On May 20th, 1902, a free and democratic republic was born in the Caribbean. Cuba, the largest and most beautiful island in the Caribbean sea, ceased to be a Spanish colony and became a free nation. Unfortunately, Cuba’s freedom and sovereignty was relatively short lived. Just a few decades later in 1959, the archipelago was struck with the cancer of socialism. More than six decades later, Cuban continues to battle this deadly disease.
It is sad to realize that over the past 119 years since their independence from Spain, Cubans have spent more time under the yoke of tyranny than in freedom. Today, the Cuban people are no less enslaved than they were under Spanish rule. To make matters worse, the tyranny Cubans suffer today under the socialist Castro dictatorship is much worse than they ever suffered under Spain..
On May 2nd, 1902, the promise of liberty and sovereignty was paid for with the blood and sacrifice of Cuba’s valiant patriots. This May 20th, we celebrate the birth of a free nation and of a free people who refuse to neither lose the hope nor the aspirations to see their beloved Cuba free and sovereign once again.
As we commemorate Cuba’s independence today, we dig into the Babalú archives for the blog’s first post for el 20 de Mayo written by its founder and my friend, Val Prieto, published seventeen years ago on May 20, 2004:
20 de Mayo
On May 20th, 1902, a small island in the Caribbean known as Cuba declared her independence from Spain. La Republica de Cuba was officially born on this day 102 years ago.
Today, El 20 de Mayo, is Cuba’s Independence Day.
Yet, despite the hard fought battles of her history, despite the blood and sweat of a noble and brave people, she remains a country under siege. She is an independent country controlled by her self-imposed dependency on one self-imposed man.
One-hundred two years later she remains a country where individual freedoms are foreign. A country where progress is just a word and desperation is a bedfellow. She still lives in chains.
Cuba, the Pearl of the Antilles, land of extraordinary beauty, where palms spring from her like a silken mane. Where ripe oceans caress her silhouette. Where the soil whispers and the air carries a million flowers.
Cuba, land where the warmth of her people hides the frigid despair of their souls. Where hope is the food of millions.
Cuba, land that subsists on tomorrows.