The truth is that this small difficult word is by itself tasteless, but much more so when it is used for such serious things as a hunger strike.

At this time in my country Coco Fariñas is on a hunger strike.  It began when Zapata Tamayo died, already more than a month ago. What Fariñas asks is the liberation of various imprisoned dissidents who are in a very poor state of health, and whose only crime was to disagree with the state and to have the bravery to express that publicly.

Poor is the country whose citizens need to have recourse to this kind of action just to demand something as basic to humanity as the right to express oneself.  Poorer still is to use the word blackmail to define these personal sacrificial acts, so as to discredit them.  Nevertheless, this same government erected a commemorative plaque to the Irish prisoners who died after a hunger strike in a Havana Park,  and calls them martyrs. Their death was a shame, but in that case we were dealing with terrorists who were put on trial and found guilty of attacks and assassinations, not people jailed only for openly expressing their political opinions.  The fact is, that even this does not justify the contempt for human life.

Someone who came to my house today told me that they have removed that plaque in the park, but now the image of it has traveled around the world by virtue of the internet. I wonder what could be the reason to remove it now, after so many years.

Translated by ricote

Advertisements