Cubanet, Antonio Rodiles, Havana, 3 June 2015 – Right from the year 1959, Fidel Castro made it very clear that public spaces were only for “Revolutionaries.” To achieve this objective he converted every public act in a harangue to intimidate the citizenry. Very quickly Cubans saw that the saber-rattling was converted into actions and mobs that could demolish them and their loved ones. Terror was implanted, the “Revolution” imposed.
Fifty-six years later, totalitarianism seeks to maintain its power with the tool it knows best, violence. Reactivating the panic genes that put you in a straightjacket is the regime’s priority.
Can Cuba change if we continue to sustain the memory of fear? Can Cuba change if we accept the terms of some decrepit old men and their followers?
It is not about a dilemma between a supposedly peaceful change and a violent one, as some want to show. Cuba will change if we feel the determination to make it so, if we push a genuine desire to end the nonsense and the stupidity.
For eight Sundays, the regime has brutally repressed a group of opponents who, together with the Ladies in White, demand the release of the political prisoners. Two points are intolerable for the dictatorship: that we demand the inmates be released, and that we exercise our right to demonstrate publicly and peacefully.
However, what has been unexpected is the ability to resist that we have demonstrated in the face of the abuses and the impunity of the repressive forces. Nearly a hundred activists, we continue to attend despite the violence they impose on us. It is hard, but our rights are worth it. We don’t know how many more Sundays of abuse and outrages await us, but we are confident that we will win freedom.
Last week we asked some friends to support us, because we need help to sustain this demand in the face of the silence of the international community. Quickly they promoted the Twitter hashtag #Todoas Marchamos (We All March). A “twittazo” – Twitter protest – against repression was organized, in support of the Sunday marches. And the result could not be better. Thousands of Tweets flooded the Internet. Seeing them was a balm after so much abuse.
Next Sunday we will be back on the street along with the Ladies in White, those humble women, laden with virtues and defects, but who have persevered like few others, and to whom we will be grateful for the Cuba of the future.
Hopefully many will join. Off the Island, let all those Cubans who yearn for a change send their Tweets, or gather in public spaces to show that Cuba is hurting. Within Cuba, let the rest of the opposition understand that the street is a space belonging to everyone, and that the blows hurt, but more painful for us is the indifference.
If #TodosMarchamas – If we all march – on Sunday, the fear and the disctatorship are finished. Let’s do it.