By Olga Salanueva Arango (posted to Facebook)
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Reflection by Olga Salanueva Arango
I begin by clarifying that I have not been summoned by anyone, nor interviewed by anyone, nor cited by anyone; not even by the famous commission. I was surprised by the commotion over a comment that at first was intended to be a clarification for some friends, whose deductions in relation to the reasons for the exclusion of three of the Five seemed wrong. By following the suggestion of several of them, “to make my comment public to share it better”, the writing ended up exceeding the originally intended scope
I plead guilty to not being an expert on Facebook. I hope that at least those of my generation understand it. If I live long enough, I’ll try to make amends.
I did not consult with any of the Five, nor have I received a reprimand from any of them, including René. He respects my right to write on Facebook the few times I do it. I would have written it even if René was one of the two chosen, especially when, in that case, he would be in a difficult position in relation to his non-selected brothers. The Five are above this. I, on the other hand, am an earthly person, but like them revolutionary and proud of my militancy. This is very clear, because people who I thought were friends have hurt me insinuating the opposite. Paraphrasing the film, even if I were “the worst of all”, I would never be counterrevolutionary.
[ This is an allusion to a film about Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. The title of the film is the famous phrase “Yo, la peor de todas” with which she signed a letter to the Archbishop.]
In passing, I also clarify that I maintain my opinion that the five should have been on the ballot, that the vanguard demonstrated should be with their voices and their votes in the Assembly. I still think it unfair to distinguish between them, and it seems a mistake to have done it. I did not fight so many years just for René, but for the five as a unit, and it hurts me that someone would try to separate them, even if he does not really realize what it is doing. This feeling is still very strong in me, and I would not be myself if I said that with two in the Assembly the five are represented (which confirms that this writing is not the result of convocation, or interview, or a summons, not even by the famous commission).
If I write this, it is because I think we should put this issue to rest and take care of what matters: The Revolution. I do not care at all what the Herald does or does not do. The Herald has spent the last 60 years trying to destroy the Revolution without success. It will continue to do so, with the same lack of success, either with this issue or with any other. I am proud that they have written several times about me, and never well. Here I am, alive and kicking, and happy with my family together. I know closely that the five, far from being offended, had fun with their pamphlets in the hole, when they had few entertainment options.
I would like to think that, after all, this issue has produced a useful, very interesting and necessary discussion. If my writing provoked it, it was because it was already in the air. Thanks to those who supported us and said so many things worthy of thanks. Thanks also to those who respectfully disagreed with our opinion. To those who were disrespectful and aggressive toward me, or were dedicated to manipulating my opinions, I thank them for allowing me to know them better so I can cross them out of my list of friends.
Now the issue is what to do: To keep moving forward. Doing our duty to the best of our ability. Go to vote. Respect the system we have and not let our reaction to its imperfections make a dent in its results. I would like to urge all those who have thought about putting the five on the ballot not to do so. Remember that this would annul the vote, and, in doing so, those friends would be doing what our true enemies want. Let’s not correct what we consider an error with a bigger error. None of the five, inside or outside the candidacy, would approve of that.
Nor is it necessary to wait for someone to withdraw their candidacy in favor of one of the five. This would not be fair to that candidate or even legal. On the other hand, it would imply a challenge to the work of a legally-constituted commission. Although we do not agree with its decision regarding the five, we must respect its work. With the same spirit with which we supported the five, I ask that we unite to make this election another victory for the Revolution. We can keep arguing afterwards.
Let’s show, like Felix Dzerzhinski, a cold mind and a heart ablaze. I want to sincerely congratulate all the deputies. They will have been elected in each municipality of the country by more than half of the votes, which allows them to legally represent the inhabitants of that municipality. My vote will be united, although I will continue to miss three more. Remember that I am still earthy and stubborn. Maybe that’s why I am, and I will be until death, revolutionary.
Olga Salanueva Arango.
By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Special for Punto Final
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In 1944, under this title, Juan Bosch published an article in solidarity with the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. It was one of the countless journalistic, political and literary works that the great Dominican writer produced during his prolonged Havana exile, several of which he dedicated to the cause of the sister island.
Despite the time elapsed, almost three-quarters of a century ago, a similar text, with the same title, could be written today: “Adrift by the seas of history, without direction, without destination, goes Puerto Rico: for four and a half centuries “
Now it should be added that the situation is worse and the island, hit by fierce hurricanes, especially the most recent and brutal named Donald Trump, faces a decisive moment in its history.
In those days, when Bosch wrote his beautiful prophecy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who promised the American people a new deal that benefited the workers and the poor and the peoples of the Continent, governed in Washington and offered a policy of good neighborliness. But his promises did not outlive him.
For a long time now, both projects have been reduced to ashes, swept away by the savage capitalism and unbridled warmongering that has been practiced, in one way or another, with secondary nuances, by all the US administrations since the Second World War.
In the 1940s, Luis Muñoz Marín and his Popular Democratic Party (PPD) still advocated the independence of the island. Later, they would relegate to a secondary level the fundamental question of national sovereignty and would accept, under Washington’s patronage, the so-called “Associated Free State” (ELA), a clumsy disguise that changed nothing in the harsh colonial reality.
Thanks to tax exemptions and other privileges, the territory was flooded by North American capital displacing local producers and promoting a massive emigration to the north. Quantum investments in the infrastructure gave it an air of modernity. Imperial propaganda spared no effort to sell the beautiful island as a paradigm, a model for the rest of the continent. At the same time, they filled the small territory with bases and military installations, turning it into a real fortress that was a key piece in its aggressive and interventionist policy throughout the continent.
That propaganda managed to hide, at the same time, two decisive aspects for understanding the Puerto Rican reality. On the one hand, there is the systematic persecution and repression against the patriotic movement, often violent and open, at other times, covert and more or less subtle, but always overwhelming. And on the other, Washington´s rejection of each and every one of the requests by the Puerto Rican people, including the PPD, to modify the colonial relationship and make it less harmful to their legitimate interests.
In fact, the ELA was a lie from its birth. There was never an “association” between Puerto Rico and the United States and to call “free” the creature thus created was, in addition to an affront to its victim, the Puerto Rican people, a gross insult to language itself. All the efforts promoted from the island to reach spaces of autonomy failed in the face of imperial insolence.
With the passage of time, the colonial metropolis was also changing. The United States continues to be the main economic and military power of the planet but its domain is no longer absolute, undisputed, as it was at the end of the Second World War. It has had to eliminate several important provisions that had favored its investments on the island and these were made in search of other more lucrative markets.
The economic model imposed on the colony ended in a resounding failure. The local authorities had to acknowledge their inability to pay the public debt of more than 70 billion dollars. They struggled uselessly in search of an impossible solution for a country totally subjected to a foreign power.
Denied of its own sovereignty, all negotiation possibilities were closed to Puerto Rico in order to confront a problem that independent countries face every day. In Washington, Congress and the Administration agreed to establish a so-called Fiscal Control Board, which today is the true authority that administers the territory and whose task is to force Puerto Ricans to pay what they supposedly have to by means of imposing draconian measures of austerity that increased unemployment, eliminated basic social services and boosted emigration.
To make matters worse, the island was hit by two hurricanes of great intensity, Irma and Maria, especially the latter which ruined it almost completely. The losses caused by these meteorological phenomena are calculated at more than 90 billion dollars. Thousands of families lost their homes and four months later a large part of the population has no electricity or potable water, many schools have not resumed their activities and nobody knows when or how the collapsed infrastructure will recover.
The precise figure of how many people lost their lives as a result of Maria’s passage is not even known. Independent journalistic investigations calculate that they go upwards of a thousand.
More than 200,000 have sought refuge in the United States in a migratory wave that does not seem to stop.
To top it all, along cameTrump. The unusual character, who has done nothing to alleviate the Puerto Rican tragedy, not only recalled that the supposed debt must be reimbursed, but also promotes a tax reform that, among other things, taxes the products coming from the island with 20% that will make economic recovery an unrealizable chimera.
In the midst of the disaster, the people’s determination to rebuild their country, without federal aid and against the corruption and clumsiness of those who claim to represent it, is moving.
It seems that what Juan Bosch anticipated so long ago may come true. At the time of the wreck it would be the workers, the dispossessed, the downtrodden, finally united in pain and hope, the only ones capable of saving the Homeland.