Looking in from the outside, it feels half a world away, like I know nothing at all of the lives of millions of Cubans struggling for freedom and liberation from the grips of absolute despotism and tyranny, but in reality, she is just 90 miles south of my native homeland. I am an American, born and raised in sunny South Florida, in Miami, which I also lovingly call “Cuba: Part II.” My mother is Cuban, born in Havana, and my grandparents are Cuban from Pinal del Rio and Matanzas. My roots are Cuban, and I was raised by Cubans, good and decent people who loved me and never let me forget for a second where my maternal side is from. My grandmother, of blessed memory, always told me stories from her life in Cuba, as tears fell from her eyes. And as the years went by, when she left us, and uncle after uncle, aunt after aunt, soul after soul who would perish in exile, without ever seeing their beloved Cuba ever again, I felt more and more their voices echo in my mind, whispering their lives’ songs in my ear, urging me not to let go, to carry on their message, their legacy and return one day to our sacred, holy island nation, our beloved Cuba.
It has been over 60 years since Communism took control of my mother’s country, 62 years since their thugs marched into my grandfather’s café, my uncles’ farms, my family’s businesses and told them it was all “commandeered by the revolution.” And just like that, all that once belonged to my family, yes everything that the good people of Cuba spent their entire lives building and creating, was all snatched away and shattered in one day. The thieves who stole my family’s lives away claimed the 26th of July as their banner due to some victory they gained over Cuba’s military years before the takeover; it is most appropriate then that the Cuban people are now rising up on July 11th, 2021 to overthrow the entire Castro regime once and for all, and install a real democracy for the people of Cuba.
But too many generations have gone by, and with all my love for my roots, Cuba is not my country, she now belongs to a whole new generation of Cubans whose voices deserve to be heard on the world stage. And that is exactly why I am writing this article, because their voices have been silenced for far too long, and the time has come to turn the microphone over to them, and let them state their case before the courtroom of the entire global community of nations. Let the tyrants be dragged out of their halls! Let the thugs be tried for generations of war crimes, human rights violations and atrocities committed on the Cuban people for well over half a century! Let this now be the new revolution of the Cuban people, who no longer sing, “patria o muerte,” but Patria y Vida! VIVA CUBA LIBRE! That is to say Homeland and Life, Long Live a Free Cuba! So I will be their microphone, I will be the mouth piece for my long-lost cousins who live and breath and fight on the island as I write, and as you read these words. Now is the time for Cuba’s song to reach the ears of the world, for her melody to enchant the hearts of millions of liberty loving people around the world!
To my fellow Cuban Americans I need not remind you what this all now means to your families and mine, to your own legacy. Will you now be silent at the time when your people need you the most? Now is the time to rise up and fight for Cuba in any way you can! To my fellow Americans I say, whatever side of the political isle you are on, this is not an issue of politics, but of human rights! Your Cuban neighbors just 90 miles south, who once came to America’s aid during her revolution against Britain, now need your help once more! To anyone from around the world who knows what it is like to live in exile or be oppressed, come and be united to our cause! Know that your support and human kindness will never be forgotten. There was once a time when Cuba breathed life into the world, and she has now been in a 62-year long coma, asleep in a deep dark slumber of misery. The time has come to wake her up and breath life back into her lungs! Now is the time to plan and organize, and take action against the Communist regime that hoards all the wealth from the reach of the people of Cuba, who are starving to death on the streets all around them. Now is the time for allies to come together and unite our strengths as one against the tyrants who take refuge in their fortresses in Havana. Because once Havana is free, we can move onto Caracas, and once Caracas is free, who knows what other nations will follow, to rid themselves of dictators and install democratic republics through the electoral process. Let Cuba be the starting point, as it once was, for the Americas.
To beautiful and brave people of Cuba I say, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! The eyes of the world are upon you now, to see what you will do. The prayers of liberty loving people everywhere are with you even now, from Santiago to Bayamo, RISE UP! I know there are already many who are dying, many who have gone missing, many who have already sacrificed everything for the dream of a free Cuba, but a wise man once said, that if you will it, it is no dream! Fight for it! Live for it! And if we must die for it, together, then let our own voices echo across time long after we are gone, and not just our voices, but the actions that we take today which will echo into eternity! What will be the legacy that you leave behind to your children and grandchildren? Will they be doomed to generations of more corrupt regimes who enslave the people? Or will they tell stories of their parents and grandparents who fought with blood, sweat and tears, to rescue and preserve the freedoms they will cherish in their times? What will you choose today? The choice belongs to you and me, and the actions we take today. What will be your story and legacy that you will give to your children? Shouldn’t it be a free Cuba? Shouldn’t it be a world where all can grow up and live peacefully to become whatever their hearts dream and desire?
Such a future, such a vision is my own dream for my children and grandchildren, and it is why I make the decision now to stand with you and fight along side you, however I can, to undermine and topple the Communist dictatorship that now holds Cuba hostage, and overthrow the powers that be, to install true democracy, true justice, true freedom of choice, thought and expression. My only regret as an American, is that I have been an ignorant fool, silent to the suffering of my mother’s people just south of where I live, and for that, I ask your forgiveness. But all that will change from now on; I will not be silent anymore! The time is now and we are with you; I am with you now and forever, oh people of my beloved Cuba! The time of your freedom is close at hand!
PATRIA Y VIDA! LONG LIVE A FREE CUBA! QUE VIVA CUBA LIBRE PARA SIEMPRE!
- Ozman Darwiche