One spring morning 19 years ago in Cuba, the communist Castro dictatorship launched a massive wave of repression and brutal crackdown on Cuban opposition leaders, librarians, and independent journalists. When that wave had washed over the island receded, a total of 75 innocent Cubans had been arrested. Later on they were put on trial and sentenced to long prison terms, some as may as 25 years, for the “counterrevolutionary” act of exercising free speech.
The day was March 18, 2003, which later came to be known as Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003.
Fast forward 19 years and not much of anything has changed in Cuba. The brutality and repression of the Castro dictatorship is still ominously present on yet another anniversary of The Black Spring. And as the July 11 protests of 2021 have shown, the regime has only become more brutal and repressive. Journalists, activists, and artists are constantly harassed, beaten, arrested, and imprisoned and prisons are filled with political prisoners. Human rights and democracy activists are arrested every year by the thousands while State Security agents continue terrorizing those who dare to speak out.
And perhaps the saddest of all, 19 years after the Black Spring the international community continues to look the other way as the socialist Castro dictatorship persists in its brutalization, imprisonment, and assassination of its opponents with impunity.
This anniversary is yet another reminder that the darkness that enveloped and smothered the island 62 years ago remains unabated.
Read more about Cuba’s Black Spring at Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.