She recognized me while I was resting in a park in Havana and asked to write about her story. “My children do not want me to tell it, so I beg you to change my name. Name me Beatriz, which is a name I like a lot. If I had been clandestine woman fighter, that would have been my code name.
“I was 17 years old in 1959. Years later, my parents and my siblings went to the United States. But I decided to stay. I believed and still do that Cuba is my place.
“I went to the university. I worked in the agriculture as part of my voluntary service. I did night watches in my CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) …I was a very good student. Then, I graduated and became engineer. And I worked on site. I was a very happy woman. But one day, I was called and had to explain myself why I had backed a homosexual co-worker, who had been threated to be fired from her work.” “Your attitude was far from being a revolutionary,” I was told.
“I could not hold back. I told them that the greatest sign of my commitment with the Revolution was that I stayed here, when all my family had left. And one of them, who years later left Cuba, answered me: “There it is your ideology weakness.”
“That meeting hurt me a lot. And it hurt more because I saw hatred in the eyes of that man. And this is a Marti's Revolution, and hatred has no place in a Marti's Revolution.
“I stood up and said: All you need is love. And I left. And my life went on. He had no clue about the origin of my phrase. But those words consoled me and that is why I still have my beliefs: the usefulness and virtue of this Revolution that has had the courage to rectify when necessary.
“These are challenging times and I tell you we cannot let hatred prevails among Cubans. So I had an idea: I wanted to make a poster with that phrase and sit beside the John Lennon’s sculpture these days. I wanted to call my friend, the homosexual woman I told about who happens to live nearby and still contribute with her nation. She is my friend and I know she was going to back me up. But my children did not allow me. They say it was dangerous for an old lady like me.
“I think this is what we need to boost right now. Love, a lot of love. If you write about everything I have told you, I would feel myself pleased as I knew I contributed with something in these difficult days. Do it for me and do it for you!”
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff