Published July 30, 1996 in the Miami Herald Pg. 5 Sec. E
MORAL OBLIGATIONSOur struggle against Fidel Castro is a struggle for the future of the Cuban nation. Do we want a future Cuba in which the freedom to speak, to work, and to pray are controlled by the state or are do we want these freedoms to be the foundation of a free and prosperous nation? Over the past three decades we have called for freedom in Cuba throughout the four corners of the world, but we have not always practiced what we preached here in Miami.
If we limit the freedom of artists in pursuit of our political ends, in this case a free Cuba, then we are committing the same crime as Fidel Castro and hurting our own cause for freedom. In 1959 when Castro promised freedom and elections he delivered censorship and summary executions.
Most Cubans supported the executions without a fair trial of Batista's supporters. Both freedom and the rule of law were sacrificed on the alter of revenge and ambition. Fidel Castro sacrificed freedom in Cuba to advance his own Fidelismo. If we use the same means as Fidel Castro, then we will be led once again to the same end. In short, we are helping Fidel Castro when we attack freedom in the name of freedom. The Cuban Exile is part of the Cuban nation, and it must be the beacon of freedom and tolerance for those who have lived in the darkness and oppression of Castro's tyranny for these past 37 years.
We are for liberty and justice, not repression and injustice. This is why we struggle against Fidel Castro. Many in this community have suffered torture, the death of loved ones, decades of unjust imprisonment and the separation of families. They have good reason to hate Castro, and his supporters, but for the good of the Cuban nation (inside and outside of Cuba) they must overcome their hatred. In the words of Jesus Christ they must love their enemy. They must save the Cuban nation from the evils committed by this enemy, and not add to them out of a thirst for revenge. Leave revenge to God for that is to whom it belongs.
The true test of respect for freedom of expression and of thought is how do we react to what we strongly disagree with. I believe that we have a moral obligation to criticize what we think is wrong in a civil manner, but we also have a moral obligation to protect those we disagree with from violations of their civil and political rights.