Cuba will Be Your Monument

Neither squares nor streets with your name. No effigy to lay flowers. Detached from the coldness of statues. Distanced from marble and bronze which, inert, erode with time. Your ideas multiplied in men and women, that will be your monument. You loathed any semblance of a personality cult, any excess of veneration, for it is something of the greats to not appear to be so, and leave the glories, sublime or epic, trapped in small kernels of corn. The continuity lies in planting them.

I am one of those who imagined at least one sculpture, dressed as a guerrilla, atop a mountain in the Sierra, looking out into the distance, some say into the future. There where you used to come and go.

During your pilgrimage through every place that the caravan once baptized with liberty, the legend of your immortality grew, of your eternal presence, beyond exaltations or idealizations that forget the material with which heroes are made: flesh and bone. It became clearer just how a man becomes a people, how history reveres him and how his ideas, all of them, are born of what is just.

And for me, that singular space where I could adore you became less necessary.

After all, milimetrically designed, it will not exist, beyond that rock with a heart of your ashes. But there will be an entire Cuba to cast your lot with, with each of her corners and streets to remember you.

When we see an unusual gathering or a long queue, we will ask ourselves whether you are going to speak; when we hear of some injustice or delayed response we will say that in your time, that would not have happened, at least if you knew about it; when we want to go to the root of problems, understand everything, and risk everything to save it all, we will say that is what you did. And you will continue to be born in everything that appears fatuous to us, in every perfectible work that will dignify us.

Long before your departure, there were many who, hanging your picture on the wall, asked you for miracles as one asks a god, or asked a god to take care of you, to give you health and a long life, because your existence was an anchor to their faith. Now there will be little to ask for and much more to do. And we will have to build the “miracles” with our own hands.

In his song to you, which has become an anthem during these days, Raúl Torres said that he had seen striding “in front of the caravan, slowly without a rider, a horse for you.” And Changó, that orisha of strength and justice that the Yoruba religion celebrates, rode on horseback, just as you decided to imbue a rock with the life of a warrior.

There will be no school, hospital, or avenue with your name. A country will be your monument. A country moving forward.

Yudy Castro Morales,

December 6, 2016

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