The time has come. We are going to the White House. We will cross the United States, from one extreme to the other, by bicycle. It will be like pedaling five times the distance from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. And although our route does not go through El Cobre, Our Lady of Charity―our Cachita!―will be with us.
We will go from Seattle to Washington D.C. We’re going to talk to the President of the United States or whoever wants to listen to us. In these marathon days, American and Cuban-American citizens will travel more than 3,000 miles, almost 5,000 km.
We will visit towns and cities. We will talk to the men and women of the United States, which is also our nation: blonds, blacks, mestizos, Republicans, Democrats, regardless of race, creed, or ideology. In every corner of the Union that we visit, we will advocate building bridges of love between our two peoples.
This pilgrimage to reach the capital will take several weeks. When we arrive, we will share our message of reconciliation and peace with senators and congressmen, elected or to be elected representatives. Most of the American people and the men and women of goodwill in the world want the confrontational policy between our two countries to end. This request becomes more urgent in the days of COVID-19.
Sixty years of discord between Cuba and the United States have only brought misery, pain and resentment. Ordinary Cubans, without distinction of ideologies, have been the most affected. The economic sanctions on the island are a rope that’s suffocating our people. In recent times, the knot has been increasingly tightened. All this escalation of the embargo is taking place in the middle of a pandemic. As if the coronavirus plague didn’t bring with it its own suffering! How can such cruelty be supported? How can we kneel to receive communion with God in church on Sundays, and at the same time applaud or ignore the pain that is being inflicted on our neighbor, the “brother punished beyond his guilt”?
We carry in our hearts the land where we were born, and also the other homeland: the one that adopted us as sons and daughters. Our grandparents’ remains are in that one. In this one, as if we were roots spread throughout the world, one day our own bones will rest. It is our duty, as grateful children, to be bridges of love.
Carlos Lazo (in the center) arrived in the United States in 1991. Photo: courtesy of the author.
Because of this, and more, we have organized this route of friendship and hope. We will be parranda and party, “Guantanamera” and “Amazing Grace.” We’re going to make our two nations—father and mother—shake hands and work together for the well-being of their children! We will pedal thousands of kilometers, sweating, singing, praying and adding people from here and there. It will be like paying in advance a promise that’s going to be kept.
We will pray for common sense to prevail. We will pray that a time of peace and hope finally arrives for our peoples. Help us, old Lázaro! The season of brotherhood has arrived and we are going to reap the harvest. The guateque is here! Blessed are the peacemakers. On this path of hope, all who desire peace will be welcome. And love will say the last word. Love!
July 11, 2020