He was born in Cuba. Before he was even 16, according to Wikipedia,
Fernández attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times, with each failed defection attempt followed by a prison term. Fernández, along with his mother and sister, defected in 2007. On that successful attempt, José's mother fell overboard when the boat hit turbulent waters, and José had to dive into the water to save her life. They reached Mexico, and then moved to Tampa in 2008Hearing about his life on Sportscenter yesterday made me feel gratitude for already living in the United States and never having to take such a risk.
My gratitude, however, is relative. I feel fortunate because most of the world has not been born into the favorable circumstances of countries like America.
I do not, however, feel like I owe something to society or to political authorities for my relative freedom. Those who say, "freedom isn't free" are wrong. An early libertarian blog was called Freedom is Free, with the tagline "Who owns you?"
Fernandez and his family risked quite a lot for freedom. The Castros owned them, and they escaped.
That's a price they should not have had to pay.
To say "freedom isn't free" is to suggest that hierarchy and coercion - slavery of one kind or another -is the natural state, and freedom is a modern innovation. It's also an implied threat: As long as you obey these laws and fight these wars, you deserve to be free. If you don't, you should be locked in a cage.
To say "freedom isn't free" is to say Cubans who are unwilling or unable to escape or rebel somehow deserve the Castros.
It's to say that freedom is a privilege, not a right.
It's to say that freedom is what you get to have after rulers do what they want to you.
But I would ask again: Who owns you?
The price of freedom is nothing. Nothing.
If you live in a place where the price is higher, that price is not being set by people who are protecting you or have your best interests at heart; it's being set by criminals.