The death of María Cristina Herrera, an inspiration for so many of the best scholars observing and writing about Cuba today, is a tremendous loss that did not receive attention here at the Havana Note. Here is Ted Henken's brief reflection on her extraordinary life, from his blog El Yuma.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
RIP María Cristina Herrera
"She believed that it was possible to arrive at national reconciliation through dialogue. For that reason I have an enormous admiration for her. She is irreplaceable." -Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Profesor Emeritus of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.
"She was a veteran in the fight for freedom and reconciliation among all Cubans. Her death comes at the end of a long life fully committed to Cuba and the Catholic Church." -Dagoberto Valdés, Director of the magazine Convivencia and current President of the Instituto de Estudios Cubanos (founded by Herrera).
Anyone involved in Cuban Studies over the past 10, 20, or even 30 years will have become acquainted with the truly fearless and indefatigable María Cristina Herrera. She was a constant presence at Cuba conferences even as her health was gradually failing her.
She founded the Instituto de Estudios Cubanos where she was a tireless advocate in the heart of Miami for dialogue and engagement with Cuba without ever being an apologist for the regime. She kept up her work as her critics tried to defame her with the label "dialoguera" and even after her home was bombed by terrorists trying to silence her.
She would be very pleased at the developments in Cuba over the past few days resulting in the release of a third of Cuba's remaining political prisoners - coming as a result of internal pressure, non-violent opposition, principled dialogue, and strategic engagement.
She passed away on July 3.
RIP María Cristina
Alberto Muller posted this brief tribute to her at his blog.