1959 was supposed to be a bright year for Cuba. What happened instead was fifty years of darkness. But while the repressive government in Havana celebrates fifty years of hijacking the Cuban Revolution, we observe our own anniversary.
On May 7, 2017 the Cuban Libertarian Party – Jose Martí was founded at the humble yet priceless Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library in Havana. Three months prior, two libertarians, Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velasquez Lisea were arrested with the wrong books and sent to the labor prison at Melena del Sur. That event was also the beginning of a great organization of dissidents, merely a few people at a time, into today’s Cuban libertarian movement.
Much has changed. Manuel Velasquez was released from prison but Ubaldo remains incarcerated. Yanet Padrón was imprisoned on false charges and also released a few months ago. Lianet Guerra Peña, who is a not a dissident, but the niece of a member of our party, is currently held hostage by the regime on false charges.
But whereas two years ago there were only a handful of libertarians in Cuba, today they are many. Today there are libertarians in at least six provinces of Cuba. Some of them are members of the Libertarian Party while others are independent libertarians. Many have contributed to publications by the Mises-Mambí Institute as independent journalists.
They are Cuban, and also libertarian. They don’t want a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis or Bay of Pigs, nor do they want a repeat of Che Guevara’s firing squads, or the extermination campaigns in the Escambray mountains.
They’re a new, distinct identity within the Cuban opposition. Yet their dedication to learning libertarian ideas and applying them to their activism, and their dedication to freeing their country, can’t be overstated. The Castro government tried very hard, with dozens of arrests and much violent repression, to extinguish this flame before it could grow into a brushfire of freedom.
Cuba’s libertarians proved they’re here to stay.
Instituto Mises-Mambí de Cuba