In Cuba, all he has are a sixth grade education and his sixty years of age. Blas Fortún is one of those rare human beings. If a mission is necessary to the East of Cuba, it is Blas Fortún who offers to go.
If something has to be taken to a prisoner, you don’t have to ask him to do it, it’s not important if it’s very cold, if it’s raining, or a hurricane is approaching. If you have to go to a place to protest, march in the streets of Santa Clara, go out to yell “Down With Fidel!”. His health complaints aren’t important to him, even when he hasn’t been able to recover from the cold and then hot cells in which they put him after that arrest in Santiago de Cuba.
It is useless if we beg him to at least drink water during arrests in the cells, from there he’ll get out looking like a skull and won’t beg for mercy, from there he’ll get out, ready for the next action.
Carpenter, mason, repairer of water leaks, painter, electrician, always ready to lend a hand not just to the fellow dissident who needs something, but to anyone, although it might be the first time he’s seen him. In Placetas, many blocks have the mark of this multi-talented Cuban, to whom one will call for a fix or repair of whatever kind. Like we say in good Cuban, “he catches everything himself, and whatever pain he feels is like yours”.
He isn’t well known but this doesn’t bother him, his is to do what his conscience and heart dictate to him. If the opposition hadn’t existed, he would have created it, because this is the most rebellious Cuban I’ve ever met. What he is at home, in the street, in the jails, and during interrogations you have to see as this older man who, without much formal education but with astonishing information, drives his repressors up the wall.
Translated by Raul G.
December 11 2010