Member Story: Emilio Guerra—Coral Gables, FL

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In Member Stories

The Guerra family in 1961.

The Guerra family in 1961.

It was at an event in Seattle, Washington this summer that Emilio Guerra, a Patriot’s Club member of The Heritage Foundation, ran into Heritage President Jim DeMint in a hotel lobby.

Guerra recognized DeMint and chatted briefly with him. “Jim is a person you immediately connect with because he’s just a good human being,” Guerra said. After they exchanged e-mails, Guerra shared his inspirational story that should make every American proud of our country.

Guerra was born in Cuba to a middle class family. Because of their experiences under dictator Fulgencio Batista, some Cubans were happy when Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. But Guerra’s father, a banker, foresaw the dangers of the Castro dictatorship.

After the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Castro cracked down. He issued an edict demanding children attend government “reeducation” camps to defend and promote the revolution.

Guerra’s father knew he had to get his children — Emilio and David — out of the country. Armed with the knowledge that the Archdiocese of Miami and other Catholic charities were receiving Cuban children and finding them foster homes, the elder Guerra used a ruse to send his children overseas. (Adults were forbidden to leave the country in a measure intended to combat the country’s “brain drain,” so his parents did not accompany their children at first.)

Here’s how Guerra described what happened next in a letter sent this July to all his co-workers: Continue Reading »

Mike Gonzalez: Helping America ‘Maintain Its Freedom’

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In Other Work of Note

Heritage Vice President Mike Gonzalez. Photo: Chas Geer

Heritage Vice President Mike Gonzalez. Photo: Chas Geer

Remembering his childhood in communist-run Cuba, Heritage Foundation Vice President Mike Gonzalez describes very personal experiences with the terrors of government gone wrong.

“It’s funny because I learned the values of small government by seeing government out of control,” he says.

Sitting at his desk on a Wednesday afternoon, Gonzalez, who oversees Heritage’s communications efforts, explains what it was like growing up in Cuba and how it shaped his life and outlook on politics. He speaks about why he is a conservative, what makes him passionate about working at Heritage, the country he so dearly loves and the need to explain conservative policy to all audiences. Continue Reading »

Lee Edwards Helps Launch Gulag Exhibit at the Reagan Library

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In Other Work of Note

For decades, the gulag system of forced labor camps brutalized the Soviet people. These camps claimed the lives of millions.

The Reagan Presidential Library is now exhibiting 13 haunting paintings by former gulag prisoner Nikolai Getman. Getman painted in secret for 40 years behind the Iron Curtain to communicate the horrors of the gulag, constantly fearing for his life at the hands of the KGB.

The Heritage Foundation was honored to exhibit Getman’s work for several years, and Heritage scholar and historian Lee Edwards spoke at the opening of the Gulag Collection at the Reagan Library.

Watch a video of Edwards’ speech at the collection opening:

The Heritage Foundation was Ronald Reagan’s favorite think tank. He relied on Heritage analysis to implement his conservative agenda, and he enacted two-thirds of the recommendations in our 1981 book, Mandate for Leadership.

With the opening of this collection, Heritage continues its relationship with Reagan’s legacy.

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