Miriam (Salabert) Gorriaran ... Cont.

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Father John Rubba with Virginia and Eduardo Salabert, before they moved to Florida in 1974.
The Cuban Club

Soon after we arrived in Rhode Island, we began to connect with the other Cubans through the International Institute of RI. We would go to the International Institute parties, when they hosted all kinds of ethnic events with food, music and dances. The director at that time was William O’Dowd.
I don’t know what exactly happened, but the RI Cuban Club just disappeared. After my parents left in 1974, it seems that the original Cuban Club just fell apart.

So a few years later, in 1967 my parents, along with Felipe Eiras and Raúl Sánchez, founded the Cuban Club in Rhode Island.

Some of the things that the Cuban Club did in those days was to celebrate our National Day, which is the 20th of May. We also had Christmas get-togethers, summer picnics, and things like that. We spent a lot of time at Goddard Park, where we would sometimes have a pig roast. We would try to do things just as if we were in Cuba.

Sometimes we would go to Massachusetts to do things with the Cuban Club there. Today I belong to the club in Massachusetts because there is no longer a Cuban Club in Rhode Island. I don’t know what exactly happened, but the RI Cuban Club just disappeared. After my parents left in 1974, it seems that the original Cuban Club just fell apart.

Before my parents founded the Cuban Club in 1967, there was a Cuban Committee that was part of the International Institute. The new Cuban Club had a membership, and there were dues and out of that, they created a fund to help the newcomers that were still leaving Cuba for RI. And then we would be the ones taking them here, there, buying things for them, giving them food, or giving them clothing and things like that.

Yeah, in those days, there were no government-run programs, nothing like that. It was out of the people’s good hearts that we all helped each other in the 1960s. My parents and members of the Cuban Club made sure everyone was taken care of.


Interview by Marta V. Martínez and Mary Quintas, April 2014
Edited by Marta V. Martínez