Of the four seasons we experience during a year, spring is the season of rejuvenation. It signifies the end of the cold and dreary winter and it is the precursor of summer with its vacations and family barbeques. Spring brings forth blooming flowers and green grass and the temperature is always just right; neither too cold nor too hot. You can open the windows of your house or apartment and allow the cleansing spring breeze to pass through, replacing the stale air inside with crisp and fresh air. Spring marks the beginning of baseball, festivals, and it inspires everyone to leave behind the winter doldrums and begin anew with a fresh and clean start. For most of the world, spring is a season to look forward to, but if you are a Cuban, spring has become a reminder of the blackness and misery of repression.
Since 2003, spring in Cuba no longer represents blooming flowers and carnivals. It instead represents one of the many dark moments Cubans have suffered through in the past 51 years.
On the morning of the 18th of March, 2003, jackbooted thugs fanned out throughout the island with orders from their maximum leader to arrest Cuban citizens. Over the next two days, the thugs arrested a total of 75 Cubans who were accused of being agents of the United States for their activities as independent journalists, dissidents, librarians, and activists. They were all tried and convicted with prison sentences ranging from six years all the way to 26 years. As the rest of the world enjoyed the sights and the smells of spring, 75 Cubans were arrested, beaten, and thrown into tiny, unsanitary jail cells where they would wait for their next beating at the hands of their jailers.
The horrifying actions of the Cuban dictatorship in the spring of 2003 brought upon them condemnation from most of the world’s leaders and governments. With cameras rolling and flash bulbs flashing, politicos stood in front of podiums and decried the vile and oppressive acts of the Cuban dictatorship. By the summer of 2003, however, many of those politicos were enjoying a summer holiday on a Cuban beach as VIP guests of the tyrannical regime.
In reality, there has only been one season in Cuba since 1959: The Black Season. Winters, springs, summers, and autumns have all been black and lifeless to the Cuban people. Flowers may bloom in Cuba in the spring, and tropical breezes may blow across the white sands of its beaches in the summer, but for the typical Cuban who has been enslaved by a murderous dictator, there is only darkness and misery.
Today we remember not only the 7th anniversary of the Black Spring, but also the 51 black years of oppression and darkness that has enveloped Cuba.