And This is Seen in the Whole World?
Well then, record this. My name is Rafael Fernández Fajardo, and I live in Santa Eulalia number 64, between Ursula and 1st, Mantilla, Arroyo Naranjo, Havana, Cuba. I have no home phone or email. Whoever wants to contact me, tell him to come to my house or leave me a message at (53 – 7) 643 70 69. But be clear, tell them to call, but not to be bothered because this number is that of my neighbor Gina.
Let’s see, son, let me tell you. Are you recording? In 1980 I found out they had opened the Embassy of Peru for anyone who wanted to get out of this country. I had no criminal record and I did not want to live here. I don’t like this system, but from that to crime is something I don’t agree with. So I picked up a few things, and like somebody going to the beach, on April 5, I lined up at that Embassy. Oh, boy, that was a fire! But hell came later.
On the 18th of that month I left the embassy with a safe-conduct paper and a passport that they made for me in the Abreu Fontan Club. On entering they beat us. Luckily the back of this club fronted on the sea and I was able to swim away.
The next day, the 19th, I was summoned to the Spanish consulate. And if I remember correctly, I think it was on Inquisidor street, at the corner of Avenida del Puerto. A better name couldn’t be found, it was all a big lie and I couldn’t get to the consulate because my inquisitors were on that same corner and I was beaten again.
On the 20th, still the same month, they called me, told me to show up José Martí airport to give me the exit visa. I grabbed my passport and my toothbrush and when I came to Rancho Boyeros another swarm fell on top of me and beat me with whatever they could find. During the days, I went to Mariel, beaten and broken. As I learned, a Cuban American by the name of Blas sponsored me. They called me for two boats, the “Bus Lady” and “Santa Fe”; they filled these boats with people but I didn’t get on, and because of these people, I did not go. I did not get out of the country, but after leaving the port, and before I got home, they gave me another beating.
After enduring so many blows, after seeing the face of so much violence, it might seem to be a lie but I do not hold grudges and today I am an activist and I believe in Human Rights. For this I am constantly visited and threatened. Security Officers came to see me to make sure that I would not attend the Juanes concert. They come to visit so that I won’t go to church. hey pressure me to not help or visit dissidents or opponents.
Look, son, I am almost illiterate but when I see that these bestial “Acts of Repudiation” have again become fashionable, I would like to ask: Why persecute people with beatings? What do they accomplish with that? How can I respect a government that starts to fight a civil war against its own citizens? How many of those angry people that were given so many blows in the ’80s are now living in Florida?
I am a confectioner. I make sweets, my way to help is to make and carry cake, cookies, tarts, all to the political prisoners. I told you, son, that’s my way of helping. And I do it with these hands that will swallow up the earth. Oh, and when I can sell them, I buy soap or other toiletries and I send them to the prisons. Do you think that I am so bad? Do you think this is terrorism? Do you think my cakes are for the CIA or financed by the CIA?
Ay, my son, what do you know. But as the saying goes “Those who always eat better are those who do not till the land.” Who would believe me that in 2005 I presented my case under the program for refugees of the American embassy and I was refused asylum? The number of my case is CU 56890. Find out, you know people, go and see if you can throw me a rope.
Translated by ricote