Saturday, December 21, 2013

Freedom for the People of Cuba

El Cimarron
Since 1997 El Cobre has taken on a different meaning for the people of Cuba as a place to memorialize the suffering of slaves and political strife in Cuba. “The Virgin's sanctuary and the giant runaway slave sculpture both protrude from the hilly terrain also punctured with excavated mines as if infusing, or overwriting, the landscape with the history they represent and the past they commemorate. The commemorative statue of El Cimarron (the runaway slave) with the basilica visible in the background is part of the larger movement to increase awareness of human trafficking worldwide and is part of a UNESCO project called the Route of the Slave that traces the route of slave trade and marks locations where acts of resistance are commemorated."

Fidel Castro suffered a near-fatal perforated intestine in 2006 and made the following public comment in the Communist Party newspaper Granma, "As soon as I understood that it would be definitive I did not hesitate to cease my charges as president. I proposed that the person designated to exercise that task proceed immediately to take it up. I was far from imagining that my life would be prolonged seven more years.”  

Castro stepped aside provisionally that year and retired permanently in 2008 turning over the government of Cuba to his brother, Raúl Castro.  His brother has since replaced several of his officials with less militaristic leaders. The Soviet Union no longer exists as the Communist leader it once was, but Cuba, along with China, North Vietnam and North Korea, remains under the Communist system of government today.  Some of the economic sanctions have been lifted and Cuba has been invited to rejoin the Organization of American States if it agrees to be governed in conformity with the organization’s practices, purposes, and principles.  So far that invitation has been rejected.