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