Dear Spain…

Almost two years ago I wrote an open letter to Spain–it was a letter from the heart to the country that continues to break it. In light of my post below regarding Spain’s latest efforts to continue punishing the Cuban people for breaking free of their tyranny, I am re-posting the letter, which was originally published on

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.


Alberto de la Cruz

The Spanish version of the letter is available HERE.

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