I was born in one of the central eastern provinces. Cuba was recognized by many as the beautiful pearl of the Caribbean from the very first day of its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who expressed that this was the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes. I was born in nineteen hundred and fifty-eight, one year before the triumph of the revolution. My parents were religious, they educated me in accordance with their principles. My father and my older brother were detained on various occasions, and completed sentences of deprivation of liberty; my brother on three occasions and my father on two. Mistreated and abused as you might imagine.
I was the fourth son of seven that my mother had, we lived in a coastal town. My father owned a candy store and dedicated the better part of his time to his work and to preach the Word of God, as is common with the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. He never wished to mix in political problems nor give opinions that were not about his religion, this was known by the whole town, where he was very appreciated for the help he offered to many people.
In that time, to be religious, homosexual, or dress in the latest fashion was to be considered counter-revolutionary. They were persecuted or causes would be invented to detain and judge them.
One day several uniformed men appeared at the house bearing large arms, they broke down doors and windows, one group entered brusquely and another surrounded the house outside, as if they had entered a haunt of criminals or terrorists, though my parents had never had troubles with the police or justice. They handcuffed my father, they took him out of the house beating him, and by force they took him into detention. I am never going to forget what they did before our eyes, I was already around seven years old and was there with three brothers younger than me.
My mother took us all through town by foot, and we went to the police station where they were holding my father. When we arrived they were taking his statement, they wanted to accuse him of counter-revolution. He refused to sign, he told them he was a religious person and that his beliefs did not permit him to mix in political matters.
After several hours of interrogation, of personal offenses and physical mistreatment, right in front of is they took him down with blows and shoving him, put him in a cell together with other common prisoners. One of them helped the policeman, and as a result, they fractured his ankle as well as left many marks on his body. That day they did not take him to the doctor, instead on the following day, then they could make out a certificate about the lesions that was useless; they never made a case based on the denunciation of my father.
My father remained firm and offered resistance to being detained, because that was an arbitrary act, it was illogical to think that they were dealing with a counterrevolutionary or something like it. If he signed those documents he was recognizing his participation in something he had not done, the entire town was a witness to these facts, I remember having seen many people meeting in front of the police station.
After several days of detention and without proof, the police decided to set him free. Our family looked for lawyers, we presented proofs, the medical certificate but they never accepted the complaint. With time we finally realized the impossibility of carrying a criminal complaint forward against the police and we left it all in God’s hands.
On another occasion, they used Maturranga, a poor town drunk, to make him pass as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was small and don’t remember his real name, what was important was the trauma they raised around him. The police would get him drunk, they’d give him matches and fuel so that he would appear in a sugar cane field as if he were going to set it ablaze. The man followed orders and in those moments the police showed up, faked having been advised to stop this man — whom everybody knew well for his alcoholism and not as a religious type — from setting the sugar cane field on fire.
Meanwhile in town the other part of the plan was being cooked up. The raising of a public show trial in the park. They had the circus set up, cars with amplifiers installed, to announce that they had surprised a Jehovah’s Witness trying to burn a cane field. They got the whole town together to give him a show trial, in the middle of a park in town; but as everyone knew it was a farce, very few attended.
The only thing they succeeded in was being the town joke, which as always they invent stories and jokes around anything that happens. I remember some verses in the form of a popular satire which came out of that happening:
In God’s Armaggedon
According to the prophet Maturranga
There will be a lot of taro,
Butter, wine, and rice
June 10 2011