February 2nd 2013

Taino Cacique

 

On This Day: In 1512 Taino Cacique (leader) Hatuey was publicly executed by Bartolome de las Casas and Spanish colonial troops in Yara, Cuba. Hatuey was from the island of Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic and Haiti) and attained legendary status for leading a group of natives in a fight against the invading Spaniards. He is widely recognized as the second fighter against colonialism in the New World after Anacaona. He is celebrated as “Cuba’s First National Hero.” Before he was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. La Casas recalled the reaction of the chief: “[Hatuey], thinking a little, asked the religious man if Spaniards went to heaven. The religious man answered yes… The chief then said without further thought that he did not want to go there but to hell so as not to be where they were and where he would not see such cruel people. This is the name and honor that God and our faith have earned.”

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