This year, as usual, the United States Interests Section in Havana held a well-deserved celebration of the independence of the United States and, as always, invited members of Cuban civil society. I think that Cuba is one of the few countries in the world that has outlawed this celebration, and far from honoring it, it discredits it with already tired epithets. Since I left prison in 2007, every July I receive with satisfaction and gratitude an invitation for myself and my wife, Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.
But this year I could not be there for various reasons, all of a repressive nature.
First, my wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera was suffering the pain of intercostal neuritis brought on by the cowardly agents of the political police in two brutal beatings and arrests in less than a week, for the simple and sole reason of trying to exercise two rights: to deliver a letter in the diocese of Santa Clara bound for Cardinal Ortega so that he might intercede before the tyranny of Havana in order to save the lives of both his brother, Mario Alberto Pérez Aguilera, as well as that of our beloved compatriot Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena, both on hunger strike in prison in Agüica.
Second, although the opportunity would have been conducive to telling those present to lend aid in the case of Mario Alberto and Ernesto, it was precisely the concern over their lives that has turned me into a sort of spokesman for the desperate and constant efforts Yris to that effect.
Third, if in other less complicated circumstances they have arrested me while trying to reach the capital, and at times after managing to do so, it appears that the hunting dogs are after my person, I don’t believe that with the bullying and harassment of which I’m a victim at this time in my own house, I would have been able to make it even as far as the bus or train station.
Congratulations to this great and hospitable nation in this patriotic day. I am convinced that sooner or later, we Cubans may also celebrate on May 20, in a free and democratic Cuba, where you and we can attend with reciprocity and without these absurd prohibitions of the repressive Castro regime, as it was in the times of the Republic, as it is in the free and civilized world.