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Scratch a gold ring to see the “Luz de Yara”

Published: 2017.11.27 - 16:18:35   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Some consider the so-called "Luz de Yara" as the oldest legend of Cuba. The truth is that it is related to one of the first rebellious symbols of our land: a Cacique from the Guahua region in Hispaniola.

Hatuey was forced to emigrate after suffering persecution in his region. There he had rebelled against the exploitation of the Spanish conquistadors and his resistance had several followers. The only option of the group was to embark in canoes to the east of the Greater Antilles.

The Spanish colonization in America started at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The aboriginal population suffered incredible humiliations because of the greed of the so-called white men. Any act of disobedience was brutally punished.

However, Hatuey continued to fight for his rights. They say that in Cuba he settled down at the mouth of the Toa River, in the region of Maisí. As a strategy, they prepared several ambushes to confront the Spaniards, but soon the superiority in arms and men of the Iberian side prevailed.

According to Dr. Felipe Pichardo Moya, in his paper “Los indios de Cuba en sus tiempos históricos", we do not know many details of such history, and even of the struggle against Velásquez. Overcome by him in a guerrilla war, he was arrested and sentenced to die at the stake, fighting to be the scene where the horrible sentence was fulfilled two places also called Yara - one near Bayamo and another in the region of Baracoa. The pretension of Baracoa seems a bit capricious, existing as there is a document written by Velásquez, where he claims to have founded the town of San Salvador de Bayamo near a large river called Yara, in the same place where the Spaniards were free of the rebel cacique Yacahuey.’’

They say that since his death, a mysterious flash can be seen in those fields. According to the legend Hatuey's soul became light and as such, he wanders through the plains and mountains ever since.

Even some criteria defend the idea that he remained there in search of revenge after his unjust and cruel death.

Studies on Cuban mythology have often referred to this story. One of its highest exponents, Manuel Feijó, in a book published in 1986, collects several stories that relate Hatuey to the popular imagination.

They say that if you scratch a gold ring on the reefs, the light comes to you. The fishermen of the region assure that when the lighted ray appears, the fish do not bite. Some describe the light "red as a lantern". They have seen it on the plateau and in the sea as if taking a break on the beach and then off to the reefs.

Others have been frightened by its immense fury: "Sometimes it comes out and there seems to be a piece of earth burning."

Many of those who say they have seen this ghost claim that it takes the form of a man, however, some versions of the legend relate to a beautiful Indian woman who was in love with with Hatuey.

It would be necessary to discover if it comes from the love or the rebellion, if it is necessary to fish or to scratch rings on the reefs to see it or simply to count the details of the legend so that its libertarian spirit is not lost. We owe that to our ancestors and to our children so that there is always light.

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