Five years ago, Fermin Rodriguez Rodriguez left his native Cuba for the United States.
“Here, I have arrived to… I have found a new life,” the 59-year-old said as he stood inside Orlando Latin Market. “I have seen a lot of future ahead for my children and their studies.”
Everything here, Rodriguez said, is a benefit to everyone. Rodriguez, who is originally from Trinidad, a town in central Cuba, juggles his time between family and two jobs.
His face partly shaded by a hat, Rodriguez said life is going well. He now has his own home.
But, as with many aspects of life, it comes at a cost.
“I have had to work and struggle — just like everyone else struggles — to have a future,” he said.
Though he said he has everything here, Rodriguez left behind some family in Cuba.
“If I could bring my sisters here, it would be the greatest thing in the world,” he said. “And a daughter I have there.”
(LISTEN: Rodriguez speaks about his three sisters in Cuba in the below audio clip)
Rodriguez is the eldest of four — he has three sisters; Miriam, Christina, and Taina. According to Rodriguez, he and his sisters were once unified.
“Now I have separated myself from them because I am here in the U.S., but we are inseparable,” he said.
He speaks to his sisters over the phone often — almost weekly. Though they’ve battled with various illnesses, he said they’re fine.
They discuss a lot, but Rodriguez said he doesn’t talk to his sisters about life in the U.S. Life is much easier here, he explained.
“They more or less know what life if like here… why would I talk about it?” he said. “I don’t tell them… because what for?”