A Year of Freedom

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Granma | Wednesday, 30 December 2015 | Click here for original article

A year has passed since the Miami Five / Cuban Five returned home and were reunited with their families and friends. Granma spoke to them about what this year has meant

Antonio Guerrero: Ready as always

“After 16 years and, I think, three months and four days in prison, being released and returning to my homeland, there is no way, no words to describe that moment (…) What I can say is that from that moment on (…) all that time spent in prison was erased.

“(…) First of all, we would have been willing to fulfill the task we had been sent to complete under the greatest secrecy, and could have died there like other comrades (…). Later came prison, where some of us were sentenced to life, we would have also been willing to die in jail. We knew from day one that the leaders of the Revolution, our government and people weren’t going to abandon us (…). Even in the worst times, we felt that freedom, that joy, that feeling of usefulness of being there denouncing every day the double standard of the empire’s policy in its much-vaunted fight against terrorism. And that was useful, this cause brought many people from around the world together (…) This inspired me to write, to paint, which was another way of feeling even more useful and free.

“So we arrived here, and the year has flown by in the blink of an eye (…) Its been a year in which we have wanted, above all, to express our gratitude to our people and all our friends.

“Just to be clear, from the day we arrived we expressed our willingness to undertake whichever task might be needed to our President, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz; we told him ‘Please also let Fidel know that we are here.’ And our country decided that we would spend the year, not only sharing with our families, but also meeting with many collectives, many young people…

“So sometimes, when we ask, ‘where are we going, what is there to do?’ they tell us: ‘but you are working.’ And yes, all these activities throughout this intense year have been genuinely useful and beneficial (…) I think we have received feedback and learned more about the Cuban reality every day. I believe this is also important for any other task that will no doubt come our way, which we will take on with the same willingness as the very first day.”

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Prison’s poetry

El hueco

I’ve received a contribution for the blog from my brother Antonio Guerrero, in the form of a poem. It was one of those that on the first moments of incarceration, on the punishing cells, served to scare away the demos of solitary confinement and to search for the resources to grow under those circumstances.

The prosecutors had decided to put us on the SHU (Special Housing Unit), best known as “The Hole”. Each of us in a cell, with no communication with the rest, we managed to communicate through some creative ways; one of them to use the air outlets which two contiguous cells shared on the air extraction end.

To “celebrate” the first month of incarceration the Skinny one called for a “poetry” contest. Each one read –or better, screamed out- his poem through the crack between the frame and the laminated iron door of his cell. Tony would continue from there to sew verses and to build stanzas. The air vent was the best mean to share them.

That was how we “reviewed” his first poem book “From my Altitude”. It was a reference to the twelfth floor where the unit was located, and from which we would observe downtown Miami. With the passing of time, as the prosecutors degraded themselves, it became sad reminder of the moral abyss which opened up between us and our accusers.

I leave you with Tony’s poetry.

Continue reading Prison’s poetry