Plato tells us in Timaeus about Atlantis:
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.
Living near Miami, it was bound to happen that one of my end-of-year parties implied the presence of a large number of Cuban-Americans. I shall not mention the exquisite food, the incessant laughter and the suggestive dancing, but only the clues that took me to solve the mystery of Atlantis.
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 the 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 at a local stadium (apparently there is something wrong with that).
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of reading Cuban literature (from Alejo Carpentier to Reinaldo Arenas, not forgetting 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 the 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.
So, in Miami there are about 1.7 million Cubans, or people of Cuban descent, of them about 500,000 came between 1961 and 1965. I will focus on those, because it is unlikely that the late comers were land owners. So, with my previous assumption that even though most of the people in the party claimed to have been land-owners or descendants of them, only 10% of them were telling the truth, I arrive to the conclusion that 50,000 Cuban-Americans living in Miami have claim to pre-revolutionary land.
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 proposed in 2000 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 did all of this interest in Atlantis in the Caribbean start? 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 a 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 ever have 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, where 8% of the population were owners of most of the land, is obviously preposterous.
The Truth Of Atlantis Revealed
How could communist propaganda make us forget that the island of Cuba was not long ago the size of Mexico?
What unknown brainwashing methods have they used to make us forget the long democratic tradition of Cuba before the cruel dictatorship of Fidel Castro?
Who re-wrote the history of peaceful Atlantis and added 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, where democracy was invented, was governed by the United States from 1906 to 1909?
I think this is all the fault of public education, communist propaganda and the lack of prayer time during school hours. I cannot find any other explanation for this brutal erasure of knowledge from the free minds of Americans. I must say it now. I do not believe all this godless propaganda that puts Atlantis in some mythological past. I do believe my Cuban-American friends in Miami who helped me develop, and prove, the Atlantis Hypothesis.
I do not know what is going to happen once Fidel Castro dies. But whether there is a party at the Orange Bowl or not, I wish all the Cuban-Americans in Miami a safe return to the real Cuba, the one that has the size of Mexico and a long history of respect for individual freedom. Or should I say, to Atlantis.
Franklin @ December 17, 2007