Cuba Bound – A Daughter of Exile Goes Home

Hispanic Ancestry Explores Roots on Parents Native Soil


Mom and Dad in Havana

Editors note: This article is part one of a two part series.

Those who know me, know that this has been my dream, to travel to the forbidden land of
my forefathers – which includes too many generations on my mother’s side, from the time of the colonizers, and on my fathers side a more recent (century) story of Spanish and Italian
immigrants who found success and fortune in the coffee business in Santiago. Like so many,
our entire family left EVERYTHING behind in Cuba except their freedom: both sides exiled in 1959 – 1960. One way or another, everyone was lucky to emigrate to the US & Puerto Rico; but never did they imagine that exile would last over half a century and that my grandparents and my father would not be laid to rest on their beloved Cuban soil.

Although I was born in the heartland of the US, in Missouri, I have always identified myself as a daughter of the Cuban exile experience, my life strongly influenced by my culture, first language and tradition. I like to say that academically and intellectually I was formed in the US, but my soul is and will forever be Cuban. As a daughter of exile, I want to know this land that I have only dreamt about, and that is why I am making this pilgrimage. This group trip to Cuba is called “Arte y Moda” and I will have the opportunity to visit the ateliers and studios and meet with designers and artists who are working and creating in current day Cuba. I will also be taking some humanitarian aid – I am taking basic first aid materials.




What I hope to learn




Airport Miami Airport departure

There are many things I want to absorb and learn while I am in Cuba, and I am quite certain that this will not be my last trip. As a businessperson and occasional entrepreneur, I recognize that one of the things that drives me, and has been a part of my success is this thing I learned from my family – we call it “resolver” – and it is the action of doing whatever it takes to make it work, to resolve the problem at hand.

Maria Botta
Maria Botta is the founder of FWD-Action, a digital strategy consultancy, working with small to mid sized businesses, helping to lead clients in the convergence of technology, creativity, entertainment. FWD ACTION allows Botta to continue to do what brings her the most professional and personal satisfaction, “Doing great work that truly matters, with integrity, for those clients who are striving to do good works for the world". Botta is the daughter of Cuban exiles, she was born in the US, and raised in Europe and the Caribbean, she holds an MBA in Global Management from Thunderbird's prestigious European program in Geneva, Switzerland and an Art History degree from Mt. Holyoke College. Twitter

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