In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The high-level session of the IX Summit of the Americas begins tomorrow in Los Angeles, California. The United States is once again hosting the conclave, after the first one in Miami in 1994. But hosting has been a bit too big for them, because for “their Summit” they not only took too long to send out invitations or to tangle organizational issues, but instead of focusing on discussing the real problems affecting the region with all those involved, they decided to put on the veil of “democracy” to exclude and, as a consequence, several leaders informed their disagreement with the decision, or announced that they would simply not participate.
On the other side will be the Summit of the Peoples and for Democracy, which will begin on the same day. But this one has not counted on the consent and good will of the US government, nor will it be held in large halls like the Summit of the Americas. On the contrary, last Friday, a group of ultra-right-wingers broke into one of the premises where the event is being coordinated, with the aim of occupying the space through the use of violence.
“For an hour we were defending our space, in the middle of that the police arrived, and instead of preventing what they were doing, they only observed and did not intervene in any way. What’s more, they prevented us from removing these extreme right-wing activists,” Manolo de los Santos, co-director of The People’s Forum, one of the U.S. organizations in charge of preparing the People’s Summit, told Granma in an exclusive interview.
He said that the attack was not only against their space, “but also against what it symbolizes, which are the socialist ideas, the work with the communities and the workers’ struggles”.
De los Santos told our newspaper that the organizational team continues with their minds and morale high, that they have received signs of solidarity from different parts of the world. “This type of attack is a phenomenon that the left has to face today,” he denounced.
Regarding the Summit of the Peoples and for Democracy, he explained that there are already more than 225 groups that will attend to interact in the official program, which includes panels and cultural activities.
“We are very motivated because we have already confirmed the presence of more than a thousand people, while many more are expected to participate in the demonstration on June 10, which we have called the March against the Exclusion Summit.” It is important to remember that this mobilization will take place after much negotiation with the Federal Government in Los Angeles, which, at first, denied permission.
He pointed out that, under the political umbrella of the Summit, other actions will take place in the city, related to the defense of the Amazon, in favor of Cuba and Venezuela, the right to housing and for [the rights of] immigrants.
“The important thing for us in this process of organizing the People’s Summit is to break with these policies of exclusion, to achieve greater social cohesion of popular movements, trade unions and the peoples who are in struggle in our continent,” said Manolo de los Santos.
This is an event that, despite the diversity of ideas, tries to raise as many voices as possible, without exclusions based on political interests; that is the difference between one Summit and the other.
Posted: Saturday 04 June 2022 | 10:12:56 pm. Updated: Saturday 04 June 2022 | 11:27:41 pm.
Marina Menéndez Quintero | email@example.com
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Despite the fact that they have been denied permission to march on June 10 through the streets of the city of Los Angeles, the People’s Summit 2022, which, as every year since 2005, is held parallel to the misnamed Summit of the Americas, will demonstrate on that day.
The confirmation was given by Manolo de los Santos, coordinator of the event, when asked by Juventud Rebelde. But the question was just the newspaper’s excuse to extend in a dialogue via whatsApp, to ask the also co-director of the People’s Forum organization and a member of the International Assembly of the Peoples, his vision about that refusal. The importance of an appointment that is held, he said, “at a key moment”, as well as the reasons on which the decision to hold the march is based despite everything, among other issues related to the exclusionary Summit of the Americas that, in his criteria and that of many, is already a failure.
“We decided -and we have already told the Police Department and we have asked them to communicate it to the federal government- that we, with or without permission, are going to march in the city of Los Angeles; not only because it is our democratic right, but also because it has been many years of struggle, and what we come to express are not only complaints but demands, demands that our peoples of the entire continent have against this exclusionary Summit,” he said in reference to the presidential meeting.
De los Santos spelled out the details of the refusal that comes after a semester of preparation for the Peoples’ Summit and “exactly three months” after the organizers requested permission to mobilize in the city.
“We asked the Los Angeles Police Department for it and we were confident that the democratic and legal process here in the United States was going to guarantee our right to free expression.
“We had been waiting for months for a response, until last week, finally, they informed us that the federal government and the Secret Service had not yet authorized that march and that, therefore, they could not give us the permit.”
“We have denounced it,” said the social activist, who considered that “this Summit of the Americas, which already has a character that excludes progressive countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, is also excluding the peoples, and the same people who reside in this city, who are living a very strong economic and social crisis.
“On top of that, to say that this Summit of the Americas, which is not democratic for all the countries of the Americas, is also not democratic for the peoples who want to express and make their voices and their points of view visible, is too much,” he asserted.
Asked about the central motivations of this meeting of the peoples, De los Santos said that much has changed in our continent since the initial Peoples’ Summit of 2005, in Mar del Plata.
“On the one hand, we lived through a period of great growth of popular forces, of leftist forces; many popular governments came to power. But we have also seen a great period of counterrevolution, we have seen a period of coups, military interventions, of trials against progressive presidents.
“In other words, the U.S. Government has not ceased to lash out against leftist and popular processes in our continent, and I believe that when we arrive at this Peoples’ Summit in 2022, we do so at a time when the U.S. Government has not ceased to maintain that policy of aggression against Latin America and the Caribbean.
“On the contrary, it has deepened it, and it has done so despite the fact that President Joe Biden, in his campaign, had spoken of turning a new page in the history of relations between the region and the United States.”
Rejection of exclusion
The young social activist of Dominican origin also denounced the Biden administration’s attempt to divide Latin Americans; “to decide which Latin Americans are the “good” and which are the “bad” ones, “based on which political, social and economic systems we have decided to carry out.”
“That is why this Summit comes at a key moment. It is a real battle of ideas that is taking place in Los Angeles. And I think there is already a recognition, even within American society itself, that Biden and his Summit have been a failure, before they even started. Because the consensus that they assumed they had in Latin America in their favor does not exist,” he said.
The social activist also valued as very important “the massive rejection, not only of other presidents and heads of state, I believe that of the society and the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean”, to the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas.
“I believe that this has also been dismantling the idea that the United States had consensus in the region and that it could continue to impose its decisions.”
“We have even seen the fragmentation of certain U.S. alliances in the region. Therefore, I believe that this Summit of the Americas will mark a before and after in the relations between the United States and Latin America.
“They will have to realize now that they can no longer maintain the same relationships. That our peoples have the impetus to be free, to be sovereign, to be independent above all else, and that our own integration fronts will have to emerge and be strengthened. And that we, the people in the United States, who identify very much with these causes, want to be part of this integration process”.
Manolo de los Santos affirmed that, for this reason, “the People’s Summit will be a reflection of all the struggles that are taking place in our continent; of the voices of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, which they have wanted so much to exclude, but which will be present, anyway, in Los Angeles.
“Our banners of struggle, the battle for sovereignty, for independence; the struggle for agrarian reform, for quality education for all; the struggle for a health system, to eliminate the “apartheid” of vaccines (anti-COVID-19), all of that will be present at the People’s Summit, and not only by the panelists from all over the continent who will be sharing with us but also in the struggles and political mobilization that will take place.”
Regarding Washington’s refusal to grant visas to the members of the Cuban delegation that would attend the Peoples’ Summit, De los Santos confessed that “to be honest, we were very upset with the denial of visas, precisely when we know that the U.S. government is inviting reactionary figures.
“They denied the possibility of a dialogue with the American people; they were afraid of the presence of the delegation of dignified Cubans who, beyond politics, beyond ideology, were going to talk about concrete and material achievements of their peoples, they were going to talk about everything possible that the Cuban Revolution is doing in these times, not only to improve the quality of life of its own people, but to help the rest of humanity.
“We were left without that live presence, but, in any case, Cuba will be present at the Peoples’ Summit; it will be participating through digital means, and I believe that no matter how much they want to block relations between peoples, we insist that Cuba is not our enemy, Cuba is a friend of humanity, and we have the right to accompany it and walk together with it in this great struggle for humanity.”
A Summit by and for the peoples
MORE than 200 organizations, trade unions and social movements have confirmed their attendance to the meeting, to be held in the U.S. city of Los Angeles under the banner of A Summit by and for the peoples, on June 8, 9 and 10, “to counteract the 9th Summit of the Americas (…)”, announces the call to protest.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Prelude to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, United States, at the end of the first weekend of June, the meeting continues to suffer from a “strange” silence on the part of its hosts and, except for a last-minute invitation to the President of the Spanish government to attend as Joe Biden’s guest -is it that Spain is in America?-, little is known about the subject.
The invitation from across the seas is focused on the issue of migrants. I am not very convinced that Biden’s power of persuasion can involve a country in this issue that continues to lead the European Union in unemployment, with a rate of 13.3%.
The U.S. administration hopes that Spain will agree to double or triple the number of temporary workers from Central America, according to Axios.
Regarding the participation of the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO], it was reported that the U.S. President wishes his Mexican counterpart to accompany him in person at the meeting.
López Obrador has stated that, if Washington does not invite all the countries of the Americas to the Summit, he would not cancel his nation’s participation in the event, but would send his representative, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Also in the last few days, especially in the South Florida press, some Miami-based anti-Cuba hate-mongers have begun to appear, announcing their attendance at the Summit. The publications do not explain whether they are part of the so-called civil society, knowing that they are counter-revolutionaries of Cuban origin.
The rest of this poorly made movie has been put in the hands of the media related to its organizers so that they can “make a fuss” about the ups and downs and manipulations of the hosts, which are not at all transparent.
For the Spanish newspaper El País, the city is “the misery capital of the United States”, and argues that the number of “homeless” people there has increased by 23% in one year, and details that three out of four homeless people do not have a bed in any shelter or temporary solution.
Across the United States, there are 553,000 people sleeping on the streets.
According to the RT website, the “hidden face” of Los Angeles is its poverty rate. It is estimated that there are about 66,433 homeless people in the city, and the African-American population continues to be the hardest hit by this scourge, if one compares the proportion of 33.7% with the total population, since this community only represents 7.9% [of the whole].
ATTACK AGAINST THE PEOPLE`S FORUM REJECTED
The attacks against the headquarters of The People’s Forum, in New York City, have been rejected by institutions and social movements that warn of the action of right-wing groups in the United States, with the support of the police.
“From Casa de las Americas we send all our support and solidarity to the members of The People’s Forum (TPF), whose headquarters in New York City has been the object of an illegal attack by reactionary forces of the extreme right”, a communiqué from this institution states.
According to Prensa Latina reports, more than a dozen New York Police Department agents entered TPF without being invited and acted as security for the extreme right-wing, which carried out the illegal attack.
The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) expressed its strong rejection of the aggression against the organization.
It is noteworthy that this attack takes place when many TPF staff and leadership members are in Los Angeles organizing the People’s Summit for Democracy, ICAP stressed.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
American cinema, which for more than a hundred years glorified the law of the gun, has been forced to dress up to deal with the massacres that have occurred in the schools of that country. But analysis and warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and not precisely because of artistic ineffectiveness.
Michael Moore sank the scalpel in his memorable documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002), acclaimed all over the world, and which would become a cultural reference for the nation based on shattering evidence: the link between the American people and firearms irremediably engendered acts of irrational violence.
The statistics offered by the filmmaker were shocking: 11,000 fatalities by firearms in one year. Today, when Bowling for Columbine is celebrating its 20th anniversary, one cannot help but be disturbed by the fact that, from the beginning of 2022 until the recent massacre in a school in Texas, five months ago, 17,202 people have died in the United States for the same reasons.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, since January of this year, there have been 213 “mass” shootings and ten “mass murders”.
Michael Moore did not hesitate to warn and predict the future in a documentary film about the 1999 massacre perpetrated by two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, a region where 5,000 employees of the Lockheed arms company lived. “And if fathers make missiles,” the filmmaker brought out his proverbial irony, “it is not strange that sons wield shotguns”. And, unstoppable in his mordacity, he made public that a local bank was awarding an assault rifle to anyone who opened a new account.
Relating the culture of violence to the prevailing culture of fear in his country, Michael Moore embarked on a journey of inquiry that led him to interview actor Charlton Heston, [then] president of the National Rifle Association and symbol par excellence of the praises sung by Hollywood to the use of guns. It was an interview that revealed hypocrisy, especially when Heston was filmed speaking at a gun rally near a town where a six-year-old girl had recently been murdered by a schoolmate.
Numerous films have been made on the subject of killings in schools and other places, highlighting the ease with which murderers have access to high-powered firearms. Among them stand out Elephant (2003), by Gus Van Sant, awarded at Cannes and also inspired -in documentary and fiction key- by the events of Columbine; Let’s talk about Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011) and Rudderless, (William H. Macy, 2014).
There is a long list of films that deal with topics related to the criminal event, such as harassment, racial and religious discrimination, social inequalities, xenophobia, social networks, video games, movies that ponder violence and the possible mental illnesses of the perpetrators, triggered or influenced, not infrequently, by all of the above. (Remember the massacre of 12 people in a Denver movie theater in 2012, during the premiere of a Batman film. When the police arrested the killer, a young man of 24, he identified himself: “I am The Joker”).
Judging by the legitimate expressions of pain, but also of helplessness, heard recently from U.S. leaders regarding the inability to reverse the current situation of many guns in the hands of those who claim the right to own them (as if the guns were toys), it is to be assumed, with horror, that new films about killings will have to continue to be made, or, in other words, art will once again be disqualified in the face of deafness.
Published: Sunday 29 May 2022 | 12:05:15 am.
Juana Carrasco Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Tuesday’s devastating mass shooting in Uvalde – a small Texas town where the victims were 19 students between the ages of seven and 10 and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, where the majority of the student body is Latino and poor like the perpetrator himself – put the spotlight on this weekend’s National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas.
The pro-gun lobbying group’s convention was being held starting Friday some 300 miles from the scene of the tragedy, and that day would feature appearances by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump, all Republicans.
The NRA has successfully “lobbied” Republican members of Congress – to many of whom it contributes juicy donations during their election campaigns, as it does to more than a few Democrats – to reject any bill that would restrict access to guns, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and also to reject a bill that would apply background checks to all gun sales.
Texas is an excellent supporter of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and last year passed a law allowing people to carry handguns without a permit or training in their use.
On Thursday – as the family of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed in Uvalde, announced that the teacher’s husband of 25 years and father of her four children, had died of a heart attack as a result of the tragedy – Senate Republicans blocked the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
The legislation would have created an interagency task force within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to analyze and combat the infiltration of white supremacists into the military and federal law enforcement agencies.
It was an attempt to respond to an earlier shooting, just ten days before the one in Texas, at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that left ten people dead, most of them Black, and was perpetrated by a young white, racist, right-wing extremist, tragic event that was described by President Joe Biden as an act of terrorism that should no longer be allowed.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader, New York lawmaker Charles Schumer, said before the vote, “The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We have to call it what it is, domestic terrorism. It was terrorism that fed on the poison of conspiracy theories like the white replacement theory,” and he saw it as an opportunity to curb gun violence, but his call for Republican support to begin debate failed.
A clear political dividing line put those of the political parties above the interest of safeguarding a society. Not a single Republican said yes to the measure, arguing that it would open a door to inappropriate oversight of political groups and create a double standard for groups on the extreme right and left of the political spectrum.
Some of those men, supposedly public servants, called it an “insult” to police officers, and labeled it a plan by Democrats to “name our police as white supremacists and neo-Nazis.”
It is obvious to recall the degree of impunity that police brutality has generally enjoyed, one of the most serious, enduring and controversial human rights violations in the United States as confirmed by human rights organizations, a national and institutionalized problem, expressed in unjustified shootings, severe beatings, lethal chokeholds during arrests, and other unnecessarily harsh physical treatment, where the victims are generally Blacks and Latinos.
Autor: Pedro de la Hoz | email@example.com
May 18, 2022 19:05:15 PM
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Renowned essayist, political scientist and professor Esteban Morales Domínguez died Wednesday at the age of 79, victim of a heart attack.
Through Twitter, the First Secretary of the Party Central Committee and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, wrote about the intellectual:
“The surprise death of Esteban Morales pains us. We will miss his intelligent, incisive and committed assessment of the problems of our time. My condolences to his family, friends and the Cuban intelligentsia, which he gave prestige to with his work”.
A member of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and of the José Antonio Aponte Commission, in whose bosom he developed an intense work, he bequeathed important written work in the field of the study of the links between Cuba and the United States.
Among the most significant titles in this field are Cuba-United States Relations: A Critical History and From Confrontation to Attempts at Normalization: U.S. Policy Toward Cuba, the latter in collaboration with essayist Elier Ramirez.
In another sphere, one of his books of greatest impact was Desafíos de la problemática racial en Cuba, published in 2007 by the Fernando Ortiz Foundation.
Morales’ intellectual career was linked to the University of Havana, where he was initially trained as an economist, devoted himself to teaching, and served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and founding director of the Center for Studies on the United States.
May 16, 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Prominent journalist and diplomat Manuel Yepe Menéndez passed away this Monday in Havana, after several days of fighting for his life.
Yepe, a renowned columnist for many Cuban and foreign media outlets, was born in 1936 and since 1954 he was an insurrectionary fighter in Havana as a member of the Youth Brigades of the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) at the University of Havana.
He worked in the reproduction and distribution of the defense plea of Fidel Castro as the main accused for the assaults to the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in Bayamo. Between April and July 1958 he edited the clandestine magazine of the M-26-7 called ACCIÓN, which was published weekly in Havana and identified itself as the Organ of the Cuban Youth. When the Revolution triumphed, he was vice provincial coordinator and responsible for the propaganda of the M-26-7 in the province of Matanzas.
With a degree in Law, Economics and Social Sciences, he served as Protocol Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cuban Ambassador to Romania, General Director of the Prensa Latina news agency, Vice President of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, Director of the Guerrillero de Pinar del Río newspaper, National Director of the UNDP TIPS project and member of the Secretariat of the Cuban Movement for Peace.
He defined himself as “a Cuban revolutionary in the ranks” and “one of the many Fidelistas who participated in the Revolution in the second line and gave his life to that beautiful political project”.
Yepe was a member of the Union of Cuban Journalists. The condolences of the national presidency of UPEC go out to his family and friends.
(With information from Cubaperiodistas.)
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A strong condemnation, on behalf of Cuba, against the cruel and inhumane behavior of Israeli forces during the burial of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, recently murdered, was posted on Twitter by Cuban Politburo member and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
“We reaffirm our invariable solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause,” said the Foreign Minister, who described as “cowardly” the murder of the Al Jazeera reporter, by Israeli forces.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres also criticized what happened at the funeral. Guterres said, through a spokesman, he was “deeply disturbed by the clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians gathered at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, and by the behavior of some police officers”.
Our strongest condemnation of the cruel and inhuman behavior of the Israeli forces during the burial of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause.
By Domingo Amuchastegui
May 5, 2022
Received by email from the author
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
After May Day in Cuba, it is convenient to point out some very important issues.
Following the social outburst of July 11, 2021 originated by the sustained intolerance and gross negligence in the management of the Party-State, the effects of the economic war applied by the Trump administration (maintained until today by the Biden administration) and the devastating consequences of two years of pandemic, the image of stability and legitimacy of the experience of the Cuban Revolution suffered its most important setback after several episodes of negative signs that pointed in that direction (Mariel, Maleconazo and Balseros in the first place). There was an abundance of critical judgments and attacks on the police violence deployed, the trials of those arrested and the sentences handed down.
The worst prognoses abounded and more than a few doubted the capacity of the Party-State to reestablish its stability and legitimacy. Many questioned its ability to rally broad masses of the population behind it and whether it would be able to masses of the population and whether it would be able to do so on May Day, the effects of the pandemic attenuated.
The mass turnout that the Cuban leadership was able to mobilize on this May Day both in the capital of the country and in all the provincial capitals. There were not thousands or tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands throughout the country. Carried? Obliged? Only unconditional supporters of the “regime?
Such formulations fall more than short. This mass demonstration, of the broadest popular sectors, overthrer the worst prognoses, neutralized the worst forecasts, neutralizee to a considerable extent the negative effects of 11J [July 11], to a large extent restored the image of stability and legitimacy. Of course, none of this in any way diminishes the tensions and grievances existing today in Cuban society. Instead of congratulating the Cuban leaders for the success of the mobilization, what happened on May Day should summon them with more urgency and comprehensiveness to the reforms and solutions that the whole country has been demanding.
To attend or not? The Summit of the Americas to be held in early June in the U.S. presents a serious problem created by the Biden administration. As organizers of the event, Washington is determined to exclude three countries: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Biden seeks a disciplined and obedient conference, without voices that raise problems and positions discordant with his administration’s objectives on many issues. There is no desire to hear arguments against the embargo (blockade) or the hemispheric and international legitimacy of these countries and other hot-button issues such as migration, trade and investment and the hypothesis of a single currency for South America and the Caribbean.
The worst-case scenario in terms of confrontation would be the case of Cuba, excluded for many years, but whose admission has been was recognized by the Obama administration (of which Biden himself was the vice-president and not even questioned by the Trump administration. So why are Biden and his team taking this position? Perhaps with the delusional idea of winning the Cuban and Latino vote in Florida, and thus securing his impossible re-election?
Recently, Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador has emphasized a cardinal reasoning with respect to this possible exclusion: “If they are not (countries) of the Americas, what galaxy are they from?” The trajectories of brutal repression and political assassinations in not a few countries of the hemisphere in recent years would seem to be no reason to exclude them. Then there is the wave of electoral victories of forces described as “leftist” and of stability and legitimacy, although none of this in any way diminishes the tensions and grievances existing today in Cuban society. Instead of congratulating the Cuban leaders for the success of the mobilization, what happened on May Day should summon them with more urgency and urgency and comprehensiveness to the reforms and solutions that the whole country has been demanding.
To attend or not? The Summit of the Americas to be held in early June in the U.S. presents a serious problem created by the Biden administration. As organizers, Washington is determined to exclude three countries: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Biden seeks a disciplined and obedient conference, without voices that raise problems and positions out of sync with his administration’s objectives on many issues. There is no desire to hear arguments against the embargo (blockade) or the hemispheric and international legitimacy of these countries and other hot-button issues such as migration, trade and investment and the hypothesis of a single currency for South America and the Caribbean.
The worst-case scenario in terms of confrontation would be the case of Cuba, excluded for many years, but whose admission was recognized by the Obama administration (of which Biden himself was the vice-president) and not even questioned by the Trump administration. So why are Biden and his team taking this position? Perhaps with the delusional idea of winning the Cuban and Latino vote in Florida, and thus securing his impossible re-election?
Recently, Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador emphasized a cardinal reasoning with respect to this possible exclusion: “If they are not (countries) of the Americas, what galaxy are they from?” The trajectories of brutal repression and political assassinations in not a few countries of the hemisphere in recent years would seem to be no reason to exclude them, nor would the wave of electoral victories of forces of a left described as “leftist” and forces described as “pink” by many media and specialists, as well by specialists of a similar inclination, strengthen the growing of opposition to Biden’s policies and actions from the Mexican border to border from Mexico to Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.
With strength, the CELAC (Conference of Latin American and Caribbean States) and the Puebla Group (comprised of a major group of Latin American and Caribbean (made up of an important group of parties and personalities) have clearly pronounced themselves against against such exclusionary maneuvers. The three “bad guys” (Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua), for their part, have strongly denounced this US maneuver.
So what will the Biden administration do to ensure that this conference will represent the Americas as a whole, without exclusion or discrimination? We will soon see the consequences of such an action, which is totally inappropriate.
His political and intellectual stature, his modesty and honesty in all aspects, made him worthy of the admiration and respect of all his comrades and of his people, since the times of the people, from the times of the clandestine struggle against Batista’s tyranny, to the internal struggles to the internal struggles within the M-26-7 and the University of Havana, his enlightening speeches in the panels of the People’s University, in his long years in the his long years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), both as brilliant director as well as brilliant ambassador to the UN, vice-minister and minister. His presentations, his brilliant participation in negotiations and conflicts, were always brilliant until his his promotion to the Political Bureau and to the presidency of the National Assembly with the same trajectory.
The official media in Cuba (press, radio and TV) and even beyond (El País of Spain, Eurovision and others) highlighted his work. Spain, Eurovision and others) also highlighted the news of his death and of his political and diplomatic and of his political and diplomatic performance.
Undoubtedly, an extraordinary man. And if he was – as everyone acknowledges – one must ask why he was why he was inexplicably and abruptly removed from all his positions. No explanation was given to his people; to anyone. He disappeared from the public public scene and never again held a position in the Party or Government. Nothing. What cardinal sins did he incur to mistreat him in this way, almost at the end of his life? No one can explain it; no one can justify it. It remained as one more mystery at the highest levels of power. It is not the only case of of such unjustifiable behavior.
Let us hope that when Leopoldo Cintra Frías (former minister of the FAR and the officer with the most internationalist actions accomplished) or Abelardo Colomé Ibarra (Minister of the Interior) pass away. Ibarra (Minister of the Interior), both members of the Politburo, both Heroes of the Republic and both disappeared from the political scene without an explanation. In what monumental errors did they incur to become Non-Persons? Corruption, nepotism, disloyalty, political differences? Those who admired and respected them for decades deserve a valid explanation.
Por Domingo Amuchastegui
Pasado el Primero de Mayo en Cuba, conviene puntualizar algunas cuestiones de mucha importancia.
A raiz del estallido social del 11 de Julio del 2021 originado por la sostenida intolerancia y mayúsculas negligencias en la gestión del Partido-Estado, los efectos de la guerra económica aplicada por la administración Trump (mantenida hasta hoy por la administración Biden) y las consecuencias devastadoras de dos años de pandemia, la imagen de estabilidad y legitimidad de la experiencia de la Revolución Cubana sufrió su más importante revés después de varios episodios de signo negativo que apuntaban en esa dirección (Mariel, Maleconazo y Balseros en primer lugar). Abundaron los juicios críticos y ataques a la violencia policíaca desplegada, los juicios a los arrestados y a las condenas aplicadas.
Los peores pronósticos abundaban y no pocos dudaban de la capacidad del Partido-Estado para restablecer su estabilidad y legitimidad. Muchos se cuestionaban la capacidad del mismo para convocar en su apoyo a amplias masas de la población y si sería capaz de hacer esto el Primero de Mayo, atenuados los efectos de la pandemia.
El baño de masas del que fue capaz de articular la dirigencia cubana este Primero de Mayo tanto en la capital del país como en todas las cabeceras provinciales. No fueron miles o decenas de miles, sino cientos de miles a lo largo y ancho delpaís. ¿Acarreados? ¿Obligados? ¿Sólo incondicionales del “régimen?
Semejantes formulaciones se quedan más que cortas. La demostración de masas, de amplísimos sectores populares, echan por tierra los peores pronósticos, neutralizan en medida considerable los efectos negativos del 11J, en buena medida restablecen la imagen de estabilidad y legitimidad, aunque nada de esto en nada disminuye las tensiones y reclamos existentes hoy en la sociedad cubana. En lugar de congratularse los dirigentes cubano por el exitazo movilizativo, lo sucedido el Primero de Mayo debe convocarlos con mayor urgencia e integralidad a las reformas y soluciones que la totalidad del país viene reclamando.
¿Asistir o no? La Cumbre de las Américas a celebrarse a comienzos de junio en EEUU presenta un serio problema creado por la administración Biden. Como organizadores de la misma, Washington se empeña en excluir de la misma a tres países: Cuba, Venezuela y Nicaragua. Biden busca una conferencia disciplinada y obediente, sin voces que planteen problemas y posiciones discordantes con los objetivos de su administración con respecto a no pocos temas cruciales. No se desea escuchar argumentos contra el embargo (bloqueo) o la legitimidad hemisférica e internacional de estos países y otros temas candentes como las migraciones, comercio e inversiones y la hipótesis de una moneda única para Suramérica y el Caribe.
El peor de los casos en materia de confrontación sería el caso de Cuba, excluída durante largos años, pero reconocida su admisión por la administración Obama (de la cual era vicepresidente el mismísimo Biden) y no cuestionada ni siquiera por la administración Trump. Entonces, ¿por qué Biden y su equipo asumen esta posición? ¿Tal vez con la ilusa idea de ganar el voto cubano y latino de la Florida y con ello asegurarse su imposible reelección?
Recientemente, el presidente de México, López Obrador, ha enfatizado un razonamiento cardinal con respecto a esta posible exclusión: “Si no son (países) de las Américas, ¿de qué galaxia son?” Las trayectorias de brutales represiones y asesinatos políticos en no pocos países del hemisferio en estos últimos años parecen no ser razón para excluirlos; la oleada de victorias electorales de fuerzas de una izquierda calificada de “rosada” por muchos medios y especialistas asi como las venideras victorias de similar inclinación, fortalecen el creciente bloque contestario a las políticas y acciones de Biden desde la frontera de México hasta Santiago de Chile y Buenos Aires.
Con fuerza, la CELAC (Conferencia de Estados de América Latina y el Caribe) y el Grupo de Puebla (compuesto por un importante grupo de partidos y personalidades) se han pronunciado claramente contra tales maniobras de exclusión. Los tres “malos de la película” (Cuba, Venezuela y Nicaragua) por su parte han denunciado con fuerza esta maniobra de EEUU.
¿Qué hará entonces la administración Biden para que esta conferencia represente a la totalidad de las Américas, sin exclusiones ni discriminaciones? Veremos muy pronto y las consecuencias de semejante acción, del todo improcedente.
Fallece Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Su estatura política e intelectual, su modestia y honradez en todos los órdenes, lo hizo acreedor de la admiración y respeto de todos sus compañeros y de su pueblo, desde los tiempos de la lucha clandestina contra la tiranía de Batista hasta las luchas intestinas dentro del M-26-7 y en la Universidad de La Habana, sus esclarecedoras intervenciones en los paneles de la Universidad Popular, en su largos años en el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (MINREX), tanto como director como brilante embajador en la ONU, vice-ministro y ministro. Sus presentaciones, su brillante participación en negociaciones y conflictos, fueron siempre brillantes hasta su promoción al Buró Político y a la presidencia de la Asamblea Nacional con idéntica trayectoria.
Los medios oficiales en Cuba (prensa, radio y TV) e incluso más allá (El País de España, Eurovisión y otros) destacaron igualmente la noticia de su fallecimiento y de su ejecutoria política y diplomática.
Sin dudas, un hombre extrardinario. Y si así fue -como todos reconocen- hay que preguntarse porqué fue, inexplicable y bruscamente, destituído de todos sus cargos. No se le dio una explicación a su pueblo; a nadie. Desapareció de la escena pública y jamás volvió a ocupar un cargo en el Partido o Gobierno. Nada más injusto. ¿En qué pecados capitales incurrió para maltratarlo de esa manera, casi al final de su vida? Nadie se lo explica; nadie lo justifica. Quedó como un misterio más en las máximas instancias del poder. No es el único caso de semejante proceder injustificable.
Esperemos que cuando fallezcan Leopoldo Cintra Frías (ex-ministro de las FAR y el oficial con más acciones internacionalistas cumplidas) o Abelardo Colomé Ibarra (Ministro del Interior), ambos miembros del Buró Político, los dos Héroes de la República y ambos desaparecidos de la escena política sin una explicación, se aclaren el por qué de semejantes acciones. ¿En qué monumentales errores incurrieron para convertirse en No-Personas? ¿Corrupción, nepotismo, deslealtad, discrepancias? Los que los admiraron y respetaron durante décadas merecen una explicación válida.
By Andrés Manuel López Obrador
May 8, 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: My friends:
Before reading the text I wrote for this important occasion, I would like to convey my condolences to the families of the victims of the accident that occurred in a hotel under repair here in Havana. A heartfelt embrace.
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba: Thank you, President.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: I would also like to send my congratulations to all the mothers of Cuba; those who are here on the island and those who are abroad. Our affection.
President, my friend Miguel Díaz-Canel.
Friends, friends all:
Without wanting to exalt the chauvinism that almost all Latin Americans carry inside, it is safe to say that Cuba was, for almost four centuries, the capital of America. No one coming from Europe to our continent could fail to pass by the largest island of the Antilles and, for many decades, Cuba was the jewel of the Spanish Crown.
Since ancient times, Cuba and Mexico, due to their geographic proximity, migration, language, music, sports, culture, idiosyncrasy and sugarcane cultivation, have maintained relations of true brotherhood.
It is even possible that in pre-Hispanic times there were Mayan inhabitants on the island from the Yucatan peninsula who, in addition to possessing a splendid culture, were like the Phoenicians, great navigators who maintained commercial relations, not only with the peoples of the Gulf of Mexico, but also with those of the Caribbean as far as the Darien.
But, leaving this very interesting subject to anthropologists and archaeologists, what is certain is that the first expeditions departed from Cuba towards the current Mexican territory and that from there, from here, the soldiers of Hernán Cortés sailed their ships to undertake the conquest of Mexico.
It is also known that, even with the differences that this intrepid and ambitious soldier had with the governor Diego de Velázquez, all the support to face the indigenous resistance in Mexico departed from Cuba by orders of the Spanish monarchy.
During the colonial period, in Cuba, as in Mexico, there were epidemics and overexploitation of the native population, which was practically exterminated. This explains the outrageous and painful boom -since the 16th century- in the African slave trade in Cuba and the Caribbean in general.
On one occasion, I visited the ancient city of Trinidad and went to the Museum of Slavery, and observed whips, shackles and stocks, of whose existence I was aware from mentions of the punishments provided for by the espionage laws that ruled in Mexico several decades after our political Independence from Spain, because it should be known that, in our country, slavery was not actually abolished until 1914. Furthermore, it should be noted that just three years earlier, in 1911, the great peasant leader Emiliano Zapata took up arms because the sugar haciendas were invading the lands of the towns of the state of Morelos with impunity.
However, sugar cane, royal palm and migration from Cuba to Mexico is most noticeable in the Papaloapan basin, in the state of Veracruz. Havana is like the port of Veracruz, and the most similar to the Cuban is the jarocho, the inhabitant of that region of the Gulf of Mexico. By the way, my paternal family is from there.
Our peoples are united, as in few cases, by political history. At the beginning of Mexico’s Independence, when there were still constant military uprisings and federalists against centralists and liberals against conservatives, there were two governors of Cuban origin in my state, in Tabasco, the infantry colonel Francisco de Sentmanat and the general Pedro de Ampudia.
Coincidentally, the confrontation of these military men would serve in these times to write an exciting, tremendous and realistic historical novel, whose short story is that one of these characters defeats his countryman governor militarily, and he goes abroad and recruits in New York a group of Spanish, French and English mercenaries, and they organize an expedition to invade Tabasco. But when the foreigners disembarked, they were defeated and put to the sword, while ex-governor Sentmanat’s head was cut off and on the recommendation of a doctor – at that time they were called facultative – they put it in a pot of boiling water, supposedly to delay its decomposition due to the heat and to be able to exhibit it for a few days as an example in the public square.
This inhumane procedure was not unknown in Mexico, nor was it strange in other parts of the world. The father of our country, Miguel Hidalgo, who proclaimed the abolition of slavery, when he was apprehended by orders of Creole and Spanish oligarchs, was not only shot, but also beheaded, and his head was exposed for 10 years in the main square of Guanajuato. Militarism is barbaric and belligerent conservatism breeds hatred and savagery.
But history is not flat or Manichean, it is not of good and bad, but of circumstance. The General de Ampudia who ordered the execution of Sentmanat, because, according to his words, ‘a terrible and exemplary punishment’ was needed, then stood out in 1846 as defender of the city of Monterrey in times of the American invasion of Mexico; and later, in 1860, he served as Minister of War and Navy in the liberal government of Benito Juarez.
The list of Cubans who fought in the Mexican cause during the American and French invasions is extensive and fruitful. Likewise, there were Mexicans who fought here for the liberation of Cuba. In the times of Juarez, Mexico was the first nation in America to support Cuba’s independence and to recognize Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the president in arms and father of the Cuban homeland. And what can we say about the great services rendered to our country by the Cuban Pedro Santacilia, son-in-law of President Juarez and his main confidant.
Juarez, during his exile was here and in New Orleans, where he met the woman who would later marry his daughter Manuela. Juarez’s confidence in his son-in-law was so great that, during the most difficult moments of the French invasion, it was Santacilia who took care of the family of the defender of our Republic in the United States; Juarez called her ‘my Saint’. No one received as many letters from Juarez as Santacilia, no one like him shared in the moments of greatest sadness and happiness of the “Benemérito de las Américas”.
In the midst of so many gestures of political brotherhood, it is unthinkable that José Martí would not have been so closely linked to our country. The Cuban writer and politician lived in Mexico City from 1875 to 1877. There he wrote essays, poetry and, among many other works, the famous theater script Amor con amor se paga.
He was a columnist for the newspaper El Federalista, linked to the liberal president Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, and when the latter was overthrown by a military movement led by Porfirio Díaz, Martí left Mexico and, with the vision that only the great possess, wrote to his friend Manuel Mercado that he was leaving, I quote, ‘because a man declared himself by his exclusive will to be lord of men and, with a little light on his forehead, one cannot live where tyrants rule’.
Even though Porfirio Díaz’s assault on power caused Martí’s anger, it should also be taken into account that by that time he had already set his sights on participating in the struggle for Cuban independence, in addition to maintaining a constant epistolary relationship with his friends in Mexico and returning to our country for the last time in 1894.
There is a parallel story to Martí, the Cuban independence fighter, in the figure of a Mexican revolutionary, Catarino Erasmo Garza Rodríguez, who, despite being little known at that time, had the audacity to lead a guerrilla movement from Texas and call on the people of Mexico to take up arms to overthrow Porfirio Díaz, 18 years before Francisco I. Madero did it in 1910.
Catarino Garza was from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and lived in Laredo and other towns along the U.S.-Mexico border. On September 12, 1891 he crossed the Rio Bravo in command of 40 guerrillas and on September 15, 1891 he gave the Cry of Independence in Camargo, Tamaulipas.
In one of his proclamations to raise the people against Porfirio Diaz, Catarino denounced, before others, the grave injustice of the dispossession of the lands of the indigenous communities, declared by the regime as wastelands to benefit large national and foreign landowners.
Catarino was a journalist and his manifestos were constant, profound and well written. However, in the military field he achieved little with his movement: he only gathered about 100 combatants and of his four incursions into Mexican territory he only won one victory at Rancho de las Tortillas, near the town of Guerrero, Tamaulipas.
But, even without winning many battles, the challenge of this guerrilla caused a deep uneasiness in the Mexican military elite that, in collaboration with the U.S. Army and the famous Texas Rangers, mobilized thousands of soldiers to practically seal the border and carry out a tenacious pursuit, village by village, ranch by ranch, in search of the rebel chief, his small troop and his sympathizers.
In these circumstances, Catarino disappeared and in the midst of conjecture the legend and the inseparable corrido arose, which in one verse said: ‘Where did Catarino go with his plans pronounced with his insurgent struggle for the Mexican-American?’
The mystery was cleared up when, some time later, it was known that Catarino appeared in Matina, a town on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica; before that he had been hiding here, in Havana, protected by his independence Masonic brothers.
In those times, Costa Rica was the country of encounters and the ideal territory to prepare guerrillas and landings of the most important revolutionaries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The president of Costa Rica, Rafael Iglesias Castro, was a tolerant liberal and respectful of the right of asylum; hence, leaders and military leaders prepared in the Costa Rican capital the independence of Cuba, the integration of the Central American countries and the reconstitution of the great Colombia, projects celebrated under word of honor in which there was also the commitment to support Catarino in the overthrow of the dictator of Mexico.
In this atmosphere of fraternity, Catarino established close relations with Cubans, Colombians and Central Americans. In Costa Rica there were around 500 Cuban refugees, the most prominent of whom was Antonio Maceo, the general who, together with Máximo Gómez, fought for the independence of Cuba and was considered a threat by the Spanish colonial government.
The figure of Maceo did not go unnoticed in Costa Rica. Rubén Darío himself, the great Nicaraguan poet, relates that one day, I quote, he saw ‘coming out of a hotel accompanied by a very white woman with a fine Spanish body, a large and elegant man; it was Antonio Maceo. His manner was cultured, his intelligence lively and quick. He was a man of ebony’.
Maceo was indispensable for the triumph of the Cuban liberation movement. The duo he formed with Máximo Gómez was the main concern of the peninsular monarchy; it depended on them that Spain would lose its last important bastion in the continent. Hence the reckless phrase, I quote: ‘The war in Cuba is only a matter of two happy bullets against Maceo and Gomez’.
But, just as his enemies sought to eliminate Maceo, ‘the Bronze Titan’, there were others who considered him indispensable. This was the opinion of José Martí, the most intelligent and self-sacrificing character in the struggle for Cuban independence.
Despite the differences, Martí showed a patriotic humility in his relationship with Generals Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. This explains why Martí went twice to Costa Rica to see Maceo.
Later, in November 1894, after the attempt on Maceo’s life in Costa Rica, Martí wrote from New York, with his incomparable prose, an article in which he said: ‘Let the Spanish government use as many assassins as it pleases, General Maceo and his comrades will be, in due time, in any case, in the position of honor and sacrifice that the homeland designates for them. Assassins can do nothing against the defenders of freedom. The infamous stab that wounds the revolution wounds the hero of those who pretend to suffocate with iniquitous crime the aspiration of a people’. Strictly speaking, to wound Maceo was to wound the heart of Cuba.
Although Catarino knew Maceo, he finally chose to link up with the radical Colombian general Avelino Rosas and his confidant, the journalist and writer Francisco Pereida Castro.
At that time, among other Colombians, the famous General Rafael Uribe Uribe, also a friend of Maceo’s and who inspired Gabriel García Márquez to create the character of Colonel Aureliano Buendía in his famous novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, was conspiring in Costa Rica.
Facing all kinds of adversities, betrayals and hardships, as it usually happens in those struggles, Rosas was able to define and undertake a revolutionary plan to rescue Colombia from the conservatives; that is how he ordered Catarino to take action to take the barracks and the port of Bocas del Toro, now Panama.
Catarino’s announced expedition began in early February 1895, almost at the same time as Maceo’s expedition to Cuba. The best information about Catarino’s incursion and its tragic end, we owe to Donaldo Velasco, the commander of the ports of Boca del Toro and Colon, who, the year after the events, that is, in 1896, published a booklet in which he narrated, with good prose, everything that happened. Thanks to this cultured conservative agent, we know the details of the last odyssey of the revolutionary Catarino Erasmo Garza.
The mission was not an easy one, but the idealism of the revolutionaries is an extraordinary source of inspiration and constitutes a very powerful force. Once the landing was made in Boca del Toro, after 4:00 a.m. on March 8, 1895, the guerrilla chiefs positioned the 30 combatants to simultaneously attack the police headquarters and the military barracks. Velasco recognized that ‘they had managed to surprise us when we least expected it, in spite of so many warnings’.
The combat was intense and there was hand-to-hand fighting. In the first minutes, the casualties were of the soldiers. Catarino led the action with passion and courage; however, two almost simultaneous shots wounded him to death. The agony was short; shortly after, at 5:00 a.m., the soldiers’ bugle sounded a powerful bugle playing a Diana as a sign of triumph.
In the war report, sent to General Gaytán, who was in David, Panama, it was reported that five guerrillas had died and nine soldiers with eight wounded. Of the latter, from both sides, some died later. At 4:00 in the afternoon, Catarino Erasmo Garza Rodriguez, Francisco Pereira and two other companions were buried in a deep grave in the Boca del Toro cemetery, located on the seashore.
Where the man who was, I would say seven decades later ‘Che’ Guevara’ falls, we are now doing an investigation to recover the remains of Catarino Garza and take them to Mexico.
The information of what happened in Boca del Toro spread and reached all the islands and ports of the Atlantic coast. Porfirio Diaz found out on March 11, through a cable sent by his ambassador in Washington, Matias Romero.
As to whether Catarino was a revolutionary -or, as it was said at that time, a bandit, apart from one’s own opinion-, there is a very valuable verdict to support it: a loyal and proud conservative, by the Colombian Donaldo Velasco. In his text, this important protagonist and witness of the last events, cannot hide his deep admiration for Catarino; I quote: ‘In my opinion, he was not the vulgar bandit portrayed by the Americans; even after his death, he inspired respect’.
This story could not end without clarifying that, even after taking the Boca del Toro barracks, Catarino was summoned to defeat an even more powerful enemy. At dawn, at the entrance of the bay, waiting for him with its cannons was the ‘Atlanta’, an imposing U.S. warship, a steel hull of 96 meters (inaudible) and 284 sailors of the U.S. Navy. All this power to pursue and annihilate, paradoxically, the quote-unquote Catarino, ‘the Filibuster’.
Those were the times when the Americans had decided to become masters of the continent and were defining what they considered their vital physical space, in order to then undertake the conquest of the world. Annexations, independence, the creation of new countries, free associated states, protectorates, military bases, landings and invasions to put and remove rulers at will were at their peak.
We do not know if it was due to the commander’s falsehood or by decision of the supreme command in Washington – since the crew of the Atlanta had no need to intervene -, the U.S. Navy certified that it had made, I quote, ‘a landing at Boca del Toro, Colombia, on March 8, 1895 to protect American lives and property threatened by a Liberal Party revolt and filibustering activity’. The sailors were even decorated.
In a brief account and in homage to the men of revolutionary ideals, the same year that Catarino and Pereira fell, Martí died. Maceo was assassinated in 1896; Rosas, in 1901. Such has also been the fate of many anonymous heroes, forgotten but blessed, and others who will continue to emerge, because the struggle for the dignity and freedom of the peoples is a never-ending story.
Even though my text is already very long -true, Beatriz?- I apologize, I could not fail to mention in our close relationship, President, the outstanding and worthy role of Manuel Márquez Sterling, Cuban ambassador in Mexico during the coup d’état, imprisonment and assassination of President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President José María Pino Suárez.
In those times of the coup d’etat, when the U.S. ambassador organized the coup against our Apostle of Democracy, Francisco I. Madero, the Cuban ambassador, in stark contrast, tried to save his life, offered asylum to prisoners and spent a night with them in the National Palace, where they were held for five days before the terrible felony of killing them in a rampage.
Márquez Sterling tells in his book that my fellow countryman, Vice President José María Pino Suárez, during that solidarity visit, prophetically confessed to him the following:
‘Our imposed resignation provokes the revolution. To assassinate us is equivalent to decreeing anarchy. I do not believe, like Mr. Madero, that the people will overthrow the traitors to rescue their legitimate leader; what the people will not consent is that they shoot us. They lack the civic education necessary for the former, they have plenty of courage and strength for the latter.’
And so it was. On February 22, 1913, at midnight, the president and vice-president legally and legitimately elected by the people of Mexico were cowardly assassinated. From that moment on, José María Pino Suárez’s prediction began to come true: as soon as he was killed, the Revolution was unleashed with fury. On March 26, 1913, Venustiano Carranza, governor of Coahuila, signed with other revolutionaries the Plan of Guadalupe to restore legality and depose the coup general Victoriano Huerta, who had appointed himself president.
Huerta remained in power for a year and a half. Carrancistas, Zapatistas and Villistas fought him with relative independence among them, and achieved the fall of the usurper, who was unable to obtain, at that time, the support of the United States government.
During the entire period of the revolution, both Porfiristas and Huertistas and Maderista revolutionaries lived in exile in Cuba; it is said that in the streets of Havana, here, they insulted each other. Here was, for example, the revolutionary from Veracruz Heriberto Jara, one of the inspirers of the oil expropriation carried out in 1938 by General Lázaro Cárdenas del Rio.
Nor can I omit to mention the solidarity role of the Mexican people and governments with the Cuban revolutionaries who fought against the Batista dictatorship.
It is well known, as you recalled, my friend President Miguel Diaz-Canel, when you visited us last year on the occasion of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence: the passage of Fidel and his companions through Mexico left a deep impression on the future expeditionaries of the ‘Granma’ and an accumulation of legends everywhere, which are still spoken of with admiration and respect.
We will never forget,” you said, “that thanks to the support of many Mexican friends, the yacht ‘Granma’ set sail from Tuxpan, Veracruz, on November 25, 1956. Seven days later, on December 2, the newborn rebel army that was coming to liberate Cuba disembarked from that historic vessel.
You went on to say:
‘Nor do we forget that, just a few months after the historic triumph of the Revolution, in 1959, General Lazaro Cardenas visited us. His willingness to stand by our people, following the mercenary invasion of Playa Giron in 1961, significantly marks the character of our relations.’
President Díaz-Canel, also expressed that ‘faithful to its best traditions, Mexico was the only country in Latin America that did not break relations with revolutionary Cuba when we were expelled from the OAS by imperial mandate’.
As for my convictions about Commander Fidel Castro, and about Cuba’s independence, I reiterate what I wrote recently in a book: Throughout our time as opponents in Mexico, Fidel was the only leftist leader who knew what we represented and distinguished us with his support in his reflections, writings and political acts of solidarity. We never met, but I always considered him a great man for his pro-independence ideals.
We can be for or against his person and his leadership, but, knowing the long history of invasions and colonial rule that Cuba suffered within the framework of U.S. policy, of manifest destiny and under the slogan of America for the Americans, in quotation marks, we can appreciate the feat that represents the persistence, less than 100 kilometers from the superpower, the existence of an independent island inhabited by a simple and humble people, but cheerful, creative and, above all, worthy, very worthy.
That is why, when I was touring Colima and learned of the death of Commander Castro, I declared something I felt and still hold: I said that a giant had died.
My position on the U.S. government’s blockade of Cuba is also well known. I have said quite frankly that it looks bad for the U.S. government to use the blockade to impede the welfare of the people of Cuba so that they, the people of Cuba, forced by necessity, will have to confront their own government.
If this perverse strategy were to succeed, something that does not seem likely due to the dignity of the Cuban people to which I have referred, it would, in any case, turn this great wrong into a pyrrhic, vile and despicable triumph, into one of those stains that cannot be erased even with all the water in the oceans.
But I also maintain that it is time for brotherhood and not confrontation; as José Martí pointed out, the clash can be avoided, I quote, ‘with the exquisite political tact that comes from majesty, disinterest and the sovereignty of love’.
It is time for a new coexistence among all the countries of America, because the model imposed more than two centuries ago is exhausted, has no future or way out, and no longer benefits anyone. We must put aside the dilemma of integrating with the United States or opposing it defensively.
It is time to express and explore another option, that of dialogue with the rulers of the United States, and to convince and persuade them that a new relationship between the countries of the Americas, of all America, is possible. Our proposal may seem utopian and even naïve, but, instead of closing ourselves off, we must open ourselves to committed, frank dialogue and seek unity throughout the American continent. Besides, I see no other alternative in the face of the exponential growth of the economy in other regions of the world and the productive decadence of all America.
Here I repeat what I have expressed to President Biden on more than one occasion: if the economic and commercial trend of the last three decades continues and there is nothing that legally and legitimately can prevent it, in another 30 years, by 2051, China would have the dominance of 64. 8 percent in the world market and the United States only four and even 10 percent, which, I insist, would be an economic and commercial disproportion that would be unacceptable for Washington, and that would keep alive the temptation to bet on resolving that disparity with the use of force, which would be a danger for the whole world.
I am aware that this is a complex issue that requires a new political and economic vision. The proposal is, no more and no less, to build something similar to the European Union, but attached to our history, our reality and our identities.
In this spirit, we should not rule out replacing the OAS with a truly autonomous organization, not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict, in matters of human rights and democracy. Although what is proposed here may seem like a dream, it should be considered that, without a horizon of ideals, one gets nowhere and that, consequently, it is worth trying. It is a great task for good diplomats and politicians such as those that fortunately exist in all the countries of our continent.
For our part, we believe that integration with respect for sovereignty and forms of government and the proper application of a treaty for economic and trade development is in the interest of all of us, and that no one loses in this; on the contrary, it would be the most effective and responsible way out in the face of the strong competition that exists, which will increase over time and which, if we do nothing to unite, strengthen ourselves and emerge victorious in a good fight, will inevitably lead to the decline of all the Americas.
Dear President Díaz-Canel.
I will end now with two brief reflections:
With all due respect for the sovereignty and independence of Cuba, I would like to state that I will continue to insist that the United States lift the blockade of this sister nation as a first step, in order to begin the reestablishment of relations of cooperation and friendship between the peoples of the two nations.
Therefore, I will insist with President Biden that no country of the Americas be excluded from next month’s summit to be held in Los Angeles, California. And that the authorities of each country should be free to decide whether or not to attend the meeting, but that no one should be excluded.
Finally, thank you very much for the distinction of awarding me the ‘José Martí’ Order, whom, as has been made clear, I respect and admire, as I admire and respect Simón Bolívar and our great President Benito Juárez.
Thanks to the generous, supportive and exemplary people of Cuba.
On a personal note, I maintain that I have never bet, do not and will never bet on the failure of the Cuban Revolution, its legacy of justice and its lessons of independence and dignity. I will never participate with coup plotters who conspire against the ideals of equality and universal fraternity.
Regression is decadence and desolation, it is a matter of power and not of humanity. I prefer to continue to maintain the hope that the Revolution will be reborn in the Revolution. That the Revolution will be able to renew itself to follow the example of the martyrs who fought for freedom, equality, justice, sovereignty. And I have the conviction and the faith that in Cuba things are being done with that purpose, that the new Revolution is being made in the Revolution, that is the second great lesson, the second great lesson of Cuba for the world.
This people will once again demonstrate that reason is more powerful than force.
Hugs and thank you very much.
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic: Well, it is my turn to close this meeting, which will be memorable for all of us.
First of all, good afternoon.
And I would like to express our deepest appreciation to the Cuban mothers, even when we are living a moment of pain and mourning in our country.
I would like to thank President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for this visit to Cuba in these turbulent times we are living through.
Our people, my friend President, receive you with great affection, respect and the admiration you have earned for your generous expressions and gestures towards Cuba. And we also thank you for your condolences to our people for the events we have experienced in recent days.
The relations between Mexico and Cuba are, as you have expressed it, historic and endearing. And you had given a lesson on how the very history between Mexico and Cuba provides the reasons to justify, to nurture, to continue to enhance those relations, and it is precisely for those purposes that this visit has been taking place, which confirms the nature of these ties and opens a path for their progress and deepening.
During this visit we have signed a declaration that consolidates a new stage in the bilateral relationship between Mexico and Cuba. Our Health Ministers published a cooperation agreement that facilitates taking advantage of all the health and scientific potentialities, joint efforts and wills that our two countries can develop in the field of health for the benefit of our peoples in this noble area.
We have also dealt with important issues of the bilateral agenda, of our bilateral relations, but we have also addressed regional and international issues.
I have thanked President López Obrador for his firm position, as he has expressed in his words, of rejecting the genocidal blockade imposed by the government of the United States on our country in the commercial, economic and financial spheres, and also the intensification of this blockade at the present time.
The declaration we adopted recognizes the commitment of both nations to the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, which was created at a Celac summit here in Havana, and the respect that both nations profess for international law.
I also expressed to our friend President López Obrador our appreciation and recognition for his role in favor of the integration of our America, as demonstrated by Mexico’s commendable work at the helm of the pro tempore presidency of Celac last year and its defense of full respect for the sovereignty and integrity of the States, as Benito Juárez always proclaimed.
In this sense, we agree on the inappropriateness of the unjustified incursions of countries of our region in hemispheric events, as it seems that it will happen in what could already be called the so-called Summit of the Americas, in quotation marks.
As President López Obrador has expressed, hemispheric relations must change profoundly. The Cuban Revolution assures him that it will continue its triumphant march of hope and future, and that Mexico can always count on Cuba.
We believe that we have expressed on both sides will, efforts and integration and have made decisions for the benefit of Mexico and Cuba, and of course our peoples.
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