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Statement from Cynthia McKinney in Cuba

From Cynthia McKinney About A Close Encounter of a Different Kind

Hello!  I am typing on a Spanish language keyboard and so, I am having to make adjustments.  Please pardon me if things are not quite right.  However, I am so excited, I hope you won´t mind me sharing with you my experiences as I prepare to participate in an international conference in Havana, Cuba.  I am in Cuba Libre.
I was particularly struck by the content of a conversation I had at the Miami airport with a female employee of the United States State Department who works at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba.  I can´t tell you why she came over to me to strike up a conversation.  But she did.  Here´s how it went:
She: Do you live in Cuba?
Me:   No, I do not.
She:  I work at the State Department
Me:   I oppose the State Department
She:  Why?
Me:   Because of the policy.
She:  It´s a job!  I don´t like the policy either.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
My encounter with this State Department employee was, for me, a close encounter of a different kind.  Because as I ponder where we are and where we go from here and what my role will be in leading, guiding, and walking with you there, this chance encounter shook me and reminded me how often good people make accommodations that go against their beliefs, against their principles, against their values and then justify those accommodations in ways that are palatable only to themselves (and to others who have made the same accommodation).  At that moment, I realized that I had just had a close encounter with someone whose life epitomized exactly what Dr. King was talking about.
How many people in our country go through their daily routine living lives of accommodation and compromise that have, in the Kingian sense, “ended”?  And why do people who should know better choose to live like that?
History is made by those of us who refuse to make the easy accommodations.  Movements are built by those with the courage to actually live their convictions.  And here I am, in a land where people are proud that they have convictions, where they are proud to have dignity and courage.  And speak openly and often about dignidad.  What a difference a one hour flight makes!
I will send another message about the conference, but this trip has already taken such an interesting start.
I really do believe that this last election was about people in our country trying to have a little of that dignidad and feeling of Cuba Libre.  But given the assassination attempts and the continued occupation of Guantanamo Bay, and the multiple acts of terror sponsored by our government to destabilize this idyllic, yet tough minded island people, it must be clear that dignidad is not something one can get on the cheap.
We must acquire the will to survive and understand that we are in this struggle for the long haul.  As the bubbles of U.S. imperialism continue to burst all around us, it is increasingly clear that now is not the time to give up, but instead is the time for us to build.  I do believe that we can inform and change the content of U.S. policy.  We all must have that confidence.  Especially now.  And we must also be clear that the policy we want, that reflects our values, won´t come from Chief of Staff Emmanuel, Secretaries Clinton and Gates, or Ambassador Rice.
I want to take this time to thank all of you whom I had the chance of meeting and finding encouragement from for the year and a half that I was on the road.  I am taking this time to read all of the kind messages that you´ve sent to me.  I´m reviewing all the cd´s and dvd´s that you´ve given to me.  I know that you want to go to the next level.  All that I´ve seen and read, plus your votes, volunteerism, and financial contributions to the Power to the People campaign are concrete proof of that.  From this place, where the sky is so blue and the clouds are fluffy white, I can with assurance tell you that together, we will get there.

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