Every morning, I go to Twitter Spaces to listen to my Cuban compatriots in exile. They have colorful personalities and passionately argue issues related to the freedom of the island, the return to democracy, the Constitution of 1940, or what happens in the United States, between Democrats and Republicans. It makes me feel proud of how intense they are regarding their points of view, even if I disagree with some of them.
What cannot be in the Twitter Space or real life is fatuous postures and confrontation. I refuse to think that we cannot agree without a heated discussion. Cubans, either in exile or on the island, must stand together and support this pivotal moment after July 11 and prepare for November 15. Instead, puerile positions and arguments are thrown based on the “I believe, I feel, I consider, I think.”
The “bad guys” have managed to advance for 62 years thanks to the disunity among ourselves. Cubans are characterized individually by their sympathy and intelligence and, in groups, by our loudness and passion. Let’s face it, we are hyperbolic and exaggerated, and yes, gathering Cubans is easy, but uniting them is almost impossible … but not impossible.
Today is a great time to achieve that union, starting with one word, Humbleness. Not believing we are more important than what we are, the humility to accept we are not owners of the absolute truth and that thinking differently is precisely what makes us strong.
Our family – a Mambisa family – was divided between those who stayed in Cuba, thinking that the revolutionary movement offered a better option, and those who knew that staying was not possible. Thus, my grandparents, my father, his bother, my great aunts and uncles, and their children left behind their homes and properties, businesses, friends, ancestors, and the homeland where they were born to start a new life.
Some went to the United States, others to Mexico, and others to South America. They toiled from sunrise to sunset and broke their backs like pack mules to provide their families with shelter, food, and education. For years, they had a hard time but never gave up. They stood up and never lost hope of one day seeing their country free again. Some tried to regain their homeland with sad results such as the “Bay of Pigs” and were captured and tortured, brought to the brink of death under subhuman conditions … but they never gave up. The Mariel opened, and there they were, helping, going back and forth. They did absolutely everything they could to help their fellow countrymen and women. My grandfather, great aunts and uncles died without seeing their country again.
They died with nostalgia for that nation that still lives in the reminiscences of their descendants. In these memories, there were always stories of iconic places like the beach bars -my grandfather’s favorite was “Sloppy Joe’s,”- and the old bolero songs that they sang between glasses of rum. I cannot count how many times I witness the broken voice in their throats when singing and the thick tears running down their cheeks when remembering their Motherland, raped, defiled, and tainted by Castro and his group. Yet, they embraced the country that gave them asylum, they became pillars of their society, and people knew they were honest, honorable, hard-working men and women with values. They never stopped calling themselves Cubans.
All Cubans, on the island and in exile, have in our family a prisoner, an exiled, or a mortal victim of Castro’s dictatorship. Today, we are faced with a historic opportunity to help overthrow 62 years of tyranny. 62 years of systematic violations of the fundamental rights of Cubans, 62 years of repression, disappearances, executions, imprisonments, violence, misery, lies, hunger -of food, and freedom-. 62 YEARS!
The Cuban regime is very afraid of its people’s thirst for freedom, so visas are being denied to international journalists, and communications are starting to be shut down. Díaz-Canel announced a “strong hand” against the protest on November 15 and said: “There are enough revolutionaries to face any demonstration that seeks to destroy the Revolution” and, as usual, blamed the U.S., the internet, and social networks for “fanning the flames of discontent.”
For now, it is time to leave behind the desire for the limelight, the loquacity, and any differences. Instead, it is time to concentrate on helping the people this November 15 and all the upcoming “elevens of July and fifteens of November” to come.
This change has already started. We need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
PATRIA, VIDA Y LIBERTAD
For Times Media Mexico
Jose E. Urioste
November 04, 2021
Jose E. Urioste is a Business Intelligence professional in the area of Research and Development. He’s worked on mass media, writing scripts for radio programs, commercials, and advertising campaigns. Throughout the years has contributed with newspapers, magazines, and other media on diverse topics ranging from the professional to the editorial. In addition, José is the author of 3 fiction novels that have been presented in numerous forums, causing much controversy as to their content.
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