Fariñas and Sakharov: The Totalitarians Cannot Be Reformed / IntraMuros

Cuba dawned today in the monotony typical of these systems. But a text message broke into my room at 5 am: Farinas won the Sakharov Prize. The morning dawned differently for me and for many other Cubans who began to send from heart to heart — that is from cellphone to cellphone — the good news. The third Cuban had received this prestigious prize from the European Parliament. In 2002 it had been Oswaldo Paya and in 2005 the Ladies in White.

Farinas and Sakharov: What relationship could be found between these two men? Having wanted to be the person, in a system whose anthropological damage is precisely the blockade of freedom and of personal and social independence. They are men who breached their respective walls. Who, with their lives at death’s door, were a window for the light of freedom. Cuba is a blue-green island. Her soul is still free and supported when the world recognizes the value of men like Farinas who, with their solidarity, offer their lives for the freedom and rights of others.

Today official Cuba dawned as gray as ever, but the real Cuba is freer and happier with the Sakharov Prize for Santa Clara’s psychologist and journalist. As I was talking to Coco, as we call him, and asking him to say something for the magazine Convivencia (Coexistence), he said to me: Say that it is a prize for all the people of Cuba and that I dedicate it to Orlando Zapata Tamayo and to Pedro Luis Boitel.

We call on all other Cubans to ask ourselves, what can we do with our lives to make us worthy of men and women like Boitel, Zapata, Farinas and the Ladies in White, and all the others who continue, into the breach, peacefully, to bring on that day when this kind of sacrifice, and the prize given to those who offer themselves for others, are only a grateful memory of a sovereign nation.

Dagoberto Valdes

October 21, 2010