Rigoberto Carceller Ibarra

* 1963

  • “The platform gave a lot to talk about, because we were opportunists. I remember one of the most opportunistic actions, because we took advantage of the controversies, we took advantage of the internal politics of this country [Spain] for us to put the ball in the game, as they say. I remember that night when they took Franco away, the last Franco monument that was next to Nuevos Ministerios metro station, it was the last one on the street. It was very controversial, because they took it off at night, etc., and all the press was talking about it. And I have a lot of instinct for that. The next day I was there, where they had removed Franco, because they had left the pedestal, and I raised Fidel Castro, but I raised Fidel Castro in a garbage container that I had stolen from somewhere, yes, I don't know where I got it, I stole on the street, I took it from someone, I from a school ... I took a garbage container, the kind with an orange lid, and I connected three microphones, and I put inside a life-size Fidel Castro, holding the microphone and with his hand as he always put it, and I put "garbage will absolve you", as it was a garbage container... And also the record he had: so many political prisoners, so many shot people and so on. I went there with that garbage container, and when they removed Franco, I put it Castro, and that was controversial because, as you can imagine, Nuevos Ministerios is full of Civil Guard, Police... I have never seen so much Police and so much Civil Guard by my side like that day.”

  • “Not everything is negative within those systems. There is always a cop, there is always someone who somehow sympathizes with you. I remember that when I entered the Boniato prison, there was a nurse who was a friend of a friend of mine, and that nurse collaborated by giving the order to take me out of my cell and take me to the infirmary, and injecting me with vitamins. It was his way of collaborating. I don't even know what that person's name is, but I appreciate it. Or that cop who, risking everything, was a neighbour of a friend of yours, and then your family bring you a pack of cigarettes, and you wanted that cop to be on duty, because when he was on duty and no one could see him, you would approach the door with discretion, and what ability we had to take the pack…”

  • “So, I assumed the responsibility that we were responsible for founding Liberation [MCL] throughout Oriente and Camagüey. And it was amazing. Because of course, we could go to people with much more serious things, with people in Havana... We started to feel strong, because we were no longer three cats, we were no longer only three people in a city. So, we started to build a whole structure in Oriente and Camagüey. It was fascinating, the truth is that I think it was one of the best times for me within the Political Opposition, with a lot of motivation. And it was easy, because we had to go to our friend's house and say "we're on this." We were one of the groups that had it easier to organize, because we had common principles, we had known each other our whole lives, we knew more or less our weaknesses, and why not say it, on more than one occasion we also had sympathy and the support of the Church.”

  • “Politically, which I think is what somehow has made me different, I mean, from the vast majority, I believe that I reached that culminating point when I was 16 years old and I saw what happened with the Mariel. I have never seen something so wild, so heinous, from neighbour to neighbour on a popular level. They took us out of school to go to our teacher's house, who hadn't messed with anyone, who was a decent person, an educated person, and we had to go to our teacher's house to yell ‘scum’ at him, to yell ‘worm’ at him, to throw eggs at him, to throw stones at him ... The most horrible things that can be seen, in a totally mad society. I believe that just there I made an inflection and that was when I began to feel political motivations. And that started to turn me into a very rebellious guy.”

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    Madrid, 29.09.2020

    duration: 02:13:22
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I don’t appreciate people who want to define me, even if I don’t know who I am. I only know that I passionately like freedom.

Carceller Ibarra Rigoberto
Carceller Ibarra Rigoberto
photo: Post Bellum

Rigoberto Carceller Ibarra was born in the city of Santiago de Cuba on August 26, 1963. He was educated in the Christian faith, for which he suffered continuous harassment at school and later in high school. At the age of 16, due to the acts of repudiation caused by the Mariel crisis, he defined himself politically. He became an activist along with others Catholics marginalized by Cuban society. Years later, he joined the Christian Liberation Movement [MCL] in Havana and extended the movement throughout eastern Cuba. In 1992, he was imprisoned along with other colleagues from the MCL but was released and deported to Spain a year and a half later, thanks to the mediation of the Catholic Church. He continued his activism from Madrid and started two collaborative projects with Cuba that had a great impact: Puente Familiar con Cuba and Cuba Democracia ¡Ya! However, he claims to have been disenchanted by the distrustful and opportunistic character of the opposition in exile and the Spanish political class’s hypocritical and self-serving position.