Eternal Chavez: “America is my homeland”

Undisputed leader of the awakening of the new America, unconditional friend of Cuba, Hugo Chavez embodied the aspirations of his people. Hugo Chavez ceased physically to exist five years ago, but his legacy is more alive than ever. President and commander, he did not labour in vain. Beyond subjective appraisals, there is a resounding work, which he tirelessly worked for. It is at everyone’s sight. No matter what exalted theoreticians, the spokespersons of the big hegemonic powers, capitalism propagandists say… the truth is that any president had done so much for Venezuela and the entire America.

He offered millions of his compatriots something that cannot be measured: a notion of dignity. He led them in the attainment of a homeland, which prevails over everything, the attainment of decorum. He woke them up from an almost ancestral lethargy, put in their hands the tools to build a future. He was deeply committed with the well-being of the ever forgotten ones. He was a brilliant leader, who spoke a lot, but did a lot at the same time. His affection, his friendliness and his extraordinary charisma placed him at the head of a renewing wave that changed the rules of the game. But charisma is not enough, as history has repeatedly demonstrated. The Chavez phenomenon was based on strong convictions, a humanist sense of an authentically Christian root, a diaphanous kindheartedness and an honest militancy.

Some of his enemies said that Chavez captivated. Actually, what he used to do was to convince. He spoke to the poor in their language, sympathized with and urged them to fight. Ignoring (or pretending to ignore) the force of facts, his adversaries again and again called him dictator. There’s an irrefutable fact no head of state of the continent underwent so many electoral processes. And always respecting people’s will, the democratic spirit of his people.

Among so many facets of his political itinerary, there remains one of particular importance: his determined Latin Americanist vocation. Hugo Chavez articulated a new vision of unity, which kicks off from the recognition of differences to strengthen the extraordinary collective heritage of our peoples. He was a continental leader. The premise of that integration lies in both solidarity and complementation. His integrationist projects always started from the knowledge of sharing what you had, not what was left over. Petrocaribe, the Bolivarian Alliance for America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) created a solid platform for the very elusive project of Latin American unity. There lies his main legacy, which earned him his great stature as a stateman. Hugo Chavez Frias made Bolivar and Marti’s dreams his own, but he was not happy with being a visionary: he was also a soldier. Five years after his death, our America honors him because America was the homeland for Chavez.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Real supporter of José Martí: man of culture

Cuba bids farewell to Armando Hart Dávalos (1930-2017), committed revolutionary politician, educator and intellectual.

Armand Hart’s investigation and promotion work of José Martí’s vast work would be enough to guarantee him an outstanding place in Cuban culture. José Martí was guide and inspiration in the intellectual itinerary of man who devoted a good part of his life to public service.

Because Armando Hart’s contributions to the artistic framework of the nation go far beyond his essays, articles and publications. He was an organizer. He was, in fact, one of the leaders who contributed the most to the consolidation of the cultural politics of the Revolution, the one Fidel Castro outlined since his famous “Words to the Intellectuals” in 1961.

Hart reflected many times on the importance of that speech, which he placed right on vertex of the essential program of the revolutionary process. Without culture you cannot talk about the Revolution or Homeland.

Armando Hart was a man of culture. His dialogue capacity, his understanding of the dynamics and nature of the creative act and his comprehensive vision were important in the institutionalization process of the artistic and literary activity. He headed the Ministry of Culture since its creation in 1976 until 1997.

His imprint as minister reaches our times. It is present in the organization of the institutions that right now guarantee the support to art manifestations, in great part of the system of national prizes, in the creation of culture houses and municipal libraries and museums, as well as in the correction of errors in the application of the cultural politics.

But we must go to a few years before, to the early days of the Revolution. Armando Hart was one of the main architects of the greatest cultural work in Cuba’s twentieth century: the Literacy Campaign.

He was Education Minister from 1959 to 1965: he led the organization of the huge endeavor of teaching hundreds of thousands of Cuban how to read and write, work of an entire nation under the guidance of Fidel.

The last years of his life were particularly productive and were dedicated, especially, to the promotion of the legacy and ethics of our National Hero.

He appointed director of the Martí Program Office. He chaired the José Martí Cultural Society until his death. His columns in national newspapers and magazines approached issues of the pressing daily life from the perspective of the Apostle’s ideas. He was convinced of the validity of his ideas and the need for young people to make them theirs.

Student leader in his youth, fighter against the tyranny of Batista, founder of the July 26th Movement, communist militant… his name will always be associated with the history of the Cuban Revolution. Supporter of Martí and Fidel, worthy of the homage of his contemporaries —in 2010 he received the José Martí Order, the highest decoration of the Republic of Cuba—, he always put his duty ahead. He served the nation from and for culture.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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