Connecting with Family in Cuba

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No matter your stance on the recent politic policy shift for Cuba, the fact still remains that if you have friends and family living on the island you still want to connect with them.

My grandfather’s brother – my great uncle – and his family lives in Cuba.  He was fortunate enough to visit us on a few occasions but his wife and children refused to leave the island.  We have been estranged from our family members by the Castro-regime for years.

Our immigrant story starts when my mother was only three years old.  She boarded a plane with her grandmother to visit her great-aunt in Miami.  It was supposed to be a short visit but instead it has lasted over fifty years.

My mother was not reunited with her mother until she was 13 and with her father until she was 15.  She grew up with her grandmother, estranged from her parents and tossed into a world of education and assimilation.

Throughout that time, my Catholic family suffered in silence.  Castro declared the island atheist and in 1969 declared removed the Christmas holidays from the calendar.  Masses and celebrations were done in homes and in secret.  Fear of the government was and still is very real.

Fast forward 30 years and under pressure from the visiting Pope, Castro reinstated Christmas as a public holiday.

But damage has already been done.  Families have suffered in secret; families have been torn apart.

I have not spoken to my family in Cuba for over three years – since my grandfather’s passing.  He was the connection to the island.  The person who stayed on top of what was going on with family, figured out where people were living and who was having children or getting married.  He wrote letters, called numerous phone numbers at different times of the day and chatted with friends or family who were also in contact.

I don’t have the same time luxury that he did.  In our hyper, digital connected world not having a direct connection makes it almost impossible for me to stay in touch.  It’s through new technologies like international calling application Rebtel that I may have the chance to speak to some of my family this Christmas.

In an effort to commemorate those Christmases lost by the Cuban community, Rebtel has documented the stories of five Cubans who went through the lost Christmas of 1969.  Their stories can be heard here.  And, they are offering a $.59 per minute calling offer for calls made to Cuba.

You can download the Rebtel application for iOS here:  or the Android here:

Also, to celebrate I am giving away ten (10) $20.00 credits so that you can connect with your family in 2015.


Rebtel $20.00 Calling Voucher (Ten Winners!!!) Giveaway

What:  Ten (10) Winners will receive a $20.00 Rebtel Calling Voucher (to call anywhere in the world)

When: Giveaway ends midnight on December 30th

How to Enter:  Leave a comment below sharing whom you plan on calling with the vouchers AND input your information into the Rafflecopter widget.  Be sure to check for additional entry options!

Please see image below for what information winners will need to input to activate their voucher.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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