The Land is our Life: EPILOGUE

By Leonor Hurtado


#10smll El Rancho Cuba 3 by L.Hurtado

El Rancho farm, Matanzas

In Old Havana on Los Mercaderes Street as I walked to meet our group I suddenly saw a statue that moved me deeply.  It was a young sailor of mixed race, athletic and attractive.  I drew closer and looked, I felt his strong presence saw his muscular hands radiate with energy.  My eyes dwelt on every detail, until our faces met and I realized that it was a human statue.  I felt my heart stop! In that statue I imagined the heartbeat of the Cuban youth: observing life, foreign, motionless, silent… perhaps committed to an intimate project, but without revealing itself in life as a global fact, like the communion of beings working in what is fundamental… change to survive, live and be sovereign.

I spoke in the statue’s ear, introducing myself, shared the reason for my trip, my love for the land and my commitment to food sovereignty.  Then I expressed my deepest fear: if you young Cuban people do not take over the land and make it produce, international corporations will come and steal it, rape it, making you into slaves.

#10smll LC Mtnz by L.Hurtado

La Coincidencia Farm, Matanzas

Somehow I felt that the young statue was inviting me to shake his hand.  I shook his hand, pressing it hard to bid him my farewell.  He pressed my hand in return and slowly raised it to his mouth.  The young statue kissed my hand!

I hope that my words resonated in this young Cuban and that he repeats them, and that, as young people, Cubans recognize that their land, their territory belongs to them and that they are the ones called upon to produce, to be stewards of their own integral sovereignty.


Funes, Fernando et al. Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance (Oakland: Food First Book, 2002).

Chan, May Ling & Eduardo Freyre Roach. 2012. Unfinished Puzzle Cuban Agriculture: Challenges, Lessons and Opportunities (Oakland: Food First Books, 2012).

BBC World News, Latin American & Caribbean, “Cuba to scarap two-currency system in latest reform.” October 22, 2013., “Double trouble.” October 23, 2013.

The Economist, “The comandante’s last move.” February 21, 2008.

EcuRed. “Unidades Básicas de Producción Cooperativa.” Accessed March 28, 2016.ásicas_de_Producción_Cooperativa

CubaEduca. “Primera Ley de Reforma Agraria.” Accessed March 28, 2016.

La Guajirita, “May 11 – Finca Coincidencia,” June 17, 2014.

Wikiguate. “Alberto Paz y Paz.” February 27, 2015.

Wikiguate. “Leonor Paz y Paz.” February 27, 2015.

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