By Agustín Lage Dávila
25 January 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
We are approaching January 28 and we have to talk about José Martí. He lived and died for a project of a country that did not yet exist in his time. But millions followed him, and fell in love with that project, because great historical projects, even if they are formulated by exceptional leaders, are viable only when they synthesize the aspirations of many human beings.
This is what he himself said in an article published in the newspaper Patria in April 1892: “What a group covets, falls. What a people wants, endures”.
And in that shared project, Cuban national consciousness was formed: it emerged from decades of war in the 19th century, in a population of just over a million inhabitants, occupied by tens of thousands of enemy soldiers. It made annexation to the United States impossible. It forced the repeal of the Platt Amendment. It resisted, in the first half of the 20th century, 60 years of American ideological and cultural pressure, and thereafter, another 60 years of economic warfare, military hostility and ideological subversion. And it faced the challenge derived from the disappearance of the European socialist camp. So what are we Cubans who have been the protagonists of all this?
Let’s start by saying what we “are not”. We are not a nationality united by common ethnic roots, nor by religious confessions: Here there is “an ajiaco” of everything, as Don Fernando Ortiz said. Nor are we defined by an exclusive language: we have the language used by the largest number of countries in the world. We are not a closed economic space: we have always had an open economy. We do have our own culture that makes us proud, but it is not a closed culture either, it shares roots with many other cultures from several continents.
So what is it that identifies and unites us? We are essentially a nationality with ethical roots, united around a special sensitivity for social justice. We are Cubans because we share a set of moral values and a project of human coexistence.
This is what Martí also wrote when he called for the necessary war in the Manifesto of Montecristi: “…when a warrior of independence falls on Cuban soil…he falls for the greater good of man (and) the confirmation of the moral republic in America…”
The 1959 revolution reinforced in Cubans that fusion between nationality and social justice, now synthesized in Fidel’s thought and in the concrete achievements of these last 60 years, which showed us in deeds what the people always knew: that social justice is possible.
Total literacy and schooling, free education and health for all, full-coverage social security, full employment, elimination of racial discrimination, equality and development of women, universalization of culture and university education, home ownership, scientific development; these are truths that must be said and repeated, because we are so accustomed to these achievements that sometimes we forget how advanced they are and how much they contradict the dominant ideology of today’s savage capitalism.
The permanent defense of national sovereignty has allowed us to build our own political, social and economic alternative. Revolutions do not crystallize and become irreversible immediately when they denounce the social preconditions that need to be changed, not even when they formulate noble ideas and strategic projections. Revolutions become lasting and creative when they succeed in building the alternative. In Cuba we did it.
National sovereignty is the safeguard of our project of society, of our own concepts of justice and human coexistence, as they have emerged from our own history.
Photo: Alejandro Azcuy Domínguez
Martí’s project of the nation was born in opposition to the one that was simultaneously emerging in the United States, based on ambition and competition among people.
This is what he wrote in his “Notebook No. 1”: “Our life does not resemble theirs, nor should it in many points. American laws have given the North a high degree of prosperity and have also raised it to the highest degree of corruption. They have monetized it to make it prosperous. Prosperity at such a cost be damned!”
169 years have passed since Martí’s birth, but the essential battlefields of ideas are still there.
The ideas about how we want our lives to be are now synthesized in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba. It was approved with 86.85% of the votes. There it is “what a people wants”, what Martí predicted is what endures.
Does it have enemies? Of course, it does. The “Cuba Project” always had them, here and abroad. In his time, Martí himself had to fight battles of ideas against autonomists and annexationists. But today those enemies are few, and they lack legitimacy before the people.
Cubans have all the right in the world to fight for “what a people wants” and to defend it from its enemies, both here and abroad.
Are there different opinions in Cuba on the concrete ways to conduct the “Cuba Project”? That is another matter. Of course, there are such opinions, and it is good that they exist. Discussing them will allow us to perfect the project, adjust it to the new times, and make its building more solid, but without ever damaging the foundations.
Human beings are moral entities, not only biological or economic, and we embrace collective projects, beyond individual projects. For those who stop thinking and acting (there are some) based on an idea of the future, the present collapses and empties of content. The truth is, although the usual cynics and skeptics do not understand it, that people fall in love with projects, even in the midst of the harsh realities of the present.
Martí’s project was the project of thousands of young mambises. Fidel’s project was the project of thousands of young rebels, before and after the triumph of 1959. The project of the nation that our Constitution enunciates is and will be the collective project of millions of young Cubans today.
This is described in Article 1: “Cuba is a socialist state of law and social justice, democratic, independent and sovereign, organized with all and for the good of all as a unitary and indivisible republic, founded on the work, dignity, humanism and ethics of its citizens, for the enjoyment of freedom, equity, equality and individual and collective prosperity”.
On January 28, in a few days, it is time to evoke the founding ideas of our nationality and our project of society, and to reinforce the broad consensus we have on the need to defend them and make them endure.
We will return the following day to the discussions on what needs to be changed to achieve this.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Photo: Yaimí Ravelo
After hard months of the pandemic, of shocking world economic crisis, of intensified and sustained blockade -which have harshly hit our people-, Cuba is beginning to revive its social life, public spaces and services, schools, tourism and other sectors of the economy.
We are already the country in the Americas with the highest percentage of the population with at least one administered dose of the vaccines against COVID-19, the one with the highest daily vaccination rate in the world and the only one that has been able to develop a massive campaign in children from two years of age. All this has been possible due to the country’s capacity to produce its own vaccines, as a result of the scientific policy outlined and promoted by Fidel and the talent of men and women forged by the Revolution.
We are rising up with our own strength, with the unbending spirit, the dignity and the capacity of resistance of our people, with the serene and firm leadership of the country, with the spirit of victory and the creativity that has been cultivated in the midst of so many years of hard battles.
Those who have bet on the failure of Socialism in Cuba and saw July 11[,2021] as the definitive blow to the Revolution, are frustrated and in a hurry in their plans. They intend to prevent any possibility of well-being, individual and collective development, citizen tranquility and peace in our Homeland.
That is why they are promoting various destabilizing actions in the country, to provoke an incident that will lead to a social outbreak that will bring about the longed-for military intervention, which they are vociferously calling for in Miami and even in front of the White House itself.
Neither 62 years of blockade nor its 243 additional measures have been able nor will they be able to bring us down, hence the repeated attempt at a “soft coup”. It is part of the unconventional warfare that they apply to us with intensity. Strike on top of the blow.
In the Central Report to the 8th Party Congress, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz warned:
“The program of subversion and ideological and cultural influence has been redoubled, aimed at discrediting the socialist model of development and presenting us with capitalist restoration as the only alternative.
“The subversive component of U.S. policy toward Cuba is focused on the breakdown of national unity. In that sense, priority is given to actions aimed at young people, women and academics, the artistic and intellectual sector, journalists, athletes, people of sexual diversity and religions. Matters of interest to specific groups linked to animal protection, the environment, or artistic and cultural manifestations are manipulated, all aimed at disregarding existing institutions.
“Act of aggression have not ceased to be financed with the use of radio and television stations based in the United States, while the monetary support for the development of platforms for the generation of ideological contents that openly call to defeat the Revolution. They launch calls for demonstrations in public spaces, incite the execution of sabotage and terrorist acts, including the assassination of agents of public order and representatives of the revolutionary power. Without the slightest modesty, they declare the fees paid from the United States to the executors of these criminal actions.
“Let us not forget that the U.S. government created the “Internet Working Group for Cuba” which aspires to turn social networks into channels of subversion, creation of wireless networks outside state control and the carrying out of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.[…]
“Lies, manipulation and the propagation of fake news no longer know any limits. Through them, a virtual image of Cuba as a dying society with no future, on the verge of collapsing and giving way to the longed-for social explosion, is shaped and spread to the four winds.”
Sectors of the traditional counterrevolution and new characters, educated in leadership courses financed by US foundations or the US federal budget, have joined forces to try to fulfill such purposes. They lack a social base in the country, but they are duly instructed, financed and supported from abroad.
The empire puts money and expectations on the annexationists trained by them, who, under the false banner of pacifism, seek to provoke new disturbances, generate chaos and induce the destabilization of the country.
In the last few weeks, they made public their intentions to hold a march in November, supposedly peaceful, designed to take place simultaneously in several cities of the country. Their declared purposes and their organizational scheme reveal a provocation articulated as part of the strategy of “regime change” for Cuba, previously tested in other countries.
They choose dates with a certain symbolism? But this time it seems that they also wanted to show off their annexationist stature. Did they want to celebrate President Biden’s birthday with an attack on the Revolution that has so annoyed imperial administrations for 62 years? They were left wanting.
One of its promoters has been trained in courses sponsored by the right-wing Argentine foundation CADAL, U.S. universities and think tanks such as the Carnegie Fund for International Peace (directed until recently by the current CIA director, William J. Burns). Among the topics of their indoctrination have been the formation of leaders, confrontation against government structures, the dynamics of mobilization, and the role of the Armed Forces in the “democratic transition”.
Last July 11 he was the organizer of an attempted takeover of the ICRT, complying with instruction 167 of the Nonviolent Action Workshop which states: Nonviolent “Attacks”: invasions: starting with a march and taking peaceful possession of a place or property.
More recently he has joined a subversive project in academic garb, in which he shares a seat on its Deliberative Council with the terrorist Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat.
He is accompanied among the organizers of the November demonstration by counterrevolutionary leaders of the so-called Council for the Democratic Transition of Cuba, a platform that is articulated according to the anti-constitutional coup in the country, and who have openly acknowledged receiving funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a front for the U.S. government.
As soon as it was announced by its organizers, the march received public and notorious support from U.S. legislators, political operators of the anti-Cuban mafia and media that encourage actions against the Revolution.
Tweets, declarations, Resistance Assemblies and other frenetic actions fill Miami these days, as if the demonstration were to take place in that city. Regime change, the overthrow of the government and military intervention is once again the prevailing narrative in South Florida.
Among the most fervent supporters of the provocation are Congressmen Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart and Maria Elvira Salazar; the reconverted terrorist Gutierrez Boronat (who has declared his support for this action “to overthrow the regime”), the Cuban American National Foundation and the mercenary retinue of Brigade 2506, whose president on duty declared in Miami that “With these steps, an explosion will be fomented inside Cuba so that once again our brothers take to the streets and this will lead us to the overthrow of a regime…”
As denounced by the U.S. media outlet MintPressNews, many of the operators of the digital social network campaign in support of the demonstration are residents of Florida and other U.S. states. “The participation of foreign citizens in Cuba’s internal affairs is at a level that is hardly conceivable in the United States,” the publication says.
The direct involvement of the U.S. government in the counterrevolutionary farce is also explicit and provocative. No care has been taken to conceal it and no one can do so honestly. High government officials are directly involved in its promotion and, with the support of the special services, in its organization. An important instrument, though not the only one, is the U.S. embassy in Cuba, whose public statements often include blatant meddling in the nation’s internal affairs.
That office, fruit of the bilateral agreements signed in 2015 to formalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, has not fulfilled any diplomatic office for years. It does not even serve for the provision of immigration and consular services that citizens of both countries demand and depend on.
Its officials, including the Chargé d’Affaires, are forced to play the unworthy role of babysitters of the counterrevolutionary exponents and provocateurs in our country. They have the thankless task of falling in behind them, providing them with logistical and material support, as well as advice and guidance. Everything is known and documented. The embassy’s own activity in the digital networks provides evidence of what is happening and what the counterrevolution is doing.
Such behavior is in total contravention of International Law and in particular of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
With such sponsors and declared purposes, it is very difficult to presume civility and pacifism in the action called for November. Much less any legitimate and sovereign intentions.
What is at stake here, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind, is Cuba’s right to defend itself against foreign aggression, regardless of the disguise it takes.
The organizers try to cloak themselves in the Constitution to legitimize the provocation. They use constitutional precepts to defend anti-constitutional strategies. They adduce the right to demonstrate expressed in the Magna Carta, but they forget that this same Constitution, in its Article 45, indicates that the rights of the people are limited, among others, by the respect to this supreme norm: “The exercise of the rights of the people is only limited by the rights of others, the collective security, the general welfare, the respect to the public order, the Constitution and the laws”.
This Magna Carta, approved in a referendum just three years ago by 86.85 % of the voters, clearly defines in its Article 4 that: “The socialist system endorsed by this Constitution is irrevocable”. And in Article 229 it also establishes that “In no case shall the pronouncements on the irrevocability of the socialist system established in Article 4, and the prohibition to negotiate under the circumstances foreseen in paragraph a) of Article 16, be reformable”.
It is clear that neither now nor in the future can the right to demonstrate be used to subvert the political system, to overthrow the Cuban socialist project, or to establish alliances with groups and organizations that receive foreign financing with the objective of promoting the interests of the government of the United States and other foreign powers.
There does not exist in our country the right to act in favor of the interests of a foreign power and to put the stability of our citizens at risk. It is unconstitutional, illegitimate, immoral, to adhere to an annexationist project. Our laws say so and our history says so.
This is what our National Hero José Martí warned: “On our land, there is another plan more sinister than what we know until now, and it is the iniquitous one of forcing the Island, of precipitating it to war to have a pretext to intervene in it, and with the credit of mediator and guarantor, to keep it. (…) To die, in order to give a basis on which to rise to these people who push us to death for their benefit? Our lives are worth more, and it is necessary that the Island knows this in time. And there are Cubans, Cubans, who serve, with disguised boasts of patriotism, these interests”.
Enough of lies and gross manipulation of the facts. Nobody is going to be crushed by tanks in the streets as the spokesmen of the next provocation have spread. The Moncada exercise [November 20, National Defense Day] is part of the training we constantly do in preparation for defense. In the face of provocations such as this one, we are assisted by the most legitimate act in defense of the people and their conquests.
Dignity, resistance and unity are our most powerful forces in the face of the dishonorable and dishonorable annexationist action that serves the historical enemy of the Cuban nation in its plan to fracture and divide us in order to defeat us.
They have not been able to and will not be able to. Reason is our shield.
(No English subtitles on the video.)