KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cuban immigrant Grace Cabrera is running for KC City Council with a focus on safety and law enforcement, fearing the United States is moving toward what her family left behind 23 years ago.
Cabrera fled communist Cuba with her parents when she was a child to escape the torturous Fidel Castro regime. Now, running for Kansas City’s 4th City Council District to replace term-limited Kathryn Shields, she’s afraid the antagonistic nature of politics and the news media is taking America to a place of no return.
“All of this divisive rhetoric that is happening right now is exactly what a corrupt person would use to take over,” she told The Heartlander. “They make an enemy out of a group of people, and then they justify doing horrendous things to them.”
Cabrera feels the best way to avoid that is to bring people together to show them they are more alike one another than the media allow them to think – and once citizens realize that, the community and society will be better off for it.
“It starts out small, like it’s happening right now with the breaking of relationships, the unfriending of people,” Cabrera said. “The media incentivizes all of those divisive conversations. They are at the top, and they are disconnected from reality. Down here, we need each other, we need our community. We need people to stick together because there are real problems. We need to be able to rely on each other.
“That kind of reality doesn’t often get translated to the people at the top or the people in the media. There’s a lot of propaganda. There’s a lot of brainwashing happening right now and a lot of inaccuracies.”
A significant portion of the media’s propaganda and inaccuracies, Cabrera says, is its portrayal of law enforcement controversies as representations of every police officer, instead of treating it as the individual’s sole fault.
“Right now, I see a lot of outlets demoralizing the police. When we think about improving the crime rate, the No. 1 thing is, ‘What have we done wrong up until this point?’ What we have done wrong up to this point is punish a group of people instead of punishing the individuals.”
Cabrera believes a better accountability system should be in place, because when all law enforcement officers are chastised for the deeds of a few bad actors, it makes current and prospective officers think twice about their career choice.
“We need to have a better system of accountability with law enforcement to where, if someone does step out of line, they are held accountable. But we also cannot demoralize the entire group of law enforcement officers,” she argued. “As we’ve seen, some have committed suicide, a lot have retired early and many are about to retire early because their families’ lives come first.
“We need to make things fair again for law enforcement. We need to support the ones who are doing a good job. We need to encourage a lot more people to join the force because we’ve lost a lot of good officers.”
Cabrera believes the alarming lack of a family structure across the country also is to blame for rising crime rates, arguing a strong family structure is “the nucleus of society.”
“All we have to do is look at the studies that have been done: 70-80% of the people in prison didn’t have that family structure. So, there is an obvious correlation to how healthy a community is with how much family structure it has.”
As younger generations move further away from the memory of breadlines and communist regimes’ abuses, and with many cozying up to Marxism as they attend America’s left-leaning postsecondary education system, support for communism and socialism has multiplied in recent years.
Oddly enough, they can thank capitalism for that, Cabrera submits.
“The only group of people in the world who are supportive of socialism and communism are the ones that live in a capitalist society. Communism is the death of prosperity and the death of financial advancement and opportunity. The question for people to ask themselves is, ‘Who do you trust to manage your life and make decisions with your money?’
“I don’t know anyone that I’d trust with those decisions, except myself. The thing is that human nature is always going to lead toward corruption. And that’s one of the things that a lot of people who are idealistic don’t take into account. The Founding Fathers of this nation had the right idea: make government small and hold it accountable. Because, when you get into power, you don’t know how you’re going to react.”
Cabrera believes such factions simply don’t understand the horrors she witnessed under communist rule, and they wouldn’t feel the same if their families were torn apart by such a government as her family lived under in Cuba.
Over two decades ago when Cabrera’s family was still in Cuba, her father became a minister and began traveling to share the gospel. As religion was effectively banned in Cuba at the time, Cabrera says the bureaucratic Big Brother began closely watching him, and often sent officials to visit him as a scare tactic.
He wasn’t fazed. In fact, he turned up the volume.
Cabrera’s father continued his ministry and even began speaking out about Castro’s oppressive regime to anyone who would listen. Soon enough, Cabrera says, Castro’s cronies arrested him on bogus gun-related charges.
The lack of evidence didn’t matter, though, as communist governments operate by their own rules. Her father was never given a fair chance at proving his innocence and was taken as a political prisoner without conducting a full trial. It wasn’t until four years later when Pope John Paul II visited Cuba and negotiated Cabrera’s father’s release, along with others wrongly imprisoned, that he was freed.
Instances such as this, paired with being welcomed to the United States and experiencing all the freedoms and comforts she was deprived of under communist rule, led Cabrera to run for city council to protect her new home country.
“I love the Cuban culture, and I want to help the people coming over because I relate to the experience of moving to a foreign country. But, my priority is this country. The United States opened its doors, it gave us the opportunity to be here and to be treated as human beings, unlike Cuba. This is the country that I owe my loyalty to.”
Cabrera is currently about halfway finished gathering the required 500 signatures to be placed on the ballot. Once she does and the signatures are verified, she will be on the April 4, 2023 ballot for councilwoman of Kansas City’s Fourth District.