Saint Fermin Whom the Cuban Political Prisoners Will Not Forget

Saint Fermin, the patron saint of Pamplona, is not a saint of devotion in Cuba.  But this July 7, 2010, the 52 political prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003 and their relatives will never forget him.

After many days of prayers and uncertainties, today something has happened.  A statement by Raul Castro himself has declared that the Spanish chancellor, Miguel Angel Moratinos, has been informed that the 52 prisoners that remained from the Group of the 75 and which were jailed 7 years ago, will be released.

The news that has been going around the world, while I write this post, had not yet been known to the majority of the internal opposition nor to the remarkable Ladies in White.  A very important part of this victory is due to them, and also to the name of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, which we will dedicate it to his mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo.

And if this news came just in time for someone, it is for Guillermo Fariñas, who we hope will abandon his hunger strike and will commence the slow recuperation process of his damaged body.

The names of the political prisoners who will leave Cuba are still unknown, as is whether it will be immediately or within the next few months, and if they will leave alone or accompanied by their closest relatives.  But today, in a telephone call from his son Jimmy, 11.

In and out of the island there have been, and will continue to be, many different opinions, in favor and against the negotiations between the government, the Catholic Church, and Spain.  Debate is healthy.  Let us continue debating.  Let us draw lessons from this and let us attempt to leave irreconcilable divergences aside, both in the opposition and in the exile.

Differences aside, for the family members of these 52 prisoners, July 7, 2010, the day of Saint Fermin, will be unforgettable.

In order to reach the end of a long path, it’s not always the best option to run.  Most of the time it is better to walk slowly.

Step by step.  And today, whether we like it or not, Spain and the Catholic Church, along with other mediators, have taken the first steps to empty the jails of this island of Cubans whose biggest crime has been to think differently.

Ivan Garcia

Photo:  joseliusgildela, Flickr.  Saint Fermin in the Cuesta of San Domingo in Navarra, Spain.

Translated by Raul G.