It’s only due to a bit of luck that the Mendez family ended up in the United States.
Manny Mendez and Kuba Kuba are Richmond institution and Kuba Kuba with Manny’s guiding hand offers a unique menu that brings a bit of Cuba to the middle of Virginia. Times are changing and relations with Cuba are thawing, so Style Weekly sits down and talks with Manny to get a first hand impression of the recent change in attitude between the U.S. government and the island nations of Cuba.
In Cuba, his parents kept politics away from their children and Mendez would only hear how wonderful Fidel Castro was. Once they arrived in Richmond, things turned upside-down. “All of a sudden Fidel was evil,” he says. “There was a little bit of confusion for me.”
In the 1960s, the Red Cross negotiated a deal to fly Cubans out of the country, called freedom flights. The Mendez family, visas in hand, planned to go to Spain, but the only flights available that day were to the United States.