A Celebration of Courage and Hope

Last Saturday on March 19th, a celebration took place at the home of Miguel Sigler Amaya that I was fortunate enough to attend. The celebration commemorated various important events and symbolize the courage and hope of the Cuban patriots who in the face of oppression and brutality continue to hold steadfast to the principles of freedom and liberty for all of Cuba.

One of the events celebrated on that day was the birthday of one of the founding members of the Ladies in White, Miguel’s wife Josefa Lopez. It was the first birthday Josefa was able to celebrate in eight years without her husband or his two brothers, Ariel and Guido, still in a Castro prison. The arrests in 2003 of her husband and his two brothers took place right around her birthday, and since then, throughout those dark years of her husband’s imprisonment and the imprisonment of both his brothers, Josefa was never able to enjoy any celebration on her special day. This past Saturday, however, she was finally able to enjoy her birthday knowing that Miguel, Ariel, and Guido were no longer suffering in a putrid Castro prison cell.

The celebration also commemorated the 8th anniversary of the Black Spring of 2003. During those fateful three days in March of 2003, 75 members of the Cuban opposition were brutally arrested and condemned to lengthy prison sentences by the vile Castro dictatorship. On this Saturday afternoon though, most of the 75 prisoners of conscience had been released. Nevertheless, the celebration was tempered by the fact that Cuba continues to be an island prison ruled by a vicious dictator who has enslaved a nation.

The third and last event commemorated at this celebration was the miraculous recovery of Ariel Sigler Amaya that allowed him to finally take his first steps in many years. Just eight months earlier, Ariel was paraplegic and on the brink of death. But with the help of his family, friends, doctors, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and most notably, Ariel’s iron will, the man who arrived in Miami in July of last year in a wheelchair looking like a holocaust victim was able to tak his first steps only a few days ago. His recovery is an undeniable testament to the courage and hope that maintains and fuels the opposition movement in Cuba and exile.

Below is a statement from Miguel Sigler Amaya and his family and friends regarding this important and momentous celebration that truly commemorates the courage and hope that sustains us, and will eventually lead us to freedom: