Hunger strikes against State terrorism
JOSÉ HUGO FERNÁNDEZ | Miami | 2 de Agosto de 2016 – 22:36 CEST.
It is disturbing that 20 Cubans on hunger strikes do not even constitute
an event capable of affecting the course of daily life on the island.
And it is outrageous that it does not produce headlines in the national
press. But more than outrageous and disturbing, it is pathetic that the
country’s intelligentsia does not register even the most tepid request
mercy with the culprit, the Castro dictatorship, or make an appeal for
sanity in the name of decency, much less a protest or complaint.
As children we were indoctrinated at school with the example of Julio
Antonio Mella, the founder of the first Communist Party of Cuba,
particularly regarding the attitude he exhibited during this 18-day
hunger strike to protest his imprisonment, which he considered unfair,
under Machado’s tyranny. But we were not told many things, which we had
to learn on our own as grown-ups. For example, that for that strike
Mella had to face contentious proceedings, in which the Communist Party
demonstrated little solidarity, and that it would separate him from its
ranks for two years; or that the violations that landed him in prison
(wrongly, according to him) included the use of explosives.
But what goes to the point now is that Mella’s strike in 1925 has been
upheld by several generations of Cubans as an example of heroism set by
a revolutionary who was powerless against the impunity of an oppressive
dictatorship, and found no other way to stand up to it but by willingly
exposing his body to the ravages of hunger.
Obviously the indoctrinators failed to foresee the hunger strike that,
not for 18 days, but 86, would be carried out by Orlando Zapata Tamayo,
without the current tyranny showing any compassion, even in response to
the tragedy of his last breath. Much less were they able to foresee the
fate of the 17 peaceful and innocent Cubans who have died for this cause
under Fidel’s regime. Not to mention the more than 20 hunger strikes
carried out by Guillermo Fariñas, a hero with whom Mella pales in
We know that Mella was able to happily end his strike, alive and
healthy, and with his demands met, thanks to the great stir caused by
his case in the national and international press; but, above all, to the
public resonance of the open letter that leading Cuban intellectuals
sent to Gerardo Machado. The tyrant’s own parents ended up backing the
popular demand for the striker’s release.
From more than a few Latin American countries came an outcry by public
figures, governmental and others, and in many there were protests in
front of the diplomatic offices of the tyrant Machado. In the end, he
had no choice but to yield to the pressure. Many people’s sense of
shame, scruples and compassion managed for Julio Antonio Mella to win
that defiance of an abusive and ruthless tyranny. And that is something
that will always be commendable, above and beyond ideologies and
political passions. It seems, moreover, that such demonstrations of
solidarity and decency against outrageous abuses by the powerful were
commonplace in those days, both in Cuba and elsewhere in the region.
What calamitous decline in shame and spirituality could have taken place
in the Americas, in the course of just a few decades, so as to allow
Cuba’s regime to practice State terrorism without provoking protests,
and few demonstrations of concern?
And yet, unnecessary comparisons should not be drawn between strikers
past and present. The only thing that we humans truly possess, that no
one has the right to take away, is life. So, wherever there is a person
who risks his, alone and defenseless, against an all-powerful and
brutal force, the indifference of others will be nothing but an
expression of uncivilized, cruel and even complicit behavior.
Source: Hunger strikes against State terrorism | Diario de Cuba –