March 4, 2020
The news of Rafael Cancel Miranda’s departure surprised us, not because we did not expect it, but because it is difficult to imagine a world without this extraordinary Puerto Rican who, from an early age, never stopped fighting for the independence of his beloved country.
The day before he passed marked another anniversary of the March 1 attack on the U.S. Congress that he, along with his fellow fighters Lolita Lebrón, Irving Flores Rodríguez and Andrés Figueroa Cordero, carried out to draw attention to the colonial status of his homeland. For this heroic action Rafael Cancel Miranda was sentenced to 84 years, of which he served just over 25 in federal prisons in the United States.
Rafael was deeply Fidelista. His convictions were so deep that, despite his love for Cuba, he said goodbye to the island, to Fidel and to many close friends, because he refused to travel on a colonized U.S. passport.
Don Rafael, as he was affectionately called by his friends and comrades, never missed an opportunity in any place where he was invited to speak to ask for support for the freedom of other political prisoners, not only Puerto Ricans but from any country in the world. He took Oscar Lopez Rivera’s case everywhere and they had the joy of meeting and sharing freedom in their homeland.
He did not hesitate for a moment to accompany the struggle for the freedom of the Cuban Five imprisoned in the United States and, despite having health issues, he traveled to Washington DC on several occasions to join in the actions for such a just and noble cause.
We learned from Rafael many things; that you reach the goal faster on your feet than on your knees, that the truth is worth repeating to the point of exhaustion, that hate and evil destroy, but love and good will build, and that empires only respect those people who can and know how to defend themselves; those who never give in.
We do not say goodbye to him but salute him with an infinite hasta siempre full of love, respect and admiration.
Until victory always, dear brother.
Our America, March 4, 2020