Here I Am / Voices Behind The Bars, Pedro Argüelles Morán

Photo: Pedro Arguelles Moran

This past July 10 I chose not to travel to Spain because I do not wish to abandon my country — I am Cuban, and very proud of it. I was born here, as were my sisters, relatives, parents, and my paternal grandparents. My maternal grandparents were not born here, they were Spanish, however, they are buried here, as are all my other loved ones, and I shall also be buried here one day.

I could have accepted to depart to the Iberian peninsula after that option was presented to me on the telephone by Cardinal Ortega, but due to the love that I have for my country, my history, my culture, my individual character, and my traditions, I have decided to stay and continue with this peaceful struggle for freedoms and rights that are inherent to the dignity of human beings, as long as I have the strengths to continue the noble and dignified civil struggle, or until that long awaited democratic transition occurs in Cuba. Perhaps, upon not accepting the offer of exile, I will be kept as a hostage of the totalitarian Castro regime as a form of punishment for not fleeing from my own country. Back in mid-1992 I joined the Cuban Pro-Human Rights Committee, and I was well aware of all the risks and sacrifices I would have to face, for I knew I was going to more than likely be a victim of all sorts of beatings, whether physical or spiritual. I could, and would, be treated as something other than a human by those who perpetuate themselves in power through terror and strength.

Here I am, and I will continue being here because this is where I belong. This is my totally sovereign decision and comes from my personal desire, which through wind or rain, will continue moving towards promoting the ideal shared by Marti, “Freedom is very expensive, and it is precise — either give in and live without it, or make up your mind and pay the price for it.”

Pedro Argüelles Morán
Grupo de los 75
Prisión Provincial de Canaleta, Ciego de Ávila

Translated by: Raul G.

August 4, 2010