Take Care of Yourselves

The Long Road- Chad Elliott

Politics is the art of the possible. This is the reason for which I decided to support the dialogue between General Raul Castro and Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino from the very beginning. The cardinal appealed to our good will and intelligence, interceding for the Ladies in White and the political prisoners and the prisoners of conscience. The archbishop of Havana has ignored the criticisms from abroad or from within the island that have been made against his gesture. In honor of the truth, it must be said that any such attacks against this initiative could end in sterile results without the liberation of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and Jaime Ortega knows that very well.

His compromise with Cuba is an order from God and also hails from a calling from his own conscience. I sympathize with the cardinal, I don’t deny it. I fully trust Ortega Alamino. If I am criticized for this, then so be it. If I turn out to be mistaken, then I will acknowledge it. Besides, this opinion is my right and I will not trade it in to satisfy anyone. I’ve always believed that I should first be in accord with my own conscience and later with that of my fellow colleagues. Of course, this is without damaging my own values. In politics, sometimes it seems as if we are very far from reaching a desired objective when, in truth, the solution lies right before our noses. It is also true that during such fragile and tense moments we just may be very close to achieving the goals which we dream of.

But the transfer of Antonio Diaz Sanchez first and later Adolfo Fernandez Sainz and Felix Navarro have left a bitter taste in my mouth. Despite the ferrous control held over us, we political prisoners and prisoners of conscience manage to maintain a system of communication, evading the blockade of the government. Now, it is just Pedro Arguelles Moran and I. Our fates are uncertain, but whatever they may be it will be a very difficult process to once again form a group like that one which we formed here in this provincial prison of Canaletas in Ciego de Avila. I do not doubt that in other prisons the same thing occurs, but our fellowship allowed us to survive and protect ourselves.

These men have been my friends during these long seven years. Tony, rebellious and incomparable when it comes to seeking solutions. Felix Navarro, unique for his intelligence and fairness, impossible to compare due to his tolerance of any idea. Adolfo Fernandez Sainz, owner of his own thoughts and a man of important of ideas at the time of making group choices. Pedro, rebel by nature but noble at heart, and an avid reader despite his limited vision- this due to a disease in his eyes. Nobody can imagine the influence that each one of these men has had on me upon sharing their wise advice with me.

It is possible that tomorrow anything could happen, but as long as their remains even one political prisoner or prisoner of conscience there will be nothing- absolutely nothing- to celebrate. Besides, if we guide ourselves by the laws which are in force then these prisoners should be in minimum security prisons or in freedom. But none of that. Sounds like conformity to me. I don’t doubt that the Cuban authorities still hold the final card under their sleeve. Perhaps it is the golden Ace. However, at this point in the game, I highly doubt that any of this will help them win.

Today, I value the wise words of Adolfo and Felix, “patience Pablito, patience, but always remain firm before the tyranny, for this will always give us power”. I do not know when I will once again be able to see these excellent and dignified men, but I do know that each of them left very important traces of their wisdom in my heart. I hope they also remember my favorite phrase- “Take care of yourselves, for we still have lots more that we owe and should do for Cuba”.

Pablo Pacheco


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