These paragraphs are written on July 14, and probably there is no better day in the year to remember that all tyrannies fall, that all peoples, despite abuses, hunger and authoritarianism, sooner or later choose to break the chains that enslave them.
What happened in Cuba this week will mark a before and after in the history of the island. Never before have Cubans – who have always longed for freedom – demonstrated in this way. Never before have their voices, silenced by the regime and its shameless accomplices around the world, been united in a single cry, in a single impulse. “Freedom” demanded some. “Down with the dictatorship” shouted others. The Cuban people are fighting, with admirable courage, for 62 years of misery, injustice and death to come to an end.
There will be no acquitted by history. At least not among those who through totalitarianism, censorship and murder have subdued millions of wills, so many of them lost on the road to freedom. History (which, by the way, is written by every single one of us) will not forgive those who, in their lust for power, wove and sold lies that they marketed in pools of blood under the false label of “dignity.”
History will not absolve tyrants, no; but neither will it absolve those who promote their murderous propaganda. The duty of the free is to demand, side by side with Cubans, the immediate restitution of democracy on the island. Today, the eternal Cuba, the Cuba of July needs us in the streets shouting for it, and little it matters if they are the streets of Havana, Miami, Madrid, Paris or Tokyo: the eyes of the world must be on the unimaginable desperation of the Cubans who, with nothing left to lose, are going for everything.
The duty of the free is also not to allow the forgetful (political actors and media) to bury the protests that began last July 11. Yes, the regime will come for the protesters. There will be persecutions, imprisonments and executions. There will be because such are the ways of tyrants; they have already begun. There will come, after this storm of freedom, the stillness of threat and oppression. But -and it is worth remembering on July 14- every revolution begins as a mere revolt. The “enough” already runs through Cuba, and it is well known that one can arrest, torture and even kill the emancipated, but the same cannot be done with emancipation.
After 62 years of horror, Cubans (many of them, shirtless, in what could only be read as a historical nod to the sans-culottes of 1789) lend their skin to the repressors of yesterday and today. Many of them, like their parents, like their grandparents, will not see the unparalleled outcome of these days. They will not see their Cuba free and prosperous, as they have always wanted. They will not learn, perhaps, that better winds are beginning to blow today in Havana, and that then Managua will follow, and later, it will be Caracas. But freedom is just around the corner, and no one will be able to stop it.