Rafael Cancel Miranda, a giant in the Puerto Rican independence struggle, a man who spent 25 years in prison in the United States following an attack on the U.S. Congress meant to call attention to that struggle, has a few suggestions for Guillermo Fariñas, the latest Cuban hunger striker. In an interview some years ago, he spoke more about the attack at the U.S. Capitol and explained the significance of the Cuban he mentions here too: Saturnino.
“For me, Cuba is Saturnino, a black man who worked with me. When he saw me eating bread with quail for lunch, he took me to his house. He lived in total poverty but his mother gave me a sandwich from the larder. He was called Saturnino, and that for me, is Cuba.”
The Truth is On the Side of the Cuban Revolution and it Shall Prevail – español
Compañero José Estevez
Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples
Jose, my brother.
Of course it is with the greatest of honor and a sense of justice that I am signing the Declaration in Defense of Cuba to counter the hypocritical and cynical campaign by the Yankees and the European Union. With what moral authority can these plunderers of humanity speak of human rights? It’s beyond cynical that those who have never bothered themselves about the deaths by starvation of thousands of children who would have liked very much to have something to eat, should suddenly and in a very orchestrated way pretend to be so worried about someone on a “fast.”
This “fasting” gentleman – who I understand is black and is also said to be a psychologist (if so, it is thanks to the Revolution) – has no idea how his race was treated by those who today claim to be so concerned for his health. I was surprised enough to hear about this psychologist because I lived in Cuba under [Cuban presidents] Prío Socarrás and the bloodthirsty Batista and I never knew of any black psychologists. I remember that when the legal and illegal mafias were predominant in Cuba, there were clubs where black people were prohibited from entering and places where they were not even allowed to approach, such as the house belonging to the DuPonts. To be precise, those that organized those clubs were of the same mentality as those who today claim to be worried about the health of the “faster.” I also remember the poverty of my brother, the black man named Saturnino, who worked alongside me repairing streets in Havana.
Seeing as this “faster” is of the noble black race, I’d like to suggest to him that he make a “fast” in favor of the liberation of a group of his black brothers from the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panthers, who’ve spent more than thirty-five years behind bars in Yankee prisons for having fought for the rights of their race. Here are their names:
Dr. Mutulu Shakur
Robert Seth Hayes
Also having spent more than three decades in prison are compañero Herman Bell and the spiritual leader of the Native Americans (the originals) Leonard Peltier, as well as the Puerto Ricans Carlos Alberto Torres and Oscar López Rivera.
As well, the “faster” might honor the four compañeros of the Black Liberation Army who died while incarcerated: Kuwasi Balagoon, Bashir Hameed, Albert Nuh Washington, Teddy Jah Heath. And he might also remember his brother, the black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has spent years on death row.
Of course, the imperialist and oligarchic press will not mention him, and as we say amongst ourselves, they’ll look the other way; they’ll shut their mouths, just as they remained silent about our Five Cuban antiterrorist brothers, as they’ve remained silent about the rape of Colombian girls by Yankee soldiers, as they’ve said nothing about Haitian women marching to protest the abuses committed against them – including rape – by the Yankee soldiers. Well…they’re black women and dressed in the garments of poverty.
The truth is with the Cuban Revolution and it shall prevail. The fakers will fall in their own trap.
Well, my brother José, I began to write these lines to you some three days ago, but my father in law fell ill and you know what the deal is with healthcare in Puerto Rico. The first thing they ask you is not where it hurts, but how you’re going to pay and go on from there. You can’t believe how many people die because they can’t pay.
With a warm Caribbean embrrace,
Rafael Cancel Miranda
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the author and translator are cited.