! FORBIDDEN TO FORGET! Mario Chanes de Armas
No journalist in Cuba dared to write a story about Mario Chanes de Armas but his conviction was longer than any other political prisoner in the world, even longer than Mandela's. Yet he was never allowed a pardon. While in prison, his son, parents, and brother died. Mario Chanes de Armas must be remembered as a political prisoner who was always faithful to his ideas. An exceptional example and the last of the known “Los Plantados” (The Planted).
Who was Mario Chanes de Armas?
Although in the beginning, he was at the side of Fidel Castro during the 1953 attack that started the Cuban Revolution, his position changed radically when he was convinced that Castro was betraying the democratic promises that he had made. Due to his firm decision, he spent three decades as a political prisoner.
Chanes de Armas was considered the last of the historically referred to “Los Plantados” in Cuba. Los Plantados were recognized as prisoners that had served more than twenty years in prison, who stood apart for refusing to wear the prison uniform and did not accept the rehabilitation programs proposed by the Cuban regime. Fidel Castro named Chanes a traitor and all those who refused to accept the totalitarianism of his government, a violator of freedom, democracy, and human rights.
Although the dictatorship tried to bend the prisoner’s conscience to accept the rehabilitation plan, "Los Plantados" preferred long sentences, beatings, strikes, not seeing their relatives for years, but never giving up.
"In the cause that I am in, there are like thirty people. Some did request a review of the case. I have not asked for it, and now less than ever I will ask for it, because now it is a condition for my freedom and my freedom does not admit any conditions. I reject her. I am willing to comply until the last day”. Expressed Chanes de Armas while he was in prison.
Chanes demonstrated with his words and actions his inflexible intention to remain faithful to his ideas (Hispanic Magazine Cuba HC 2000).
Keeping history alive
In the last edition of the International Film Festival in Miami 2021, the movie "Los Plantados" was selected as the audience's favorite film. Without a doubt, this is an excellent way to keep history alive and reaffirm that the past brings us lessons of the totalitarian regime in Cuba that has to finish, and can never happen again. So, let’s keep history alive, it’s forbidden to forget! Mario Chanes de Armas was a political prisoner faithful to his ideals who never bowed to the authoritarianism of the Cuban regime.
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