Diego Mederos

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The home of the Mederos family in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Greg Geisser.

Last Sunday I wrote how I’d gotten an email from a woman in Cuba named Cecilia who was writing for her grandfather, Jorge, because of a story I’d written a couple of years ago about the search for a friend’s family home in Havana. Cecilia, or rather Jorge, was hoping that the Diego Mederos I’d written about previously was the same Diego Mederos he’d known as a young man in Havana in the 1950s.

Frankly, I didn’t think it likely. For one thing, in the email I received, Jorge talked about living on E Street in the Vedado neighborhood and I knew that the old Casa Mederos was much further to the west in a neighborhood known as Havana Biltmore. Then again, the neighborhoods weren’t that far apart.

Anyway, I passed the email from Cecilia and her grandfather, Jorge, on to my friend Diego Mederos who had been a small child when his family had fled Cuba after Fidel’s revolution.

This is what he wrote to Cecilia and her grandfather:

It was wonderful to get this email via my friend David Lansing. My uncle’s name is Diego as is mine.  My uncle Diego was your grandfather’s roommate in school in Havana. I just spoke with him and my aunt, and they were very excited about this email. They would love to communicate with your grandfather and share family history.

–Diego Mederos

I have a feeling that none of us are done with this story yet. I’ll keep you posted.

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If you’ve been with me for awhile you might remember a story I wrote a couple of years ago when I was in Cuba about searching for the family home of a friend of mine. His name is Diego Mederos. A brief recap: Diego’s dad and uncle fled Havana after Fidel came to power and ended up being part of the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion. After being imprisoned for several years, he was released and sent back to the U.S.

The deal was that when the Mederos family fled Havana, they, like a lot of Cuban families, had to leave everything behind—including a lot of friends and relatives. And never saw them again.

So when Diego heard that some of us were going to Havana, he asked if we’d try to find his old family home. He didn’t have a lot of information about it. He thought he remembered the address but he couldn’t be sure. Anyway, it ended up being a hell of an adventure for us. But we found the house. Then we went looking for one of Diego’s relatives. Well, we didn’t find her.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. This weekend I got the following email from Cuba:

Hello. In the article “The search for Casa Mederos”, you refer to a Diego Mederos? Well, I am hoping that it is whom I think it is. You see I knew a Diego Mederos, went to school with him. We studied together in the same school called Cander College, in Marianao city. He had a cousin, Nico Pardine who lived in the 1950s on Street E in Vedado. Referring to Diego (if it’s the same one) his family sent him to the United States to study. He fell in love with a local from the U.S., got married and had a little girl. I know he visited Cuba at least once in the 1950s, and he spent several day in my house which was on Calle Linea which was across a street from the movie theater named “Rody” (I think that now it’s called Yara). I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along my email, would like to hear from the family and find out what happened to my friend.

Thank you,

Jorge E. Tamargo

(This was typed by his granddaughter, I am sorry if there are any typos or if comes across odd. It’s very hard to type down what he is telling me before he forgot. Thanks!—Cecilia).

So is it possible that Jorge E. Tamargo of Havana really knew Diego’s father?

I’ve passed this email on to him. Stay tuned…

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