Voices Behind the Bars

Image: “Moon and Sun” by Rufino Tamayo

NOTE from the editors of “Voice Behind the Bars”: We have decided to offer the readers of this blog the actual audio conversations over the phone with the political prisoners that write in this blog.


(Transcription of Pablo Pacheco’s audio, courtesy of Yami777)

Love Your Enemy

Today, more than ever, I understood the points of coincidence between the South Africa of Nelson Mandela and the Cuba of Jose Marti.

John Carlin’s book, “The Human Factor”, amply demonstrated this to me.

I am among those who think that not only does racial apartheid exist, but so too does political apartheid, which is as inhumane as what Nelson Mandela confronted and conquered along with the African National Congress.

I had read about this universal man even though his autobiography has not yet come into my hands. Today there was born within me a new-found respect for Nelson Mandela that went beyond my own awareness.

Now I find myself in prison for reasons of conscience. Never have I raised a fist against any compatriot for thinking differently from me, and yet my prison sentence is twenty years.

But Nelson Mandela has just shown me that firmness can give us incalculable results. I harbor Nelson Mandela’s same dream.

Cuba needs to erase the negative symbols in order to establish new messsages that are constructive and based on the principles of love and reconciliation of all Cubans.

We who are in prison and you who keep us here must transform hate and fear into generosity and love, the same way Mandela did.

I recognize that among my brothers exist men like Justice De Quebeque, whose memory of so much ignominy would not let him forgive his people.

Only the astuteness and political talent of Nelson Mandela made him change his mind. He ended up like his people, loving his enemies.

There exists a worse death than a shot to the head. Avoid it, those of you who can. I suggest to those who have held onto power for more than fifty years that they read this brilliant and liberating book by John Carlin. It gave me goose bumps, and on more than one occasion brought tears to my eyes.

From today on I have learned the most essential lesson for my future: to love my enemies. I assure that, before God, during these 6 years and 7 months of forced captivity which has included the separation from my family, especially from my wife who has had to raise our only son, now 11 years old, on her own, I have not had the nerve to hate those who consider me their enemy.

Thank you Nelson Mandela for your extraordinary political strength, and thank you John Carlin for your marvelous narrative.


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