As peaceful pro-democracy fighters in Cuba we are filled with deep regret at the news of the death of the Czech playwright and politician Vaclav Havel. I’m sure there was also consternation in all democratic countries in the world. This distinguished intellectual born in Prague, condemned by the Soviet invaders who stole the Prague Spring in then Czechoslovakia and who then banned his works and repeatedly harassed and imprisoned him for defending human rights.
He founded, in 1977, the Charter 77 movement in which he stated his disagreement with the single-party political system prevailing in his country. He was also one of the architects — from his leadership of the opposition group Civic Forum — of massive public protests that brought down the communist regime, the so-called Velvet Revolution, in that republic in Central Europe.
He left us a springtime of hope for those who peacefully work toward the same goals for which he fought. In friends like Havel — a symbol of the peaceful struggle for freedom — we Cuban democrats find helpful solidarity in the demand for respect for human rights in Cuba and for our civil and political rights. His example confirms to us the inspiration to continue paving the way for justice, democracy and national freedom.
I hope the day is not too distant when we will have our own forum of good will and complementarity, where “the power of the powerless” allows a role for all Cubans, in the common and highest purpose of peaceful national reconciliation. That would be our best tribute to this great man of the world.
December 27 2011