Jose "El Nino" Temprana, a 105-year-old exile who was detained for 30 years in his native Cuba, realized his American dream Friday, when he became a US citizen at a ceremony in Miami.
Now, he says, his next goal is to find himself a wife.
And the former fisherman is convinced he will outlive the ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro he once plotted to assassinate.
"He's far less healthy than I am, he can hardly talk," Temprana said of the 80-year-old communist leader who has been recovering from intestinal surgery for almost one year.
Beaming with pride, a US flag sewed onto his left shirt pocket, Temprana joined some 150 others in reciting the US pledge of allegiance, swearing to bear arms for the United States if called upon to do so.
"Now I am American," he said, smiling and waving a small US flag.
The crowd at the swearing-in ceremony applauded as he walked into the hall sporting a straw fedora, two-tone shoes, smart black slacks and a white "guayabera" -- a quintessentially Cuban open-necked pleated shirt
Temprana says he had felt "like an American" long before he was naturalized, since he grew up under the 1901 Platt Amendment that for three decades essentially made Cuba a US protectorate by giving the United States the right to intervene in the island's affairs.
Born on September 26, 1901, he worked with his sons as a sponge diver and lobster fisherman in a small village in Cuba's Pinar del Rio province.
After the 1959 revolution that brought Castro to power, he plotted against the communist regime with a group that included three of his sons.
"I received arms from here to topple Fidel Castro. To fight," Temprana told AFP.
"There were a lot of us, but there was also one person who infiltrated the group. He talked, so they arrested us."
He and his sons were jailed in 1964.
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