Forgive, yes; but I don’t forget
My name is Soledad Rivas Verdecia and I am a LADY IN WHITE. My husband, Roberto de Miranda, was one of the 75 prisoners of the “Black Spring”
Due to so much repression my children had to leave Cuba, each one I saw leave and none I saw return. At this stage they are not permitted to enter nor am I allowed to leave. My grandchildren also left and the rest, they were born over there.
This is the cost one pays for thinking a little different than what the government requires. I will pay, but never give in.
We are peaceful people, we have a library at home and as you can see, neighborhood children visit us to paint, read, dream. And that is what we are looking for: to awaken a beautiful smile from those children so humble.
I lost my mother in an act of condemnation, listening to those things made her blood pressure rise and the dark crowd did not even allow us to take her to the hospital. On the ninth of December, the LADIES IN WHITE marched to ask for the liberty of our loved ones. It was the eve of the International Day of Human Rights and do you know what happened? We were brutally assaulted, I ended up in the hospital with a guardian policeman standing at the side of my bed, watching my IV drip…
But, the worst day of my life occurred when my daughter, Iraidita, came to Cuba to visit us. I was at the airport watching the passengers arriving but my daughter would not come out. I wondered what happened, maybe she came out another door. I inquired with the airport authorities and was told there was no one with that name on the passenger list of that flight. But understand, we mothers have a sense, I am not sure how to explain it but it exists. I knew she was close, I knew something was up. I could even smell her.
After many problems we left the airport. We are in Central Havana and people here have a sense of community and solidarity. All our neighbors were waiting for her as well. Everyone contributed some of what they had and we prepared a fine meal for her.
But upon arriving at home, I received a call from my son in Miami. He told me Iraidita was not allowed to enter. She had arrived here and was at the airport. But in the same airplane that she arrived, she was returned.
Later, a bomb was dropped on me. As a result of bad treatment and tremendous emotion, Iraidita’s blood pressure rose to the point that she suffered a facial paralysis. That was a fatal day. Who can pay for that?
My other son is in Spain and also not allowed to enter.
In all honesty, I never imagined that there would be people who could be so cruel. Many times I ask myself, what are they made of that they can play with human sentiments in such a way.
But I am not the only one and the worst part is that there are so many Cuban families suffering as well. I pray to God every day that one day I will be allowed to hug my children and kiss my grandchildren.
I do not hide to talk, to whoever wants to visit my doors are always open. Our address is Calle Campanario 354 between Neptuno and San Rafael in Central Havana. Here you will find a house, my home, your home, humble but sincere. Very sincere. We are making a call so that the world can know of the brutal acts the Cuban government commits against its citizens.
I forgive, but do not forget. This has to end.
No one knows how I feel when my granddaughter calls me and I hear her say “Grandmom.”
Translated by: AV