Caridad Caballero Batista and her family: A note from the author of this blog
Every Sunday the same news arrived from Cuba. Scratches, shoves, threats, beatings, insults and arrests against a woman dressed in white who simply was trying to assist Sunday Mass in the Eastern city of Holguin. Of course, it is also the story of countless other Ladies in White throughout Cuba, from East to West, but through this blog I always tried to highlight her personal story.
This 2012, Caridad Caballero Batista could only assist Sunday Mass two or three times in total. In the vast majority of cases, she was beaten and shoved into a police vehicle and later taken to the instructional unit of Pedernales. Her family- her husband Esteban and son Eric– also suffered the violence in a constant manner. But none of them ever stopped their civic activities in demand for freedom for all Cubans.
This Thursday, 28th of June of 2012, Caballero Batista and her family arrived to the United States as exiles. However, despite now residing outside of Cuba, they have affirmed that they will keep the struggle alive for the freedom of the island, just from another stage. While in Holguin, the most cruel of threats on behalf of the government henchmen was able to make these Cubans break, nor did the most brutal beatings or the longest arrests.
Every Wednesday- designated by the Cuban opposition as national vigil days- (and in all honesty, mostly every day) Caballero Batsita reported that her home was surrounded by police agents who would also arrest any other dissidents who would try to arrive to their home. The total number of hours that she has spent behind bars in pestilent, dark, humid, and damp cells are unmeasurable. And yet, she always kept her firm spirit. In one of the most violent cases, her son Eric Sandez Suarez, was beaten to the point of losing consciousnesses and kept for numerous days behind bars, separated from his mother. And just a few days before leaving for exile, the Cuban dictatorship organized mobs in Holguin to shout violent insults at the family.
But it was not the level of repression which most caught my attention about this story. Instead- it was what I said before and continue reiterating- the spirit of resistance and of true love for her country that Caridad Caballero and her family had, and continue having.
Although the news that a grand fighter and grand family has had to leave Cuba is sad and difficult- because people like them are essential on the path towards democracy- they also deserve freedom. And, in fact, all that they have done for Cuba is not in vain. And soon, when their is no longer a dictatorship on the island, Caridad Caballero Batista and her family will be able to go to church without being arrested, walk down the streets of Holguin without being persecuted, and live as they deserve to live in their own country.
But, for now, in this blog- as well as in other mediums- there are countless reports of the suffering this family endured. And, the names of those who ordered so much abuse will not be washed away and clouded out by impunity.
As Caballero Batista has said on countless occasions to this blog and other sources of media, “we will keep standing firm in the face of terror“.