CUBAN men and women,
People of good will around the world,
Four of this land’s sons languish in U.S. prisons for the crime of defending human life, of protecting our right to tranquility and to existence.
Their voices will reach us from their cells and they will do so free of hatred, free of bitterness. They convey to us this joy to be alive which motivated them to assume this sacrifice in the first place. They will remind us that their spirits cannot be broken despite all the fury which the most powerful government in human history has unleashed upon them. It punishes them with such spite because - to paraphrase a poet – they emit a light which is unbearable to their accusers.
They did not come from some other planet. In these very streets they took their first steps and experienced the marvel of their first letters. Here they absorbed from their parents the soul and history of our forbearers. Here, they loved and were loved. They were young here, as are many of you are here enjoying a concert. Except that when it was necessary, they took a step to protect all of this and, when it was even more necessary, they gave their prosecutors a moral lesson. And it has been, therefore, still more necessary to endure this hatred, but they have done so with dignity, with light hearts and a smile on their faces at the most difficult moments.
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando are tonight the prisoners of our happiness; but they could now be any one of you, just as any one of you could be in their places. They are moved by every note in this concert. Along with your hearts, their hearts beat to the magic of music. Your joy is their joy, because it is this joy which feeds their souls; it is the source of their ability to resist and the foremost reason for their sacrifice.
But they remain imprisoned, denied all that is theirs, snatched from among us by irrational hate. And although they call on us to be happy, we must not forget, because they continue to be the prisoners of our happiness. And when the music stops and we return to our daily lives, we can never forget that we are indebted to them and we must bring them home, we all owe ourselves the gift of this enormous concert with which we must celebrate their return to freedom.
Thank you very much.