Cuba Is Yours

Demonstration this July 11 in Alqízar, Artemisa. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Federico Hernández Aguilar, San Salvador, 22 July 2021 — Cuba is yours, brother. This island belongs to you, sister. Your face is reflected in its waters. In the blue of its skies, the clouds of your dreams are roaming. But in this island land they have wanted — how redundant! — to isolate you, they have wanted to drown your voice for many years, to muzzle your conscience, to force you to embrace a destiny that was not, is not, has never been yours.

For more than six decades, equivalent to the entire life of a human being, hundreds, thousands of Cubans were born, grew up and died breathing a rarefied air, contaminated by the hegemonic discourse of a group of privileged people who came to believe they were eternally in power.

And yet, sister, brother: do you hear, do you perceive, have you seen how the wind has turned on the coasts, have you observed how intensely the sun has renewed itself on the horizon? On July 11, you turned history upside down. You made your footsteps echo from one corner to the other of the island that was always yours and whose possession you now claim.

They were so determined to instill fear in you that they ended up continue reading

snatching it away from you. They never knew how much strength they were giving to your yearning for freedom when they silenced you, when they locked you in cold dungeons, when they covered you with chains. Today they know. Today the fear is theirs.

You have taken the fear out of your little house and put it in their official residences. You no longer tremble; they do. Their power, once so immense, is now blurred, and you have achieved this by putting your feet on the street, joining the spontaneous march of others who have also discovered that the future belongs to them.

José Martí looks at you from the height of his white statue. His thought, lucid, crosses your memory and makes your lungs expand: “Like bones to the human body, the axle to the wheel, the wing to the bird, and the air to the wing, so is liberty the essence of life. Whatever is done without it is imperfect.”

And you have had enough of the imposed imperfections, of the undeserved poverty, of the hunger that eats away at the entrails, of the yearning, the longing, that eats away at the soul.

Martí watches. He greets your heroic deed with the power of a word that tyranny tried to usurp, but that today recovers its original brilliance in the cries of freedom that make your heart vibrate. That hero thus offers you the warmth of his breath; he affirms your ankles; he pushes you to the unprecedented struggle. And you watch him lean from his pedestal to whisper in your ear: “He who lives in an autocratic creed is the same as an oyster in its shell, which only sees the prison that encloses it and believes, in the dark, that this is the world; freedom gives wings to the oyster.”

And it is true, brother, sister of Cuba: you have grown wings. In vain did they think they were going to turn this island into your shell. In moments you have reached the elevation that Martí wished for the people for whom he bled to death at Dos Ríos. Between him and you there is a real, indestructible bridge, stronger than any ideology to connect your aspirations with those of every man or woman who loves and defends freedom, their own and that of others.

Cuba is yours, sister. The nation belongs to you, brother. It is present in that woman who demands bread for her children, in the rebelliousness of that young man who demands respect for his dreams, in the slogan of that group of poets, musicians, journalists, citizens who, together, shoulder to shoulder, go out today to the public square to chant the pair of words that is burying 62 years of opprobrium: “¡Patria Y Vida!” [Homeland and Life].

And so it is. Do not doubt it. Because life is yours, brother, sister of Cuba, yours will also be the homeland!

Translated by: Hombre de Paz


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