“Man is free the moment he wants to be” – Voltaire
HAVANA TIMES — Freedom, this concept that has been manipulated and abused so much over the ages, is still the driving force that gives principled men and women strength; this is Ariel Ruiz Urquiola’s case.
I have only seen Ariel a couple of times but I’ve been wanting to go to his farm to learn, to volunteer for a while now. I kept putting it off, getting caught up in other things but I also put it off because of how shy I am… how was I going to turn up on his doorstep without any mutual friend to introduce us? I am now regretting that. I should have been close to this extremely valuable person, a young person like the kind we need to make this world a better place.
Now, Ariel is dying… that’s all I can say, it’s the only thing I’ve been able to think about ever since he started his hunger strike. A lover and defender of life, which he has proven with his eco-activism, his life is now on the line. And the thing is, a principled person can die for what they believe to be an injustice and his whole case has been extremely unjust.
The government has shown him no mercy and needs to release him immediately. Ariel isn’t a threat to this country like they are making him out to be. His work on the farm can be confirmed; not only his much-needed work but all of his papers are in order. There is no reason whatsoever for him (and us) to be going through this. His friends need to be able to go to the hospital and convince him to give up his hunger strike, so he can continue fighting the struggle with other weapons [thus far State Security forbids such visits]. We need him alive, active, planting seeds, thinking.
I see some of the young people I know in Ariel, who don’t bite their tongues in the face of the State’s arbitrary actions, in the face of abuse. If Ariel dies, Cuba won’t be the same place, not just because of Ariel, which is more than enough; or his values, which are hard to find nowadays. But rather because there won’t be any more hope. Young people will know that being honest, hard-working citizens, concerned about the environment, disagreeing with the status quo, criticizing our reality, etc. can be very dangerous.
Ariel being imprisoned by the Cuban government when the vast majority of Cuban youth are alienated, indifferent and vulgar, knee-deep in the double standards they inherited from their parents, a lack of respect and ready to step over anyone in order to “resolve” their everyday problems; well it’s very symbolic.
This doesn’t only make me think about politics (it does as well), but it makes me question the humanity of those who are willing to put out the light on a useful life.