By Leonor Hurtado
My revolutionary identity
I was only five years old when the Cuban Revolution triumphed. We were aware of the national liberation movement and were amazed at learning that Fidel Castro, a lawyer, had entered Havana from the Sierra Maestra, victorious in the guerrilla war that brought down the hated dictator Fulgencio Batista. On January 1, 1959 the radical transformation in Cuba began and changed our lives because, being children, we learned that social change for justice and liberty was possible. My grandfather was also a revolutionary lawyer, who fought against the Guatemalan dictator Jorge Ubico, and returned from exile with the triumphant October 1944 Revolution.
My siblings and cousins felt the urgent need for justice and revolutionary change.
We loved the rebel cause and were inspired by “Chiqui” our activist aunt. The conditions of exploitation and oppression in Guatemala were comparable to those of Cuba. We knew that revolutionary struggle was indispensable and we dreamed of becoming guerrilleros. We lived through the photos of Life and Bohemia, admiring the greatness of the struggle and the certainty of its advance. It was thrilling when Chiqui, overcoming all the physical and security barriers, got to know “the bearded ones,” glowing with love and hope. These were the seeds of our militancy and determination.
These feelings came alive again when I visited the largest island in the Caribbean on a Food Sovereignty Tour organized by Food First in January of 2016. As a Food First representative I joined a group of twenty travelers, most of them from the US, on a ten day tour. We visited several agroecological farms in the provinces of Matanzas, Sancti Spritus, Villa Clara and Havana. During the tour we spoke openly, mostly with agro-ecologists, organized communities and public officials. I saw that each farm had its own personality, each provided lessons about people and agroecology, and were all amazing in their achievements. One of these farms made a deep impression on me: La Coincidencia, located in Matanzas.