Tomorrow, early in the morning, begins the endless pilgrimage to the Columbus Cemetery. You have to buy flowers the day before from the few private sellers, because during the holiday only state vendors are open and, as usual, demand far exceeds supply.

For those fortunate enough to have a living mother, the trip to Mom’s house also starts early. No one still wears the once-classic red or white flower in the lapel, indicating whether their mother was alive or dead. That, like almost all the traditions in my world, disappeared many years ago.

From here, I want to send a greeting and a hug to all Cuban mothers. Most notably to those who suffer the still-fresh wounds from the loss of a child. I hope that God gives them strength to face the pain of seeing them in prison, or on a hunger strike to the point of death. To the Ladies in White, who come boldly into the streets to demand the release of their husbands and children, most especially I salute all of them today.

Translated by: Tomás A.