The Pot-Banging Protest of January 2012 / Jorge Luis García Pérez Antunez

Wilman Villar Mendoza, killed by the Castro dictatorship January 19, 2012.

In January, the first month of 2012, the Cuban internal resistance was the scene of two major events which, for their impact and significance, are milestones and mark the Cuban nation. On January 19, 2012 the death of political prisoner Wilman Villar Mendoza was announced, a young Christian Baptist who had spent more than fifty days dying on hunger strike, in which he demanded fair and transparent criminal proceedings, with promise of an adequate his defense.

Villar Mendoza had been arrested, along with other members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, when they carried out a resounding and peaceful protest in Santiago municipality of Boatswain. The political police, true to their cruel and false nature, planned a future attempt to prosecute him for alleged crimes of which he had already been legally exonerated, and Wilman Villar met his cruel death after a painful agony where the silence, indifference, complicity and torture put paid to his young, dignified existence.

But days later his brothers in the internal resistance from one end of the country to the other, united in an unprecedented move. In hundreds and hundreds of Cuban homes, thousands and thousands of compatriots joined in a national cacerolazo — a pounding on pots and pans — to condemn the crime and the crude smear campaign launched by a cowardly government’s press releases against the memory of this young man who had much more courage than his executioners, to meet the challenges from a position of strength, against those who led him to prison unjustly.

The regime and its enforcers of its flamboyant military deployment, arrests, and persecutions could do nothing to avoid the pot-banging, women, adolescents and almost children, men and women and all the people of the village who do not belong to the opposition as such, joined the cacerolazo. The cacerolazo this Jan. 24, Day of Resistance, its connotation and national and international impact tells us how much progress has been made by Cuba’s opposition, far-reaching in will and consensus, as is embodied in the spirit of unity in action and we announced that this could represent the year that has just begun in the fight for the freedom of the motherland. These are the facts, the rest is up to us.

January 26 2012