Symbol of the and militant protesting woman of the feminist movement, the French novelist visited Cuba and, hand in hand with its main leaders, learned about the Revolution and the role of the so-called weaker sex in the emerging Caribbean social process.
By Javier Gómez Lastra
May 26, 2016
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
“The fact that determines the present status of women is the stubborn survival of the oldest traditions in the new civilization being outlined. That is what is unknown to hasty observers who see women as inferior to the opportunities offered to them today, or who see only dangerous temptations in those opportunities. The truth is that her situation lacks balance, and for that reason it is very difficult for her to adapt to it. (…)
“Everything still encourages the unmarried young woman to expect ‘Prince Charming’ fortune and happiness rather than to attempt the difficult and uncertain conquest alone. In particular, it will give her the hope of reaching a higher social stratum than her own, a miracle that will not reward her life’s work. But such hope is dire, because it divides their energies and interests; it is a division that is perhaps the most serious disadvantage for women. The parents still educate the daughter with a view to marriage more than they promote her personal development, and the daughter sees in it so many advantages (…)”.
This text, taken from the work “Le Deuxième Sexe” or “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer, narrator and philosopher and an essential figure in 20th-Century literature and thought, was a theoretical starting point for various feminist groups and became a classic work of contemporary ideology.
The piece, which breaks the existing canons in Europe since the Second World War, tells a story related to the social status of women and analyzes the different characteristics of male oppression.
It also exposes the gender situation from the point of view of biology, psychoanalysis and Marxism, and destroys the existing feminine myths, inciting the search for the authentic and full gender liberation.
Considered ambitious, the text also maintains that the struggle for women’s emancipation is different and parallel to that of the classes and that the main problem to be faced by the so-called weaker sex is not the ideological but the economic front.
The publication evoked strong reactions because of the marked character of nonconformity that the women of that time began to show.
The big push for gender equality
The beginning of the second half of the 20th century had very particular characteristics in the socio-cultural field in Europe. If anything brought about radical changes in ethical, political and philosophical thought in the countries of the Old Continent after the World Wars, it was the enormous need to achieve fundamental human rights and the emancipation of women.
Faced with the example of the policy of equality for all, applied by the governments of the nations of the newly created socialist bloc, many thinkers, human rights fighters, writers, poets, philosophers, and even politicians in Western Europe took a 180-degree turn in their way of valuing life and began to call for true equality between men and between men and women.
It was in this context that Simone de Beauvoir stood out and left a deep mark on the universal history of the world, leaving behind not only her extensive literary work, but also her tireless struggle.
In spite of her bourgeois origin, from a very young age the intellectual knew the difficulties of her contemporaries in a world dominated by men, markedly masculine, made in the image and likeness of the male and where women were relegated to domestic chores or simply to love.
Her work reflected women’s problems, marked by exclusion from production and home-based processes and purely reproductive functions, which represented the loss of all social ties and the possibility of being free.
A radical change
Simone was born in Paris on January 9th, 1908, in a district where coffee shops were beginning to proliferate, where literary gatherings were present and intellectual environments that logically influenced the writer’s education were created.
Very early on she excelled as a brilliant student and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. Until 1943, she was involved in teaching in high schools in Marseille, Rouen and Paris.
At the age of eighteen, she wrote the first literary essay where the protagonist has many traits in common with her. From that moment on, literature played an essential role in her work.
In 1929 he met the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who became her companion for the rest of her life. Together they shared almost five decades of existence.
Sartre’s influence was unquestionable and Simone began to make use of her existential freedom. This led her to renounce her family and friends, adapting to the real world and choosing a new system of life based on her encounter with the philosopher.
Under these principles, she managed to penetrate the world of the Parisian intellectuals of the 1930s, being one of the few women that this closed universe came to accept.
Extensive literary legacy
According to the vast majority of critics, researchers and scholars of Simone’s literature, in her literary texts she dared to revise the concepts of history and character and incorporated, from an existentialist perspective, the themes of freedom, situation and commitment.
Together with Sartre, Albert Camus and Merleau-Ponty, among others, she founded the magazine Les Temps Modernes [Modern Times], whose first issue was published in October 1945 and became a political and cultural reference point for French thought in the mid-20th century.
The thinker’s extensive work includes the texts “The Guest” (1943), “The Blood of Others” (1944), “Pyrrhus and Cinema” (1944), “All Men are Mortal” (1946), “For a Morality of Ambiguity” (1947), “America Today” (1948) and “The Farewell Ceremony” (1981).
In the latter, she openly dealt with the curious love relationship, from her youthful days to her old age, and the death of her companion, which implies their hard separation. Despite the absolute identification between them, they never shared the same roof, making use of freedom and with no other purpose than the mutual need to find each other, which allowed them to achieve a perfect symbiosis.
The work ends with the striking phrase: “His death separates us. My death will not bring us together, it is so. It’s been a long time since our lives could have melted together.
In the mid-twentieth century, with some feminists, she also established the Women’s Rights League, which set out to react firmly to any sexist discrimination, and prepared a special issue of Modern Times to discuss the subject.
Her many testimonial and autobiographical titles also included other texts such as “Memoirs of a Formal Young Woman” (1958), “The Fullness of Life” (1960), “The Power of Things” (1963), “A Very Sweet death” (1964), “Old age” (1968), “The End of Accounts” (1972) and “The Farewell Ceremony” (1981).
Character is destiny
The Algerian war broke out in 1954 and Simone felt powerless in the face of reality, thus beginning her period of political struggle.
She took part in anti-fascist demonstrations and gave lectures to the students, but all attempts to impose criteria against the system were unsuccessful, and, despite her efforts, Charles de Gaulle was declared President of the Republic.
This new political situation prompted Simone to rekindle the need to rebel once again, and she agreed to accompany Sartre to Cuba in 1960. There she met Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara, among other revolutionaries, in Havana. Cuban photographer Alberto Korda documented the meeting between the couple and the two leaders.
Both Sartre and Simone were always fascinated by the Heroic Guerrilla. At the time of his death, seven years later, Sartre wrote: “Che was not only an intellectual, but also the most complete human being of our time”.
The couple spent almost two months working on the main island of the Antilles, which led to their subsequent and continued dedication to the defense of the Cuban Revolution.
They made an intense tour of the island, which included a tour of the Ciénaga Zapata swamp, the inspirational examination of the book “Sartre Visits Cuba”, published in Havana in 1960 by Ediciones Revolución. In its pages, the philosopher narrated his experiences in the country.
Fundamental decade for women and their rights
The Frenchwoman’s ideas soon reached the rest of the world and Simone de Beauvoir centers began to proliferate everywhere.
The emancipation of women was her ideal of struggle. Without denying the biological differences, she was able to denounce a whole system of oppression that worked – and still persists – from levels such as the home and that can extend to entire nations where one sex is established and dominated by another.
Her main ideology was based on equal opportunities for both men and women and on the true emancipation of all, both at work and in society.
Simone disappeared physically in 1986, but her intense work of ideological activism and broad literary exercise remain imperishable as a sure guide to the struggle for full equality. This is what her work testifies to.
The trivialization of the art of clowning is a widespread phenomenon in our society, rooted essentially in its conversion into a lucrative business.
Author: Leidys María Labrador Herrera | email@example.com
29 March 2018 20:03:13
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A unique music sounds and at its rhythm, the picturesque character comes out, dressed in big shoes, colorful clothes, a funny wig or hat, painted face and the unmistakable red nose. He or she stumbles forward, laughs loudly and always has a joke up their sleeve.
Surely, if we were to conduct a survey of the Cuban population about their idea of what a clown is, the descriptions would more or less revolve around the one we presented at the beginning of this report. I can bet that most people would think the question was a little silly because who doesn’t know what a clown is? But this is accompanied by another question: do we really know?
We are not far from the truth when we say that behavior and clothing largely define a clown, but they are only its superficial shell. Behind that peculiar being that we see before us, there are other elements that make up its essence and that, unfortunately, have been diluted in the limbo of having certain acting qualities, some vis comic and the idea] that with that they are already suitable to make people laugh.
However, a deeper approach to this subject allows us to understand that clowning is an art that has become trivialised and commercialised in our society. Many have turned it into a lucrative business, to the detriment of the most important function of the clown: touching human sensitivity.
From the opinion of well-known personalities of Cuban theater and some of the most faithful exponents of this type of acting, Granma approaches the dilemma of the true differences between the clown who is sustained only in the material interest, and the one who starts from the actor’s ethics, the conscious dramaturgy and the need to transmit true messages to the people.
HOW DO YOU BUILD A CLOWN?
It is not necessary to be a theatre specialist to understand that any actor or actress, when she or he plays a role, if she or he does so with responsibility for her or his art and the unavoidable commitment to the audience, is capable of changing her or his skin. During the time that a production lasts, it assumes another life, other conflicts, another reality.
Building a character doesn’t mean it’s anything like him. In other words, it is possible to assume values, ways of acting, norms of behavior, even a temperament that has nothing to do with the actor’s true personality. In the case of the clown, although there must be the same level of responsibility, ethics, and commitment, the clown and the actor are the same person. The one cannot exist without the other.
This is what a man who, like many others, began as a clown for parties and birthdays, but then decided to take a step forward, because he understood the need to dignify such an ancient and vilified art. Perhaps this is the greatest merit of the group he founded and which today has become a paradigm of clowning in Cuba, Teatro Tuyo. Ernesto Parra, its director, knows very well what the birth of a clown is all about.
“Actors in our profession have the ability to approach lives from a character. The actor in the dramatic theater is going to play the role of a doctor and does not necessarily have to have studied medicine, he can play the role of a drunkard and be a teetotaler, but in the case of the clown the difference, which is not tacit, but only the adaptation to this concept of acting, is that yes, we are playing a character who is the clown, but it has been made with the actor’s own characteristics. There is no distance between the character I am going to play and the person I am.
“In any case, the actor who plays a clown, whether it be on a birthday, in a theatre, in a circus… when the performance is over, is once again the normal person who goes home to face his routine. What happens is that this character is constructed from his own psycho-physical characteristics. The mythical example is that of Charles Chaplin, who built a Charlot, the little tramp, through his own experiences.
A similar opinion is shared by young Adrián Bello Suárez, who has carried out all his acting growth in Teatro Tuyo.
“My clown’s name is Belo, and I started to find him after I had been in the group for some time. In fact, I’d say he’s still a long way off. I have drunk from Belo and Belo from me, I could tell you that we are walking hand in hand along the same path. Because that’s what the art of clowning is all about, of finding the clown that we all have inside us which is unique for each person, and building it with your own emotions, feelings…”.
Such experiences show that playing a clown is more than just having a red nose. Perhaps it is from this ignorance that the superficial vision of those who believe that dressing up in colorful costumes and stumbling senselessly is to be a clown.
THE DEFORMATION OF THE REAL CLOWN
The children are seated awaiting the presentation. The birthday boy’s parents are also anxious to see the protagonist who, frankly, has a tight budget The time comes, but there is no music of bugles or cymbals, what begins is the thunderous reggaeton and the clown comes out wagging his waist in an act that has nothing to do with comedy but borders on the obscene.
I’m not saying this is always so. We cannot commit the sin of absolutists and say that all those who today entertain in children’s parties act in this way. But how many of us haven’t had regrettable experiences like that? The saddest thing is that this person continues to do his “job” and we continue to open the doors of birthday parties to him.
NOTE: Sound file is in Spanish:
For Rubén Darío Salazar, director of the “Teatro de las Estaciones” group, this process implies a step backwards when talking about clowning.
“The art of clowning in our region, and in Cuba specifically, has suffered a regression. This is because it is something that many people feel entitled to do without, schooling, without training. They think they can just play the clown without any of that. But the worst part is that people believe it, and they are paid and hired and they cause a distortion in the profession.
“Being a clown has long been an art form looked down upon, and I don’t know why, because we have had in our country people with a powerful history in clowning, like Edwin Fernandez, known as Trompoloco. He was an actor who played the clown with a mixture of impressive lyricism and satire. I believe that this has been lost, it has been deformed, it has been devolved, without any of us noticing that the art of clowning is the new comedy, if we take it seriously, with the discipline and commitment it demands”.
TRIVIALIZATION, A LATENT PROBLEM
Ernesto Parra himself has a similar opinion. He says the trivialization of the art of clowning is a resident problem in today’s Cuba, especially when the real perspective of any actor performing a clown is lost, driven by economic need.
“We cannot say that the art of clowning is made in a single way, nor that it has these or those typical characteristics. The clown genre, according to the master Dario Fo (Italian actor and writer, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature), is the preparation of an artist who becomes a total actor and is the one who transmits, through humor, not as an end but as a means, an emotion, poetry, an idea, tackles a problem. It is not the stereotyped clown, of screams, of colourings, of jumps, of falls, of stumbles. Although they are elements that he uses to construct his dramaturgy, they do not constitute his main objective. That is to say, to take the spectator by the hand to arrive from humor to touch the soul and to move”.
Emptiness, lack of real, direct communication with the public, and in many cases, a total lack of tools to enrich the character, are some of the most common aspects when analyzing this phenomenon of the “multiplication” of clowns. The sharp vision of the master Roberto Gacio, who is a theatre institution in Cuba, allows us to evaluate some of the most notorious weaknesses that these clowns face.
“It is necessary to investigate, deepen, and be in a very serious position to transmit messages, not so much from social reality as from human existence. This, like other phenomena, is also marked by the loss of values, the lack of interest in personal and collective improvement and, of course, the economic factor.
“The way to save the clown’s art is to realize that you have to say things out of sensitivity, out of humanity. The clown and the clown, in general, are also like big children, who talk about serious adult things or children’s things, but with a lot of tenderness”.
Logically, like other similar dilemmas that take place within all artistic expressions, this process cannot be seen as alien to the social context, nor divorced from everyday realities or the way people perceive the world around them. These are aspects to which researcher, theatre critic, and director of the magazine Tablas-Alarcos, Omar Valiño Cedré, attaches great importance.
“There are two different dimensions to the problem. The abundance of clowns, which in reality there are not, should not be seen as excessively pernicious. It is simply an economic reality, in which people who have a certain capacity for animation, entertainment and the world of acting, seek that economic reinforcement for their profession, although they are not necessarily clowns [themselves]; and of course, there is the dimension that Teatro Tuyo and other artistic groups and entities represent, which is the dimension of the real clown, of the clown as a very singular priest of the performing art.
“Being a clown is the greatest thing in the performing arts. A real clown moves an amount of energy, of metaphors, of symbols, of abilities around him that is hardly achievable with any other scenic material. I believe that the challenges are, for all those who want to evolve from one side to the other, to know technically, spiritually and intellectually, what a clown is and how to train. Knowing how to be up-to-date, how to be effective in terms of communication and how to establish new pacts, new links with today’s public that is not the same as it was a few years ago”.
That is precisely the perspective of a group that has managed to fill theatres, to be loved by young and old and become an obligatory reference point whenever there is talk in Cuba of the worthy profession of the clown.
By Juventud Rebelde
Posted: Monday 26 March 2018 | 11:09:09 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In the first quarter of 2019, the Vietnamese Thai Binh Investment Trading Corp, which has been operating in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) since 2016, will start producing sanitary pads and disposable diapers.
In a statement to the Cuban News Agency, Vi Nguyen Phuong, director general of the consortium, said the factory, which is currently under construction, will produce 40 million diapers and 150 million sanitary pads annually.
The investment, which totals more than nine million dollars, aims to provide local consumers with high quality, Cuban-made items, said Thai Binh, a company that has been present in the country for almost 20 years.
To meet the growing demand from domestic customers, the company decided to expand its investment activities in the ZEDM, where it also plans to build a powder detergent plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons annually, the directive said.
He argued that this new project will be under the form of a joint venture, in partnership with the commercial company Industrias Nexus S.A. of Cuba, a proposal that they plan to submit to the Mariel Office next April to become operational in 2020.
Today, Vietnam is Cuba’s second largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region and its main supplier of rice. The two countries have a relationship of more than half a century, which will be strengthened by the visit to Cuba of Nguyen Phu Trong, secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam, from 28 to 30 March.
By Tania Rendón Portelles (ACN)
Tuesday, 17 July 2018 11:25
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The protagonist of this story, Rosalba, may have several names, as there are many who, faced with an unexpected pregnancy, find themselves in the difficult situation of what to do: have a child or wait longer.
Many people in the home intervene and give their opinions left and right, and while Rosalba can hardly sleep and stress upsets her, she tries to listen to the views of each one to make the best decision.
Now, she regrets her own lack of care and that of her partner, and is afraid of using abortion as a contraceptive method, but at the same time, she has not yet planned or wanted to become a mother.
Rosalba will not be the first or the last woman between this three and two, and there is a question that she expects, without surprises, every time someone knows her condition: are you going to take have the baby or not?
In Cuba, contrary to other Latin American countries, social and moral acceptance of abortion, as well as its practice, is common.
The last National Fertility Survey was conducted in the Greater Antilles in 2009 by the National Statistics and Information Office. It highlights the high prevalence of these situations in Cuba, which has led specialists to say that these procedures are currently used as contraceptive methods.
In other words, abortion becomes an alternative to the non-use – or misuse – of different methods to avoid pregnancy.
Although the archipelago lacks an abortion law, its practice has been decriminalized since 1965. Up to 10 weeks of pregnancy you do not need to give any reason to opt for this practice.
The use of abortion as an alternative to avoid being a mother or having more children has also been due to the fact that medical professionals are safe and reliable to perform this procedure.
Here in the Caribbean nation, abortion or curettage is safe, comfortable and free, despite the discomfort it can cause in patients or the complications that sometimes occur.
Today, Cuban birth control is centralized from the primary health care level, which is a guarantee for any procedure in this regard. It includes counseling and family planning consultations, with the expectation of reducing unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality, and infant mortality.
It is a strength for Cuban women their right to decide about their bodies. Specialists, however, warn that this practice should not become a common occurrence.
Even when school-based sex education campaigns are implemented, contraceptive methods are offered at very low prices, and it is emphasized that avoidance is best, there is generally little knowledge related to sexuality, especially among adolescents.
It is almost always women who decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy, partly because of their empowerment achieved and partly because of men’s lack of responsibility for reproduction and the consequences of unprotected sex.
It is also recognized that there are multiple causes involved in the decision to be a mother or to have more children. These include: unsuitable age for pregnancy, pregnancy very close to the last birth, ignorance, misuse, failures and limited availability of contraceptives, obstacles to personal projects, prejudice and poor material and family conditions.
Hence, the best method will always be protection, something that Rosalba understood very well, for whom the termination of her pregnancy was traumatic.
Whoever has gone through that tough time knows how difficult it is to make that decision, she shared with ACN.
It should also be noted that in Cuba, the illegal termination of pregnancy is criminalized, i.e., outside health institutions, as established by the Criminal Code since 1979.
Previously, since 1965, the procedure had been hospitalized, after many women died on the island due to poor home practices; however, in 1968, the official figures for abortion in the country began to be recorded.
There remain several questions which need to be answered, even in the face of the high number of abortions. A few are collected in a 2014 research study by the University of Havana:
To what extent has safe abortion and its social legitimization created a “culture of abortion” among Cuban women? Do they really know the risks involved in abortion? Do men and women receive age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and services? Is there awareness that prevention is better than action?
Despite the possibility of betting on safe and legal abortion, an inalienable right conquered by Cuban women as a result of the Revolution, this option does not eliminate its risks and consequences for women’s health.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Despite the unknowns, as far as we know, the recent increase in brain injuries suffered by several U.S. diplomats may have been caused not by sonic attacks from host countries, but by their own superiors at the Pentagon or by the CIA running some kind of undercover program to create super spies.
Such is the revelation contained in a study sponsored by the Strategic Culture Foundation, a Russian-based global think tank that has investigated the background to alleged acoustic attacks on U.S. diplomats, first in Cuba and more recently in China.
The study concludes that speculation Cuban and Chinese state agents may have used some sort of sonic weapon against U.S. diplomats falls further into the realms of fantasy and science fiction. The authorities of both nations deny the existence of such a weapon and any such activity in their territories. U.S. experts who examined their diplomats evacuated from Cuba found no causal explanation.
Significantly, however, the examination by U.S. doctors who studied the Cuban cases revealed that all individuals may have had a common experience related to their brain injuries.
Clearly, instead of speculating on the possibility that a foreign agency might have caused the ailments of US officials, who were known to be engaged in spying under diplomatic cover, they should have focused their suspicions on their own side. That is to say, to have specified whether these individuals had undergone any high-tech training directed by the Pentagon or the CIA.
It has been reported that the Pentagon’s Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating brain stimulation devices to greatly improve the learning ability of its agents.
Last year, DARPA reported the successful use of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) devices to increase cognitive skills in experimental monkeys. Subjects treated with such head-hooked devices were reported to show a significant increase in learning and intelligence compared to individuals who did not receive treatment. DARPA reported a 40% increase in learning capacity among macaque monkeys undergoing brain stimulation.
According to one of the program’s leading researchers: “In this experiment, we target the prefrontal cortex of the brain with individualized noninvasive stimulation mounts. That brain region controls many executive functions, including decision making, cognitive control, and contextual memory retrieval. It’s connected to almost every other cortical area of the brain, and stimulating it has widespread effects.
On the positive side, the Pentagon seeks to boost human intelligence and learning, which is nothing new. For decades, U.S. military intelligence agencies, as well as Hollywood in its science fiction films, have cherished the idea of harnessing the human brain and exploiting the increased levels of its intelligence.
But the quest for superior intelligence may well have unintended harmful side effects. Note that the Pentagon researcher cited above said that stimulation of the prefrontal cortex of the brain could have “far-reaching effects. These effects, in addition to increasing intelligence and learning skills, could be lethal, since the area of the target brain of the experiment is crucial for the control of “executive functions”.
The CIA is known to have carried out drug and hypnosis programs such as the famous MK-ULTRA in the 1950s and 1960s aimed at finding “super spies” and “super killers”.
It is also known that the Pentagon, in recent research, has been using electronic brain stimulation devices to improve the cognitive performance of monkeys. It is therefore conceivable that he has also carried out unpublished research experiments on human beings.
At no point during the investigative phase has any information been provided on the work assignments of the “diplomats” concerned in Cuba and China. They don’t even know each other’s identities. They were probably all involved in espionage duties.
It seems unlikely that the Pentagon or affected personnel will publicly declare that they were subjected to any brain stimulation devices. In any case, staff could easily be silenced by career warnings or other repressive, administrative or military methods.
July 19, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.“Prevent the release of Lula in Brazil, issue an arrest warrant for Rafael Correa in Ecuador, threaten Cristina in Argentina with jail, round up Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, incriminate Paraguayan Lugo, deploy an offensive at all levels against Nicolás Maduro in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and focus fire on Cuba. In just these four lines, Peruvian journalist and writer Gustavo Espinoza M. summarizes the difficult situation that the Latin American left was going through at the beginning of the 24th meeting of the Sao Paolo Forum that is being held in Havana from 15 to 17 July.
The Sao Paulo Forum (FSSP) is a mechanism for bringing together left-wing and progressive political parties and movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a space for convergence, discussion and joint action resulting from the Meeting of Left Political Parties and Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in 1990 under the auspices of the Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil. It was an initiative of the historic leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz and the leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil (PT), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In addition to its plenary meetings, the Forum holds an average of five annual meetings of its Working Group. It organizes conferences, seminars, and workshops on various topics, holds exchanges with political and social forces in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America, and participates in the meetings of the World Social Forum, the Americas Social Forum and the European Social Forum.
The FSSP develops a broad and multifaceted agenda that has embraced issues such as the world capitalist crisis and its impact on Latin America and the Caribbean; the new forms of political, economic, social and cultural domination of imperialism, with emphasis on U.S. imperialism and its projection into the region; the increase in aggression78p-, occupations and foreign military bases; the struggle against colonialism; the construction of new emancipatory paradigms; the promotion of integration, cooperation and coordination in the Caribbean and Latin America, and solidarity with the struggles of its members, as well as with the struggles of those political and social forces in other regions.
The FSSP was formed to bring together the efforts of left-wing parties and movements in the southern hemisphere in the complex international arena following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, it aimed to counter the consequences of neoliberalism for the peoples of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean through reciprocal support among its members.
At the time of its foundation in 1990, the only member with executive power in a sovereign country was the Communist Party of Cuba. Twenty years later, most of the countries that are members of the Forum have agreed for some period of time, through the ballot box, to exercise government or to be part of official coalitions. Several have also become the first opposing forces in their respective countries.
The election of the revolutionary military man Hugo Chávez in 1998 in Venezuela was the first time that a member of the Sao Paulo Forum came to power.
Then came the triumphs of the Brazilian Workers’ Party in 2002 with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; the Frente Amplio in Uruguay in 2004 with Tabaré Vázquez; the Movimiento al Socialismo with Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2005; Michelle Bachelet of the Partido Socialista de Chile in 2006; Rafael Correa for Alianza PAIS in Ecuador in 2006; Daniel Ortega for the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional de Nicaragua in 2006; Fernando Lugo for the Patriotic Alliance for Change (now the Guasú Front) in Paraguay in 2008; José Mujica for the Frente Amplio in Uruguay in 2009; Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front of El Salvador in 2009; Dilma Rousseff for the Brazilian Workers Party in 2010; Ollanta Humala for the Nationalist Party of Peru in 2011; Nicolás Maduro for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in 2013. In 2014, Michelle Bachelet won the elections again and in 2014, Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador won.
These successes, however, were followed by an intense counter-revolutionary offensive that could have ended with the recent electoral victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the head of the Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (Morena), in alliance with the Labor and Social Encounter parties, which could have been a turning point in continental political events.
With a prestige that rests essentially on his honesty and a program that is in line with “Mexico’s hopes”, as his electoral slogan states, everything suggests that the great victory of Andres Manuel López Obrador has come at the right time to save not only Mexico but Latin America as a whole from the right-wing wave.
The Sao Paolo Forum has the floor.
July 16, 2018.
President of the National Assembly of People’s Power,
at La Demajagua. 10 October 1998
Major of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque,
The idea, rather than the sunshine, brightened that morning:
“Fellow citizens, until this moment you have been my slaves. From now on, you are free as free as I am. Cuba needs from every one of her children to conquer her independence. Those of you who want to follow me, do follow me; those who want to stay, do stay; all will remain as free as the rest.
The announcement, emulated by all the land owners around Céspedes on 10 in the October 1868, would strongly mark the nature of the war.
With those words, right here, 130 years ago today, the Cuban nation started to move ahead in our own a only Revolution began, which would be continued thereafter by successive generations of Cubans, and for almost a century would squander feats, withstand defeats and sacrifices until victory was achieved.
Born from the unlimited love of justice, equality and human dignity, it knew how to stoically cope with the worst adversaries and learn how to stand up to them, without even relinquishing its ideals. It inspired men to bequeath everything and to fight to the bitter end, without anybody’s help, following the example of that who on a day like this called everyone of us to start out. This same Revolution that 130 years later, dealing with similar obstacles resists, preserves and triumphs, and can recognize the path it has gone along as the best tribute to those who took history by storm on 10 October 1868.
In that society poisoned by the slaves system, freeing the slaves and openly proclaiming it is in its first act imparted the emerging movement the deepest radical nature, placed its face to face with the primary problem of that time. But Céspedes would not just break the chains that oppressed those men. He went, all the ones, or beyond. He turns them into citizens with exactly the same rights as the rest. He defines the homeland as an ideal, as a project for me the holy to blacks and whites, two former masters inserts, and urged all of them all and exactly the same wording to fight the last four of the last La Belle was not calling them to work, nor was it just announcing freedom calling it was an invitation person for foremost to the creation of a common work.
It was the founding of the only true democracy, on that does not recognize privileges, that rejects prejudices, stresses virtue, trusts men and incorporates everyone.
It was the birth, then, of the Republic of Cuba and the outset of the struggle to conquer the Homeland.
Slavery was the decisive question that defined Cubans. The despicable exploitation of human beings was the main source of the wealth of the criollo well-to-do and the fuel for the colonial regime.
Slavery had been present, all over the century, in our intellectuals’ and politicians’ reflections. It would always come up as the dominant subject in the projects to reform the colonial system, in the attempts to change relations with the Metropolis, in the plans to design the Island’s future and would weigh heavily thereafter, during the war itself.
It was also linked to the core question at the time when Cuba was emerging as a distinct identity and which should forcibly separate from Spain. Who were the Cubans? Who made up that new people?
It is necessary to deepen into our history if we are to understand the meaning of what happened that day and to fathom the complexity of a problem that would not solve with a noble act, of incomparable altruism, or with its formal proclamation. It would demand a struggle that would require tenacity, staunchness and wisdom. It would be part and parcel of the war itself; it would most strongly mark it and determine the future course of our life as a people.
The La Demajagua message, issued by a group of white landowners, entailed a total break with the line of thinking and behavior on slavery and blacks maintained by the reformist sectors, including those with more advanced ideas.
Its real forerunners were not those groups, but slaves who more than once had revolted against the abominable system. The Matanzas province risings in 1843, butchered in a sea of blood, shook the colonial society.
Those rebellions would cause fear amongst reformists, the wealthy criollos who sought to change the gloomy society in which they lived but who, at the same time, would not go beyond that which an anachronic and obscurantist empire would be able to grant them. Slave masters could demand nothing from their colonial masters. The most important separatist attempts promoted by them sought to perpetuate slavery and annex the island to the United States. Notably, their main actions were armed expeditions, openly organized and prepared in the U.S. territory; from where they left for happen afterward with the efforts to be made from there by emigrant patriots. Also, most of those expeditioners were foreigners; very few Cuban-born people participated with them.
On the other hand, for slaves -subjected to the cruelest exploitation, isolated in their barracks, with no access to education, lacking the means to communicate their demands and organize themselves- it was virtually impossible to assume the leadership of a nation-wide struggle. They could – and did in fact many of a time rebel against their masters and punish them or flee to the woods. But they were not in a position to turn their struggle into a movement that would get other forces together to conquer equality and, with it, political independence the warranty for justice to be real and conclusive.
That space could only be filled by criollos freed slaves, craftsmen and landowners who were willing not only to abolish slavery altogether but also to incorporate the emancipated people to the common national project. It was not enough to oppose the slave trade or to criticize the excesses of human serfdom.
It was not a matter of compassion, philanthropy or economic calculation. If the purpose was to build a nation as demanded by the evolution reached by the colonial society, it was imperative to recognize the human factors constituting it and to attain their full integration.
A total abolition of slavery in all of its forms and manifestations, a true emancipation of full exercise of citizenship – with the same civic and political rights as the other men-, the elimination of racism, including prejudices and discrimination, where the demands posed by history and could only be assumed by a deeply and truly revolutionary movement.
The essence of that movement would have to be justice and solidarity. It was La Demajagua’s main message. It would thus be proclaimed, years later, by Antonio Maceo when he said that on October 10, 1868 “Cuba flew the flag of war for justice.”
That morning, before their liberator, there were scarcely twenty slaves, which was his full endowment. So it was not a decision significant in concrete military terms. The aim was not to set u pa major detachment with them to march on Yara, the goal of the then-emerging Liberation Army. Twenty men was nothing compared to 100,000 colonialist troops, or to the hundreds of thousands of slaves that there were on the Island. But it was to that mass and to their masters, precisely, that the message was for.
It was the beginning of a complex process –that would have ups and downs- which would see a quest to firmly stick to principles and to incorporate, as much as possible, other elements, without excluding the planters from western Cuba. The unequal balance of forces facing patriots forced them to do that, but loyalty to their own ideals made them keep a radical and consistent path even at the early stage.
At La Demajagua, a channel had been opened that would allow slaves and sincere abolitionists to move ahead of the sugar oligarchy’s hostility and of fears and inconsistencies present also amongst the revolutionary ranks.
On 28 October, the Bayamo municipal government would unanimously decree immediate abolition. In April 1869, the Guáimaro Constitution would enshrine freedom for all Cubans and the end of slavery, but a subsequent House of Representatives agreement –on July 5- would keep former slaves subjected by forcing them to continue to work through the Freed Slaves Rules.
Céspedes would annul it on 25 December 1870. It was this decision that ended slaver –conclusively and completely all over the Republic’s territory- , including covert slavery under the so-called Patronato. Before that, on March 10, the Revolutionary Government had declared null and void the Chinese colonization contracts, a hardly disguised form of servitude.
Thus –indicated Céspedes- their “natural capacity as free men was restituted, exercising their personality in its entirety, enjoying the same civil and political rights as the other citizens in perfect equality. “
Complete abolitionism had triumphed and would be the rule within the territory liberated by the Republic in arms. However, it would have to go on fighting bitter battles against the landowners who, in the western region, controlled most of the country’s riches, and against their agents who amongst émigrés, would promote divisiveness and plot against the Revolution, to deviate it from its course.
The La Demajagua message reached all Cubans. One of the main representatives of reformist landowners went as far as asserting, on 2, October 1868 that “never before had Cuba been closer to a true social and socialist revolution.”
General Dulce, for his part, in a decree he issued on 12 February 1869 –to then unleash the fiercest repression of the fighters for independence and of all those who supported them- included amount the serious crimes of “infidelity”, insurrection, conspiracy and sedition, those of “coalitions and leagues of day laborers and workers”.
That is why, among the first freedom martyrs were, on 9 April that year, several tobacco workers, members of the guild called Gremio de Laborantes (day laborer’s guild), A Havana secret society, who found their death at the vile pillory. One of them, Francisco de León, at the foot of the gallows, delivered a fervent speech that ended with wishes of long life to the independence of Cuba and to Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
Repressive action focused especially on the association of tobacco workers, core of the Cuban emerging workers’ movement, which had gone on strike several times since 1865 and whose newspapers were suppressed.
An irrational violence was unleashed against the Havana population as a whole, which suffered the terror caused by incidents like those of the Villanueva and Tacón theaters and the Louvre walkway, and later the murder of the medical students.
General repression triggered the exodus of an important part of the Cuban population. According to a Spanish historian, only between February and September 1869, over 100,000 people left the country through the port of Havana.
Among them were moneyed families, but also important groups of workers. That emigration would have been an indispensable support for the Revolution, but it could not unite to fight the big landowners’ annexationist intrigues and the Washington Government’s systematic opposition.
Emigrant workers made generous contributions from their salaries for the purchase of weapons and the preparation of expeditions. They devoted their time to defend the Cuban cause and many of them laid down their lives in combat. Of all 156 expeditioners aboard the Virginius, 47 were workers, 23 of them of the tobacco sector.
The emigration question would be a decisive factor in the war’s unfolding. As to the wealthiest landowners who had left the country, their relations with the Revolution would be a reflection of the attitude towards the Revolution maintained by that sector which controlled the Island’s greatest riches, concentrated in its western region. The Junta de New York was an extension of the Junta de La Habana and an expression of its interests closely linked to slave production. Despite the many efforts that the Orient and Camagüey people made with them –since before October 10 and which would go on after the Revolutionary Government was in place- the war could not move into the west, where several risings by local patriots were discouraged and aborted in different ways by the capital’s leaders.
Their behavior was opportunistic and treacherous. They appeared to support the Revolution as long as it took place away from their properties and actually supported it only in hopes of getting concessions from Spain or in wait for a Yankee intervention to annex the island to the United States.
This group was essentially annexationist and its positions on the social and racial questions never went beyond the lines of reformism. This led to one of the most dramatic aspects of that war and to one of the main causes of defeat. The bloodiest, longest and most devastating war in the Americas had a theater of operations limited to the country’s poorer and less developed half.
The conflict was not reflected in the colony’s sugar production, which kept basically the same levels over those ten years, except for some variations caused by the situation on the world market. This goes to show that, in this time period, Cuba’s western planters –Spainiards and criollols- saw an increase in their profits obtained from slave labor whereas the rest of the country was bleeding dry for freedom.
To regard the War of 1868 as a landowner’s and criollos bourgeoisie’s movement –a flaw some have made- is to not look at things in-depth. In the history of Cuba there was never a chance for a bourgeois revolution because in this country there never was, as a class, a national bourgeoisie. The men who started the Revolution cam by birth from that class, but they did not implement its policies or served its interests. The fathers of the Revolution –Céspedes in the first place- represented from the outset the people’s –including the slave population’s- aspirations; they merged with them and brought them along to the movement’s leadership at all levels.
If one were to point out that those men, from the family origin viewpoint, were our patricians, one would have to note that they were part of a Jacobinic patriciate capable of radicalization, along with the exploited masses, at the pace the process was moving on.
Furthermore, the Metropolis’ clumsy policies and the outrages committed by the mobs of voluntaries in the cities, particularly in Havana, placed many of those planters in difficult situations and, in some cases damaged their property and made them victims of repression. From the revolutionaries’ perspective, that reality justified the efforts to bring them to join in the cause, to seek their support or to neutralize them.
The Revolution was also desperately in need for imperative resources from abroad. It also needed solidarity and international support for its lonesome struggle. Learned Cubans, trained for diplomatic work and propaganda, were not many then. The best from the country’s central and eastern parts were fighting at war. The best from the west had emigrated.
All those factors were the backdrop of the complex, contradictory and difficult relationship that there would be amongst the wealthy émigrés and the Republic in arms. As a rule, when it comes down to the Great War and its internal conflicts, three factors are mentioned; the Liberation Army, the revolutionary Government and the House of Representatives. But a fourth factor is to be added; and it was emigration, which had a close connection with the others and played a major role by action and default in the course of events.
There would be no time here to go deeper into this important issue. I will just point out that, in those years, the group of leading exiled planters, controlled by annexationists, had a preeminent influence over emigration as a whole. It included Céspedes’s bitterest enemies, who publicly opposed his policies and were part of the conspiracy that brought him down from the presidency.
Most of the emigration was made up of poor craftsmen and workers, just arrived at a racist society, still struggling for their life in an alien and hostile environment. It was a profoundly Céspedesite mass that regarded the La Demajagua man as their liberator, that admired his generous sacrifice and understood his intransigence against exploiters and his love for justice.
His opinions were voiced in publications that denounced the annexationist and slavery advocates’ maneuvers by the Junta de New York. That city’s working women expressed their feelings through the sword the bestowed on Céspedes, which he did not accept out of modesty.
In a lovely gesture, artisans expressed their support by agreeing to economically support the Homeland’s Father’s wife and little children. This action prompted a greater gesture from Céspedes and a clarification of his thinking when, on declining the offer, he said that he wanted his family to follow in their steps by “working for a living and contributing if possible with their savings to the Republic’s funds”.
New York’s Sociedad de Artesanos Cubanos, the representative of the then emerging Cuban proletariat, would elevate its protest for the Republic in arms President’s deposition, which it had denounced and rejected even before it took place.
That mass of poor men and women would be the support of the revolutionary efforts during the Ten Year’s War, when the plantation owners stepped back to wait for the Yankee intervention, and they would continue to do so in the future attempts; would support Marti’s Party and would continue to fight until 1898. The truth is that over those thirty years, as Máximo Gómez acknowledged, “the combatants’ last hope of salvation is always the cigar roller’s knife”.
The colonial repression broke loose with a unique rage against defenseless towns, trying to wipe out all forms of collaboration with the Liberation Army.
Among the measures adopted by Captain-General Dulce in 1869 and denounced by Céspedes to the world were “the confiscation of assets of republican army members and of those suspect of being friendly to the revolution, the compulsory collection of horses from all rural farms in all rebelled districts… The reconcentration, also compulsory, of all population in rural settlement and the subsequent abandonment of farms, the ruin of all corps and fields to devoid the patriots from foodstuff, the arrest and immediate execution of all Cubans found in the fields, both armed and unarmed”.
An Irish journalist who visited the island during the war left testimony of the desolating picture he found in the Las Villas towns: “most of the population is in the saddest stage of misery as a result to the severe orders given by the Spaniards for the reconcentration of people in towns and villages, concentration that has resulted in families being ravaged by hunger and disease”. And on his arrival at Sancti Spíritus, that author wrote: “There one could see, asking for a bit of rice from door to door, lines of women whose faces showed the unerasable signs of hunger and in many of them you could read sad stories of sufferings and hardships”
Extending the war to the rest of the country, achieving an effective integration of all territories and getting the indispensable war resources from abroad were strategic needs that the Revolution had to meet to consolidate itself and triumph.
Those objectives came face to face with not only the colonialists’ power but also the anti-national oligarchy and the US government.
It is recorded in American official documents that between March and November 1869, the entire federal Government machinery was mobilized in 16 States, from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico up to the Canadian border, with the active participation of the Navy, to thwart expeditions, stop ships, seize weapons and pursue, arrest and punish the patriots.
The authorities’ hostility towards the Cuban cause contrasted with American people’s manifestation of communion and support. For instance, in its report of 14 June 1870 the House of Representatives’ Foreign Relations Committee included numerous annexes with belligerence in and independence of Cuba. They came from different parts of the United States and were backed by tens of thousands of people’s signatures. One of those letters was signed by 72,384 New Yorkers.
The official attitude counter to the feeling of so many Americans would be expressed, at that time, in an address to the Congress where President Ulysses Grant rejected any assistance for the Cuban patriots, about whom he used the most slanderous and vulgar of languages.
Back in 1870 Céspedes had warned that the US Government’s “aspiration is to take possession of Cuba without dangerous complications for its nation and while it remains under Spanish rule, even if it is to become an independent power; that is the secret of its policy”.
In a message to Benito Juárez, on 13 December 1870, Céspedes said “you certainly know only too well how terrible are the efforts we are engaged in to secure our national rights and how big are the difficulties we have to overcome, for you know that our enemies are great many and well disciplined, that we have to fight in a quite narrow island, that the coastline is patrolled by a large fleet; and that we are abandoned to our own resources in spite of being at the very center of the independent America”.
Two days later, in a letter to a New York newspaper editor, Céspedes denounced that while Spain can easily procure everything it needs for the war, the Cuban patriots are persecuted and “their ships and weapons –bought out of their patriotism and with our women’s tears and our brave soldiers’ blood-are seized”.
The persecution of immigrants in the United States and the authorities’ actions to prevent any aid from there to the revolutionary movement reached its highest expression with the proclamation issued on 12 October 1871 by President Grant himself. Alleging that the revolutionaries’ activities violated United States laws, he threatened them with these words: “which is why they are subject to be punished, will be most severely pursued without possibly be punished, will be most severely pursued without possibly expecting mercy from the Executive to save them from the consequences of their crime, if convicted. And I admonish and consequences of their crime, if convicted. And I admonish and encourage every authority of this Government, civilian, military or naval, to use every means within their reach in order to apprehend, try and punish each and every one of such criminals, transgressors of the laws that impose upon us sacred obligations to all friendly Powers”.
Mister Grant’s threats were dramatically realized when the Yankee authorities confiscated the ship Pioneer and all the weapons it was carrying to Cuba. The Homeland’s Father gave instructions then, on 30 November 1872, to withdraw the unofficial diplomatic representation that the Revolution had set up to at least seek the acknowledgement of our belligerence. In doing this, he left history these words of permanent validity: “It was no longer possible to put up with the contempt with which the United States Government was treating us, a contempt that increased as our sufferings increased. For long enough we have played the beggar who gets the alms repeatedly denied, and who gets the doors slammed insolently on his face. The Pioneer case has come to break the back of our patience: not because we are weak and unfortunate should we stop having dignity”.
While obstructing solitary actions from the Cuban immigration, the United States facilitated the colonialists’ continuation of the war with the use of the American territory and industry. With this support, Spain deployed up to 83 warships to block Cuban coasts, including 30 stem gun boats, built, armed and equipped in the United States.
In a message to the president of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee which constitutes a profound analysis of the war’s development, on 10 August 1871, Céspedes had unmasked Washington’s policies: “that Republic’s Government… no longer being a mere spectator indifferent to the barbarities and cruelties executed before its eyes.. but now providing indirect, moral and material support to the oppressor against the oppressed, the strong against the weak, the Monarchy against the Republic, the European Metropolis against the colonial America, the hard-line slavery advocator against the liberator of hundreds of thousands of thousands of slaves”.
After 1898, when the Yankee intervention brutally interrupted the eliminate them from the memory of the people, to lessen the meaning of their struggle and hide the true nature of the problems they had, the way they faced them and the solutions they found.
Stressed were the different points of view on various issues that, at times, some of the main protagonists of the epic had. Any analysis was eliminated from the evolution of those opinions and the context in which they came to be. Everything was reduced to inevitable personality differences. In fact, it was the human passions that explained the failure of a ten-year war. They wanted us to believe that, in the end, it was our own characteristics as a people with explained the failure of a ten-year war. They wanted us to believe that, in the end, it was our own characteristics as a people what explained the defeats we suffered. They were trying to introduce in the collective psychology the fatalism that has always been used by the annexationists to justify docility to their masters.
In 1868 there was no nation or a national conscience. We were a heterogeneous, shapeless mass, out of which the people would emerge in the middle of the struggle and would identify itself through the struggle, thus acquiring its definite identity.
Those men did create the nation, forge the people, make the reality of Cubanness come true. Was it possible to do it with no discussion or passionately contrasting ideas?
Many times concepts were repeated to us that were like an echo of the distortions and slanders given at its time by the colonial and the US government’s propaganda of the events and their participants.
Céspedes –supposedly authoritarian- accepted, however, the majority’s criterion at Guáimaro, and later observed the House’s deeply unjust and mistaken decision to depose him. He who was presented as a militarist did his best, as far as possible, to regularize the war and make it more humane. An all-out abolitionist, he made tactical concessions in the initial phase two attract or neutralize western planters.
But he never hesitated to fully exert his powers when the principles were at stake for it was necessary to secure the advance of the Revolution. He did it on 10 October 1869, on the struggle’s first anniversary, when he ordered the Liberation Army the burning of all sugarcane and coffee fields, when he commanded that, in a Las Villas invasion, properties be burned and that slaves be brought to the rebel and accepted in the patriotic ranks were sent to Camagüey to protect them from their former owners; also when he annulled the House’s agreement that governs the life of freed slaves, thus definitely eliminating the servitude system; when he appointed two blacks as alderman in Bayamo, Cuba’s first liberated city and home to the Revolutionary government; when he promoted Antonio Maceo and Máximo Gómez to generals and blacks and mulattos who were former slaves and from the poorest sectors of people to high military ranks; when he decreed, on 15 February 1871, that traitors be considered all those who took part in any negotiation that did not observe Cuba’s absolute independence and the complete abolition of slavery.
These positions and Céspedes efforts to eliminate regionalism, to lead the invasion to the west and his support for the most radical sectors in the exile in their opposition to the planters annexationists maneuvering, place me as the starter of a consistent revolutionary line that would later continue with a Protest of Baraguá, with José Marti’s revolutionary work and with other people’s unending struggle until the victory of January 1st and these glorious fourty years in which, under Fidel’s Céspedesite leadership, the people at last saw the La Demajagua come true.
The goals of independence and justice of the Cuban Revolution that started on 10 October 1868 were attainable in the first phase. To realize them there would have to be a national consensus, a Party to lead and integrate the political and military struggle and a fighting strategy to be spread throughout the entire island. These objectives would be later achieved with Marti’s indefatigable genius and work.
But the Apostle’s work would have never been possible without the Ten Years’ War, because it was that War that forged our nationality, radically transformed the colonial society and turned the exploited masses into the propagandists of their history.
Before 10 October 1868 there was different criteria as to the time to commence the war, and from that moment on, up until April 1869, there were diverging ideas as to the strategy to be followed and the organization of a revolutionary power, they’re being two main centers in Oriente and Camagüey, two leaderships, two armies in the event two wives. It is true that that Guámimaro they discussed deeply; they surely had to discuss passionately because they were trying to design the Homeland into the find a way to get there. But most important of all is that, with everybody’s concord, Guámimaro produced only one Revolutionary Government, with only one program, only one Army had only one flag. At Guámimaro prevailed, above all, the sense of the indispensable unity, the common will to set aside the differences and to add up everyone’s energies for the common battle.
Céspedes and Ignacio Agramonte, the main chiefs of that period, were symbols of the two initial notions regarding no revolutionary power’s organization which were ex needs some worry. But after his thesis triumphed Guámimaro, Agramonte himself would criticize, amid his brilliant military campaign, the House’s interference with the condition of the war and would claim for the indispensable sing single command to lead it. On 14 January 1871, after stating that there were “contradictory opinions but no divisions war concessions”, the celebrated Camagueyan added “I am one of those who think it most and necessary to replace the officials for delaying the expeditious and energetic advance of our military operations… “ There up use plenty of evidence that as they advanced in the war, all relationship of mutual understanding was growing between Céspedes and Agramonte. In the Homeland’s Father’s epistolary there was proof of his happiness in this regard and he dedicated words of admiration and affection to Agramonte.
Just as Fidel had explained, should Agramonte have been alive, he would have opposed and probably prevented Céspedes from being disposed by the House of Representatives. The historical truth is that when he fell in Jimaguayú, the Homeland’s Father lost a decisive support, the most eminent disciple, he who should be his successor.
The 1898 Imperialists you search and frustrated the movement initiated here 30 years before. The two possession of the country and its resources, planned to correct and US-client regimes that exploited and divided the people. In that base Republic remaining the colonial society’s worst vices. There was no hold tight servitude of millions of Cubans suffered capitalist slavery and along with it, misery, helplessness, racism end radical discrimination.
There were six decades of ignominy, radical negation of the 1868 ideals. That republic was the opposite of La Demajagua; it had nothing to do with Céspedes an Agramonte’s dreams for wit that heroism, the sacrifices in the light should buy hundreds of thousands of Cubans over three decades.
Today’s youth, who learned to love and respect are glorious founding fathers, will find it difficult to imagine that it was not always like this. Under the Yankee domination regime, they tried to steal their memories from the public, your history was distorted, they tried to dissolve into forgetfulness the example of their heroes in the lessons of their struggle.
The neo-colony and its masters were specially in place a ball with Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Since that regime was the most opposite to patriotism, they had to make sure of the Homeland Father’s eternal death, have him completely disappeared from history, for forever buried his message.
There you have all the data in archives and libraries. Céspedes is thought, his political documents, his ample correspondence, his literary work was more publicized over the 30 years of war than after the date the intervention. Over 60 years in the so-called Republic of Cuba use only published, together with works by other offers, a tiny portion of his political work in one book for circulation appeared in 1938 under the title Breve Antologia del 10 de Octubre (Brief Anthology of 10 October). On Céspedes, over sixty years, were published 3 books, 3 booklets and 24 newspaper articles, not always fair to him.
Numberless were, however, the biographies, studies and tax of former annexationists and autonomists that came out of Cuban printing shops during the same period.
Also, to those characters were dedicated statues and monuments, and streets and squares were named after them.
But not to Céspedes. It is true that Manzanillo zealously took care of the Bell and the Bayamo and Santiago, witnesses of his immolation, mark some places with his glorious name. But the rulers of the time, for sixty years, did not pay any tribute to his memory, outside his tomb.
It is good that our young thing about it. It illustrates on the meaning of our said terry and struggle in our single revolution, the one initiated by the man who the enemies of the homeland wants to destroy and disappear. It also reminds us of how he continued to fight even after he fell in San Lorenzo.
He who always foresaw his death before the triumph and had warned us that he would come out of his two as many times as necessary to our minds Cubans of their duties for the homeland, continue to call on the young and the two patriots to retake the La Demajagua road.
This is why his first monument in Havana, a humble plaster bust, was built and put at the entrance of Vibora’s Secondary Education iIstitute in 1949, paid for by his teachers, students and workers, penny upon penny. This is why in 1947 Fidel Castro and the University Students’ Federation took the glorious bell to the university campus and rescued it from political maneuverings they denounced of a memorable acts in the capital and in Manzanillo. This is why, in 1956 Emilo Roig, exemplary teacher, took that autocrat king from the seat where he was still honored by the spurious republic and replaced him with the Homeland’s founder.
Only after 1959, when the Revolution that he initiated triumphed, his work and thought was finally rescued and extensively spread. Today, for the Cuban people his exemplary life and his ideas are they in the spring where the pure water of patriotism and the virtues and value of Cubanness always flow.
In this same place, thirty years ago, our Commander- in-Chief gave an essential speech. He defined our history’s greatest truth, one so many have tried to hide in various ways: that there has only been one Revolution in Cuba, the one undertaken by Céspedes on 10 October. Fidel summed up the insoluble continuity of our historic process with this admirable phrase: “We, then, would have been like them. They, today, would have been like us”.
Being like them, today, when the threatened homeland is faced with powerful enemies, just like then, when we have to face fifth up the dangers of confusion and overseas fostered hesitations, means, first and foremost, to revive the La Demajagua message and to turn it into a way out of behavior, into a guidance for the present revolutionary action.
Unyielding defense of the Homeland’s absolute independence, without concessions of eight times that might damage our national dignity; true unity, real, intimate among all Cubans, and the elimination of every trace of discrimination or prejudice that may separate us; indefatigable struggle for equality and solitary amongst people, founded upon the ethics of sacrifice, abnegation and virtue.
This is the legacy left us by our common Father, the founder, the internal President of the Homeland.
He who told us that “those were not willing to sacrifice everything, everything for the freedom of the homeland are not revolutionaries”, their rich planter and gave up his wealth and laid down all his personal to rate for the revolutionary cause. He was sacrificed his family and promised to leave them with “an inheritance lacking in money but plentiful of civic virtues”, they enlightened man, the poet, that until the eve of his death was teaching to read and write with rude instruments that he would bring out of the woods; the Manzanillo and Bayamo Symphonic Orchestra organizer who in his last refuge in the Sierra Maestra admired the dances that former servants rehearsed for him; he who called the black man brother in the worker comrade; he who was unyielding loyal to the Revolution despite the injustice, abandonment and ingratitude he suffered; he who fought to the last minute, completely by himself, almost blind and surrendered by enemy soldiers.
At this time when they are trying to take the sentiments of justice out of men’s hearts, in a world where selfishness and greed are trying to be imposed, the Cuban Revolution continues to be our people’s only road and carries indispensable values for humanity. In the middle of the war, Céspedes drew a clear line between Cuba and colonialism, and outlined that insurmountable line that separates us today, even more clearly, from the imperialist. The enemy “fights to sustain slavery of the black, to spread obscurantism, to perpetuate iniquity; the Cuban patriots fight for all men’s freedom, for the triumph of justice, for the enthroning of civilization; out go the greed, the ignominy, the night, here come the reason, the truth, the light”.
Today’s and tomorrow’s Cubans will continue to defend the Homeland founded here, the Revolution started on 10 October, our Socialism that and this sacred land took its strongest roots. We will continue to fight ever on to victory.
Long live free Cuba!
Independence or Death!
SCANNED FROM 1998 PAMPHLET in 2018.
“Printed by the printing section of the
National Assembly of People’s Power”
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It is necessary to explain to the students the reason for things, their meaning and importance, and to do it with solid arguments, so that they know why they should attend the activities or be part of the processes or movements that the University Student Federation (FEU) has.
This was reiterated countless times during the 9th Congress of the organization at the Universidad Tecnológica de La Habana José Antonio Echeverría (Cujae).
As Felipe Alejandro Pérez, a student at the School of Automatics and Biomedicine, explained, apathy must be banished, increasing participation. And that can only be achieved by “infecting young people with the desire to do, with perseverance and personal example, having brigade leaders who motivate, convince, take on any sacrifice and strip themselves of inertia and formalism,” he said.
There were not a few participants who, like this young man, alluded to the fact that many times in the brigade, in the department and even in the university, activities are organized or certain tasks are called for and only three or four cats go, as they say in good Cuban. Faced with this reality, the student said, we have to better organize our processes.
In the same vein, Danhiz Díaz Pereira, president of the FEU in Cujae, stressed that the brigade is the essential cell of the organization and “in all our actions it has to be the most effective”. She added that the commitment of the members of the Federation is to make it more like them, through conscious and real participation in all processes.
Another topic of analysis was the Educating for Love initiative. It has been involving university students in alleviating teacher shortages in a number of provinces for several years. Yeslaisy Grandales Ferrales, a student at the Department of Mechanics, referred to this task as the most humane, far-reaching and socially-influential one in which she has participated, which means educating the new generations.
Olga Lidia Tapia Iglesias, a member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, said that this task of impact, like others carried out by the FEU, demonstrates her concrete contribution to the economic and social development of the country. “Every day, she stressed, we have to think about how to become more useful, how to continue training a competent professional, who carries feelings, values and principles in keeping with the Revolution.
Not a few agreements emerged from the discussion: to promote university-industry relations that make it possible to train students in their skills. To propose to the departments that they hold a workshop on job placement, to analyze the need for the years in which the student is an assistant to be counted as seniority in the teaching category process and to strengthen other aspects of political-ideological work with new communication codes.
At the end of the meeting, Raúl Alejandro Palmero, president of the FEU, called on the students to act with the example and commitment of José Antonio Echeverría, and above all, to participate, because where it is not possible for the young person to get involved, share and motivate himself, the FEU loses its meaning, while if the opposite is achieved, the organisation becomes green.
“These are times to have a living Federation, which will continue to represent its members and do for the country,” he said.
“Four cats” is a Cuban slang expression used when only a few people or none show up for an organized event. I’ve no idea what significance, if any, the number “four” has in this context.
July 11, 2018 10:07:14
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The International Relations Secretary of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), Jacinto Suárez, reaffirmed today in Havana the invariable will of the Nicaraguan government to preserve peace in that nation.
According to Prensa Latina, Suárez rejected the wave of violence unleashed in the Central American country last April and insisted on an end to crime, encouraged, he said, by political manipulation by the right.
The Nicaraguan leader, who will participate as a delegate to the 24th Sao Paulo Forum in this capital city, ratified the call for dialogue as a way to restore peace to the nation’s citizens, and deplored the vandalism of groups described as terrorists whose aim is to spread chaos and terror in the country.
“The destruction they have caused is not easily replaced and the loss of human life is irreparable. It is necessary to resort to peaceful means,” he said after recalling the achievements of the past 10 years in areas such as the economy, health, education and the fight against poverty.
Also president of the International Relations and Integration Commission of the National Assembly of Nicaragua, Suarez warned that the destabilizing actions of the last three months respond to a soft coup orchestrated from abroad, similar to that applied in Venezuela, which seeks the resignation of the president, Daniel Ortega, and foreign intervention.
In addition, he explained that the students who participated in the first riots were manipulated by the right-wing, and assured that the promoters of such actions are not political activists, but criminals.
Suárez, who joined the FSLN in its struggle as a teenager, also referred to what happened on Monday in the department of Carazo, where residents denounced the complicity between the Catholic Church and criminal groups during a visit by the Episcopal Conference to the Basilica Menor de San Sebastián in the municipality of Diriamba.
In this regard, he said that the citizens repudiated the alleged use of the temples as a den for criminals, torture centers and weapons storage.
He also criticised the Conference’s bias in the national dialogue between the representative of the Executive and opposition sectors.
The escalation of violence erupted on April 18 against government social security reforms, which although later repealed did not stop the protests, to which other political demands were added.
These reforms, in line with allegations, served as a pretext to implement a plan aimed at destabilizing the nation and overthrowing the Sandinista government, which reiterates its commitment to the defense of peace, security and the right to life of all citizens.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The recent easing of tensions between North and South Korea, two countries that are still technically at war, has given new life to the debate on the unification of the two countries, which have been divided and confronted since the 1950s.
In my opinion, the most favored part of the development of the events that led to the meeting of the leaders of the two Koreas was South Korea!
The extensive and intense military presence of the United States in the south of the Korean peninsula has always been the main obstacle to the reunification efforts of the Korean nation.
Thus, the only net loser at the end of these events has been Washington, which has seen its absolute empire on the southern part of the Korean peninsula threatened.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has never given in to Washington’s demands. The South has always lacked sufficient autonomy to assert its interests and rights as a formally independent nation, due to the control exercised by the United States over its defenses and war resources.
This is understood by many observers who believe that Seoul derives the greatest benefits from the events that are taking place because they contribute to the collapse of the pretexts for maintaining the semi-colonial status of South Korea. These are invariably based on the supposed danger that North Korea, a socialist country, will absorb the entire peninsula and, with its independence, benefit the left in the world balance of power.
The North Korean authorities’ demonstration of absolute autonomy and total dominance of sovereignty over their territory, before and during the negotiations with Seoul and the United States, refutes the repeated and absurd accusations by the United States in the Western media that the Pyongyang government is a puppet of Moscow or Beijing.
On the other hand, what the most objective observers wondered was the extent to which the Seoul government could act with the minimum degree of autonomy necessary to take decisions that would make viable, or at least accompany, the profound changes that would result from the rapprochement with Pyongyang in its external relations, which had been so subordinate to those of the United States.
Although the hope of lasting peace is a win-win situation for all parties involved, the most significant change in regional policy so far seems to be the one that affects the characteristics of South Korea’s submission to the US strategy of maintaining the status of two countries at war, betting on an eventual reunification forced by the weapons it leaves to the united Korea, but within Washington’s sphere of control.
When the North Korean Communist leader, Kim Jong Un, and the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, made a commitment to work for the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula on April 27 at the House of Peace in Panmunjom, inside the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries, they were smiling and shaking hands. At that moment, the brains of the State Department and the Pentagon were plotting how to restructure the imperialist strategy for the region, to make it compatible with the style of its unpredictable President Trump and his team of hawks, almost all as ignorant as its chief in international politics and diplomacy.
Both Koreas announced that they will work with the US and China to reach an agreement soon for a “permanent” and “strong” peace that will officially end the Korean War, which has lasted from the 1950s to the present with only a single ceasefire in 1953.
They promised to work for an agreement for the progressive reduction of military weapons, to cease hostile acts, to transform their fortified border into a zone of peace and to seek multilateral talks with other countries, in an obvious but omitted reference to the United States, whose military forces are still widely deployed in South Korea.
Kim was the first North Korean leader since the 1950-1953 war to visit South Korea. The scenes of Moon and Kim walking together smilingly contrasted sharply with the tensions generated the previous year by the joint South Korean-U.S. military games and, in response, North Korea’s missile tests and its largest nuclear test, which led to the usual U.S. sanctions and increased fears of a new war on the Peninsula.
Humanity expected a lot from the handshake between the two Korean leaders on the concrete strip that marks the border between the two countries in the demilitarized zone. Unfortunately, the most recent visit by Vice President Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang indicates that Washington plans to make mischief.
July 9, 2018.