Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent (...) and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars.
During casual conversations during the party I learnt that many of them are waiting for Fidel Castro to die in the hope of going back to their lands (yes, in plural, like the lands that belonged to them and that the Cuban revolution took from them). I even learnt that the City of Miami had to fold plans to use taxpayer money to host a celebration for the death of Castro in a local stadium (apparently there is something wrong with that).
Anyone who ever has had the pleasure of reading Cuban literature (from Alejo Carpentier to Reinaldo Arenas making stops in Guillermo Cabrera Infante) knows that Cubans are exuberant in their narrative, which is part of their charm. Taking that into consideration I decided to disregard most of the claims of pre-revolutionary land-ownership I heard during dinner.
However, how could I seriously dismiss all of them? There must be something there. After all, the Revolution did take private lands and put them under the control of the state. So I decided to make a really unscientific assumption that most of them were (not lying but) exaggerating and assumed that only 10% of them actually had had land in Cuba before the revolution.
If you think that this number seems correct, you will have solved with me the mystery of Atlantis. Here is why, the size of the whole island is 27,393,920 of which the arable land is 24%, which brings us to 6,574,540 acres.
In a recent case we found out that
Pedro Miyares has been listening to his 88-year-old father's mantra for more than four decades: When Fidel Castro falls, you have to go back to fight for the family farm.
The Miyares family lost a home and a 2,248-acre rice farm and cattle ranch in Manzanillo to Fidel Castro's revolution, and they want to get them back.
If we take Mr. Miyares claim to 2,248 acres and we multiply it by the 50,000 people that may have been land owners, we arrive to a size of 112,400,000 acres of arable land, which multiplied by 4 gives us the real size of Cuba according to the Cuban-American community in Miami 449,600,000.
That is about the size of Mexico, so it is clear that Atlantis is not a long forgotten mythological land, but it is the lost land of Cuba. Coincidentally, British historian Andrew Collins, in 2000 proposed that Cuba was the flagship of Plato's island empire. He reports on the recent discoveries of a lost city off Cuba, and its importance to the Atlantis legend. And when all of this interest in Atlantis in the Caribbean started? In 1970! So it is clear that from 1959 to 1970, the island of Cuba reduced its size from a Mexico sized country to the paltry small island it is today.
I don't buy the Communist propaganda that says that before 1959 the wealthiest 20% of the population enjoyed 58% of the country's income while the poorest 20% received 2% of the country's income. Or that before 1959 75% of the land was in the hands of 8% of the population. A handful of wealthy families owned large estates – latifundios - where they reared cattle or cultivated sugar cane. Other rural families often lived in extreme poverty.
It is hard to accept alternative explanations, like that the average size of a farm before 1959 was 140 acres because nobody in Miami is claiming to be the owner of such meager piece of land, besides the fact that the Agrarian Reform Law only expropriated farmlands over 1,000 acres. Others say that owners of 2,248 acres like the family mentioned in the Miami Herald article were only a minority and that only some 4,000 exiles could have ever been owners of expropriated land.
So, based on the insidious Communist propaganda, only about 0.2 % of Cuban-Americans in Miami could have any claim to land. But of course that does not address the main issue, which is the loss of freedom. I don't buy the Communist argument that the government before Castro was actually a dictatorship. And suggesting that the Cuban society before the revolution was an oligarchy were 8% of the population were owners of most of the land is obviously preposterous.
The Truth Of Atlantis Revealed
How could communist propaganda made us forget that the island of Cuba was not long ago the size of Mexico?
Who re-wrote the history of peaceful Atlantis and added the La Guerra de los Diez Años of 1868, La Guerra Chiquita of 1879, and the War of '95?
Why did we come to believe that this land of plenty were democracy was invented, was governed by the United States from 1906 to 1909?