In the early 1500s, the Spanish invaded, conquered and colonized the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. One of Hispaniola’s war chiefs, Hatuey, had escaped and fled to Cuba with about 400 people. Hatuey tried to warn the Cubans about what to expect from the Spanish, but the Cubans ignored him.
Hatuey made his best attempts at persuasion, he showed the Cubans gold and jewels and said, “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…”
Nobody believed Hatuey. Maybe everyone thought he was like the boy who cried ‘wolf’.
Well, the Spanish proceeded to invade, conquer, and colonize Cuba as well. Hatuey waged guerrilla warfare against the Spanish in Cuba and tried to keep them at bay, but only managed to kill eight enemy soldiers and was soon captured. Hatuey was then tied to a stake, where he would be burned alive. Before the fire was lit, a priest asked Hatuey whether he’d like to accept Jesus Christ so that he could go to heaven. Hatuey asked the priest, “Are there people like you in heaven?” The priest said, “Yes, there are many like me.” And this was Hatuey’s response: “Then I’d rather go to hell.”