Past and Present: Living, Not Forgetting

Normando Hernández González was the director of Camagüey College of Independent Journalists when he was arrested on March 18, 2003, at the start of Cuba's notorious Black Spring crackdown, which saw 75 writers and journalists rounded up and sentenced to up to 27 years in jail. Under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church and Spanish Foreign MInistry in the summer of 2010, all were eventually released from horrid prison conditions. Normando was put on a plane to Madrid on July 13, 2010. He now lives in exile with his family in Miami.

Normando wrote this essay, translated by Anna Kushner, on the anniversary of the Black Spring. The original, Spanish version, is below.

Past and Present: Living, Not Forgetting

The memories of the past are so present, that today we enjoy them to the utmost.

We remember Cuba’s Black Spring and today appreciate, live, and enjoy the great and small pleasures God bestowed upon us when he brought us into the world. Today, we do not forget the bad lest we be forced to endure it again.

We don’t forget prison, although we live in freedom.

We don’t forget the consequences of being separated from our families, so that we can live a promising future in perfect peace and unity.

We don’t forget the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment nor the torture endured, and we are grateful to God for being better people after knowing and experiencing other people’s suffering first-hand. We are grateful to God for not living full of hate, bitterness, or a thirst for revenge. We are grateful to God that courts exist so that we don’t have to carry out justice ourselves.

We don’t forget those who live miserably on that island jail, so that we can help them obtain freedom and so they can exercise their free will.

We cannot forget that totalitarian governments, like Cuba’s, don’t change; they only adapt with the goal of staying in power.  Let’s not forget the siren songs of the past so we can enjoy true change for all Cubans. Let’s not be deceived so that Cuba can live in FREEDOM.

Let’s not forget that other nations, like South Africa, needed the free world to join forces in order to break free of apartheid. The Cuban nation, also, needs the free world to join forces in order to break free of Castroism.

Let’s not forget the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel when he said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Let’s not forget the consequences of a totalitarian, corrupt, murderous government… and thus we will enjoy and defend democracy.

Let’s not forget Cuba’s Black Spring, not just the one that occurred 10 years ago, but the one that began in 1959, so that humanity does not have to suffer springs so black and so prolonged as that of the “most beautiful land that eyes have ever seen.”

To those who give orders and those who carry them out, to those who think they are untouchable, to the accomplices to Castroism’s crimes, to those who insist on Cuban springs remaining black, we only say:

We live, we don’t forget.

Presente y pasado: vivir, no olvidar

Los recuerdos del pasado están tan presentes, que el hoy lo disfrutamos al máximo.

Recordamos  la Primavera Negra de Cuba y hoy apreciamos,  vivimos y disfrutamos los grandes y pequeños  placeres que Dios nos otorgó cuando nos trajo al mundo. Hoy no olvidamos lo malo para no volverlo a sufrir.

No olvidamos la cárcel, aunque vivamos en  libertad.

No olvidamos las consecuencias de la separación de la familia, para que esta viva con futuro promisorio en perfecta paz y unión.

No olvidamos los tratos crueles inhumanos y degradantes ni las torturas recibidas, y le agradecemos a Dios el ser mejores personas después de conocer y padecer en carne propia el sufrimiento ajeno. Le agradecemos a Dios vivir sin odios, sin rencores, sin sed de venganzas. Le agradecemos a Dios existan tribunales de justicia para que nosotros no tengamos que hacerla valer por nuestras propias manos.

No olvidamos a los que malviven dentro de la isla cárcel, para ayudarlos a conquistar la libertad y puedan disfrutar el libre albedrío.

No podemos olvidar que los gobierno totalitarios, como el de Cuba: No cambian;  solo se acomodan con el objetivo de mantenerse en el poder. No olvidemos los cantos de sirenas de otros tiempos y podremos disfrutar de verdaderos cambios para todos los cubanos. No nos dejemos engañar para que Cuba viva en LIBERTAD.

No olvidemos que otras naciones, como la Sudafricana, necesitaron que el mundo libre aunara voluntades para librase del apartheid. La nación cubana, también, necesita que el mundo libre aúne voluntades para librase del Castrismo. No olvidemos a Cuba y Cuba será libre.

No olvidemos al premio Novel de la Paz y sobreviviente del holocausto, Eli Weiser cuando dijo: “Hay que tomar partido. La indiferencia solo ayuda al opresor, nunca a la víctima. El silencio estimula a los verdugos, nunca a los que sufren”.

No olvidemos las consecuencias de un gobierno totalitario, corrupto, asesino… y así disfrutaremos y defenderemos la democracia.

No olvidemos la Primavera Negra de Cuba, no solo la de  hace 10 años atrás, sino la que comenzó en 1959, para que la humanidad no tenga que sufrir primaveras tan negras y prolongadas como la de “La tierra más bella que ojos humanos han visto”.

A los que dan las órdenes y a los que la cumplen, a los que se creen intocables, a los cómplices de los crímenes del Castrismos, a los que se empeñan en que la primavera en Cuba continúe negra solo les decimos:

Vivimos, no olvidamos.

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