Wednesday, February 02, 2011


DID YOU KNOW: Hatuei (Hatuey) was a Taíno kasike (chief) from the island of Kiskeia (Hispaniola), who lived in the early sixteenth century. Hatuei fled Kiskeia with about 400 followers to warn the Taino of Kuba about the Spaniards. Bartolomé de Las Casas later attributed the following speech to Hatuei while he was showing a basket of gold to the Sibonei Taíno community of Kaobana. Hatuei declared “Here is the God the Spaniards worship. For these they fight and kill; for these they persecute us and that is why we have to throw them into the sea... They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break...” As a result of Hatuei’s guerrilla tactics against the Spaniards, he was able to confine them to their fort at Baracoa for a time. He was finally captured and before he was burnt alive at the stake, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Hatuei asked the priest “if Christians went to heaven.” The priest answered “yes” to which Hatuei is said to have replied I do not want to go there so let me burn as I will not be anywhere where they are and where I would see such cruel people”. Hatuei was executed by the Spaniards on February 2, 1512. He is celebrated as "Cuba's First National Hero." – UCTP Taino News © 2011

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