Saturday, January 28, 2017

Jose Marti, The White Rose remembered at FIU and opposition activists honored

La Rosa Blanca [The White Rose]

The White Rose
The first Cuban exile organization came into existence on January 28, 1959 in New York City to denounce mass executions then being carried out in Cuba by the Castro regime. This new organization was called "La Rosa Blanca" [The White Rose] after a poem by Jose Marti.  It has been said, although it is possibly apocryphal, that when a friend betrayed him to the police José Martí sent him the following poem:

Cultivo una rosa blanca
En julio como en enero,
Para el amigo sincero
Que me da su mano franca.

Y para el cruel que me arranca
El corazón con que vivo,

Cardo ni ortiga cultivo,
Cultivo una rosa blanca.  

It translates to English as follows:
I cultivate a white rose 
In July as in January 
For the sincere friend 
Who gives me his hand frankly. 

And for the cruel person who tears out 
The heart with which I live, 

I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns: 
I cultivate a white rose.

This poem is a message of reconciliation that is ever relevant and is at the heart of the first Cuban exile group opposed to the Castro brothers. The United States in January of 1959 had recognized the Castro regime and had full diplomatic relations. One year later on January 28, 1960 these Cuban exiles, Rafael Diaz-Balart among them, were arrested when they tried to place flowers at a statue of Jose Marti in Central Park in New York City despite having obtained the proper permits.

The resistance to the Castro tyranny was a natural reaction to the terror imposed by the totalitarian regime in the first days of January 1959 at a time when the United States was mistakenly supporting that regime believing that it would lead to a restoration of democracy  following the Batista dictatorship (1952 - 1958).

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" and Felicia Guillén Amador with the Diaz-Balart brothers

Fifty eight years later the Castro regime continues to destroy Cuba and The White Rose gathered at Florida International University's Law School building named after Rafael Diaz-Balart to award the "Juana Gros de Olea" prize to two patriots of the internal opposition: Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" and Felicia Guillén Amador who continue to resist tyranny in Cuba.

It is also important to recall that another White Rose emerged independently halfway around the world years earlier resisting another dictatorship. 

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