For many, the end is nigh, but for others, the days are long.
Here are a few women who made it through the long road to recovery, even as they speak of their journey with pride.
Aquila Guevara: Born into a world of poverty, Aquila Gueseda became a world champion in the 1960s and 1970s.
At the time, the Cuban exile was a national hero, but she was also known for her unconventional beliefs.
When she returned to the United States in 1984, she began taking an unorthodox approach to life.
“I wanted to go to a temple, I wanted to pray for all the people who have been murdered,” she said.
“I wanted a life.
I wanted everything.
I had no money.
I could not afford to buy a ticket to Cuba.”
She continued to travel to the island nation, where she found her inner strength, and she eventually became the first woman to earn a scholarship to Harvard University.
“At first, I didn’t know what to do,” she told CNN in 2015.
“But I was determined.
I was strong.
I thought, ‘Let me do something.’
I just took my time.
I kept on practicing, I kept training.”
Guevars’ first trip to Cuba came in 1978, when she was 20 years old.
She arrived there as a 13-year-old and, by all accounts, became a fan of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary ideals.
“When I arrived at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, I thought it was the greatest country on Earth,” she later recalled.
“There was the beautiful flowers, the music, and the people were all welcoming.
I saw the love and the friendship that the Cubans had for each other.
And I decided to go there and do something for them.”
Gueseda never saw the Cuban revolution come to fruition.
“They killed my dad, so I could never really live there,” she once told CNN.
“And the people there were horrible.
I felt very alienated from them.
I left because I was in love with my brother, and I felt I had to get away.”
Gates says she has never given up hope of becoming a nun.
“My faith is my strength, my way of life,” she explained.
“The reason why I’ve never given it up is because I love my family.
And if there’s a way to get my family back, then that’s the way to go.”
Cristina Fernandez: Born in the Dominican Republic, Cristina Fernandez grew up in a small rural community.
She grew up thinking that God would forgive her parents for sending her away to Cuba in the first place.
Fernandez became an activist when she got a scholarship from a Catholic high school in Miami, where her mother worked as a teacher.
She quickly realized that the Catholic faith was not about love and compassion.
“God doesn’t want us to hate anyone,” she recalled.
“He wanted me to believe in the beauty of God, that He was more than any human being,” Fernandez said.
When her mother died, Fernandez took the decision to leave Cuba.
“She told me, ‘You have to do something, to save your mother.
There is no one else who can save her.
I didn. “
She decided to make her way back to the U.S. “It was a difficult time, but I knew God was watching.
And he was watching.
“The journey began with a visit to a Catholic church, where Fernandez met a fellow student who shared her story of faith.
She was then introduced to a local preacher, who had helped her get into college.
The preacher convinced Fernandez that she had found her calling.”
I did not know how I was going to be able to get back to Cuba. “
When I met with him, I felt a sense of urgency.
I did not know how I was going to be able to get back to Cuba.
There are only people who want to come back.’ “
He said, ‘There is no place for you in Cuba.
There are only people who want to come back.’
And he had my back.
He gave me an opportunity to live my faith, to live it the way I believed it to be lived.
He said, “I will not abandon you.
I will not take your money and give it to a dictator or a gangster.
You will not be forgotten.
I’m finally a free woman.””
For me, it’s like I was born again.
I’m finally a free woman.”
Daria Fernandez: Daria Fernandez, who wrestled at the WWE for 10 years and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010, first arrived in the U, then