Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat

* 1965  

  • „Communism has made Cuba a trans-territorial nation. Castro and the Cuban communists had thought, based on their reading of Stalin, that if we left the country, we would cease to be Cubans, because they had come to believe the Marxist thesis that production conditions determine national identity. They believed the famous essay on nationalism written by Stalin. They were completely wrong. A nation is a spiritual horizon, it’s a foundation of the soul that will never cease to exist. We witnessed how after the fall of Communism entire nations, deported by Stalin to every corner of the Soviet Union, had returned to their homeland after seventy, eighty years. The same is happening with the Cubans. Cuban exiles in the U.S. usually succeeded, but at the same time didn’t forget that they had remained part of the spiritual unity called the Cuban nation.”

  • „I noticed right from the beginning that my family had rejected the existing conditions. I also remember visiting a friend who had lived next doors and whose father had been an officer of the state police. They invited me to a birthday party. I was a kid and I remember seeing things at their home that I had never seen before. When I came back home, I told my parents, and I remember my father’s expression… Mum later told me that father had said: “In what kind of a country can political police have what the working people cannot afford?” These were unattainable things for ordinary Cubans. My relatives had worked really hard to achieve something. Grandparents from my father’s side lost their land after the Cuban War for Independence. My grandfather was a soldier, a policeman, but he couldn’t afford university education for his three sons nonetheless. That’s what Cuba was like.”

  • „We founded a magazine, did experimental theatre and various other cultural activities with the aim of reviving the Cuban identity in our generation. We started to cooperate with other groups of young Cubans in America and other countries, and in September 1990 we organized the International Congress of Cuban Youth for a Free Cuba. By coincidence, it was during the time when communism had been collapsing all over the world. There were many delegates on the congress and many discussions were held. The last plenary meeting took 24 hours non-stop. I find the establishment of a new Directorate to be the most important act of this congress. At the time we called it Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio Democrático Cubano). It set a goal to continue the fighting tradition of the youth movement and to fight for the freedom of Cuba by very specific means. The Directorate had several main goals right from the beginning: to join the dissident movement, which had just been born in Cuba, and to use non-violent civic resistance as a mean to fight the dictatorship.”

  • „A Cuban man needs to look at himself from a different perspective. He needs to see himself in everything he could one day become. I think that the honesty, experience and devotion I have encountered in Eastern and Central Europe was a great experience for us, something that really enriched us intellectually. Especially the friendship and brotherhood we experienced in the Czechoslovakia, a country with a long democratic tradition. Václav Havel, for example. I will never forget how the president of the Czech Republic arrived at a meeting or a book presentation in his own car, which he also drove himself. How he walked across the square, talking to students and workers about domestic issues. When I saw that, I said to myself with excitement: “That’s how freedom looks like!”

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    Miami, Florida, USA, 19.04.2018

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Hope means knowing that I’m fighting for what’s right and true

Gutiérrez Boronat Orlando
Gutiérrez Boronat Orlando
photo: Post Bellum

He was born November 9, 1965 in Havana to a middle-class family which had professed high moral and spiritual values. The family decided to immigrate to Spain in 1971 and later to the U.S. because of the revolutionary events and repression in Cuba. He obtained a master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Florida and later got a PhD in International Relations at the University of Miami. During his studies he accomplished the revival of the University Student Federation. He worked as a reporter, journalist and finally as a teacher, which is what he has been doing to this day. He was a member of the Alfa 66 organization, which fought for the liberation of Cuba, since age 13 and also became involved in the activities of the Cuban Patriotic Union in 1980. In the late 1990s he had the opportunity to travel to Eastern Europe, among other countries to Czechoslovakia, where he met Václav Havel, who then served as an example of freedom for him.