|Dr. Ricardo Bofill in a PBS documentary in 2005|
This blog has celebrated the work of Dr. Bofill over the years and will do so again today. His story and legacy changed the course of a nation, and the outcome is still playing out today. The 400th blog on this site was dedicated to him.
Honrar honra.Ricardo Bofill, una referencia ineludible en la defensa de los DD.HH. de los cubanos. pic.twitter.com/IwCGlPsxtt— regis iglesias (@maverick18mcl) December 10, 2014
On December 10, 2014 Regis Regis Iglesias, spokesperson of the Christian Liberation Movement at 1:40pm posted a picture of Ricardo Bofill over twitter with the text: "Honoring honor. Ricardo Bofill, an essential reference in the defense of Human Rights of Cubans." He was and remains correct in his assessment of this man.
Ricardo Bofill, President of the organization that initiated the civic movement during
the first exposition of dissident art, shortly before an assault by repressive forces
"I can't understand the hatred towards me. Because, really in the only field I’ve done battle, is the field of ideas. In this field I’ve had no response just prison and the police. And I don’t know why because the revolution controls all mass media. They have editorials, journalists, even many writers in the world. I don’t know why the response, time and again, has been jail. The response should come in the field I fight in, with ideas. I was arrested again in 1983. On that occasion, I was sentenced to 17 years in jail accused of activities in the Cuban Committee for Human Rights and the last period of prison began. For reasons of health and others I know not of in 1985 I was placed in the status I’m now in which is “conditional liberty with restriction of movement.”Fidel Castro was asked the name of the human rights defender in another interview. The Cuban dictator dismisses his importance, but it is obvious in the context of his answer that he knows very well who this lone activist is, and views him as a threat.
|Dr. Ricardo Bofill in the documentary Nobody Listened in 1987|
Even the men responsible for doing this now complain about the society their revolution has created.They blame Cubans for their poor behavior and customs. Of course men and women with sound moral groundings who speak clearly what they believe and defend human dignity and freedom have an unfortunate tendency to die under suspicious circumstances in Cuba.
There are two traditions battling for control in Cuba. One tradition, embodied by the Castro regime, based on violence and the destruction of the other has dominated Cuba's political discourse for over half a century. It views dissent as treason and demands unanimity; the only acceptable ideas belong to the dictatorship.
The second, an older tradition that built the institutions of Cuban democracy in the 19th Century using nonviolent means, who founded companies with a social conscience such as Bacardi, that contributed to the common good until forced out of their homeland, and of the democrats who helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 are still there in Cuba's nonviolent civic resistance movement.
This is the movement founded by Ricardo Bofill and a handful of activists on January 28, 1976 that today is a nationwide movement of thousands who are nonviolently engaged in the battle of ideas and the defense of human rights. Today's repression across the island continues to demonstrate that the Castro regime is terrified of what Ricardo Bofill started.
In an open letter written in 1986 Dr. Bofill rejected regime slanders and staked out their position as a movment: "We have nothing to do with the CIA, we do not participate in violent acts, we have no other weapon than the word, and we are going to use it while we have a breath of life left."
In 1988 he was forced out of the country by the dictatorship, but continued his human rights work from exile in Miami, while Gustavo Arcos remained and continued to do the work in Cuba.
|Dr. Bofill meets President Reagan in The White House in 1988|