A flower in the desert


The transformation began on January 1, 1959. Within months of this date, Cuba was transformed by a small group of murderous thugs from a lush and beautiful island, rich in cultural diversity, into a barren desert devoid of liberty and freedom. Where once flowers bloomed and the limbs of fruit trees drooped from the weight of the sweet fruit they bore, there is now nothing but an empty landscape blanketed with cracks and sinkholes created by misery and despair. In a place where artists, and writers, and intellectuals once expressed the joy of life on their tropical paradise in song, prose, and canvas, all that remains now is the mechanical sound of the repressive machinery that squeezed the life out of creativity with its manifold claws and buried it beneath the now lifeless dirt covering the island.

But like the Phoenix that rose from its ashes, the barren landscape of Cuba is scarcely dotted with blooming flowers that in spite of the hostile environment, find a way to take root and bloom into precious and delicate flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Although small in number, the contrast of their beauty against a dark and miserable background makes them stand out like giants among mere men. The names of these flowers are as varied as their colors. They go by Orlando Zapata, Oscar Elias Biscet, Guillermo Fariñas, Darsi Ferrer, a lady in white, and thousands of other names. Each one is unique and no two are alike, but they all share one thing in common: they are flowers in a desert.

Color and beauty is intolerable to the overlords of this desert and whenever one blooms they do their best to stomp it into the ground. But every time they stomp their boot on a delicate flower, three more bloom somewhere else on the island. To no avail, the desert masters have tried herbicides to kill the blooming plants and when that failed, they planted their own thorny weeds in hopes of countering and suffocating the flowers. Desperation has even brought them to the point where they have enlisted the help of their former master to rip out the boldest of flowers that have withstood their attacks and replant them in another part of the world, far from where their beauty might inspire other flowers to bloom. But each day toiling in the desert destroying beauty has only brought forth more flowers blooming just beyond their field of view.

One day soon, this man-made desert will revert to its original beauty. And those flowers who now stand alone in the middle of a baron landscape will be joined by millions of other flowers, restoring the beauty and majesty of Cuba.