The ‘VIVO’ star and her husband Emilio help save their nephews and niece Lily
Gloria Estefan is looking back after fleeing Cuba.
During a recent episode of her family’s talk show “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” the 64-year-old music icon reflected on the harrowing experience and the impact it had on her family.
The “Turn the Beat Around” singer was born in 1957, a few years before Fidel Castro’s historic assumption of power in the island nation.
“I left Cuba when I was literally two and a half years old,” she recalled, Pero. entertainment tonight. “In May 1960, I was brought to America because my father was a police officer for the Cuban government.”
Gloria Estefan says she was molested in music school at age 9
Estefan said that the night Castro, who died in 2016, took power in 1959, his father came home with disturbing news.
“We are in trouble, the president has left the country,” he told his wife and Estefan’s mother.
The songstress said that her mother urged her father not to return to work because he would be arrested, but insisted that it was her job to “protect the Cuban people”.
As predicted by Estefan’s mother, the singer’s father was imprisoned, as was his own father.
Gloria Estefan calls for international aid to Cuba, asks us to join amid unrest
“His father, who was a commander in the army, and he was imprisoned,” said the “Vevo” actress. “They let him go after about three, four months and he said to my mom, ‘I have to get you out of Cuba because it’s going to be so bad.
She continued: “They knew who Fidel Castro was, what was to come, because Castro had associated himself with communism. My father left Cuba, he went to the US, my mother and I joined Pan Am Airlines. Came via. I still have the roundtrip ticket.”
The star’s husband, musician Emilio Estefan, also shared his story.
“I was 11 when they came to my house looking for dollars because Castro decided to change the money,” recalled producer 68. “They looked around and went to the safe. My dad panicked and couldn’t open the safe. He blew up the whole wall and found nothing.”
A few years later, the family was preparing to leave the country, which was an emotional time for the future musician.
“I cried leaving Cuba, but my mom said, ‘Don’t cry,'” she said. “One of the hardest things for me was my grandfather and uncles giving me a picture and saying, ‘You’ll never see me again.’ I never saw them again.”
Gloria Estefan says it was ‘hard’ to revisit her daughter Emily’s coming out as lesbian
Years later, Estefan found a way to get Emilio’s niece, Lily, and her brother out of Cuba.
According to Gloria, Emilio set out on a “20-foot boat” called Popia. The crew, she said, didn’t know “what they were doing” and ran out of gas, losing 10 days at sea.
Without food and water and with a pregnant wife back home, Emilio said the mission was worth it.
“You will know what you will do for your family in the future when you have children. The only thing we do is try to save our family to live in a free country,” he insisted. However, after his arrival he was told that his family would not be allowed to return with him.
Six months later, Gloria and Emilio obtain visas that allow them to take charge of their family members.
“Thank you both, for you [Gloria] let him go and you [Emilio] Risking my life to save my, my father’s and my brother’s,” Lily said. “I’ve worked so hard for you guys to be proud of me. Because you know it wasn’t in vain.”
Gloria said her efforts were “of course” not in vain.
“It was the best thing to happen in my life,” insisted Emilio.