Regis Iglesias Ramírez

  • “In prison is where I have heard screaming ‘Fidel away!’ the most, but not by the political prisoners, but by the criminals themselves, because as the criminals do not receive any attention, so when they have a toothache, for example, then they shout ‘Fidel away, Raúl away’, and so they have the attention of the guards and they come to them. I used to say that shouting ‘Fidel away’ is nothing, because anyone shouts it out, it does not give you a medal for courage, nor it does give you a recognition for the strongest or the most radical opponent. It is being shouted by anyone, and tomorrow, the same person will be shouting ‘Viva Fidel’ in an act in the prison, but that was the mechanism they had to attract attention.”

  • “It is important to know that the person you follow and whose authority and political leadership for his political capacity you recognize, responds like this at that time, but as a friend. Oswaldo [Payá] was not only our political leader, he was not only our moral or ethical reference in the fight against the Cuban regime. He was also our friend, our brother, our teacher, he was like our father. In that sense, I am very grateful and proud that the relationship that we both had was reciprocal. Just as I used to call him Vapu, which in Hindu means father, and that was how the Hindus called Gandhi, he called me Filius.”

  • “The regime has always tried to divert attention from the rights of the people, towards more primary objectives. For example, we [MCL] made a proposal for a national reunion. We were already in prison, but Oswaldo [Payá] did it in 2007 and we asked in that proposal that was presented to the Cuban Parliament, the National Assembly of People's Power, the right of all Cubans to enter and leave their own country. That the right of all Cubans was be recognized to decide in which place, in their own country, they want to live, and it is not that we are fighting for the right to enter and leave, it is that, within Cuba itself, Cubans have no right to reside where they want. It is so segregated that there has been a lot of talk about the unprotected, about the poor, so much talk happened that in the end, the regime has exalted the rebellious spirit of the Orientals, the people who live in the east of the island, to, let's say, raise the chauvinist and regionalist spirit of the people.”

  • “The path that is followed from Law to Law is to try not to be a traumatic transition, to ensure that the change is not traumatic. But it also allows us, in the midst of this repressive, totalitarian state and, let's say, that apathy, to generate within the population and to go on working, creating and training people for change. I am not saying that we should take refuge in that, because it is very comfortable. But we have to prepare people to make the change, not for the future, because Cuba does not need the future now. Cuba needs the present and the present is to be free because it is what we do not have.”

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I want to return to Cuba, even if I suffer the same fate as Oswaldo Payá. I have a debt with him and with all the Cubans.

Regis Iglesias Ramírez was born on September 18, 1969, in Cuba. He is the son of Carlos Iglesias and Isabel Cristina Ramírez and comes from a family rooted in the Catholic faith, from which he received an eclectic training. He traveled to China as a child, because his father was a correspondent for the Latin Press Agency in Peking. As a young man, he met Fray Miguel Ángel Loredo, the only Cuban priest who was imprisoned for 10 years, from whom he drew on his political ideas. He became part of the Christian Liberation Movement [MLC], founded by Oswaldo Payá, who in 2012 would lose his life in a traffic accident along with fellow MCL member Harold Cepero. After immersing himself fully in the political work of the MCL, he was imprisoned together with fellow soldiers and sentenced to almost 8 years of deprivation of liberty, spending in these years 5 prisons on the island. In 2009 he was forced to exile in Spain, where he currently resides and continues to advocate for the freedom of Cuba.