The first post on this blog was published thirteen years ago today. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I had no idea where this blog was going back then, if it was going anywhere at all. I certainly could not have imagined it still being around all this time.
Thirteen years. Lots of water under lots of bridges.
I applaud all of you loyal readers who have stayed the course with us through the years. We have been through some interesting times indeed. Some laughs, some tears. Lots of heartbreak. I like to think Babalu has made a difference. I’m sure it has. At the very least the archives of this blog serve a a reservoir of truth about the Cuban reality.
I know I haven’t been around much the past couple of years. The death of my parents, arguably the patriarchs of this blog, affected me greatly and I have lacked the focus I believe is needed to stay in this Cuba fray full throttle. Babalu has been in good hands tho. Great hands. Alberto de la Cruz has done a much better job than I could have. He has toiled over this baby day in and day out. Out here on the front lines of this cyber counterrevolution despite all the frustrations, anger, heartbreak and gamut of emotions that Cuba elicits. Every day. I am beyond proud to call him my brother.
And the rest of our Babalu battalion: Dr. Carlos Eire; Humberto Fontova; Henry Gomez; Silvio Canto Jr.; and Ziva Sahl: I am in awe of your dedication. Of your love for that island shaped like a crocodile. Of your commitment to the truth. Your devotion to what is right and just. You all are an inspiration. Patriots in every sense of the word. I hope you know just what incredible examples you are of the true Cuban heart and soul.
Babalu can boast of a few accomplishments, too. We have opened some minds to the reality of Cuba and tyranny and communism. We ran the first internet Cuban human rights awareness campaigns. We have spoken at human rights conferences. We have joined in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Venezuela and Iran and other countries whose people suffer under the yoke of oppression. We have had an audience with the President of the United States. We have been not only Cuban patriots, but proud American patriots as we have not only been thankful for being afforded the American dream, we have been good and dutiful citizens. We have, always, supported our men and women in the Armed Forces whose sacrifices and dedication and perseverance protect this freedom whose fragility is more than apparent through the prism of Cuba.
There have been many, many tears. We have mourned the deaths of Cuban freedom fighters like Laura Pollan, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Oswaldo Paya and many others. We have languished, year after year, over our Cuban brothers and sisters in castro’s gulags. Over being beaten mercilessly for wanting something so simple as to have a say in their lives. To be able to speak without hypocrisy, to choose what is best for them, for their families, for their country. To live as free men and women.
Back on this day in 2003, things we a bit clearer. The lines were not as blurred as they are today. In 2003, we had a sitting President who understood the anguish at the lack of freedom in Cuba. Who took a stand, however unpopular in the eyes of those who stood to benefit from another, because it was right and just and true. Today we have a sitting President who murmurs feigned concern over oppression, only to then consort and collude with the oppressor. And we have a media whose arrogance and willful blindness has escalated. Fostering and promoting a false narrative like never before.
That’s why today, every word posted on this blog fills me with pride. There is dignity and honor in fighting for what is right and just and true.
Every single word ever published and every word yet to be published on Babalu stem from that spot in our hearts and in our souls called hope.
Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom.