Cuba Commemorates 58th Anniversary of Women’s Organization

Cuban women outstand in Latin America. Their characteristics have stood the test of time, allowing them to accomplish so much of what has been achieved in the country

We are Cuban women of the 21st century, as I recently read. We see our dreams on the horizon and are moving forward. We are not very different from the women who came before us. Our characteristics have stood the test of time, allowing us to accomplish so much of what has been achieved in the country.

Since the revolutionary war, underground and in the Sierra Maestra, Cuban women have shown our bravery, intelligence, and above all, the will to accomplish everything we take on. This is why the right to a safe, legal abortion, free of charge, has been in place for almost 60 years. We were the first country in Latin America to promulgate a divorce law, and sex education is provided beginning in elementary school. Gender equality is addressed in all environments, as is ending violence against women and girls.

We have accomplished so much. We could say we are a leading country when it comes to the victories of women, but this does not mean we are done. When we say that we see our dreams on the horizon, we know that as long as we continue dreaming, the horizon recedes and we have farther to go.

Being a revolutionary means more than defending the homeland. It implies changing, breaking barriers, and transforming. Vilma Espín is no doubt one of the most revolutionary women ever in Cuba. She struggled not only for her country’s independence and freedom, but advocated for the rights of women throughout her life, as well.

She did so raising her voice, but also in action. On August 23, 1960, the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) was founded, an organization she led until her death in 2007, advocating for the full participation of women in society and the workplace, alongside the program of social and economic changes unfolding in the country.

Today on its 58th anniversary, the FMC has close to four million members and carries out activities across the country to support families. In the Guidance Centers for Women and Families created by the FMC, educational and preventative work is done to provide assistance to women, children, older adults, and men in facing conflicts, be they related to violence, legal issues, family dynamics, or others.

Also available at these centers are classes and training that allow homemakers to participate in social life. Activities include community visits to maternity hospitals and schools to address responsible sexuality and teenage pregnancy. Staff is also involved in responding to anti-social behavior, including the detection of illicit drug trafficking and consumption, as well as prostitution.

Another effort of the FMC is the “Educate your child program” for mothers and their preschool children between the ages of two and five, to prepare these boys and girls for the school environment.

To accomplish all this, the FMC has a staff that includes social workers and other professionals to ensure that mothers and families can participate in activities and courses, and work for greater and better incorporation of women in society. There are those who don’t like statistics, but in many cases these provide an added dimension to work carried out anonymously, giving isolated events visibility. In Cuba, women constitute 48% of all workers in the civilian state sector.

According to FMC General Secretary Teresa Amarelle Boué, also a member of the Communist Party of Cuba Political Bureau, Cuban women have excellent opportunities to work, participate, and lead. One example is that eight of every ten attorneys in the country are women.

At the end of 2016, 37% of all workers in the economy were women, constituting 63% of all technicians and professionals. Their participation in the non-state sector has been gradually increasing, Amarelle noted in a recent interview published in Granma.

In the healthcare sector, 78.5% of those practicing medicine are women; almost half of scientific researchers are female; and women occupy 66% of the most highly skilled technical and professional positions in the country – receiving equal pay for equal work.

On another front, legislation affords women special rights to pre and post maternity leave, and working mothers have the right to breastfeed their babies as long as they see fit.

Currently, women constitute 53.2% of deputies in the National Assembly of People’s Power, 33.5% of delegates to Municipal Assemblies and 51% at the provincial level. Of the country’s 168 municipalities, 66 have women leading their governments, as is the case in nine of the nation’s 16 provinces.

Still moving toward that receding horizon, Cuban women of the 21st century have more battles to win. While the results of our efforts have been significant, with women’s presence in Cuba ever more active and authentic, we continue dreaming.

In arenas devoted to achieving gender equality and ending violence against women and girls, being debated are issues related to stereotypes that persist in a society that remains patriarchal and machista. The aging of the population enters into the picture when inequalities in the responsibility for domestic tasks and home care are considered. Likewise, work continues to reduce the rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality, which are low when compared to other countries of the region, but continue to be high given our standards.

Isabel Moya Richard, outstanding journalist and for many years director of the Editorial de la Mujer publishing house, said in one of her last interviews that the challenges facing Cuban women were many: “The first is that it is widely believed that we have already won it all. When we look at statistics and see the number of women in Parliament, the number of female scientists, female communicators, and that more than 70% of attorneys are women, etc, we fabricate an idea that distorts reality.

“We have been able to open the way in professions previously not considered appropriate for women. Now we are in a more complex time, that of confronting subjectivity, culture, value judgments and customs – much more difficult to change, since this is about canons deeply seated in the collective imagination, in social expressions:”

The road has been long, but productive, and it will continue to be so, with the horizon as our goal. The Federation of Cuban Women has reached its 58th birthday, and this new year of life is full of challenges, with much more to be accomplished.

"The Revolution has, without a doubt some, in our population's feminine sector, a very big back, for that reason, from the first instants they were observed a series of activities with the Cuban woman's active participation. It was not anything new for our country. Our country can feel fortunate in many things, but among them, the first one of all, for the magnificent town that possesses. Here not alone the men fight; here, as the men, the women" fight.

A decisive force for our Revolution

"This unification of all the feminine sectors of the Revolution, is to constitute a force, an enthusiastic force, a numerous force, a big force and a decisive force for our Revolution."

Federation of Cuban Women, united in that word: Cuban

"And today the women meet and they constitute this Federation of Cuban Women, united in that word: Cuban, and united in that flag that you/they take in their hands. And they have united to work, to work and to fight; they have united for all the tasks that the Revolution brings us; they have united for the fight and they have united for the work; they have united to help to the homeland in any circumstance."

The Revolution has the Cuban woman

"For that reason we have the Cuban woman, the Revolution it has the Cuban woman! and it is task of the Federation to organize the Cuban woman, to prepare the Cuban woman, to help the Cuban woman in all the orders: in the social order, in the cultural order; elevating their preparation through courses, through publications; putting it aware of all the questions that are of interest for the woman; putting it aware of the questions of the women in the entire world, relating it from all over the world with the cultural and social activities of the women, making arrive to her from all over the world feminine publications, news from all over the world; and taking to everybody news and the Cuban" woman's publications.

Let us take place with joy this historical and promising day

"(…) that a single revolutionary woman that is not contained in the Federation of Cuban Women, doesn't exist and they will see how the Revolution will be able to have a force more, with a new organized force, with a tremendous social force and revolutionary. With the result that us, in today's day, in the same day that there you discusses, let us take place with joy this historical and promising day of the constitution of the Federation of Cuban" Women.

To put in activity the creative spirit

"And now, to work, to organize and to put in activity the creative spirit, the Cuban woman's enthusiasm, so that the Cuban woman, in this revolutionary stage makes disappear until the last discrimination vestige; and have, the Cuban woman, for their virtues and for their merits, the place that corresponds him in the history of the homeland."

  • Published in Cuba

Revolution, the dawn of dignity

When I was six or seven years old, I had a beautiful but naïve idea. I liked to think that every morning as I got up to go to school, children everywhere around the world were doing the same thing. Back then, I never imagined that what was for me a normal, daily routine was only a utopia for millions of children, an unreachable dream. While I felt only the pleasant weight of books in my backpack, they endured hunger, misery, and desperation.

It didn’t take long for me to understand why my reality was so different from theirs. The reason was that I had been born in the Cuba of Fidel, of the Revolution, where society’s supreme principle was a commitment to the full dignity of humanity, as Martí taught us, where we had the rights we needed to fully develop as human beings, on both the individual and social planes, rights which were enjoyed by only the most comfortable minorities around the world.

This certainty with which we were born makes us unquestionably privileged, above all, because the Cuban people have never been passive or silent, sitting back and watching, but have rather played a decisive role in shaping our destiny. That is why when the Centenary Generation proposed an alternative, the people tipped the balance toward justice, and assumed as their own the arguments that Fidel, with his visionary thinking, threw into the face of the tyrants during his historic self-defense statement, following the Moncada assault. This statement became the programmatic platform of the struggle, in which the most absolute of truths were defined: the rights denied the people must be respected and taken to their maximum expression. This was the revolutionaries’ most brilliant maxim, which became after the triumph of the Revolution, and continues to be, the most basic reason for the existence of this project.

A HUMANIST REVOLUTION

The clearly humanist character of the Cuban Revolution was apparent from the very beginning. The implementation of the Moncada program showed that those who had led the last stage of our struggles for independence would be true to every idea raised before the victory.

The radical laws put into effect during the first years of the 1960s opened the way for more ambitious goals, focused on equal opportunity and access to services for all, unprecedented in the history of Cuba. If anyone had any doubt, the massive mobilization that eliminated illiteracy showed that no obstacle would be too great to ensure that all Cubans would enjoy the rising sun of dignity.

The profound social transformations associated with the revolutionary process produced a state of law that evolved alongside the consolidation of socialism. The social ownership of the means of production allowed the equitable distribution of wealth and, therefore, the people’s increasingly greater role in the construction of its own wellbeing. Fidel, and all those with him who led the Revolution’s advance, were always convinced that the people were the only force capable of putting an end to what had been accomplished, and the only force capable of successfully defending it.

But once again, history has spoken, because human beings are never more free that when we enjoy all the rights that support this condition, and the humble - for whom and through whose efforts the project emerged - stayed the Revolution’s course, and became the pillar that has today made it indestructible. Fidel many times spoke of this reciprocity, which has shown that no sacrifice in the name of social equality is in vain.

“The Revolution undertakes a task that ennobles, dignifies, human beings, and their best values. It is precisely the Revolution - the Revolution that seeks a just society, a better way of life, a more enlightened society - that holds patriotic values, and human values, highest. The right of human beings to acquire culture, go to school, to work, to live. The right of human beings to true happiness.”

The extraordinary achievements of this island country in terms of human rights go far beyond having signed international treaties, or being a proud member of the Council that works through the General Assembly promoting respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved in 1948.

Cuba has sought to make a reality of the elemental principles that dignify our species, although it would have been easier, at times, to renounce the struggle than to continue the battle. But it goes without saying that this people is not accustomed to taking the easy way out.

TODAY’S MONCADA

Facing their Moncada today are younger generations who have never taken up arms, did not go up into the mountains, or risk their lives in the underground. Today’s battle is unquestionably for the future, one that requires a vision which is renovated but maintains the essence of our social system, adapting to new times with the only weapon needed: a solid historical, moral, and ideological legacy.

May no one lose their sense of direction, no matter the 59 years that separate us from that January 1. What was done at that time and what we are constructing now have the same goal: making the Revolution sustainable, to safeguard of the most beautiful chapters in the history of humanism written around the world.

In times of “soft coups,” of frustrated neoliberalism, and of inciting violence, being Cuban also means feeling safe under the protection of social stability, with dialogue as the basis for change, respect for peace as the foundation of establishing consensus, especially in terms of the collective construction of the society of our dreams.

After discussing the proposed new Constitution, and observing the extensive analysis conducted by our deputies in the National Assembly, I cannot help but feel that we are steadily moving toward a new era and a higher stage of social order, and that to do so, we must have a much more advanced Constitution to make this leap.

Even before the Cuban people have their word on the constitutional reform document, I have no doubt that human rights, which constitute a basic principle of the Cuban Revolution, will remain intact. And moreover, any change proposed in this area will be in the interest of expanding the range of rights to make our society increasing more inclusive.

On the basis of decisions we have made, Cuba is and will continue to be proof that the full dignity of human beings is not a utopian dream, but rather an achievable goal, although not a gift. It is won with sacrifice and effort, intransigence and unlimited dedication. There is enough evidence to support the assertion, evident since the generation of our founding fathers, and through that of those who would not let the dreams of Martí die in the year of his centenary, along with those born after the triumph of the Revolution.

This feeling of being protected, sheltered by democracy and infinite respect for the human condition, must always accompany us, to never allow our people to be touched by the confusion and discouragement that sadly infects so much of Our America, and prevents the people from seeing clearly where justice lies.

Personally, I want the image I had as a child to stay with me. I want to continue dreaming of the possibility that all the world’s children can go to school, with the only weight on their shoulders being the books that will make them more cultured, and therefore more free. But as we continue the battle to make this dream a reality, in my homeland, where this is the absolute truth, I never want to see it destroyed.

Our collective bet is on the present and the future of this project we have nurtured, but in our own way, without the damaging influence of those who are only interested in undermining the foundations of Cuban socialism, which we have constructed on the basis of our perspective and experiences. We are ready for loftier goals, because in every one of us what holds sway is Fidel’s maxim, “the Revolution is the instrument of education, of culture, of sports, of human values, of spiritual values.”

  • Published in Cuba

Nicaragua: Sandinistas Celebrate 39th Anniversary of Revolution

Nicaragua marked Thursday the 39th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Revolution, a process that signaled the end of the Somoza family dictatorship and represented socioeconomic transformations to benefit of the Nicaraguan people.

The historical turning point came on July 19,1979 as the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN, assumed the responsibilities of the government and set about reconstructing the country.

A public demonstration is planned to take place in the Plaza de la Fe, in the capital of Managua.

Nicaraguan Vice-President Rosario Murillo has called on the people of the nation to "celebrate in all the municipalities...to commemorate the victory en route to new victories in unison, because we are heading for more victories through the hand of God for his glory, victorious times, by the grace of God and for his glory.”

Murillo exhorted that the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution be “guided in Christianity, in the love of Christ, in the love of thy neighbor, in socialism, in solidarity, the 39th anniversary (of the Sandinista Revolution) led to many new victories.”

He also noted that the new victories should be in the name of “reconciliation and peace” and for the “prosperity of all Nicaraguan families.”

The vice-president conveyed the well wishes of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for each and every Nicaraguan, "commitment to the common good, hope, faith, love of neighbor, Christian spirit, values of family and community restoration in all of our territories, together with security, peace, work and life.”

Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the country's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, will lead a delegation from the island that will attend the Sandinista's triumphant 39th anniversary.

The anniversary comes at time when the country is facing a sociopolitical crisis fueled by the international right with the intention of overthrowing the government of President Daniel Ortega. The unrest began in mid-April with protests against social security reforms that President Ortega later withdrew in a bid to halt the escalation in violence.

  • Published in World

A Revolution Made Love

Twenty-two adolescents from the school for special needs Solidarity with Panama celebrated last Wednesday evening its fifteen years with a very special guest: the Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz.

Very few dates in the life of a youth are remembered with more nostalgia than the night of your fifteenth birthday. The white dress, the waltz, the flowers, the pictures, the jitters, the company of the parents and the first juvenile love come together all at once in the magic moment of the toast.

And if that night is spent in an extraordinary place, then emotions reach unimaginable limits. Thus was the experience this Wednesday of April when twenty-two adolescents from the school for special needs Solidarity with Panama celebrated their fifteenth birthday next a very special guest: the Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz.

Some in wheelchairs, others walking, they reached the dance floor with their couples. All dressed in impeccable white and joy reflected in their faces. While through the speakers were heard the names of each one of them as well as the names of their parents, their favorite songs, the perfume they were wearing, the food they adore, the music they like, their zodiac sign and the name of their fiancées a secret until then.

The physical or intellectual disability didn’t matter. As any Cuban youth at their age, they also enjoyed their fifteenth waltz. They were two girls and twenty boys, each making true their dream night.

On the side of the room Raúl made the happiness of the children and their parents his. You could see happiness and he told them how happy he was after the dance was over.

«I am very thrilled», he admitted to them. When I see things like this I admire Fidel more. In year 1989, a very difficult year for our country, he founded this school, when we didn't know how we will subsist. «For schools such as these we are willing to give everything».

«I believe it’s one of the most beautiful tasks, more beautiful and just of the Revolution», he assured to parents, family members, teachers, workers and guests who came together that night to make happy the 171 children with physical-motor limitations of the entire country who attend school there and are taken care of with extreme love.

He got photographed with the boys; he talked to them, even one of them spoke about his great-grandmother who was friend of Vilma; he carried in his arms the smallest, and asked them for their studies and he promised to come back soon.

He spoke with the head of the institution, Esther La O Ochoa, she had thanked Raúl to be there, for the happiness of her children, to carry on Fidel’s work who on December 31st, 1989 when the Cuban families were celebrating yearend he was here inaugurating our school.

«We have loved it ever since, we have taken care of it », she said. She has devoted for some years now to make true Fidel's dream at the school Solidarity with Panama, a place where the Revolution has been made love.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

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.

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