It’s not every day that your kids live on opposite ends of the world, but for Mercedes Rodriguez, that’s an everyday scenario. Born and raised in Bejucal, Cuba, Rodriguez raised three kids as a political refugee. She says her husband, who suffered multiple years as a political prisoner, soon passed away due to what she described as a “violent Cancer.”

As we spoke a bit more throughout our conversation, Rodriguez expressed how her kids live all on opposite ends of the world. “I have a kid who lives here with me,” said Rodriguez, “but my other one lives in Spain, and my other one is stuck in Cuba.” When we asked her why she began to tear up after we took a short break, she informed us that his wife’s family would not allow him to; however, she hopes that one day she can reconnect with him and finally get to see her 17-year-old grandson grow up.

The conversations carried on with the topic of the Cuban Regime, and after speaking with her for a bit more, she began to tell us how, just a few years ago, her mom died in Cuba due to COVID-19. She explained how “they didn’t have enough resources to treat my mom,” she said.

After we moved on from the topic of the ongoing situation in Cuba, she described to us how appreciative she is of this country: “I’ve been fighting and fighting, but thank God, five years after arriving in this beautiful place, I can now call myself a US Citizen.”

As we wrapped up our conversation, she again appreciated City of Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes. She described him as “a special man.” She later added that she felt the reconnection with her grandson back in Cuba because of the Abuelos Foundation and her so-called “nietos.” She says her only message for the world is to “never give up because there’s hope on the horizon.”