May Day 2017 in Cuba: The audacity of hope runs into the wall of communist intolerance and totalitarian oppression

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuban defiance to Castro totalitarianism revealed to all on May Day

The audacity of hope in Cuba meets the cold reality of Raul Castro’s secret police

Was it great courage, desperation for freedom, or a Cuban example of what Barack Obama called the “audacity of hope” that prompted a black Cuban to sprint in front of the Castro regime’s May Day parade carrying an American flag in his outstretched hands as he ran as fast as he could chased by Castro’s secret police. When they finally caught him they roughed him up and carried him away. The Associated Press reported that after being subdued and hauled away one of the secret policemen “struck the protester in the face as he was carried past reporters.” One can only wonder what they are doing to him away from the cameras. Videos that have emerged showing the pursuit and violent take down of this lone demonstrator, a powerful demonstration that Cuba remains a totalitarian regime. However it is also a vivid reminder that Cubans defiance and desire to live in freedom has not been diminished.

This also needs to be placed in context. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, a physician, husband and father of two since November 30, 2017 has been imprisoned in Cuba. What offense did he commit? He gave a critical appraisal of Fidel Castro’s life and legacy in Cuba. He has spent six months in prison and was beaten up in front of his wife and two sons the day he was arrested. He is also an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. There is an ongoing campaign for his release.

Another example from April 29, 2017 involves 20 year old Félix Yuniel Llerena, a youth activist, who spoke out against the Castro dictatorship while visiting the United States, returned home to harassment and the confiscation of goods on his arrival at the airport followed by a request to appear at a police station with his mother where he was threatened that “these are country folk, of people who don’t understand anything of human rights and if some peasant believes that you are going to commit a terrorist act, he will attack you with a machete and later don’t say that we sent him”; “if you continue acting like this we are going to declare you persona non grata in this municipality so that you will no longer be able to visit your family (…) we also know that you brought radios, backpacks and papers of Cuba Decide, therefore when you return to Villa Clara try to come clean because that we are not going to permit again (…).

Other young Cubans have been expelled from university for expressing themselves truthfully or for belonging to a civic organization. The Castro regime’s claim that the “University is for Revolutionaries” endures to the present day, even if some consider it a cruel caricature to claim that allegiance to a static and decaying 58 year old totalitarian dictatorship as revolutionary.

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