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realclearworld

Spain’s ongoing betrayal of the Cuban people

Yesterday, we learned that Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued orders to its officials to cease working with Cuban dissidents and to tone down the rhetoric against the Cuban dictatorship. The order was given so the Spanish government could maintain the new harmonious relationship they have with the Castro dictatorship. And today, we learn through Punt de Vista that the Spanish government has funneled more than 354,000 Euros into Spanish organizations that actively support and advocate for the Castro dictatorship in Spain.

Ever since Cuba won its independence from Spain more than a century ago, the Spanish have gone out of their way to betray and hurt the Cuban people. This apparent century-old obsession with avenging the rebellion of a former colony is quite astonishing.

I wrote the following open letter to Spain back in 2007. And unfortunately, every word of it remains relevant today.

Dear Spain:

Oh, Spain! You have disappointed me so many times I have lost count. I have tried—God knows I have tried—to forgive the country where my ancestors were born. The only country in this world, outside of my own, that I have visited and felt as if I were home. You speak my language, you are the basis of my culture, and yet you break my heart time and time again. You were the birthplace of my great-grandparents: Asturias, Galicia, Tenerife. Yet to you, we are nothing more than insolent children not worthy of respect or dignity. The island where my grandparents and my parents were born ceased to be your colony over 100 years ago, but in your eyes, we are still that treasonous outpost of the new world that you found deserving of so much pain and death.

But still… I tried to forgive you. How can I deny my heritage? You gave us so many wonderful things: Jamón Serrano and mazapán, Flamenco, Picasso, Tempranillo, a spirit of adventure, the language of Cervantes. When I walk your streets, I see so many things that remind me of my own culture, my own heritage. The faces all seem familiar—their smiles and their laughter—it reminds me of my own. You showed us so many good things, but you also showed us some things we would have preferred not to have seen.

We inherited the model of bureaucratic corruption through which your own government has suffered through for so many centuries. For hundreds of years as your colony, you painstakingly taught us how to laugh and sing and dance—but you also taught us how to oppress, subjugate, and stifle free expression. You exiled and killed our people without remorse. You persecuted the fathers and architects of our freedom—our Martis, our Maceos. And, when we finally broke free of your villainous grasp, you sulked and waited for your next opportunity to once again impose your will upon us.

Sixty years—we did reasonably well for almost 60 years. During that time, you hid in the shadows, occasionally feigning approval of our success in public, but deep down inside it bothered you. We had defied you; we had dared to be free of your corrupting influence and every step forward we managed was yet another thorn in your side. Of course, we had our share of corrupt leaders and governments; you had taught us well. Nevertheless, we were the masters of our own destiny. If we wanted to ruin our own country, we did not need to have someone thousands of miles away do it for us. All things considered, we did not do too badly—especially when compared to your rule—until we approached our 57th anniversary of independence. That is when the disease of communism infected our fledgling nation, a nation composed of your children.

You found little to be concerned about; we had brought it upon ourselves, you told yourself. Most parents would temper their disapproval of a child’s injurious mishap with a caring embrace, if only to let the child know that although they did not approve of their choices, they still loved them and cared about them. However, you—our originator, our parent, our heritage—you reveled in our demise.

Forty-eight years, that is how long it has been. For 48 years, you have watched us suffer, die, and cry out for help. Apathy can be so vile, but not vile enough for you, my beloved Spain. Standing by and watching your emancipated offspring languish in oppression is not sufficient for you. No, you must help it along, you must turn the screws a little tighter, plunge the dagger a little deeper. We deserve it, you say. We deserve to reap the bounty of our insubordination.

The role of passive spectator does not suit you. You like to be in on the kill. You sharpen the matador’s swords so that they will enter the bull’s hide with minimal resistance. You cheer each thrust of a blade into the bull. It is nothing but sport for you, a necessary past time to exact a price for our defiance. We are seeking freedom—you are seeking revenge.

One day, my dear Spain, we will free ourselves once again from tyranny and oppression and we will not forget who our tormentors were. As you count the billions of dollars you are profiting from the blood of my Cuban brothers, you should also count the days, for our liberation is at hand. You may think that Cuba is still your colony, to plunder at your fancy, but the day draws near where once again you will feel the sting of defeat and you will realize that Cuba belongs to the Cubans—to the men, the women, and the children that gave their lives to make it free.

I have tried—God knows I have tried—to forgive you, Spain, the motherland of our ancestors. But, I cannot. Nor will I forget, nor will my children forget, and nor will my children’s children forget. Our blood is on your hands, and it is now between you and the Almighty to seek forgiveness and redemption. Good-bye my dear Spain: Say what you will of me, you can never say I did not try.

Sincerely,

Alberto de la Cruz

3 comments to Spain’s ongoing betrayal of the Cuban people

  • asombra

    It’s partly our own fault. We’ve been in denial over a century, and even now the sentimental “madre patria” rationalizations prevail. It’s a form of weakness, though I suppose it’s understandable (which is not the same as justifiable). We’ve never really held Spain responsible or made it accountable. We’ve never taken and maintained a position of requisite dignity. In other words, like battered wives, we’ve chosen to ignore, forget and/or forgive obvious and repeated abuse, including something as horrendous as Valeriano Weyler’s genocide during the War of Independence. What did Cubans do about that? Nothing. What did Spain pay for that? Nada. Neither did Weyler. And we wonder why the abuse has never stopped.

  • Rayarena

    Excellent letter, Alberto. Over the years, we've gotten nothing more than betrayal from Spain. But then again, how can you blame them? Their famous Spanish pride was struck a near-fatal blow in 1898 and they blame that upstart, the USA. To the Spaniards, who are obviously bereft of national heroes, castro who's father Angel fought in Spain's Army in the War of 1898, is some sort of redeemer. So, yes, they are going to defend that regime. Now only is castro a redeemer, but he has also sold Cuba at fire sell prices to the Spaniards. In other words, he attacks their enemy the USA, this "proud" son of a Spanish soldier, and he is giving them back their jewel-in-the-Spanish-crown, piece by piece.

  • asombra

    Spain has long needed intensive psychotherapy to at least face its obvious Cuba problem, but Cubans could do with some hefty psychotherapy themselves (both regarding Spain and in general). If abuse is rationalized into acceptability, the perpetrator is enabled and encouraged to see the abuse as reasonable and justified. This is what happens with battered women in an abusive relationship, which makes them part of the problem, just as Cubans have been part of the problem with Spain. We need to see Spain for what it is and what it has been, forget about the sentimental nonsense, and hold Spain responsible and accountable. I mean, enough already. It's only been over a century.