Berlin, a Dream Come True (II)
At night, I met the founder of the German chapter of Amnesty International, Gerd Ruge and also Wolfgang Piepenstock, one of the original members of this German NGO. We attended the evening award ceremony Human Rights Prize (held at the World Culture House of Berlin) which was given to Abel Barrera. The discourse of the indigenous leader was impressing and energetic, and the testimony Valentina Rosendo was harrowing. With her paused, yet potent, voice she asked for solidarity to demand that the Mexican government fulfill the law decreed by Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which sentenced the soldiers who raped and tortured her and Ines Fernandez. A disturbing cold shill ran throughout my body as I heard this woman describe how she was raped by a uniformed official of the Mexican government, and the even worse part of the case was that these criminals were not punished.
The ceremony was hosted by Reinhold Beckmann, a television host and recipient of two awards- The Federal Merit Cross Award and the German Television Award. Up on the stage, we listened to the voices of AI’s General Secretariat, Salil Shetty, Federal President Christian Wulffl, Stefan Kessler, Martin Moryson, Peter Franck, Mathis Richtmann, and other German politicians. We also heard artists like Sophie Hunger, Alice Sara Ott, Michael Mittermeier, and the Mannheins Sohne group.
When it was my turn, I shifted the discourse towards asking for solidarity with the Cuban democrats in the island which are vulnerable to the repression of the dictatorship, and who represent the democratic future of Cuba. I reminded all those who were present that the power of human solidarity is the only thing that can impede repressive crackdowns, like the one which occurred in 2003, and other violent attacks on behalf of the dictatorship against the peaceful Cuban dissidence. “Cuba needs a change to democracy and we Cubans deserve another chance. We want to live like human beings- with freedom, prosperity, and more than anything in our piece of island without having to worry about being punished for our political ideas, religious beliefs, or sexual preference. We want a Cuba as was dreamed by the apostle Jose Marti: With all and for the good of all”.
I chatted with various of the attendees for a few hours and the solidarity displayed by each of them gave me that extra inspiration needed to survive in exile in order to continue to fight for a democratic Cuba, free of exclusions.
Of all the countries I have visited lately, I would say that the Germans are the ones who can identify the most with out Cuban cruel reality. The totalitarian past which cost them years of pain, suffering, deaths, hate, lack of freedom, and the unfortunate economic state which the RDA became has been tormenting the Cuban people for more than 50 years.
On Saturday morning Gabi, Sandrine, and Karl drove me to the airport. We bid farewell to each other amid hugs and tears of joy. Again, they handed me gifts for my wife and son. Today, I feel happy and committed to human rights. I cannot forget that a simple letter or the anonymous help of people we do not personally know actually does help the lives of political prisoners and prisoner of conscience in any corner of the world.