The Third Way or Political Centrism in Cuba

For some time now has been brewing, essentially in the digital media, the idea of a “political centrism” in today's Cuba as part of the United States strategies to subvert the Cuban socialist pattern, despite the huge failures and slandering of the so-called “Cuban counterrevolution”. (i) A piece of news revealed by Wikileaks in 2010, showed as Jonathan Farrar, Head of the Interests Section of Washington in Havana back then, informed to the Department of State on April 15, 2009 how that "opposition" was really disconnected from the Cuban reality, it didn't have any influence power over the youths, and was more concerned about the money than in taking its platforms to wider sectors of society. (ii)

The political centrism in its origin is a concept of geometric root: the equidistant point to all ends. Supposedly it would be a political position placed between the left and right, between socialism and capitalism, a third way that "brings together the best ideas" in the ends that give it life and where moderation rises against any type of radicalism. Lenin qualified this posture of “treacherous utopism as a result of the bourgeois reformism". No doubt those denominated third ways, or centrisms have never been a revolutionary option, but strategies to establish, save, remake, modernize or restore capitalism.

When moderation is reconsidered in front of the Cuban revolutionary radicalism – this means going to the roots, nothing related to extremism which is another thing - (iii), I can’t help but finding certain analogies between that centrism that today is attempted to articulate in Cuba, with the nineteenth century autonomism.

The autonomism as a political trend was born in the first half of the XIX century, but it becomes a political party starting since 1878, as one of the fruits of the revolution of 1868. (iv) It was a trend that shared historical time with independentism, traditionalism, and annexionism. It was the trend par excellence of moderation, of evolution, enemy of the radical Cuban independentists. They also took a position "equidistant", between the traditionalism - the defense of the status quo - and the independence, but in defining moments, they joined traditionalism to brake and attack the revolution, which they considered the worst of all evils. Famous personalities of autonomism turned to annexionist ideas after the North American intervention-occupation in Cuba. Its main leaders were recognized for their intellectual skills, they were great speakers, but with an elite thinking, essentially bourgeois, therefore they could never rallied Cuban masses behind them. The Cuban people back then what needed the least was laboratory ideas. It was for this reason that when the struggle for independence restarted in 1895, the autonomist party was completely out of place in new national reality. The autonomism defended a moderate nationalism that excluded the masses. Their main goals was not severing the bond with "the Spanish mother land", but in modernizing its governance in the Island, no wonder the Cuban patriotic vanguard, lead by José Martí, fought against their ideas so hard. On January 31st, 1893 in one of his extraordinary speeches, Martí said: "… it was the particular case that those claiming the political dogma of evolution were simply retrogrades who kept for a people formed in the revolution the solutions imagined before it… ". (v)

However, the idea of supporting in Cuba a third force - moderate, centered or third way – gain strength in the U.S. foreign policy in the late 50’s, with the goal of preventing the 26 de Julio Movement come into power, something that became an obsession for the Eisenhower administration by yearend 1958. This tendency should be equidistant between Batista and Fidel Castro and its development was stimulated in both the political and the military fields. The CIA local station in Havana was the first to handle this idea and later the main executor. Officer David Atlee Philips confirms so in his autobiographical book The Night Watch, when he highlights that James Noel – head of the CIA station in Havana - had informed him in one of his few frequent meetings, on his recommendation to the U.S. government of discreetly sponsoring the action of a third political force in Cuba, "a group between Castro in the left and Batista in the right (…) ". (vi)

In February 1958, William Morgan a North American secret service agent had joined the II National Front of Escambray lead by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo. His mission was to become the second in command of that guerrilla, something he achieved in no time as well as his rank as Commander. Morgan would not be the only agent the United States infiltrated in that area with the intention of stimulate a third guerilla force that could oppose at some point the forces from Sierra Maestra lead by Fidel Castro. (vii) The United States was also involved in other complots where different names of personalities who could join a political option that snatched off the hands of Fidel Castro the revolutionary victory, among them: the colonel Ramón Barquín, Justo Carrillo, head of the Montecristi Group, and Manuel Antonio, Tony, de Varona. Still on December 23, 1958 at a meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower expressed his hope in the growth, strength and influences of a "third force". (viii)

The creation of a "third forces" it was not only promoted by the United States, but also by some domestic politicians. "The Third Force – highlights Jorge Ibarra Guitart - was a movement of private civic institutions that representing the feeling of important sectors of the bourgeoisie and the small bourgeoisie promoted peace measures and reconciliation with the régime. The instigator, behind the curtains was José Miró Cardona who from the Friends of the Republic Society had already planned the tactics of mobilizing bourgeois institutions to force the régime to reach an agreement. This was the time to try such tactics, because there were circumstances that favored it: the bourgeoisie, when noticing that with every passing day more revolutionary organizations gain ground was worried by the eminent threat that represented for their political and economic interests, the development of a civil war with a popular participation". (ix)

As it was impossible for the United States to prevent the victory of the Cuban Revolution and the coming into power of 26 de Julio forces, in the early months of 1959, Washington’s main objective was to support and encourage personalities who within the revolutionary government were considerate "moderate", of center, as opposed to those who were qualified as "extremist", to avoid that the Revolution did not have a deep social reach. (x)

When Fernando Martínez Heredia, highlights that today in Cuba there is a right nationalism with ambitions of center that has "a cultural accumulation to which refer (xi), he is mentioning the long history of that nationalism that has as antecedent the political attitudes of autonomism; which in the years of Bourgeois Neocolonial Republic admitted and defended the dominance. The U.S. government has used it many times with the purpose of braking, avoiding or achieving situations after the revolution that kept safe the structures of capitalist dominance in Cuba, under better permission.

Today we see that right nationalism that is stimulated by those who oppose us, under the deceiving cloth of centrism. It pursues the sole objective that the desperate attempt of restoring capitalism in Cuba. Once again, it will be failed attempt, because the main obstacle this trend has encountered is that its ideas have never sunk into the people. That people which throughout history has embraced the independent, patriotic, national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist tradition; never that of autonomism, annexionism or right nationalism.

NOTES

  

(i) See text of Esteban Morales: The Cuban counterrevolution has never existed, in: Esteban Morales and Elier Ramírez, Approaches to the conflict United States - Cuba, Political Publisher, Havana, 2015, pp.363-367. Morales wonders in this work if this counterrevolution can be considered Cuban, as it practically committed suicide after being born assuming an agenda imposed by the U.S. government.

(ii) See: : http://razonesdecuba.cubadebate.cu/cablegates-wikileaks/los-estados-unidos-y-el-papel-de-la-oposicion-en-cuba/

(iii) Speech on September 3, 1979 in the opening session of the NOAL Summit with venue in Havana, Fidel expressed: "What can be refuted to Cuba? That it’s a socialist country? Yes, we are a socialist country (APPLAUSES), but we don’t seek to impose our ideas and our system on anyone neither inside nor outside the Movement. We don't have anything to be ashamed of for being socialist! That we made a radical revolution in Cuba? Yes, we are revolutionary radicals, but we don't seek to impose anybody, and much less to the No Aligned Movement, our radicalism". See: : http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/1979/esp/f030979e.html

(iv) See Elier Ramírez Cañedo and Carlos Joane Rosario Grasso, The autonomism in the crucial hours of the Cuban Nation, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2008.

(v) José Martí, Speech in Hardman Hall, New York, October of 1889, 10 in: Speeches, Social Sciences Editorial House, Havana, 1974, p.195.

(vi) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, in: A fascinating history. The Trujillista conspiracy, Captain San Luis Editorial, Havana, 2009, p.50

(vii) Ibidem, pp.41-42.

(viii) Francisca López Civeira, The Government of Eisenhower before the Cuban Revolution: A new scenario, in: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/articulos/2527

(ix) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez in: Ob.Cit, p.51.

(x) Abundant information on this regard can be found on the work of Luis M.Buch and Reinaldo Suárez, Cuban Revolutionary Government. First Steps, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2004.

(xi) See Cubadebate, March 17, 2016: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2016/03/17/obama-no-pierda-la-oportunidad-de-hacer-algo-historico-podcast-video-y-fotos/#.WSmPPDfB-sx

The Third Way or Political Centrism in Cuba

For some time now has been brewing, essentially in the digital media, the idea of a “political centrism” in today's Cuba as part of the United States strategies to subvert the Cuban socialist pattern, despite the huge failures and slandering of the so-called “Cuban counterrevolution”. (i) A piece of news revealed by Wikileaks in 2010, showed as Jonathan Farrar, Head of the Interests Section of Washington in Havana back then, informed to the Department of State on April 15, 2009 how that "opposition" was really disconnected from the Cuban reality, it didn't have any influence power over the youths, and was more concerned about the money than in taking its platforms to wider sectors of society. (ii)

The political centrism in its origin is a concept of geometric root: the equidistant point to all ends. Supposedly it would be a political position placed between the left and right, between socialism and capitalism, a third way that "brings together the best ideas" in the ends that give it life and where moderation rises against any type of radicalism. Lenin qualified this posture of “treacherous utopism as a result of the bourgeois reformism". No doubt those denominated third ways, or centrisms have never been a revolutionary option, but strategies to establish, save, remake, modernize or restore capitalism.

When moderation is reconsidered in front of the Cuban revolutionary radicalism – this means going to the roots, nothing related to extremism which is another thing - (iii), I can’t help but finding certain analogies between that centrism that today is attempted to articulate in Cuba, with the nineteenth century autonomism.

The autonomism as a political trend was born in the first half of the XIX century, but it becomes a political party starting since 1878, as one of the fruits of the revolution of 1868. (iv) It was a trend that shared historical time with independentism, traditionalism, and annexionism. It was the trend par excellence of moderation, of evolution, enemy of the radical Cuban independentists. They also took a position "equidistant", between the traditionalism - the defense of the status quo - and the independence, but in defining moments, they joined traditionalism to brake and attack the revolution, which they considered the worst of all evils. Famous personalities of autonomism turned to annexionist ideas after the North American intervention-occupation in Cuba. Its main leaders were recognized for their intellectual skills, they were great speakers, but with an elite thinking, essentially bourgeois, therefore they could never rallied Cuban masses behind them. The Cuban people back then what needed the least was laboratory ideas. It was for this reason that when the struggle for independence restarted in 1895, the autonomist party was completely out of place in new national reality. The autonomism defended a moderate nationalism that excluded the masses. Their main goals was not severing the bond with "the Spanish mother land", but in modernizing its governance in the Island, no wonder the Cuban patriotic vanguard, lead by José Martí, fought against their ideas so hard. On January 31st, 1893 in one of his extraordinary speeches, Martí said: "… it was the particular case that those claiming the political dogma of evolution were simply retrogrades who kept for a people formed in the revolution the solutions imagined before it… ". (v)

However, the idea of supporting in Cuba a third force - moderate, centered or third way – gain strength in the U.S. foreign policy in the late 50’s, with the goal of preventing the 26 de Julio Movement come into power, something that became an obsession for the Eisenhower administration by yearend 1958. This tendency should be equidistant between Batista and Fidel Castro and its development was stimulated in both the political and the military fields. The CIA local station in Havana was the first to handle this idea and later the main executor. Officer David Atlee Philips confirms so in his autobiographical book The Night Watch, when he highlights that James Noel – head of the CIA station in Havana - had informed him in one of his few frequent meetings, on his recommendation to the U.S. government of discreetly sponsoring the action of a third political force in Cuba, "a group between Castro in the left and Batista in the right (…) ". (vi)

In February 1958, William Morgan a North American secret service agent had joined the II National Front of Escambray lead by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo. His mission was to become the second in command of that guerrilla, something he achieved in no time as well as his rank as Commander. Morgan would not be the only agent the United States infiltrated in that area with the intention of stimulate a third guerilla force that could oppose at some point the forces from Sierra Maestra lead by Fidel Castro. (vii) The United States was also involved in other complots where different names of personalities who could join a political option that snatched off the hands of Fidel Castro the revolutionary victory, among them: the colonel Ramón Barquín, Justo Carrillo, head of the Montecristi Group, and Manuel Antonio, Tony, de Varona. Still on December 23, 1958 at a meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower expressed his hope in the growth, strength and influences of a "third force". (viii)

The creation of a "third forces" it was not only promoted by the United States, but also by some domestic politicians. "The Third Force – highlights Jorge Ibarra Guitart - was a movement of private civic institutions that representing the feeling of important sectors of the bourgeoisie and the small bourgeoisie promoted peace measures and reconciliation with the régime. The instigator, behind the curtains was José Miró Cardona who from the Friends of the Republic Society had already planned the tactics of mobilizing bourgeois institutions to force the régime to reach an agreement. This was the time to try such tactics, because there were circumstances that favored it: the bourgeoisie, when noticing that with every passing day more revolutionary organizations gain ground was worried by the eminent threat that represented for their political and economic interests, the development of a civil war with a popular participation". (ix)

As it was impossible for the United States to prevent the victory of the Cuban Revolution and the coming into power of 26 de Julio forces, in the early months of 1959, Washington’s main objective was to support and encourage personalities who within the revolutionary government were considerate "moderate", of center, as opposed to those who were qualified as "extremist", to avoid that the Revolution did not have a deep social reach. (x)

When Fernando Martínez Heredia, highlights that today in Cuba there is a right nationalism with ambitions of center that has "a cultural accumulation to which refer (xi), he is mentioning the long history of that nationalism that has as antecedent the political attitudes of autonomism; which in the years of Bourgeois Neocolonial Republic admitted and defended the dominance. The U.S. government has used it many times with the purpose of braking, avoiding or achieving situations after the revolution that kept safe the structures of capitalist dominance in Cuba, under better permission.

Today we see that right nationalism that is stimulated by those who oppose us, under the deceiving cloth of centrism. It pursues the sole objective that the desperate attempt of restoring capitalism in Cuba. Once again, it will be failed attempt, because the main obstacle this trend has encountered is that its ideas have never sunk into the people. That people which throughout history has embraced the independent, patriotic, national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist tradition; never that of autonomism, annexionism or right nationalism.

NOTES

  

(i) See text of Esteban Morales: The Cuban counterrevolution has never existed, in: Esteban Morales and Elier Ramírez, Approaches to the conflict United States - Cuba, Political Publisher, Havana, 2015, pp.363-367. Morales wonders in this work if this counterrevolution can be considered Cuban, as it practically committed suicide after being born assuming an agenda imposed by the U.S. government.

(ii) See: : http://razonesdecuba.cubadebate.cu/cablegates-wikileaks/los-estados-unidos-y-el-papel-de-la-oposicion-en-cuba/

(iii) Speech on September 3, 1979 in the opening session of the NOAL Summit with venue in Havana, Fidel expressed: "What can be refuted to Cuba? That it’s a socialist country? Yes, we are a socialist country (APPLAUSES), but we don’t seek to impose our ideas and our system on anyone neither inside nor outside the Movement. We don't have anything to be ashamed of for being socialist! That we made a radical revolution in Cuba? Yes, we are revolutionary radicals, but we don't seek to impose anybody, and much less to the No Aligned Movement, our radicalism". See: : http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/1979/esp/f030979e.html

(iv) See Elier Ramírez Cañedo and Carlos Joane Rosario Grasso, The autonomism in the crucial hours of the Cuban Nation, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2008.

(v) José Martí, Speech in Hardman Hall, New York, October of 1889, 10 in: Speeches, Social Sciences Editorial House, Havana, 1974, p.195.

(vi) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, in: A fascinating history. The Trujillista conspiracy, Captain San Luis Editorial, Havana, 2009, p.50

(vii) Ibidem, pp.41-42.

(viii) Francisca López Civeira, The Government of Eisenhower before the Cuban Revolution: A new scenario, in: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/articulos/2527

(ix) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez in: Ob.Cit, p.51.

(x) Abundant information on this regard can be found on the work of Luis M.Buch and Reinaldo Suárez, Cuban Revolutionary Government. First Steps, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2004.

(xi) See Cubadebate, March 17, 2016: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2016/03/17/obama-no-pierda-la-oportunidad-de-hacer-algo-historico-podcast-video-y-fotos/#.WSmPPDfB-sx

The Fidel that I know

From the renowned writer’s perspective, Our Fidel is revealed over and above his historical achievements, namely, achieving a Revolution bigger than ourselves, under the very nostrils of the empire; moulding a Fatherland recognized for its values of dignity and sovereignty and ensuring that for more than half a century it was untoppled.

The virtues that captivated García Márquez are surely the same that many have perceived. However, he expresses them out of the affection and admiration that he felt for the Commander-in-Chief and this gives greater value to his every word.

Indeed, what fascinated him was the rebel leader’s power to seduce, his searching out problems where they might be, his indomitable patience, iron disciple, the power of an imagination that leads to unexpected events and his emotion to risk, the biggest stimulus of his life.

What made this front line revolutionary stand out in the transcendental events in Cuba in the twentieth and twenty first century was his attitude the face of defeat because “even in the basic actions of everyday life, he appears to obey his own internal logic: he does not even admit it and he does not have a minute of peace while he succeeds in reversing terms and converting them into victory.” considered El Gabo.

Another quality: there is no project, be it grandiose or small, that one cannot undertake with infinite passion, especially if one must challenge adversity. “Never did he appear to be in a better mood and better humor as he did then. Someone that believes to know him well said: “things must be going very badly because you are proud”, related the narrator.

García Márquez thinks that his rarest political virtue is that power to think out the unfolding of an event to its remote consequences. He does not exercise this power through “seeing the light”, but as a result of an arduous, tenacious reasoning, exhaustive analysis and after searching out the reasons.

The stand of innovator appears to be his ideal medium; he begins with a voice that is barely audible but he is gaining ground with his intelligence, charisma and ability. In this way he wins over his audience. “He is an inspiration: a state of irresistible and dazzling grace, that is only denied by those that have not had the glory of experiencing it”. So related the author of The Hundred Years of Solitude.

And when Fidel talks with his people, the dialogue is drenched in the eloquence and frankness of the deepest affection. This is why his people just address him as Fidel - just as they would a close friend, a father or a brother. They hug him, they need him, they raise issues and discuss them with him - an exchange which is one of its kind, where truth without hesitation prevails.

He close friend asserted, “it is then that one discovers the rare human being we fail to see due to the aura surrounding his image. This is the Fidel Castro that I believe I know: A man of austere habits and insatiable dreams; formally educated in Classics; a man of carefully chosen words and gentle manners; a man totally incapable of conceiving an idea that is not colossal”.

For this reason, he dreams with his feet on the ground that Cuban scientists will discover life-saving medicines or the final medicine against cancer. He has created a foreign policy of global power, in an island infinitely smaller than its powerful enemy, yet without violating a single principle, with dignity and ethics as his banner.

So this is Fidel in a nutshell: the first to take arms, the first to set an example; the Fidel that stopped smoking to have the moral authority to fight addiction to tobacco; the Fidel whose conviction it is that moral incentives rather than material ones can change the world and revise history.

It appears perpetual, the meridian clarity of the man of the cruiser, the Granma, the attack on the Moncada barracks, “History will absolve me” and the days of the war in the Sierra Maestra. Today, it is multiplied in a vision of the future of Latin America. The same vision is shared by Simón Bolívar and José Martí: an integral and independent community, capable of bringing light, just like dawn, and moving the destiny of the world.

Forever watchful, defending positions and principles. The United States is the country he knew best after Cuba. He had a deep understanding of the nature of its people, its power structures, the hidden objectives of its governments, an arsenal that helped him to weather the storm inflicted by the criminal economic, financial and commercial embargo against our sovereign nation.

“Something is known for certain: that is, where he may be, how he may be and with whom he may be, Fidel Castro is there to win”, reaffirmed his close Colombian friend, who said: “on seeing him so burdened by the weight of so many unrelated fates, I asked him what was it that he wanted to do most in the world. And he at once replied: to take a stand in a corner”.

This is Fidel – a man who sacrificed his life and was pleased to do so for the happiness of others; a man that Cuba admires and wants and the world recognizes and respects.

Cuba May Day will reaffirm revolutionary and anti-imperialist principles

Cuba May Day will reaffirm revolutionary and anti-imperialist principlesHAVANA, Cuba, Apr 1 (acn) Cuban workers will mark their international day on May 1 with a national celebration and marches reaffirming their revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals and supporting the current social and economic transformations in the country.

Granma newspaper published on Friday the call on all workers by the Cuban Workers Confederation to celebrate May Day with the slogan "For Cuba: Unity and Commitment," including marches in all squares where participants will voice their support of the Revolution and their claim for the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of their nation, the return to Cuba of the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo by the US naval base.

The celebrations will also pay homage to Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro on his 90th birthday and will be the scenario to recognize labor collectives for their efforts, results and merits.

The event this year will take place shortly after the 7th Congress of Cuba´s Communist Party and in the context of the 55th anniversary of the victory over the 1961 US-led mercenary invasion of Bay of Pigs. Workers will also express their support of their sisters and brothers in other nations who fight for unity and social justice, the call stresses.

As to the ongoing process towards the normalization of US-Cuba relations, the call explains that workers see it as an astonishing victory of the unyielding will of the Cuban people, considering the opportunities this event brings in areas of bilateral interest.

The Cuban Workers Confederation finally says that May Day celebrations will be a strong message about the unbreakable unity of the Cuban people and workers around the construction and development of their revolution.

  • Published in Now

Int'l Symposium on Cuban Revolution Concludes

The international symposium "The Cuban Revolution: Genesis and historical development," concludes today after three days of intensive discussions on this stage, which according to experts, is known but it has been little studied.

About 70 researchers, historians, sociologists, political scientists and other experts from more than 20 countries are meeting at the Havana's Conference Center, to exchange on issues related to the history of the island during the last 60 years, of which there is little documentation.

An exceptional moment of the meeting was the keynote speech given yesterday by Brazilian theologian, Frei Betto, to which Cuban First Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, attended.

Betto warned on the need to train new generations, feeling part of the Cuban Revolution.

Speaking to the press, Betto rejected the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States to Cuba, while he considered the restrictions suffered in this country as a factor of resistance of the Cuban people.

Issues such as Cuban cooperation with Angola; internationalism, foreign policy of the Revolution, and medical cooperation with African countries, were under discussion during the event.

In addition, the working committees delved into the roots of the revolutionary process; history, heritage and science; the national liberation process in the 50s of last century, and the political-military strategy of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Some of the social impacts generated by the current transformations in Cuba, the external view of these changes, and the institutional development in the so-called special period, were debated in panels.

  • Published in Cuba
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