Just a few days ago, a friend of mine sent me the text of a report from Gallup, the well-known U.S. opinion pollster. I started to leaf through the material with the natural lack of confidence given the lying and hypocritical information usually used against our nation.
It was a survey on education in which Cuba was included, although it is usually ignored. It analyzed the situation in four regions of the world: Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. A number of Caribbean nations were included in some aspects.
First question: Are children in your country treated with dignity and respect? Positive answer: Asia 73%, Europe 67%, Africa 60% and Latin America 41%. If the Caribbean countries are included, Gallup states that in Haiti, only 13% of those surveyed responded affirmatively to that question.
Second question: Do children in your country have the opportunity to learn and grow every day? In Asia 75% answered yes; in Europe, 74%; in Africa, 60%; in Latin America, 56%. Many of the countries of this region were under 50%.
Third question: Is this country’s education accessible to anyone who wishes to study independently of his or her economic situation? The answers reveal a painful situation in many Latin American nations and better answers from the English-speaking Caribbean.
I do not wish to offend any of the countries that I mention, but it would be meaningless to write these lines without noting the place occupied by Cuba – so many times slandered – in the survey. It was in first place among all the countries in the world. Of those surveyed by Gallup, 93% answered yes to the first question; 96% to the second; and 98% to the third. As it is known, Cubans have the habit of answering any question with complete frankness.
Another particularly salient fact is that in Venezuela, 70% and 80% answered positively to the first and second question, respectively. This is a country that is developing a large-scale education program, eradicating illiteracy and promoting study at all levels, a process that began only a few years ago. On account of that, Venezuela occupied second place in the region.
The response to the third question was a yes from 82%, placing it third in Latin America and the Caribbean, exceeded by Trinidad and Tobago, in second place with 86%.
In important Latin American countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Chile, 57%, 56%, 52% and 43%, respectively, answered yes to the question. Those that came out with the best results were the Dominican Republic, Panama, Uruguay, Belize and Bolivia, with 76%, 73%, 70%, 60% and 65%. Paraguay and Haiti are in the lowest places, with 17%.
Cuba is cooperating free of charge with these two countries and many other sister nations in the hemisphere, both in education and health, and giving special emphasis to the training of medical personnel. Thus Cuba is modestly fulfilling its duty as expressed by Martí: “Homeland is humanity!” as our national hero affirmed.
May 19th was the 113th anniversary of his death, which took place in Dos Ríos in 1895. As everybody knows, the U.S. military intervention frustrated the independence of our homeland. Innumerable patriots had died in the struggle that lasted nearly 30 years.
The great power to the north was always hostile to our struggle, given that for a long time it had assigned it the manifest destiny of forming part of its territory, at that time in full expansion.
The moment had arrived, the decadence of the Spanish empire, where the sun never set, gave the new imperial power the opportunity to snatch Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. It sought pretexts, it utilized deception and lies, recognizing that in fact and in law the Cuban people were free and independent, as a means of seeking the support of its valiant combatants to support the war of the interventionists.
In that final struggle the Spaniards displayed the habitual bravery of their soldiers and the stupidity of their government. The Cevera squadron was annihilated ship by ship at the exit of Santiago de Cuba Bay by the U.S. battleships, as we have explained on other occasions, almost without being able to fire off a single cannon round. The great fraud came afterwards when, with the people already disarmed, the United States imposed the Platt Amendment and leonine economic agreements on Cuba; the country, laid waste and bleeding, moved inexorably toward becoming the property of the United States.
That is the real history.
What has been happening recently? It (the United States) is being driven crazy by the unyielding resistance of our people and their modest advance toward a more just world, despite the disappearance of the Socialist camp and the USSR.
Radio Martí, TV Martí and other sophisticated forms of media aggression with which it is trying to humiliate the Cuban people and destroy their resistance, are insults to the name of the national independence hero.
A deluge of speeches and lies are being lined up against Cuba. McCain, Bush’s candidate to the presidency of the empire, is speaking; Bush himself is speaking. Against whom? Against Martí. In the name of whom? Of Martí.
They are referring to atrocious acts of torture, something that has never happened in our country, and even the least informed of Cubans knows that. And who are the ones talking of torture? McCain, the candidate, and George W. Bush, the President.
What is the candidate saying?
“I would like to thank my two dear friends in Congress, Lincoln and Mario Díaz-Balart, who are great defenders of the people of Cuba. They are men of honor and integrity. I respect and admire them very much. They are the best members of Congress who I have worked with and whom I have known…”
“My friends, today on Cuban Independence Day we have the opportunity to celebrate the cultural legacy and the deepest roots of the Cuban people…”
“The independence fighters who won Cuba’s independence more than 100 years ago could not have imagined that their descendants would be in a struggle for freedom and democracy one century later…”
“One day Cuba will be an important ally for securing democracy in our hemisphere…”
“The dictatorship will not continue until the end of time and, as President, I will not passively await the day when the Cuban people enjoy the blessings of freedom and democracy. I will not wait…”
“My administration will force the Cuban regime to unconditionally free all the political prisoners and to plan elections under international supervision…”
“The embargo must be maintained until those crucial elements of democracy and social democracy emerge.”
“Venezuela and Bolivia have to be prevented from following Cuba’s example.”
In his book The Faith of My Fathers, McCain confessed that he was one of the five bottom students in his cohort at West Point. He is demonstrating that. At the end of his time in prison he was weak, and he acknowledges that as well. He launched innumerable bombs on the Vietnamese people. How many lives and how much money did that adventure cost? At that time gold was worth $35 and they squandered $500 billion in that war. The consequences are still being paid. A Troy ounce is now worth $1,000 and once again hundreds of billions are being squandered in wars. New and complex problems are compounding that.
Where are the solutions?
What did President George W. Bush say?
“One hundred and 13 years ago this week, Cuba lost its great poet and patriot, José Martí. And 106 years ago this week, Cuba achieved the independence for which Martí gave his life… Martí’s warning proved truer than anyone could have imagined…”
“…the regime has not attempted even cosmetic changes. For example, political dissidents continue to be harassed, detained, and beaten…”
“The world is watching the Cuban regime. If it follows its recent public gestures by opening up access to information…, respecting political freedom and human rights, then it can credibly say it has delivered the beginnings of change… America refuses to be deceived, and so do the Cuban people. While the regime embarrasses and isolates itself, the Cuban people will continue to act with dignity and honor and courage…”
“This is the first Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People — and the United States must keep observing such days until Cuba’s freedom.”
“We’ll continue to support the Cubans who work to make their nation democratic and prosperous and just.”
“…the United States has dramatically stepped up our efforts to promote freedom and democracy in Cuba. This includes our increased efforts to get uncensored information to the Cuban people, primarily through Radio and TV Martí.”
“Today, I also repeat my offer to license U.S. NGOs and faith-based groups to provide computers and Internet to the Cuban people…”
“Through these measures, the United States is reaching out to the Cuban people. Yet we know that life will not fundamentally change for Cubans until their form of government changes. For those who’ve suffered for decades, such change may seem impossible. But the truth is, it is inevitable…”
“The day will come when all political prisoners are offered unconditional release. And these developments will bring another great day — the day when Cubans choose their own leaders by voting in free and fair elections…”
“Today, 113 years after José Martí left us, a new poet-patriot expresses the hopes of the Cuban people… Willy (Chirino) will perform a song that is on the Cuban people’s lips and in their hearts. And here are some of its lyrics: Nuestro día ya viene llegando.”
As for the siege of hunger and blockade that has lasted for decades, not a word.
Martí was a profound thinker and upright anti-imperialist. In his epoch, nobody like him understood with so much precision the terrible consequences of the monetary agreements that the United States was trying to impose on the Latin American countries, the blueprint of those of free trade, which they have resurrected today, in conditions that are more unequal than ever.
“Whoever says economic union, says political union. The people that buys, commands. The people that sells, serves. Trade has to be balanced in order to ensure freedom… The people that wishes to be free, must be free in business.”
Those are the principles proclaimed by Martí.
In that period, payments were in silver or gold. Today they are made with paper.
In an unfinished letter to his friend Manuel Mercado written the day before his death, he noted:
“…I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty, for I understand that duty and have the courage to carry it out – the duty of preventing the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America. All I have done so far, and all I will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work quietly and somewhat indirectly, because to achieve certain objectives, they must be kept under cover; to proclaim them for what they are would raise such difficulties that the objectives could not be realized.”
It does not matter how many times these intimate and revealing words, so marvelously expressed, are repeated.
With those immortal phrases in his mind, a few hours later, he launched himself on his own account into the attack on the Spanish column. Nobody could have held him back. Riding in the front line, he received three fatal bullets in his impetuous advance.
On July 26, 2004, when Bush had already spent nearly three years bombarding, torturing and killing in his absurd anti-terrorist war, with the invasion of Iraq already underway, I analyzed his strange personality based on a study of the interesting book Bush on the Couch, by Dr. Justin A. Frank, which contains one of the most revealing and fundamental studies of the personality of George W. Bush:
“Conspiracy is a common phenomenon among consumers of alcohol, as is the perseverance evident in Bush’s tendency to repeat key words and phrases, as if the repetition helps him to stay calm and maintain his attention.”
“…If, moreover, we assume that George W. Bush’s days of alcoholism have been left behind, the question remains as to the permanent damage that it could have caused before he stopped drinking, beyond the considerable impact on his personality that we can trace up to his abstinence without treatment. Any integral psychological or psychoanalytical study of President Bush will have to explore to what extent his brain and functions have changed in more than 20 years of alcoholism.”
Neither of the two speakers on May 20th and 21st even mentioned the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes, whose information made it possible to uncover the plots of Luis Posada Carriles and to prevent the sabotage of airplanes in full flight with foreign visitors on board, including U.S. citizens, in order to damage tourism. They pressured and bribed the president of Panama and helped to secure Posada’s release. Santiago Alvarez transported him to Florida. I publicly denounced that almost immediately. Everything has been proven. After that an enormous weapons arsenal was seized from Santiago Alvarez himself.
They want impunity for terrorists and mercenaries. How far they are from understanding Cuba and its people!
The gross lies of McCain and Bush constitute the only way of obtaining absolutely nothing from the heroic people who have known how to resist the power of the empire for almost half a century.
Our desire is to record for history: the immortal ideas of Martí that he watered with his blood will never be betrayed!
Fidel Castro Ruz
May 22, 2008