Cuba: My Childhood are Memories of a Courtyard in Seville

By Ana Hurtado on May 10, 2023 from Havana

Like Antonio Machado’s, my childhood is also memories of a courtyard in Seville. And it is marked by orange trees and summers with a radiant sun between two Andalusian provinces: Seville and Jaen. And vice versa. Almost 300 kilometers between the two.

That childhood came back to my memory when I visited the Romerías de Mayo in the Cuban province of Holguin this year. There are many more kilometers between Havana and Holguin. So are the hours. But the memories come to the surface in the same way.

The tradition, the passage. They are an evocation of those pilgrimages that took place in my town every May to visit the Saint. People prayed and prayed to him. They even bathed him in the river. It was, and I suppose still is, a celebration. The roots were totally religious. As those of Holguin; but the latter have been transforming with the passing of the years into a completely different event.

The culture and the art have taken possession of the spirit of this tradition and have injected a touch that can only be given in Cuba. The crossbreeding and transculturation that grows in this land. They create a new and genuine culture and make flowers sprout that perhaps in another territory it would be impossible to see them sprout.

The pilgrimages are an authentic phenomenon. And I believe that the speech that Fidel gave to the intellectuals in 1961 has a lot to do with it:

“And just as we have wanted for the people a better life in the material order, we want for the people a better life also in the spiritual order, we want for the people a better life in the cultural order. And just as the Revolution is concerned with the development of the conditions and forces that will allow the people to satisfy all their material needs, we also want to develop the conditions that will allow the people to satisfy all their cultural needs”.

From the top of Loma de la Cruz

And it is not a question of a magic wand or a miracle. It is a question of work, of effort. Of humanizing the mystical, without losing its roots. Seeing that Taino axe that the Holguineros carried in the initial parade made me understand that this people does not forget its history and therefore will not be condemned to repeat it. And I could see it the same day at sunset from the Loma de la Cruz; the viewpoint that is the key point of the festival from where you can see the whole city. An emotional atmosphere, an air that fills you with life.

But if we must talk about life. I am transported directly to Biran. Visiting the place where the Castro Ruz brothers grew up is without thinking about it one of the most extraordinary sensations that have happened to me in my life. To step on the land they walked on. To see the little school where Fidel attended as a listener. To touch with my hands the community that Don Angel created and to be able to understand that Fidel’s legacy is his father’s legacy. I need more space to talk about Biran. There are several pages that I filled in that same day with my emotions. I still have that unfinished writing but for the moment the last thing I have handwritten is: “The breeze of Biran is life; it is oxygen”.

Just after returning from what for me has meant to see a paradise on earth, not so much for the earthly but for the atmosphere, I had the honor of participating in the Bloguerías de Mayo.

They are organized every year, within the Romerías, as a kind of round table discussion and presentations. And this year, together with three colleagues, we talked about women and political communication. We had the luxury of abundance on that panel. Cuban women with much to tell, and references for me in the struggle for social justice and communication in this country.

Commitment and ties. Friendships that are born and have a great path. Cuba opening every day a little more its truth to the world that every day is more aware of how manipulated they have been by the disinformation of the hegemonic media and their lackeys.

I could tell in detail about every smile received, every look, every hug. The closing of the Fiesta de los Abrazos organized by the Union of University Students (FEU) of the University of Holguin was emotional. If all the universities of the world had a Student Federation like the Cuban one… How different would be the professionals of the future at a human level!

Ana Hurtado

And to close this adventure in the East of the island, I went to Bariay Bay; the place through which Christopher Columbus and the three skulls reached this land. We all know what came next. Something we Spaniards are not proud of. I speak for the Spaniards who have decency. Because we know that colonization destroyed cultures and uprooted others from their continent to turn their people into slaves. For many years it has been hard for many of us, even as socialists, to decolonize our minds, because many times, even if we do not realize it, we have it in our unconscious, even in typical expressions. Those who came were not the people. Those who came were the power. That same power that continues to enrich itself at the expense of the pain and sacrifice of the majority of the peoples of the world.

That is why in the year 2023 there are many of us who support Cuba and its government. Because it is the only way from the political and intellectual sphere to maintain the sovereignty of the peoples. The freedom of souls. The independence of human beings. To support this Revolution, after having seen many countries in many continents, is for me the most sincere act of honesty that I can do at this moment of my life.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English