Ileana Armengol

As Interviewed by Logan Abounader, March 13, 2018
"We were always talking low voice, making sure none of the neighbors were listening."
Ileana Armengol

Introductory Profile: About Ileana Piedra Armengol

My grandmother, Ileana Maria Armengol, was born and raised in Havana, Cuba until the age of 13, when she left for the United States. She and her family left only one year after Fidel Castro overthrew the previous government in 1959. Her father knew the Cuban ambassador to the United States of America for he was a doctor who had operated on him in his hospital. After obtaining visas from him, they flew to Fort Lauderdale without a plan or directions. They then reunited with relatives in Florida where they lived in a house with nearly seventeen family members.

My grandmother is a small, frail-looking woman who sticks to her opinion. Normally soft spoken and nice, she navigates life knowing the feel of two sides of the political spectrum.

In the interview we covered her move to the United States and the political situation in Cuba before she left. She described having to leave her home without telling anyone and landing in an unfamiliar place that was her new home. She described when her parents told her and her siblings when they were going to leave and when they figured out they weren't going back anytime soon. We also talked about living during the revolution and her view on the overthrow of the government. She mentioned how her family had already been wishing for a change in the government because Batista had recently turned into a dictator. She explained that at first Castro seemed like a change for the better until he started converting to a communist government and removing private property and rights for the people. Throughout the interview she seemed happy to be able to talk about the situation freely and to have parents that had made such a life-changing decision.