Wilfredo Miranda remembers his first day in the United States. Almost immediately, he said he noticed this country has everything.
“I even got on a boat and saw the houses of millionaires,” he said. “I had a lot of fun and… I love this country because it has everything. There isn’t a need for anything.”
It’s a stark contrast to Miranda’s native Cuba. The 53-year-old is originally from Trinidad, a town in the province of Sancti Spíritus in the central part of the island nation.
Miranda arrived to the U.S. in 2000, leaving behind his mother, his father, and his siblings. Most of his family stayed on the island, but he did bring his daughters with him.
(LISTEN: Miranda speaks about arriving in the United States in the below audio clip)
“There’s a lot of need in Cuba for everything when I was there,” he said. “I’m not sure about now because I haven’t been back in 16 years.”
A need, he said, for clothes, shoes, food. Everything.
“I feel better here,” Miranda said. “I have been better here.”
Life here requires more work, but brings more money than in Cuba. Perhaps this will be the year he returns to visit his family, he said.
When asked what he doesn’t like about the United States, Miranda shook his head fervently. His tan forehead wrinkled under his bright red cap. His face turned serious, as if his mind took him back to the past.
Sternly, he said he likes everything about this country.