Tampa! The place where José Martí, surrounded by Cuban émigrés, fertilized the “new pines” and discerned a new dawn for Cuba. Here, where among humble cigar makers and good Cubans, the Apostle conceived that longed-for and still elusive vision of building a nation “with all and for the good of all.”
This Sunday, 130 years after José Martí’s visit to this city, Cuban émigrés, Cuban Americans and their children, those who have put down roots in this second homeland, are dreaming again that—for our people—a better world is possible.
People of different creeds and ideologies united by the love of their families met and paraded in a caravan to demand that the sanctions that weigh on the Cuban people be lifted, sanctions that are part of the economic embargo.
But it wasn’t just Tampa; Miami, New York, Las Vegas and other cities in the United States also joined in. In every corner of the American union, like unstoppable flowers whose precise time has come, these caravans of generous people who advocate for the end of the embargo on Cuba germinated.
In addition to the United States, this tsunami of love went viral and spilled over into the world. In dozens of cities and towns on the planet, hundreds—thousands—joined this clamor, and it was as if Tampa were rekindling the light of hope. End the blockade! Let bridges of love be built!
That’s why we came to Tampa, so that the spirit of Martí would comfort us. We came to travel the same route that the Apostle traveled and, hopefully, find his light in these old streets. That is why we came to Tampa; to breathe that fruitful example. That is why we came here on this day, to invoke the spirit of Martí and tell him: “Father, these children of yours scattered throughout the world carry deep down the offspring of light that you planted. Light us!”
Tampa, Miami, Havana and the world paraded, as if a real and tangible magic rekindled hope. There is no going back, no walls can resist us. We will conquer the sweet prize, as our Martí did; embracing those who know how to love and teaching those who have forgotten how to love. This is how we will lift the sanctions against our people: with love. This is how we will save our families: with the ecumenical effort of all Cubans. Bringing down barriers and building bridges.
Bridges of love!