May 20, 2005
Pedro Miguel Valdez Crespo: Teacher, history lover, traveler, Cuban-American.
Lives in Tacoma, Washington, USA.
A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW
STREETBUZZ: Pedro, when and where were you born?
PEDRO CRESPO: I was born in Havana, Cuba, on May 19, 1950.
PEDRO CRESPO: Was not good condition, my mom was very poor. She didn't take care for me, so I spent the time with other families or her friends who take care for me, cuz she needed to find a job. My dad abandoned us when I was two years old. I can't say happy cuz I never suffered, as a child in my fantasies where everything was OK I did many things around the street, I spent the time playing with other children, yah, but so I never pay attention about specific economical situation.
PEDRO CRESPO: I took the school serious when Cuba revolution triumphed, because before as I explained, she couldn't take care of me, and government before Castro don't pay attention if the children go to school or not. So when the revolution triumph I start to go to the school regular. The point is that before I almost never attended to classes, but after, I complete my elementary school, my middle school, high school, and start the university. I got to bachelor degree and pre-doctorate and other certificate, etc. Well, I couldn't complete the doctorate because I needed to complete a foreign language.
STREETBUZZ:After you finished school?
PEDRO CRESPO:Not after, but beside my attendance to university classes (concurrently), also I was teacher. In middle school, during 10 years. And after that I went to (taught) high school for 15 years. My last four years that I live in cuba, I was teaching in the high school of social sciences, yes, is the high school of the Communist Party of Cuba.
After that I came to the US. In US I have been teaching for six years, as a substitute spanish teacher. And also I have been teaching as a part-time Spanish instructor in college.
STREETBUZZ: I know you have a son in Cuba. How did that happen?
PEDRO CRESPO: I met a woman in 1976, in 1977 we married, and in 1981 my children was born. Now he's 24 years old. He live in Cuba. We talk, by phone or we e-mail each other. Yes, it's difficult, I miss him, I miss my mom, it's difficult to live out of my country. It's difficult to live in a country without my country's care.
STREETBUZZ: And in Cuba you met my friend Chris Martin. Can you say a little bit about that relationship?
PEDRO CRESPO: Chris and I met in Cuba in 1995. I work in the same building where she was living, me met in the elevator, we talk for awhile, about a t-shirt that I use, Pastors for Peace t-shirt. After that I was looking for who was her, I ask to the elevator manager. And she told me, yah, she live in a floor, upstairs your floor, she get me the number of her apartment, and I knock her door, and I say hello, hola, and she invite me her home, and we spent as a friend, nine months, as a boyfrind and girlfriend. On October 6, we marry, and we live together in her house, for almost one year, and after that, we move to our own house. Two or three years after that, we decide to come to the US. In February 2005 we divorce.
STREETBUZZ: You loved her?
PEDRO CRESPO: Yes, I loved her.
STREETBUZZ: What do you feel comfortable saying about the relationship between Cuba and the United States?
PEDRO CRESPO: In short words, I can say that it is a shame. Because who are suffering the relationship between Cuba and the US are people. From both countries.
STREETBUZZ: I want to draw you out just a little bit here if I may, because many people reading this don't know anything about that history. Can you give a brief summary of what's happened between the two countries?
PEDRO CRESPO: The history of Cuba and the US come from the same time when Cuba and Philippines were Spaniard colonies. And Cuban fighters looking for their independence and United States Government when they realizes that the Cuban independence was almost ready, they intervened in our war against Spain, and avoid that Cuban taking their own desitiny in their hand. Starting form that time, Cuba become a neo-colony of the United States.In 1953, Cuban revolutionaries movement had Fidel Castro fire against the dictatorship government that US support. And in January first, 1959, Cuban revolution triumphed. Starting from that event, United States government has been threatening Cuba in many ways. A military aggression in 1961, economical blockade, sending counter-revolutionaries, political pressure around the world, all with the goal of destroying Cuban revolution and achievements.
STREETBUZZ: You are a supporter of the Cuban revolution?
PEDRO CRESPO: Yes. I support everything is that is relate with sovereignty, independence, and everything that people around the world do in order to keep their identity from intervention by powerful countries.
STREETBUZZ: You recently (February 2005) became a US citizen. Does that change anything here for you?
PEDRO CRESPO: Now that I am a citizen I feel that it's my responsibility, when people ask me about Cuba, to tell them the truth, which is an alternative opinion than the United States Government and some newspapers and many people have about Cuba.
STREETBUZZ: To summarize their view, that of the US government and some people, I would say that they want us to believe that Cuba is a threat to the people of the United States. Am I correct that you disagree with that view?
PEDRO CRESPO: Yes, I disagree with that, because Cuba is not a powerful to do anything against the United States. The powerful thing that Cuba has is it's words that the US government may be consider threatening. When Cuba says around the world the truth, and denounces many maneuvers from the United States government, perhaps that is what the United States considers threatening.
STREETBUZZ: How is your life now?
PEDRO CRESPO: If you compare the economical situation that Cuba has with the situation in the United States, in that sense my life's qualities is completely different than I had before.
STREETBUZZ: Are you happy?
PEDRO CRESPO: I think I am comfortable.
STREETBUZZ: Plans for the future?
PEDRO CRESPO: Money. And to guarantee a retirement.
STREETBUZZ: What do you think about the state of the world? Politics, environment, spirits, etc.
PEDRO CRESPO: I consider that if the world continue with the same situation about environment, pollution, and when the governments try to increase the arms race, I can expect that human beings won't be capable to continue the control of the world. In that case, the animal need to replace us.
STREETBUZZ: Final words?
PEDRO CRESPO: Love. Peace.
A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW