55 Brothers (and Sisters)
The Antonio Maceo Brigade has built new bridges between Cuba and its diaspora.
December 22, 1977 was a clear day, perfect for the arrival in their native country of a group of young Cubans residing abroad. They had been taken out of Cuba as children by their parents. Nothing like this trip had happened since 1961 and it marked a before and after in the incipient relations that would develop between what is defined today as the Nation and its Emigration.
The 55 young Cubans, eager to explore their roots, but also to see for themselves the reality of Cuba, distorted and demonized during many years by U.S. propaganda and its Cuban American allies, proudly took the name of general Antonio Maceo, one of Cuba’s greatest heroes of its wars of independence against Spain. The trip, the emotions, the moving and welcoming visits with family residing on the island are all documented in "55 hermanos," a film made by Cuban filmmaker Jesús Díaz (available on You Tube).
“Today we pay tribute to those who no longer accompany us, Carlos Muñiz, Margarita Lejarza, the Gastón brothers, Dagmaris Cabeza, Jorge Cañas, Yoel Camayd, Elizardo Martínez and Onecys Villarreal Lemus,” said Raúl Álzaga, one of the founders of the Antonio Maceo Brigade and a resident of Puerto Rico.
“Today we also greet the rest of the 55 brothers and sisters who continue to work for the development of that relationship between the Nation and its Emigration,” added Ricardo Fraga, also a resident of Puerto Rico and one of the original 55 hermanos.
“And we pay homage to those 55 brothers and sisters of the First Contingent of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, who 42 years ago, with their courage and sacrifice, opened the way for the reunification of the Cuban family, the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States and actively organized the fight against the economic blockade against our country.”
Yet, today, 42 years after the Antonio Maceo Brigade opened so many doors for the first time, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Díaz Balart and the rest of the morally bankrupt Washington gang are doing their best to close them and make Cuba surrender by starving and abusing its people, the same people they hypocritically proclaim they want to help.
But it will never happen, as they should know after 60 years of failure.