A Christmas Spent in Freedom / Pablo Pacheco

After eight long years, my family can once again smile during Christmas. The hate and intolerance of the regime in Havana kept 75 Cuban families from being able to celebrate Christmas together.

A couple of friends invited me to spend Christmas Eve with them in the town of Marbella. As a result, a well-nourished group of Cubans, some Spaniards, and Hanna, a native of Lebanon who cooks exquisitely, all shared this holiday, which is the day that all Christians await, with my family.

Thanks to Odalys, Borredo, Lola, Dupon, and Miguel, along with other relatives and friends, I felt as if I was at home. My only son managed to display a smile on his lips which I had not seen occur for quite some time now. Oleivys and I danced the night away to Caribbean rhythms- something I missed very much and that 6 months ago I thought would be impossible to repeat, thanks to the 20 year sentence I was serving.

During these days of universal festivities I have received displays of warmth and love from all sorts of places. I have received Christmas cards, e-mails, and telephone calls. I truly appreciate all these things with all of my heart. They really reach me deep inside and help me to continue.

But I cannot deny, however, that my happiness is not complete, for 11 of my brothers in cause remain behind the bars. 11 families were not able to sing, laugh, or dance, just because those who are in power exercise a brutal intolerance.

One day, my country will once again be able to see the light which brightens our paths to freedom. And when that day comes, we will all celebrate Christmas together. And on that day, absolutely no one will languish away in prison just for their thoughts. That day is near, and just like the famous singer says, “All the world is waiting for it”.

Translated by Raul G.

December 30, 2010

Note: Pablo Pacheco formerly blogged in “Voices Behind the Bars” when he was a political prisoner in Cuba. He has now been released and forcibly exiled to Spain, and has a new blog, “Cuban Voices from Exile.” We will continue to post him here, for a time, until his faithful readers have found their way to his new home.