Orange Juice Runs Through My Veins / Mario Lleonart

Not even I understand how much those nearly eight months — from 30 November 1993 to 28 July 1994 — affected the rest of my life. I was used as cheap and reliable labor, exposed to hard labor in the citrus harvest, to the substantial economic benefit of the Cuban regime and the Grupo B.M. y Waknine & Berezovsky Co. Ltd. Over the years now I hve come to understand that it was a chapter God had for me. The experiences I went through had to do with things far beyond what I imagine, given all that I have been and done since then.

My friend Omar Lopez Montenegro whom I met last June on my trip to Poland excitedly tells his experience at the famous Pre-University of de la Víbora, a site which has also been immortalized thanks to another of its graduates, the writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes, who turned this mythical place into the origin of the backstory of his character detective Mario Conde.

The joint non-violent resistence of Omar and other friends prevented some gatekeepers from cutting their long hair during a period of mobilization in the field. I lived something similar in Boom 400 of the EJT (Ejercito de Trabajo Juvenil, or the Youth Labor Army) and above all the vivid outrages will stay with me forever.

After walking for three months among the concentration camps adjacent to the towns of San Jose Torriente and San José de Marcos, they made us return to that of Socorro en Pedro Betancourt. Supposedly from this Boom 400, which was our original camp, the suppliies assigned to us should have arrived, but we received nothing during those three months during which we wandered on some supposed mission whose high work goals were never met.

During those three months we didn’t even get a pass to go to our homes. We felt sorry for ourselves. Our clothes were dirty and ragged as could be. Most of us were walking barefoot, a few with broken boots. One of the generals named Acebedos came by for inspections and called us “the shirtless”, and a relaxed captain in the camp next to Torrientes, seemingly moved by compassion, told us — pointing at his massive gut: “Don’t be discouraged boys, I lost this belly in the army”.

On returning to our original camp, we held out the hope that things might change, but on arrival, a new unit chief met us: a Navy captain whose punishment was being sent to the EJT. And I became aware of another characterisic of this invincible army: it was the punishment site for MININT, Armed Forces, and even Navy officers.

For us, the officer’s reception was to inform us that we’d just arrived at Boom 400, and we had to earn all we asked for. An additional answer to our worries was the delivery of immense Chinese machetes, and after a miserable lunch, he made us go to some place infested with the invasive marabú weed that we had to pull up and prepare for the planting of citrus.

That was more than a humiliation. Supposedly, in those conditions we didn’t cut even one marabú, our patience having completely dripped away, so even better we organized and so it was like that night in May 1994 when, in protest, the complete squad deserted and we agreed that nobody would return for at least a week. The silent exit from the camp and the trip, one by one, through the orange orchards towards the national highway where in a matter of minutes we undertook a course towards Las Villas, were the most glorious moments of those eight months of abuse.

On our return, at least those who returned — some never did — we were subject to trial in the camp’s ampitheater, seeking an answer: “Who had been the leader?” The end of the trial consisted in the delivery of the supplies they’d deprived us of for the last eight months, our manner of nonviolent protest showed the vulnerability of those who thought they had power and made us discover that power was really in our hands.

The en masse desertion of an EJT squad had made the news all over the island and uncovered corruption in high places. Although I was liberated, that unforgettable July 28, 1994, I can’t deny that since then, orange juice runs through my veins.

Translated by: JT

12 August 2013

My Youth Labor Army (EJT) / Mario Lleonart

They undoubtedly ordered the official press panegyrics in honor of the Youth Labor Army (EJT) for its forty years of existence. Between the two national newspapers they share the responsibility and take turns with articles such as, “At the end of the line,” “EJT: an undefeated army,” “Force for youth training,” and “Immersed in the EJT is the transformation of the Cuban economy.”

This same press hasn’t said a single work about the scandalous traffic in arms carried out by the founder (i.e. Fidel Castro) of the Military Units in Aid of Production (UMAP) and its successor, the EJT, in cahoots with his counterparts in North Korea; but that they carry on about a topic that concerns me because in one of those concentration camps they stole eight months of my life twenty years ago.

Colonel Pedro Duardo Mendez, Head of Territorial Headquarters of the Western Railway, quoted in one article, said that the EJT “was forces composed of Active Military Service (SMA) soldiers, usually with family or financial problems.” But they took me for the same reason they mobilized those in UMAP: my condition as an evangelical believer that meant I wasn’t reliable enough to be in the real army, the care and safeguard of the regime.

This same official said that the EJT recruits “have a salary that depends on their monthly production… They work in the interest of developing our country’s economy and at the same time receive a pay package for the solution of their economic problems.” But when I left the EJT I had to pay them a debt of almost 200 Cuban pesos to be released.

He said he also interviewed soldiers “recruited in places near their homes. to facilitate the work and the assistance,” but they took me 100 miles from my house and met young people in those camps who’s been brought from the easternmost areas of the country and could barely visit their homes once a year.

The journalist Eduardo Palomares in the 5 August edition of Granma (which, by the way has not dedicated a single word to the nineteenth anniversary of Maleconazo), said: “For a long time considered the country’s most productive force… they envisioned leading the way to the aspiration planned by Army General Raul Castro, in which the EJT will always be a highly efficient institution.”

And it’s undeniable, just like in the UMAP, the main objective of EJT is to make the most of young people forced to work, especially in forced labor in which it is not easy to voluntarily engage people, at least not with the paltry wages they earned.

It has to be efficient, this consortium provider of cheap labor to other companies, with the additional guarantee of total control of slaves without rights who are subjected to all kinds of abuse and harassment to perform the tasks that nobody else wants to do.

In this regard my twenty years of experience in the citrus groves of Jagüey Grand remains fresh in my mind, producing large gains for an Israeli company in dealings with the regime that served us to them on a silver platter along with our oranges.

But I know for a fact that the forced labor workers today are forced to work laying railway lines, performing specialized tasks of so-called regional companies of the Union of Railways, hard work and underpaid, done by these young people, some of whom, if they mange to finish the two years they “owe to the regime” unscathed, end up with their spines traumatized for the rest of their lives.

They end up “rallying the troops” after forcefully “squeezing them dry” in exchange for a measly cents to be investing in their own food and things which are deducted from their wages. That is our undefeated EJT.

7 August 2013

The 40th Anniversay of the Youth Labor Army (EJT) / Mario Lleonart

This week I will dedicate my post to what is called the Youth Labor Army (EJT), on the 40th anniversary of its creation, which is Saturday, August 3, and nineteen years since my release from its “ranks,” which occurred on July 28.

This so-called Army, created in 1973, it’s said, from a merger of the Centennial Youth Column (CJC) and the Permanent Infantry Divisions (DIP), had its true antecedent in the dark Military Units in Aid of Production (UMAP), which were dissolved in 1968 in the face of global condemnation given its undeniable and unmasked reality of being concentration camps in which the Cuban regime committed crimes for which they still haven’t answered, but for which they will undoubtedly have to pay one day, no matter how much they try to erase the traces of that terribly black period.

Five years after dismantling these UMAP camps, they were reorganized with the new euphemism of EJT. Of course, it wasn’t simply a change of initials, five years between death and resurrections were sufficient to draw the experiences and to try to do the same thing but with different appearances.

I experienced it first hand in the EJT, for almost eight months, exploitations and humiliations greater than any I’ve been subjected to in my life. Between 230 November 1993 and 28 July 1994, I felt like a real slave. When people ask me if I was ever a soldier I respond categorically no, but yes, I was a prisoner under the false facade of completing Active Military Service (SMA) in EJT Boom 400, a concentration camp located one mile from the 119 Kilometer mark on the national highway. The nearest community is called Soccoro, which belongs to the Pedro Betancourt municipality in the province of Matanzas.

Despite being there barely eight months I knew two other concentration camps to which we were sent to serve our “mission” on the part of Boom 400, one very close to Torrientes, and the other at San Jose de Marcos, two villages of the municipality Jagüey Grande.

In these three military units in support of citrus production we were cheap and safe manual labor for the regime which at that time had strong business in this area with Israeli companies.

One of the biggest contradictions I experienced, by the way, in those dark days was to constantly wonder why there was this Zionist capitalist complicity with the totally anti-Zionist regime that didn’t even allow an embassy from the State of Israel. For me, educated from my early childhood in a Baptist community that instilled in me a love for the Jews and taught me to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, this was one of the greatest tortures that accompanied every drop of sweat and cursing.

Reading the autobiography “After Captivity, Freedom,” by my friend Luis Bernal Lumpuy, which includes the traumatic experiences of the author in the UMAP camps forced me to remember, by association, my sad experiences in the EJT and therefore I dedicate to him my brief written this week, with the certainty that both of us will finally see a Cuba free of these gross violations of fundamental human rights. And also of tyrants bred to create concentration camps such as UMAP or EJT, taking advantages of the students of Stalin, who highlighted similar experiences in Siberia, and the partners of the current regime, experts in this type of prison where they perform cruel experiments on humans, such as North Korea, our currently favored ally, as confirmed by the warmongering world adventure laid bare in Panama.

5 August 2013

Getting a doctorate: Published while they are celebrating the opening ceremony in Havana of the first course in a Doctorate in Theology in Cuba / Mario Lleonart

When my wife Yoaxis Marcheco and I not did not find our names on the list of those enrolled for the doctorate in theology (PhD) course to be offered for the first time in Cuba, after a strong year in a preparatory course, offered by the FIET Theological Institute (Argentina) in collaboration with the FTS of Londrina; when we discovered that our two names were the only ones absent; when we realized that we were the object of evident political discrimination; it is likely that our first reaction was human, because none of this is foreign. When we discovered ourselves not even among the guests at the opening ceremony this Sunday, June 9 at 7 pm at Los Pinos Nuevos Church in Calle Suárez, Habana Vieja, is likely that we felt excluded.

Now that July 9th has come the situation has changed unimaginably. Originally we thought of going for the occasion to Havana and at least sitting on the pews of the Church in silent protest. But, what is our situation today?

I cannot be in Havana as I thought because I’m in Gdansk, the place of the shipyards in which the Communist regime in Poland saw the birth of its collapse. In the midst of this we never dreamed, nor much less planned to receive so many proposals in order to achieve our doctorates.

Precisely on this same day the 9th, as a sign from heaven, an Argentine friend, Micaela Hierro, has come to Gdansk to greet us from Germany where he did his first year of a doctorate. And he came in a hurry because the following morning he must be present in his classroom. And it has left us very encouraged in this regard.

The question for us today is, where to do it? Of the universities that are offering us options which offer so we accept? South America, Europe, USA or Africa? What programs suit us more, us and Cuba? Frankly we wanted no more than what was offered in Havana, in our own land, in this project of FIET and the FTS, but the possibilities and proposals are more diversified than we ever imagined.

Our year of pre-doctoral studies (nivelación) with Professor Alberto Roldán of Argentina was extremely motivating for us. This excellent teacher, who directs the digital magazine “Teologia and Cultura,” guided us to the reading of authors and sources not common to Cuba. Frankly he planted in us “the bug” of the study of theology as a source of empowerment and we were ready for this doctorate which will take us further along the path of the so-called “political theology.”

The stab made by the dictatorship through its Office of Attention to Religious Matters (Oficina de Atención a los Asuntos Religiosos) of the Committee Central of the Communist Party of Cuba has only resulted in our facing, today, the difficult decision of choosing between various and tempting options. It is not that it has eliminated the only option that was offered to us: it is that they have multiplied them for us. And we are going to do it! For the glory of God and for the benefit of Cuba.

9 June 2013

An Office that is unnecessary, and that never should have been / Mario Lleonart

The members of our church are victims of a constant process of pressure, intimidation, blackmail, coercion and even recruitments in the midst of a psychological Cold War, whose ultimate goal would be my long-awaited resignation or recall as pastor.

This shows the double standard of this regime, whose agents, in the arbitrary detention that they put me in on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, and in an effort to pressure me so that I would sign an official written warning, to which of course I did not agree, they officially threatened me so that I would focus on my pastoral activity and leave aside my social concerns, as though these were not two sides of the same coin. The sad thing is that, in practice these are the same agents, sheltered by the highly overrated political Office in Havana, who hinder and obstruct everything I try to do in my community, basically.

 But the epitome that, as pastor I find myself in the painful decision to denounce, is that that Office, not satisfied with this dirty policy of constant interference to my pastoral work, which moreover has not yet given the expected result, taking advantage of its power to grant or reject permits, extend or withdraw privileges, in extreme cruelty, and in the unforgivable stance of “making the believers fight,” in order to interfere with our evangelistic mission to the people (John 17, 21), has extended permissions and privileges to another congregation unfortunately fitting, to the honored Evangelical Pentecostal work known as “Good News,” so that, in a first phase, it would prohibit them from any type of relationship, not only with me or my family, but with any member of our church; they were forbidden to invite us to their activities, or to attend those to which we cordially invited them.

After this discriminatory and segregational posture towards the brothers, worthy of the words of the Second Epistle of the apostle John (verses 9-10) concerning the tyrannical leadership of Diotrophes; the sad thing is that this congregation with privileges easy to see for our community and everyone knows at what cost, has passed through a sad phase which consists of putting a first priority on evangelistic work for which there is more than enough land among our people (“the harvest is plentiful but the workers few”), an aggressive proselytism and without dissimulation obviously addressed to the members of our local church in order to grasp whichever of our brothers it can (that in Evangelical Cuban slang is known as “fishing in another’s pond”), without taking into account either the most minimum rule of ethics, and in which sadly they already have reaped some fruits.

Someday the history of this sad period of Christianity in Cuba will be written, in which our case unfortunately does not constitute an exception, and it will be strong enough to discover information and facts that will leave the skeptics astonished. Then perhaps we will know how much damage this Office caused, what excess, and what never should have been, to the church in Cuba, “Although its gates shall not prevail against it.”

In the meantime I have the most precious thing, that God who is my help and strength and who is also my witness of these brief accusations that constitute only a point at the tip of the iceberg that is the violation of religious freedom in Cuba.

20 May 2013

The Inertia of the Soul / Mario Lleonart

One of the phenomena I gained insight into on my trip to Poland (June 2-15) is that my spirit and my body do not travel in unison. When I arrived at the Amsterdam airport the morning of Sunday the 2nd, my spirit was still wandering through the Havana streets that my body had left the evening before, and through the Cuban countryside, sites that I have never abandoned in my thirty-eight years of earthly existence.

This inertia of the soul I experienced practically the entire first week of my stay in Poland and I had to make a great effort so that my spirit would arrive before the end of my physical journey of just two weeks. And indeed, I was able to go about in body and soul in Poland for at least the second intense week of my trip.

Only now I have a big problem, I am already present in Cuba in body but my spirit has not yet returned: I sometimes perceive it wandering around by the Warsaw Metro, other times in the port of Gdansk, for some moments I can feel it among the cheerful people in the huge square opposite the Cathedral of Krakow, and also, quite frequently, in some corner inside the barbed wire of Auschwitz.

Can anyone help me find my spirit, lost in the heart of Europe?

22 June 2013

Hail, Coco! / Mario Lleonart

El Coco - Guillermo Fariñas -  during his hunger strike.
El Coco – Guillermo Fariñas – during his hunger strike. From:

To walk together as two good friends breathing freedom through the quiet streets of Warsaw just a few days ago; to happily chat with the man who today is receiving the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg, this seemed like an impossible dream just four years ago.

Then, I could barely greet him through the glass window of the intensive therapy room of the Arnaldo Milián Castro Hospital on one of those days when I went to Santa Clara to serve as a chaplain commissioned by my own vocation in the face of an exclusively divine calling.

The prayer I issued forth on those evenings, which added up to one hundred and thirty-five, could be summarized by: “Lord, save this man, and free the prisoners who have decided to die.” I had to endure the advice of many who in vain tried to make me desist from this authentic adventure of faith: Stop going to that hospital – they would tell me – that man is going to die and none of these prisoners will be released.

And when it seemed that Guillermo Fariñas Hernández was indeed dying, and already even the newspaper Granma was preparing for the scenario that friends and foes considered most likely, July 2010 arrived along with his first sip of water, which followed the announcement, published in their own Official Organ of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Cuba (Granma), of the liberation of the fifty-six prisoners that remained from the Group of 75 imprisoned in the Black Spring in 2003.

And time, which does not stop, arrived at June 2013 to lead us to walk together through these magical streets of Warsaw, the striker and the pastor, whose co-belligerence few understood and many considered destined to failure. And finally there has arrived another July in this escalation of triumphs, and today El Coco, as those of us who love him call him, sits in the chair that ceases to be empty, in order to receive, at last, in a special ceremony in the European Parliament, that prize that it offers for the freedom of all Cuba.

And the best thing of all is, that I know that all of this is nothing, “compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” [Romans 8:18]

3 July 2013

The Polish angel who appeared at midnight, loaded with books and Mozart CDs / Mario Lleonart

It was midnight and Warsaw, if wrongly judged, seemed to be taken only by the good times, clubs and bars. A group of Cubans, enraptured by the magic of the city, proof that freedom can finally rise above the nightmare of authoritarian communism, could not sleep despite the intense schedule of our days, and we went out to take the pulse of the Warsaw night. Seated at the tables next to the street of a bar where a trio did not stop singing Irish songs, suddenly, as in a vision, we contemplated the approach of a character like someone out of a novel.

A bearded Polish man was transporting by hand a bicycle loaded with treasures. The merchandise that he was hawking by night was none other than classical music and select literature. Mariana Hernández, a Cuban-American who confirmed for me that the Cubans of the exile and those within Cuba are are same people, and I went out to meet him to verify that in Warsaw, the same by day as by night, literature and culture walk the streets.

He wasn’t carrying Bibles among his books, but upon knowing of my interest in getting one in Polish, he let me know that the Bible Society was not far, and demonstrating that he had it among his frequented sites, he drew me a map with detailed directions of how to get there. And smiling as only a Polish angel can, he disappeared into the night giving us one of the most exact lessons which we received about the amazing nights of Warsaw.

4 July 2013

The Summing up of the Helsinki Foundation / Mario Lleonart

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 11.57.35 AMTo visit the site in Warsaw of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on the afternoon of the historic June 4, anniversary of those first elections with which Poles inaugurated their new period of democracy; to be received there with so much emotion by its President Danuta Przywara, and to hear her from her own mouth the narrative of her experiences in those crucial years the ‘80s, as well as the raison d’être of such a laudable Foundation, this alone would have completely justified my presence in Poland.

The fact that its predecessor organization, the Helsinki Committee, was founded during, and in protest against, the martial law of 1982, made me reflect on how the bad ends up becoming the good. Already it was a long time ago that that repressive wave is past history, but in Poland one finds very active this Foundation that the Committee organized in 1989 as an independent institution to monitor, educate and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is one of the reasons why, on my return to Cuba, I felt stronger that when I had left. One of the four fundamental purposes of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), of whose family I am honorably a part, is exactly the defense of human rights, and for that its Commission on Justice and Peace. In the difficult implementation of this mission for which God has put me in Cuba, international organizations such as Amnesty or Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have been my main support. Now I also count on this prestigious Foundation of Poland. Human Rights in Cuba win, their violators lose,increasingly at a greater disadvantage, predestined to disappear.

2 July 2013

Mystical Poland / Mario Lleonart

To be in Poland on June 4, just when they were celebrating the 24th anniversary of those first partially-free elections, an immediate result of the roundtable returning life to this historic land, was not by chance for me. Nor was the visit to the concentration camps at Auschwitz on June 14, just as the opening day of the site was remembered with horror.

Practically speaking, June 4 opened my visit to this Central European country, and June 14 closed it. When I weigh every minute of what I hope has been my first, but not my last, visit to Poland, I can only conclude that, above all, it was a mystical experience for which God had prepared the way for me.

Now I seem to be awakening from the lethargy I was left with after such a short but intense trip, perhaps prompted by the invitation from our friend Yoani Sanchez this last Friday, the 28th, at 7:00 pm, to debate “Travel and Return,” I will offer in my blog small reflections of the imprints of my journey.

1 July 2013

The Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) left us with a bitter taste / Mario Lleonart

The VI Assembly of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) came to an end, and this entity of Latin American churches missed out on the opportunity to make history in Cuba, adopting a genuinely prophetic position. Instead, the Assembly let itself be manipulated by the Cuban Council of Churches (CIC), which obviously is used by the regime. How sad!

Translated by Chabeli

29 May 2013

We Intercede for Angel Santiesteban / Mario Lleonart

It was he who opened the door at Antonio Rodiles’ house for us this past Saturday the 23rd: for Lilian of “Geronimo’s Blog”, to my wife Yoaxis, and for me, when we came to participate in the Estado de Sats special dedicated to “The United Nations Covenants, Five Years Later” in which, as a part of the panel, I denounced violations of Cuban religious freedom.

When we’d thanked God, we got together to pray as thanksgiving to God, for having allowed us to arrive having circumvented so many risks, I was thrilled on discovering his participation with us and his assent to our prayer.

It was then I conveyed the support we’d been giving since we learned of the plot they were inventing against him: the five years of prison to which they were about to submit him. Now as we’ve already known since past Thursday, February 28th, an unjust sentence is to be carried out; I beg all brothers of good will in the world to unite in intercession with us on behalf of Ángel Santiesteban.

We’ll pray to God for him but also will do our part in denouncing this adjustment of accounts on behalf of the regime that doesn’t forgive him for his blog, “The Children Nobody Wanted.”

We won’t permit it! I am Santiesteban!

Translated by: JT

26 March 2013

My Poor Blog / Mario Lleonart

My first post this year titled “My first post of 2013,” dated January 9, explained to my readers the cause of my tardiness: my lack of internet connection meant that it was nine days into the year before I could post my first text.

Well today is March 26 and I’m posting my fifth post of the year, which is almost equivalent to an average, so far this year, of one post per month.

The truth is that I am not giving in to my lack of connection and so here I am again. I am even trying to take some measures not to achieve a better internet connection, which is impossible, but to take take advantage of the programming options offered by WordPress. So again I apologize to those who have the patience to glance at my poor blog. Thank you for looking here to follow my simple words.

God bless you all.

26 March 2013

Today, February 13, is Laura Pollan’s 64th Birthday / Mario Lleonart

Laura Pollán being assaulted by a government organized mob. Source:
Laura Pollán being assaulted by a government organized mob. Source:

In Cuba celebrating the birthday of someone as special as Laura Pollan has become a sin that the Castro brother’s regime won’t tolerate. Right now, at her home on Neptune Street in Central Havana there is a full manhunt. The women who managed to get there, some fifty, and those who for several days have been heading there from the East, some twenty-eight, are right now surrounded by the hordes that State Security manipulates to assault them and shout every kind of impropriety. Others who tried to get there were caught and beaten, right now I have dozens of witnesses to this.

The state that was established by God to watch over and care for its citizens subverts what should be its purpose and encourages violence. For two years, on the first anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo I tried to give shelter to the Ladies in White Juana Oquendo and Lilian Castañer so they could go to their “literary tea” and I myself was hunted by hordes and taken to the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) station in Santiago de las Vegas, along with to Hector Julio Cedeño, freelance journalist, who right now has spent over a week under arrest for taking a photo.

Today I couldn’t even reach the headquarters of the Ladies in White to celebrate the birthday of Laura Pollan, who remains among us. They wouldn’t let me go there by any means and, indeed, my name is in the blacklist of people they are sent to kill, seizing the opportune moment to give me one of those beatings that over time prove to be fatal, as happened to Laura herself, bitten and scratched just days before her untimely death.

But yesterday afternoon I could meet with their leader Berta Soler and besides my prayers Yoaxis Marcheco, my wife, and I delivered about 50 copies of the “Every Day” devotions published by the Reform Ministry dedicated to the sensitive topic of “Women and Violence” to accompany us throughout the month of March.

Hopefully they have been able to receive this latest version and are already reading some of the prayers while the wolf pack assaults their headquarters. I now pray for them and pray God to hasten the day when this despotic regime which, for some reason, has taken especially against women disappears altogether.

13 February 2013

Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. / Mario Lleonart

Martin_Luther_King_press_conference_01269u_editThe third Monday in January of each year in the U.S. honors the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968). From Cuba I follow the example of this Baptist pastor like me. To those oppressors who constantly threaten and harass me based on the taboo that Christians should not get involved in politics today, I offer as an example the life, work and preaching of this man of God who, in the light of the gospel of Jesus which frees all the oppressed and exhausted, gave up his own life.

Hopefully, in the Kingdom of Heaven I can embrace King  and say, “Brother, thank you for challenging me with your example, in Cuba I tried to do as you did in your country. Like you tried to follow the footsteps of the crucified. Amen”

January 21 2013