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Kristina Kehrer's picture

Talking Cuba with Montrose Spa Owner, Tommy Rodriguez

Tommy Rodriguez has owned the Montrose Spa located at 1646 Mass. Ave, since 1974. “Tommy,” as all his customers know him, is from Cuba. He left Cuba in 1970, two weeks shy of his 15th birthday and the requirement to enlist in the army. Fidel Castro had been in power for 11 years.

Except for Tommy’s sister, all of his relatives still live in Cuba. Tommy has not been back to his home country, since he left as a young man. Every time he has considered a visit to Cuba, he was scared off by the pervading political winds between the two countries. Despite the recent developments enacted under President Obama to normalize relations with Cuba, a more heinous and immediate concern is the volatility and uncertainty of where Trump stands on Cuba, and the gloomy shadow of his immigration bans. Tommy hopes to visit Cuba in April with his children.

Shepley Metcalf is one of Tommy’s customers. They have had friendly conversations over the last several years, and it was her curiosity about his life story that initiated this video interview. It therefore seemed appropriate to let Ms. Metcalf conduct the interview, considering her past experience in local television production. Ms. Metcalf has been performing locally as a jazz singer since 2008.