Sisters and Brothers Comrades and Friends
I want to begin by thanking Comrades, Friends Sisters and Brothers and Supporters the world over for their solidarity, love, and compassion in relationship to both my recent health challenges and the fight behind enemy lines. When that eternal champion of the oppressed and colonized Ho Chi Minh stated “When The Prison Doors are opened, the real dragon will fly out”, the harsh reality is comprehending and accepting that many warriors transition to the ancestors before we are released from the clutches of modern-day captivity.
What this means contextually, is we are historically obligated to use all platforms at our disposal to identify the issues of paramount importance as well as calling for organized and sustainable action that emanates from the fire in our belly, minds, and hearts.
As I lay here waging war against both the genocidal COVID-19 pandemic and the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of cells in a part of the body commonly referred to as cancer, any momentary comfort I occasionally enjoy, stems from the knowledge I have about the groundbreaking and fearless work of Cuba’s Henry Reeve Medical Brigade who represent the best ammunition available on the world stage in this noble battle. I am driven by the fighting spirit that best defines our warriors behind enemy lines, as well as those of us who wage genuine resistance everywhere from the classroom to the streets. I feel the fight for the release of our prisoners of war and the fight for the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade to gain access to us shores to help the fight to eradicate the COV-2/SARSARS/COVID-19, are one in the same, because the gatekeepers in diametrical opposition to these bold demands are one in the same. It goes without saying the nightmarish US blockade on Cuba must be done away with once and for all.
This courage and compassion of the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade is not only an extension of Cuba’s boldest fighters like Jose Marti, Maximo Gomez, Antonio Maceo and of course in more recent times Comandante Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara but every prisoner at war who like myself are physically imprisoned but refuse to have their fighting spirit broken by their ruthless and hateful captors. We wish to echo our never-ending battle cry straight ahead to our five Cuban comrades Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guererro, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez, who due to global pressure and unwavering solidarity forced US Imperialism to release and be returned to their patriotic and revolutionary nation, where they remain today free, strong and able to contribute to the growth and development of their beloved homeland.
I wish to end my brief statement of solidarity, with my favorite quote from Comrade Ernesto “Che” Guevara “Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary.” I also extend solidarity and best wishes to my Sister Assata Shakur whose mere presence in Cuba reminds us all that the Underground Railroad certainly did not stop during the days of Harriet Tubman and Levi Coffin. At the beginning of the genocidal COVID-19 pandemic, When I lent my name and solidarity to the Get Out Of Cuba’s way movement, I was thinking about the victims of mass incarceration who are absolutely defenseless at this moment in history. The only solution that wardens and the Department of Corrections have to offer is placing us in solitary confinement, which is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a deep and severely infected wound.
I am calling for the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade to not only gain access to US shores but to have immediate access to prison infirmaries and clinics, which are preludes to cemeteries. I also wish to lend my voice and influence to the push aimed at creating a resource pool here in the diaspora, aimed at generating mass support for Cuba’s heroic medical efforts on our beloved Mother continent of Africa.
If the violent combination of the genocidal COVID-19 pandemic and cancer, deprive me the opportunity of witnessing victory in this crucial fight, my eternal African fighting spirit will soar through the skies in harmony with the underbelly of my comrades who carry out this cause against mighty but certainly not insurmountable odds. I call on all our Comrades, Friends, and Supporters to join us in this historical undertaking. Straight Ahead To Our Prisoners of War, Straight Ahead To The Henry Reeve Medical Brigade, Straight Ahead To The Cuban People and Revolution.
Russell Maroon Shoatz