with my own eyes. I couldn’t sleep. I cried again.

Change is gonna come.

Some of my family is republican. Hopefully not a whole bunch. I went to Miami in February and I saw one of my uncles. He said, that’s it I am not voting for a Republican ever again. i am done with them. Good for you, I told him. And I was like, damn, it took 8 years of Bush to get people to stop voting Republican. So, since my uncle came to his senses I am wondering what is going on with these selfish Cuban-Americans in Miami that are protesting Barack Obama’s visit to Miami? Why haven’t they come to their senses? Is it that they can’t stand the fact of having a Black president? Is it that they just can’t let go? Is it that they keep on failing in throwing down the Cuban government so they have to do something here?

When Barack Obama got the nomination I made a promise that I would do something to get him elected. I will not fall into the trap that there are too many racist people in this country so he will never be president. No, I will do something so my parents can congratulate me for helping him get elected not just praying for it.

I believe that there will be more supporters than protestors. That people will change their mind. I believe that Barack Obama will be our next president. And yes, I am crying while writing these words because I feel its power. Barack Obama, US President. May God read my words.

the end.


Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet video June 15, 2008

AMOR CUBANO: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet.

Written and performed by Maceo Cabrera Estévez

Directed by Eric Avilés

With live and video performances by: Elliot “Toby” Borrero, Christy Beavers, Oscar Trujillo, Randall Babtkis, Carolyn Cooke, Mekael Johnson, Micaela Diaz-Sanchez, Rosa Gonzalez, Brendon DeMay, Cynthia Renta, Leilani Nisperos, Leydisvel Freire Peña, Salam Hassan, Amos Glick, Eric Avilés and Gonzalo Cabrera.

Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet, a multimedia theater performance, takes you into the world of Barbarita Perales- creator of Amor Cubano, the only product that puts the essence of all that’s Cuban in a bottle, a tube and a small packet and sells it on an infomercial. Amor Cubano is so powerful it can make Berkeley people have bed-breaking sex, stop cops from shutting down the immigrant rights rally and make your Castro-hating Cuban mom wise up. But can it bring Barbarita’s son home from Iraq? Is it powerful enough to end the war and stop Homeland Security from deporting Barbarita? Amor Cubano: in a bottle, a tube and a small packet, a hilarious mediation on what it means to be Cuban, and a prayer to end war in our time.

Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet


In November, 2007 the full length production of Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet was part of the Hecho en Califas Festival at La Peña Cultural Center was also performed in the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco, CA. Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet took the Bay Area by storm by showing that not only Amor Cubano can make your arthritis go away and beat the effects of Viagra it also caused thousands of US soldiers to drop their arms ending the war in Iraq.

Maceo Cabrera Estévez in her writing and performance shows not only the complexities of being Cuban but also the complexities of living in the United States. She intertwines consumerism, capitalism, spirituality love, laughter, tears and Caribbean sense of humor to entertain her audience but all give the message that love always wins. Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet was Eric Aviles’ directorial debut. He pushed Maceo not only to play Barbarita Perales but also Emma Goldberg, an older Jewish communist who knew about Amor Cubano before it was packaged, Lt. Caridad Lourdes Rodriguez, a former US soldier who gives testimony on the crimes in the war and her reasons for dropping her arms and Bob Buchannan a Texan supporter of Barbarita who wants to use her status to build CheMarts in Cuba. Eric Avilés also worked in the development the testimonies and news briefings on the effects of Amor Cubano with actors such as Rosa Gonzalez of HeadRush and people of the artist and activist community who wanted to be part of Amor Cubano.

Commemorating the five years anniversary on the war in Iraq, Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet had its first weekend run at La Peña Cultural Center, March 27-29, 2008. Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet plans to tour till November, 2008 across the United States. This play has live and video subtitles in English and Spanish with a little bit of Arabic.

For more info and booking: or

Contact: info@amorcubano.org


Loving Day June 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 6:23 pm
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Yesterday I performed at Queer Loving: A Celebration of Mixed Race Identities.  An event part of the Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco.  Queer Loving celebrated the 41st anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, the historic US Supreme Court case legalizing interracial marriage. Before June 12th, 1967 interracial marriages were illegal in many states, with punishments ranging from fines to prison sentences of up to five years. Through multimedia performances, Queer Loving explored the relationships mixed race queers form with our friends, lovers, and families as people whose racial identities are often ambiguous, exotified, and contested.

Mildred Loving who brought this case up to the Supreme Court died last month.  

I have been intrigued by her and wish I knew more than the little I know about the case. For Queer Loving I decided to read a monologue I wrote in honor of Mildred Loving. Enjoy.

On Loving
Written by: Maceo Cabrera Estévez

Charles Richardson
No that’s not her.

Amy Lou Roberts
Beloved wife and mother of three.
Nope not her.

Sylvia Higgins

Rhonda Taylor

What would my tombstone say:
Alicia Santos
The greatest daughter ever, an amazing lover and owner of fabulous shoes.

Alright, let me try to find this:

Sheila Quiñones


Mildred Loving

God, I came here to talk to Mrs. Loving, I hope you understand and don’t get jealous. You know I love you and I promise when I get home we can talk. Thanks, God.

Hello Mrs. Loving, this is me, Alicia Santos. You didn’t know me when you were alive. I actually didn’t know about you either. And I just read about you and something told me I should come here and talk to you. I hope you don’t mind since I am not a relative or something.
I came all the way from Brooklyn to see you. Kinda unexpected. Well, you see, even though you are dead I kinda felt like you could give me some answers. Don’t go popping out of your grave and stuff. Alright?

Mrs Loving, you did a really good thing, you know. I know you weren’t trying to be all political and stuff, neither am I but what you did was huge. Why didn’t I learn about Loving vs Virginia in school? What else didn’t I learn?

This is my situation. I really like this… Person. Well, actually I think it’s more than like coz I get butterflies in my stomach, my heart beats fast and I think about them all the time. That’s not infatuation, right? Well, this Person knows that I feel this way. You know we’re together. Not in that like lets get married and have 10 million babies type of together but more like let’s have fun and see where this goes together. So, everything is cool between us, right.

And then my moms has to get all in my business. I don’t know what type of relationship you had with your daughter but my mother drives me crazy. She blames it on menopause but the constant, mijita por donde andas, mijita que haces, mijita remember your mother is always your best friend. Sorry, Mrs Loving, I am not sure if you know Spanish but I think you can get my drift. Well, my ex best friend Sonia told her mother who told Raquel at la bodega who told my Tia who told my three years old niece who told my moms that I am dating. So Mami had to get all in my business, right and I told her. Ay Mrs Loving with a name like yours I don’t think you could ever be like my Mami. She flipped out. The fuck out. God please forgive me I don’t mean to curse at a nice dead lady’s grave. Mrs Loving I almost got beaten with a chancleta even though I am 22 coz This Person is Pakistani, Muslim and a woman. I am Puerto Rican and Catholic. Oh and a woman, too just in case you didn’t know. What could I do? I fell in love with Asma. Ooh, I said it, I love Asma. So it’s not infactuation, right? She’s just so smart and has all the right things to say and her skin is so soft and she gives sweet little kisses and we talk about the earth and how we want to leave Brooklyn and even though we pray differently being with her brings me closer to God.

After almost beating me with the chancleta mami tried to blame it on her menopause and she said all she was worried about is that her grandkids might come out all confused. Mami, we haven’t even gotten there yet. I don’t know if we can afford artificial insemination. And then she tried to beat me with the chancleta again. She tried to tell me that our family has only been with Puerto Ricans. And said that Asma’s family would probably not be happy with this either. I had to remind her how Abuelo didn’t want my papi to marry her because she was darker than him. And I had to remind her how she felt so bad for her best friend Cynthia who was sent back to Puerto Rico because she was dating a Chinese guy. How she said that she never saw Cynthia so happy and he was a nice man that treated her right. And then she put her head down and said, I know. And then I told her, actually, Mami I met Asma’s family and they were nice to me plus she has three sisters and all of them are lesbians. And then she banged the chancleta on the table and said, I don’t know if I am more mad that you are a lesbian or that you might move to California where there are earthquakes to get married. She finally let go of the chancleta and cried. And that was it.

I was gonna go to my Titi’s house but then got on a bus and came here. Mrs Loving, I don’t know what to do and I know what to do all at the same time. Ay, how did you do it? Ok, ok, don’t tell me. To tell you the truth I am a bit freaked out in cemeteries but I figured you’re important and stuff so it’s ok.

You know it must be nice that you are back home with your husband. Ok, I am just gonna take it easy. Yes, ma’am I’ll listen to you, I might have given mami enough time to figure it out. And all I need to worry is that Asma and I will be loving to each other. Damn, you got a better name than me, Santos, I gotta be all saintly and shit. Sorry, God, please forgive me. Ok, thanks for listening. You really helped me out.


© 2008 Maceo Cabrera Estévez







A House of My Own June 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 1:46 am
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I want a house.  Not a crooked house.  Not a house on Mango Street.  I want a house that I can call my own with jasmine flowers flowing in the front, fruit trees in the back and love all in it and around it.

Ever since I was a kid I wanted a house.  I drew a house with many different rooms, probably different levels.  Nothing that resembled my two bedroom apt at the time.  Mami knew then I would be something if I wanted a house like that.  So, I wanted a house and I wanted a house.  I wanted a house when I would go to my friends’ houses.  I wanted a house when they would come in my home and always note that I lived in an apt.  I wanted a house when I couldn’t play in the concrete backyard that was shared by all but used by none.  I wanted a house when I would spend time with my aunts in Florida and their houses had marble and tile that you can slide on.  With big fridges and lots of food. In the back there was a pool.  And I knew somehow I would have to get a house.

But then I stopped wanting a house when I went to college and I got into credit card debt.  Smart credit card companies giving credit cards to poor 18 years olds that don’t know how to handle money.  Oh, it’s not like food stamps?  And I knew I couldn’t get a house with my lousy non profit salary.  I no longer wanted to be an international corporate lawyer.  No, I came to my senses but not having any money wasn’t part of the plan.  I lived that already.  Things were suppose to change as an adult.

But I wasn’t an adult then.  Not at 22 not at 23 not at 24.  It was the morning of my 27th birthday when I realized that i was an adult and I had to make some changes.  Saturn return will do that.

When I sat in the chair at la espiritista’s house and cried because everything was all so familiar, she told me that in two years I should be living in a house.  That was Nov 26, 2006.  She said, you don’t have to own it. Rent it but have a house.  I don’t think that will happen this November but anything is possible.

I am staying in Marin for a few days.  I am here at a house that I can pretend is mine.  I can open the gate and walk to the house and as I walk I can look at the beauty of the trees.  I can smell the flowers.  I can be happy to call this home for a bit.  I can sit on the deck and eat my dinner and write my blog and drink my water and listen to the birds chirp and hope that the bee won’t sting me and lean back and know that someday this could be mine.  No, not this house, not a crooked house, not a house on Mango Street but a house of my own.

I talked to God and told Him what I wanted.  I actually cried about it.  Not that I’m gonna cry so i can get my way cry but more like wow, i realized i really do want this type of cry.  That I am going to tell you all my desires type of cry.  That I will let go and dare type of cry.  I know He listens and gives me what I want.  Of course a house is not gonna walk over to me.  I have to work it.  Like my brother says, we were given gifts but we got to work them.

Maybe it won’t be this November because this November I plan to be in Morocco, Inshallah.  Pero maybe before I am 40 or before I am 50 or before I die.  I just know I can’t let this dream go.

The end.



All you need is Amor Cubano Interview June 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 6:18 am
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My friend, Mel Campagna, just blogged an interview with me.  it is so great when you get to work with your loved ones.