Félix Navarro Rodríguez

* 1953  

  • “As I was saying, I'm an optimist. But in this place, I have to tell you that, if in ten years we have not finished with the communism, Cuba is going to disappear. Cuba is going to disappear and in order to check what I say out, it is enough to take a walk through the streets. The streets are broken, the waters are in the streets as the milk could be coming from the teat of a cow. It is a normal thing. The buildings are destroyed, collapsed. If this continues... In the sugar industry, they broke more than eighty plants. It is not that they are not producing, they are there for the moment when the time comes... Well, so, they are destroyed, dismantled. If this lasts ten more years, this will remain just as dust and ash. As the tyrant said in one of his like-to-be-brave speeches, saying that what Cuba is going to get up from the dust, from the ash of its people, of its country. Is a reality. But I think we will not allow it. Many good things are being carried on. And I believe that very soon, we are going to give the world a joy in terms of unity forces that will be evident in the different organizations. I assure you that it will be like that. And when we achieve this unity, to the dictatorship will last just in terms of minutes.”

  • “Actually, I self-criticize, because we have not been... I have not been able to bring together all those people who think like us and what they decide is to leave the country. We have not been able, I have not been able, to convince those people that what needs to be done is to unite within Cuba and to produce a change. Do you understand? They have gone abroad and we have lost the most precious thing, which is the youth. The majority of the young Cubans are leaving, many of them are professionals. We are losing that possibility, as we have not presented to those young people who are emigrating a project that would be attractive to their interests. Above all I consider that we must continue working in this regard. And I believe that, to achieve this, we must first unite ourselves, the different tendencies of the opposition within the Cuban nation. We have to put aside the protagonism that some of us, as I also have it, which we manifest in our actions. We have to unite in what commonly identifies us as the conviction that we must change this system to one where the people are the ones who say the last word. Where totalitarianism disappears, do you understand?”

  • “Look, we were used to going to jail from time to time. Or rather not to jail, but to get arrested and to spend about eight, nine days in the detention center in Matanzas, where they threatened us, saying that they would take us to jail for this and that, that because of an illicit association, or enemy propaganda, or spreading false news, or because of wanting to sell Cuba to the empire. We were used to it. And the Black Spring arrived... The first day of arrests was March 18, 2003. I was coming from Havana, from a meeting of Todos Unidos [Everyone United, editorial note] in Havana, when they took me prisoner in front of my house. And I thought it was an action similar to the others. I never thought it would be the way it was. When the days went by and we saw everything as it was going on, and on March 30 or 31, at night, I was taken out of the cell and taken to one of the offices, which during the day was habitual to interrogate you and threaten you there and so on. It was full of stars. And a lady dressed in black, acting as, or I think she actually was, the secretary of the Provincial Court, and she handed me the fiscal petition of thirty years of deprivation of liberty.”

  • “We gave a very big blow to the dictatorship and a group of us stayed in Cuba. And we are still in Cuba. And we are going to die in Cuba. But not on your knees, but with our heads held high and denouncing and fighting and proposing everything we want for the good of Cuba and of the Cubans.”

  • “There is no one above the Minister of Education who can suspend a class. And nowadays, the classes get suspended even on base of decision of the sweeper on the corner. We are not teachers today, but we live in society and we are surrounded by friends, neighbors, who all have children, from preschool to pre-university, even to the university. And the elementary school children are constantly on the street. So when they are actually having classes? When they come here to my house to do the homework... They have come and I see that the demands really are a disaster. Teachers do not check the notebooks, the amount of spelling mistakes... But what I can say, and in this sense is little, for what we can hear in the streets... The education is done through the classroom. It starts in the crib, but it lays inside the classrooms. But when you see a child on the street, it demonstrates what they learn - obscene words go everywhere, in front of the teachers it is the same. It is a crisis that must be stopped. We must put the end to it or the schools will disappear in Cuba. Of course, there is a whole army of low quality teachers, from the point of view of their preparation, but also of their vocation. They are there to cover a gap. There can not give a better result. Because the education, the teaching, is a work of infinite love. That was said by José de la Luz y Caballero, an illustrious Cuban and an illustrious teacher. And that really can not be solved with emerging teachers, with teachers taken directly from a school. To finish their bachelor, without any pedagogical preparation, and go to face directly a full classroom.”

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    Cuba, 01.12.2018

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    Cuba, 01.12.2018

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If within ten years we have not finished with communism, Cuba is going to disappear

Navarro during the recording in Cuba, 2018
Navarro during the recording in Cuba, 2018
photo: Post Bellum

Félix Navarro Rodríguez was born on July 10, 1953 in the Cuban municipality of Perico in a peasant family. Together with his three brothers they lived in a farm called La Paulina. His father was an anti-Communist and thus he did not allow any of his children to form any kind of link with the system, including being a pioneer. At seven years of age, Felix began to go to school, where he was placed directly in the second grade, since he already knew how to read and write. Shortly after, his father took him out of school because he believed that due to the American invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961 the communist system was going to collapse. After the high school, Felix started working as a teacher in a rural school. Until 1976, he worked as a primary school teacher, after as a high school teacher, specializing in physics and astronomy. Later he worked as director of the Aurora Cruise Basic School. In 1988, when he returned to Matanzas on the Isle of Pines, he was confronted with the Cuban reality he did not know on the Isle of Pines - problems of supply, transportation without functioning etc., which made him change his mind about the communist system. He began to make graffiti and hang opposition posters, for which he was imprisoned in 1992 and was forbidden to practice his profession as a teacher. In 2003 he was one of the Group of the 75 opponents of the regime, prosecuted and imprisoned during the Black Spring of Cuba. In 2011 he received his extrapenal license, but he did not go to exile. He continues in Cuba, fighting for the democracy of the island.