When Latin America got its independence from Spain, in the early XIX century, the always loyal island of Cuba, kept the Spanish flag until 1898. It was a small group that fought for independence; we even have the paradox that there was a moment when there were more guerrilleros (Cubans fighting on the side of Spain) than mambises (Cubans fighting for independence).
In the XX century, the fight was led – against Machado and against Batista – by a small group of people while the majority of the Cuban population continued with its business as usual. The famous number of 20,000 dead Cubans actually has an extra zero.
In our times, exile has been the escape valve to those unable to put up with this; the opposition groups are not a solid or attractive force. We Cubans – as opposed to the stories told in the anorexic textbooks used in history classes – have always been a passive populace, and with the sole exception of a small group, we have always been manipulated by whoever is in the position of power, while we keep waiting for events to unfold.
Translated by Mailyn Salabarria