José Díaz Silva

* 1960

  • “Once, I really prayed to the all-powerful God, handcuffed inside a cell, you know what it means, handcuffed inside a police patrol, you know how the police patrols are. Yes, they take off that protection, most of the cars have no protective cover for the sun and everything is plastic inside. I was from seven o´clock in the morning until two o´clock in the afternoon in this patrol car, in the Lenin park, handcuffed and with the burning sun above me. I prayed to the God. That was one of the times I prayed for protection, asking God to protect me from letting me die. I was at the end, I felt dead, I felt the death very close to me. When my children were stuck in the prison, I put this message to the letters I sent them. I told them: ´Be patient till all this passes over.´ The children of mine endured, left the prison and now they live in the land of freedom. I am grateful to my wife Lourdes Esquivel Vieto for her greatness, her resistance, and I am grateful to my children, who have never been subordinated to the communist regime of the Castro brothers. Never, never, never, never!”

  • “In 2004, my little son, José Díaz Esquivel, and a group of other boys, who had learned from me, as well as I learned myself from my father how to be rejecting this system, and then this group of boys marched to a traffic light there in Rebolledo and with a white stone they wrote; so well, Fidel Castro was about to pass through here; and they wrote down “Go away Fidel”. But one of the boys was a “stranger” [here a person that pretends to be in the group but actually collaborates with the regime] and immediately attended to the police and the police took all of them to the police station. When they arrived at the police station, the fact that they had put “Go away Fidel” sent my little boy to the prison for 10, no, actually 7 years. The other son of mine who was at that moment on the street, Néstor Díaz Esquivel, had nothing to do with this because he was not there, but they threatened me, because when I saw that my little boy was going to the prison, I increased the activism. That was the reason why the regime came to threaten me that they were going to place my other son to the prison too.”

  • “Speaking of the year 2000, this testimony might provide better René Monteojos or Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco [activists for human rights in Cuba] who lived it too and the other political prisoners. The treatment of jailers and prison chiefs towards us was horrifying. I received back there in the department number 1580 beating from these thugs, who were in the lead of this institution. Everything seemed black, in the hole where took me. I did not want to put my hands behind as they forced me, so they made me this system they force you, they put you on the iron bars with a little chain, they put you a little condemnation around here, they keep you like that on the bars, you don't know. That was how they called it: ´just to comment you, so you clearly understand, that you have to do what we want.´”

  • “The people of Cuba were very obedient to the system and accepted everything what the system proposed. I remember when they were saying, that everybody was lying in the incident of the two planes[planes were shut down by the Cuban Government and Cuban pilots ended dead], because they [pilots of the planes] were enemies of the Revolution and that they came here to do the counter revolution, to attack our people and Cuban society accepted it. Those of us who had a little bit of knowledge of how bad the system was, came out with what had happened was a murder, that was committed with these four pilots, that it was horrific, bringing down the planes of the “Brothers to the rescue”[ was an organization formed by Cuban exiles, known for its opposition to the Cuban government]. Later, they began to find out, the trials started, that it happened in international waters, which was not a demolition of Cuban waters. But as always, the system proceeded in the same way: throwed a stone and then condemned the hand. And as there always was and still is a coward public in Cuba, the cowardice and fear of the people have been taken in the advantage and the regime can do what it did with the “Brothers to the rescue” plane. There was no protest here inside the town, nor anyone judged it, nor criticized.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Cuba, 23.07.2019

    duration: 02:08:04
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I said to my children: ‘Be patient till all this passes over.’

José Silva Díaz durante la grabación.
José Silva Díaz durante la grabación.
photo: Post Bellum

José Díaz Silva was born on July 11, 1960, in a marginal neighborhood of Santiago de las Vegas in the province of Havana. His father belonged to “The White Rose” [La Rosa Blanca], a movement against Castro´s regime. When he was little, José often heard that Fidel Castro´s Revolution caused suffering for the Cuban people. José tried to emigrate from Cuba several times, which was the reason for his several arrests and imprisonments. As a political prisoner, he spent a total of14 years in prison. During his incarceration, he joined movements supporting human rights. After leaving prison in 1997, he joined an organization against the communist system, “The February 24th Movement,” and became a delegate of the province of Havana. In 2002 he established the “Opposition Movement for a New Republic,” a new political organization. José resides in Santiago de Las Vegas with his wife and continues to fight against Castro’s regime with activism and his opposition political organization. He has three children who are also activists and political prisoners.