August 26, 2020

‘There Is No Place to Hide’

Cuban immigrant Maximo Alvarez’s powerful testimony about the blessings of liberty.

You can be forgiven for having missed the seven-minute speech of Maximo Alvarez on Monday night. Lots of folks missed it. There were plenty of compelling speakers, after all, and most of them were louder and more easily understood than this older man with the thick accent.

But none of them spoke more forcefully or eloquently about the blessings of liberty.

Alvarez, the founder and president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, began by noting that the Florida strait is not just a 90-mile strip of blue ocean separating Florida from Cuba but also a symbol that divides freedom from fear, the past from the future, and communism from free-market capitalism.

Speaking as an immigrant whose family had fled tyranny in both totalitarian Spain and communist Cuba, he said, “My dad, who only had a sixth-grade education, told me, ‘Don’t lose this place. … There is no place to hide.’”

He then drew a contrast between the poisonous allure of communism and the powerful pull of the American Dream: “If you have a chance, go to the Freedom Tower in Miami. Stop and listen. You can still hear the sounds of those broken promises. It is the sound of waves in the ocean carrying families clinging to pieces of wood; families with children who can’t swim, but are willing to risk everything to reach this blessed land. It is the sound of tears hitting the paper of an application to be an American citizen.”

Alvarez warned about Joe Biden’s campaign because it’s delivering a message he’s heard before: “Those false promises — spread the wealth, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community — don’t sound radical to my ears. They sound familiar.”

This warning, no doubt, caused great discomfort to many on the Left, including Fox News’s Juan Williams. “Hearing a speaker at a major party convention compare Joe Biden to a communist dictator,” he said, “I thought that was pretty disgusting.”

Williams, however, has never lived under a totalitarian regime. Alvarez has. And he then reminded us that socialism and communism rarely come in through the front door. Instead, they come in disguise. “When Fidel Castro was asked if he was a communist, he said he was a Roman Catholic. He knew he had to hide the truth. But the country I was born in is gone — destroyed. When I watch the news in Seattle and Chicago and Portland, when I see history being rewritten, when I hear the promises, I hear echoes of a former life I never wanted to hear again. I see shadows I thought I had outrun.”

“I am so grateful to America,” he said, “the place where I was able to build my American dream through hard work and determination. President Trump knows that the American story was written by people just like you and me, who love our country and take risks to build a future for our families and neighbors.”

“I may be Cuban born, but I am 100% American. This is the greatest country in the world. If I gave away everything I have today, it would not equal 1% of what I was given when I came to this great country: the gift of Freedom.”

Now that’s the definition of the American Spirit.

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