Cubans have been fighting against the dictatorship for more than half a century and this should be a source of pride, not shame. We have never given up, year after year, generation after generation many brave Cubans have refused to capitulate. Whoever says we’ve done nothing is wrong, we have done a great deal and continue doing it.
And all that has been done has been done against a regime that has had the support of much of the free world. Cubans have fought against dictatorship and against the Soviet empire that backed it until its end in 1989. We have also struggled against the indifference of democratic governments, against their indifference and in many cases against their complicity.
We have resisted for decades against the disinformation of the majority of the newspapers and journalists in the democratic world who have supported or been apologists for Castro. And despite this struggle against much of the world we have not let ourselves be beaten. It is not true that we’ve accomplished nothing, we’ve accomplished a great deal. All the sacrifice of a generation has made the following generation, or at least a part of it, to continue taking up the flag and defending freedom, respect for human rights and democracy.
Those who say we have not accomplished anything are ignoring that it has been the resistance of thousands and the sacrifices of thousands that have maintained the torch of freedom, lighting the path and the future.
Those who say that we have not done anything should reconsider their fatalism. They must understand that fear in Cuba and pessimism in the exile are the best weapons the enemy Castro regime has against the struggle for democracy. The dictatorship wants a fearful people and a pessimistic exile morally defeated. They want fear in Cuba and fatalism abroad because they fear the people on the island the people in exile.
For this, my compatriots, I speak as a man of 95 years who spent two decades in prison. Now is not the time to back off, it is the time to find in our souls and our hearts all the strength and all the optimism we need to bury the Castro regime. When someone tells you that we have done nothing and we can’t do anything, tell them that this is what the dictatorship wants us to think.
That the dictatorship wants fear on the island and defeatism abroad. Because they know that the day when the exile has faith and supports those who struggle, is the day the fear on the island will be lost the quickest. The dictatorship knows that to the extent that the people on the island lose their fear, in the exile negativity, fatalism and paralysis weaken. We can not ask the people to rise up if those of us living in freedom do not rebel against our lack of faith, against our passivity.
My fellow Cubans, we remember a Roman poet who centuries ago stated a great truth:
“Whoever loses their faith has nothing more to lose.”
19 January 2014