20 de Mayo: Cuba’s Independence Day

On this date in history in 1902, the largest island in the Caribbean gave birth to a free and democratic republic. Unfortunately, the cancer of socialism struck the archipelago a few decades later and that tyrannical malignancy still infects Cuba today. 120 years after gaining independence, the Cuban people find themselves as enslaved today as they were under the rule of Spain. And to make matters worse, the tyranny they suffered under Spain over a century ago pales in comparison to the tyranny they suffer today under the communist Castro dictatorship.

Nevertheless, this May 20th we celebrate the birth of a free nation and of a free people. We refuse to neither lose the hope nor the aspiration to see the beloved island of our ancestors free once again. On May 2nd, 1902, the promise of liberty was paid for with the blood and sacrifice of Cuba’s valiant patriots. One day, that promise will be restored.

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 18 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.

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