On the Day of the Virgin of Charity…

On this 400th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin of Charity- known as ‘Cachita’- in Cuba…

We must not forget the political prisoners who are in captivity only because they think different than the official discourse and have been sentenced to weeks, months and years in filthy dungeons for having carried out civic demonstrations against the military dictatorship. Some of these are: Niurka Luque Alvarez, Sonia Garro Alfonso, Ramon Munoz, Jorge Vazquez Chaviano, Dany Lopez de Moya, Bismark Mustelier Galan, Ariel Arzuaga, Gerardo Sarrion, Roelvis Cuba Sendo, Rogelio Tabio, Jorge Cervantes Garcia, Enrique Figuerola, Andry Frometa Cuenca. The list continues and the majority of these men and women are fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and represent the suffering which Cubans are subjected to for dissenting from totalitarianism and for desiring a nation ‘for all’. But more than pain, they represent bravery and Resistance. They have not given up, not even in the dungeons they are confined to. They are our guides.

We must not forget all the Cubans who, despite the threats they receive on a daily basis, continue going out to the streets to demand rights and freedom for all citizens. The Ladies in White, the independent journalists who report the truth, the bloggers who defy censorship, the central coalitions which carry out peaceful opposition actions, all the members of movements and groups which only grow by the day and which tirelessly work to accelerate the process of liberation.

We also cannot forget those everyday citizens who- perhaps they do not belong to dissident groups- but they too struggle in their own way in order to sustain their families. They suffer hunger and strife to be able to put some food on the table and clothes on their children’s backs. Yet, they keep moving forward.

We must not forget the countless families who have been separated by exile and operations of hate, vigilance and mistrust. Those who live outside of their homeland and are not allowed to return to their island to see their relatives and friends under a selfish decree imposed by the same dictatorship. Those who are inside and cannot visit the outside world, if they have plans to return back home.

We must not forget the many who have given their lives for a future which, although long overdue, is very near…

The thousands upon thousands who were killed in the Escambray mountains- mostly peasants- as they defended the country against the dictatorship, the countless citizens who were taken before firing walls and executed, those who died on hunger strike and those who were beaten to death in prisons full of noble men and women who should have never been there in the first place. The many who have tossed their fate into the ocean aboard flimsy rafts and other materials in search of a future without tyranny. Those who have continued to give their lives… Pedro Luis Boitel, the Brothers to the Rescue, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, Laura Pollan Toledo, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Harold Cepero Escalante

For all of them, I dedicate this post, as a prayer, to ‘Cachita’.

And, while on the subject, this blog also turns 2 years old today. ‘Pedazos de la Isla’ has only been possible thanks to those inside the island who have allowed us to record and share their testimonies. They know that this space is theirs. It does not belong to any group or another, and much less does it respond to the interests of any political party of any country. This blog has also been made possible by friends- Cuban and non Cuban alike- who have helped spread and provide news. Thank you!

On the Day of the Virgin of Charity…

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