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Tilting at windmills

Over the past fifty years the fight to end the tyranny of the Castro dictatorship has felt Quixotic at times. Countless Cubans have devoted their lives and sacrificed everything to free their country only to be laughed at and ridiculed by spectators who sit idly by as the screws are tightened on the Cuban people. They have been labeled Batistanos, agents of the CIA, terrorists, intransigent hardliners, and any other name they feel will diminish their character and their cause. But similar to the dedication found in Cervantes' legendary character Don Quixote, Cubans are driven by a love of freedom and a love for their country--not by what the world thinks of them.

It is this dedication and this love that occasionally provides a victory. They are no doubt small victories, but victories nonetheless. These small triumphs are not so much the product of skill or luck, but of sheer persistence. You can almost say it is a Quixotic persistence that is driven by love and honor, and not by politics or personal gain. Regardless of what the world says or thinks, and despite the never-ending efforts to vilify the victims and honor the oppressors, every morning Cuban heroes put on their suits of armor, grab their lances, and mount their steeds to charge against a monster everyone tells them does not exist.

In just the past few days, one of these persistent heroes, Guillermo Fariñas, has managed to lodge his lance into the vanes of one those proverbial windmills. He did not destroy it, but he managed to do some damage.

Cuba to improve conditions of prisoners: source

(Reuters) - Cuba has agreed to move political prisoners held in far-off jails to facilities closer to their hometowns and transfer sick prisoners to hospitals, a dissident said on Saturday, following talks between Catholic Church leaders and President Raul Castro this week.

Guillermo Farinas, on a hunger strike for 88 days demanding ill prisoners be released, told Reuters in a telephone interview that he received the news from a bishop who visited him in the hospital where he is being fed intravenously.

A Catholic Church source, speaking on condition his name not be used, confirmed what Farinas said. "Everything appears that is what will happen," he said.

Many will try to share in the credit for this small victory--the Catholic church; the Cuban regime; foreign governments--but this victory belongs solely to Cuba's Don Quixotes. Every day, despite the ridicule they suffer and the indifference to their misery, these heroes don their tattered battle armor, grab their broken lances, and charge the monster that in their hearts they know is real.

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