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Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic

Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic

 Forthcoming in October 2015

The Haitian Revolution, the product of the first successful slave revolt, was truly world-historic in its impact. When Haiti declared independence in 1804, the leading powers—France, Great Britain, and Spain—suffered an ignominious defeat and the New World was remade. The island revolution also had a profound impact on Haiti’s mainland neighbor, the United States. Inspiring the enslaved and partisans of emancipation while striking terror throughout the Southern slaveocracy, it propelled the fledgling nation one step closer to civil war. Gerald Horne’s path breaking new work explores the complex and often fraught relationship between the United States and the island of Hispaniola. Giving particular attention to the responses of African Americans, Horne surveys the reaction in the United States to the revolutionary process in the nation that became Haiti, the splitting of the island in 1844, which led to the formation of the Dominican Republic, and the failed attempt by the United States to annex both in the 1870s.… | more |

Our right to be Marxist-Leninists

The 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War will be commemorated the day after tomorrow, May 9. Given the time difference, while I write these lines, the soldiers and officials of the Army of the Russian Federation, full of pride, will be parading through Moscow’s Red Square with their characteristic quick, military steps.… Lenin was a brilliant revolutionary strategist who did not hesitate in assuming the ideas of Marx and implementing them in an immense and only partly industrialized country, whose proletariat party became the most radical and courageous on the planet in the wake of the greatest slaughter that capitalism had caused in the world, where for the first time tanks, automatic weapons, aviation and poison gases made an appearance in wars, and even a legendary cannon capable of launching a heavy projectile more than 100 kilometers made its presence felt in the bloody conflict.… | more |

Marx on the Camino de Santiago

Meaning, Work, and Crisis

When I walked the thousand-year-old route of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain in September and October 2014, I expected to discuss questions of health with fellow travelers. I assumed that an ancient pilgrimage would be full of walkers pondering health issues and would provide an ethnographer’s panacea for “getting in.” I was wrong. I was surrounded by walkers from all parts of Europe, but they were pondering the meaning of work, capitalism, and their lives. I found I was seeing a profound crisis of capitalism and individuals struggling with alienated labor as discussed by Karl Marx.… [W]hat I saw on the Camino de Santiago was certainly not a revolutionary movement. Envisioning satisfying work, however, helps change the shared conception of what work is. Raul Zibechi argued that as we struggle both individually or collectively, we engage in an emancipatory process that, as the Zapatista’s Subcomandante Marcos notes, “builds, includes, brings together and remembers whereas the system, separates, splits and fragments.”… Awareness of alienated labor and struggle against crisis, whether individual or collective, does seem to create imaginative space for change even if it does not necessarily reflect what has been thought of as revolutionary struggle.… | more |

A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution: How the Working Class Shaped the Guerillas' Victory

A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution: How the Working Class Shaped the Guerillas’ Victory

Meaning, Work, and Crisis

Forthcoming in February 2016

Millions of words have been written about the Cuban Revolution, which, to both its supporters and detractors, is almost universally understood as being won by a small band of guerillas. In this unique and stimulating book, Stephen Cushion turns the conventional wisdom on its head, and argues that the Cuban working class played a much more decisive role in the Revolution’s outcome than previously understood. Although the working class was well-organized in the 1950s, it is believed to have been too influenced by corrupt trade union leaders, the Partido Socialist Popular, and a tradition of making primarily economic demands to have offered much support to the guerillas. Cushion contends that the opposite is true, and that significant portions of the Cuban working class launched an underground movement in tandem with the guerillas operating in the mountains.… | more |

Pete Seeger, Musical Revolutionary

In the late 1950s, Pete Seeger received a letter from his manager, Howie Richmond, begging him to write a new hit song. … [Richmond] believed that “protest songs” were not marketable. Seeger was angry—he had a new song in mind, with words from a poem that he had set to music, and he believed it was, in a deep and significant sense, a song of protest.…. The song, of course, was “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” which continues to be performed and recorded by many artists, and most famously became a huge folk-rock hit for The Byrds. It was as though, despite himself, Seeger produced a hit song, even when commercial popularity was the furthest thing from his mind—an example of how inseparably his songwriting talents and political principles were bound together.… | more |

We Have Lost Our Best Friend

The best friend the Cuban people have had throughout their history died on the afternoon of March 5. A call via satellite communicated the bitter news. The significance of the phrase used was unmistakable.

Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news hit us hard. I recalled the times he joked with me, saying that when both of us had concluded our revolutionary task, he would invite me to walk by the Arauca River in Venezuelan territory, which made him remember the rest that he never had.

The honor befell us to have shared with the Bolivarian leader the same ideas of social justice and support for the exploited. The poor are the poor in any part of the world.

“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her: she has in me a son,” proclaimed National Hero José Martí, the leader of our independence, a traveler who, without cleansing himself of the dust of the journey, asked for the location of the statue of Bolívar.

Martí knew the beast because he lived in its entrails. Is it possible to ignore the profound words he voiced in an inconclusive letter to his friend Manuel Mercado the day before he died in battle? “…I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty – for I understand that duty and have the intention of carrying it out – the duty of preventing the United States from extending through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from falling, with that additional strength, upon our lands of America. All that I have done thus far, and will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work silently and somewhat indirectly because, there are certain things which, in order to attain them, have to remain concealed….”

At that time, 66 years had passed since the Liberator Simón Bolívar wrote, “…the United States would seem to be destined by fate to plague the Americas with miseries in the name of freedom.”

On January 23, 1959, 22 days after the revolutionary triumph in Cuba, I visited Venezuela to thank its people and the government which assumed power after the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship, for the dispatch of 150 rifles at the end of 1958. I said at that time:

“…Venezuela is the homeland of the Liberator, where the idea of the union of the peoples of America was conceived. Therefore, Venezuela must be the country to lead the union of the peoples of America; as Cubans, we support our brothers and sisters in Venezuela.

“I have spoken of these ideas not because I am moved by any kind of personal ambition, or even the ambition of glory, because, at the end of the day, ambitions of glory remain a vanity, and as Martí said, ‘All the glory of the world fits into a kernel of corn.’

“And so, upon coming here to talk in this way to the people of Venezuela, I do so thinking honorably and deeply, that if we want to save America, if we want to save the freedom of each one of our societies that, at the end of the day, are part of one great society, which is the society of Latin America; if it is that we want to save the revolution of Cuba, the revolution of Venezuela and the revolution of all the countries on our continent, we have to come closer to each other and we have to solidly support each other, because alone and divided, we will fail.”

That is what I said on that day and today, 54 years later, I endorse it!

I must only include on that list the other nations of the world which, for more than half a century, have been victims of exploitation and plunder. That was the struggle of Hugo Chávez.

Not even he himself suspected how great he was.

¡Until victory forever (Hasta la victoria siempre), unforgettable friend!

Signature of Fidel Raul Castro

Fidel Castro Ruz

An Honest Clarification

Some days ago, on May 28, the violent battle waged at El Uvero was commemorated with well deserved references. An elemental duty forces me to clarify the facts.

During those weeks, Manuel Piñeiro, “Red Beard”, as the leopard, who never changes its spots, as the saying goes, managed to send to Santiago de Cuba a truckload of weapons that had a connection to the attack against the Presidential Palace by the Revolutionary Directorate. Somehow he had managed to take hold of them. Frank País, who was the national actions chief of our “26 of July Movement”, sent a significant part of that cargo to the troublesome zone of the Sierra Maestra, where our incipient Rebel Army was rising alive from its ashes.

That learning period had been extremely tough. Step by step we started to gain our first victories, through which we were able to increase our strength in weapons and men without suffering any casualty. We were also forced to cope with the dangerous treason perpetrated by Eutimio Guerra, who had been a rebel peasant until the moment when he yielded to the bountiful offers made by the enemy. Despite all obstacles and with the support of the men and means sent by Frank we began to create the first guerrilla detachment with a vanguard that was headed by Camilo; a rearguard that was commanded by Efigenio Ameijeiras; the centre forces made up by small platoons and the General Command. We already had a group of seasoned fighters who had conveniently adapted to the conditions of the theatre of operations when we received a significant cache of weapons that were rescued by “Red Beard” and had been conveyed to us hidden inside some barrels filled with thick grease.

Was it correct, from the military and revolutionary points of view, to attack the entrenched and well armed garrison close to the seashore, in the same place used to ship the timber extracted from that area? Why did we do so?

It so happened that at that time, on the month of May, the “Corynthia” expedition had already landed, headed by Calixto Sánchez White. A strong feeling of solidarity made us launch the attack against the military garrison at El Uvero.

In full honesty I should say that the decision adopted, leaving out the merit of the solidarity it entailed wasn’t in the least correct. Our role, which prevailed over any other goal, just as had been the case throughout our entire revolutionary life, was not in accordance with that decision.

I remember the first gunshot I made with the telescopic sight rifle that I had, aiming to the radio communication equipment of the garrison. After that shot, tens of bullets were fired against the enemy command post. That was why the adversary did not know that its garrison was under attack. Thus, at least for three hours neither bombs nor shells were shot against us, something that usually happened, without exception, hardly 20 minutes after the beginning of every battle. Without the presence of these factors, it was quite likely that this decision, which was only inspired by solidarity, would have reduced our troops of almost one hundred veterans, in which case we would have had to go through the same hazardous journey all over again, something that would have been for us the best case scenario.

It was under such circumstances that Almeida was shot in the chest; he was spared from a far more serious wound thanks to something made of metal that he was carrying in his pocket, as he remembered. Guillermo García, wearing a helmet he found for himself in the first combat, waged a hard-fought battle with the defender of a fort made of thick logs. Che, who was shooting with a machine gun that usually got jammed, left his position in order to engage those who were fighting Almeida. And Raúl moved on with his small platoon to fight the soldiers who entrenched themselves among the piles of logs that were ready for shipment. All this happened before the fighter bombers came into the scene. Julio Díaz, a courageous fighter who was shooting with a tripod, could not advance any further. He was lying by my side with a deadly gunshot in his forehead.

Is there a better understanding now about what happened on May 28, 1957, 55 years ago?

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Fidel Castro Ruz

June 1st, 2012

4:36 p.m.

What Obama Knows

The most demolishing article I have seen nowadays about Latin America was written by Renán Vega Cantor, full professor at the National Pedagogical University of Bogotá, which was published three days ago by the website ‘Rebelión’ under the title “Ecos de la Cumbre de las Américas” (Echoes of the Summit of the Americas).

It is a brief article and I need make no copy here.  Those who specialize on the subject can look it up at the aforementioned website.

I have referred more than once to the infamous agreement that the United States imposed on Latin American and Caribbean countries when the OAS was founded at the foreign ministers meeting held in the city of Bogotá on April, 1948.  Just by sheer coincidence, I happened to be there on that date, helping to organize the celebration of a Latin American students’ congress whose main goal was to struggle against the European colonies and the bloody tyrannies imposed by the United States in this hemisphere.

One of the most brilliant political leaders in Colombia, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who had managed to unite, with ever growing strength, the most progressive sectors in Colombia that opposed the Yankees’ miscreation, had offered his support to the celebration of the students’ congress.  No one doubted he would win during the upcoming elections, but he was treacherously murdered. His death led to a rebellion that has kept alive for more than half a century.

Social struggles have been taking place throughout millennia, since human beings, by resorting to wars, were able to take hold of a surplus production to satisfy the essential needs of life.

As is known, the years of physical slavery, the most brutal form of exploitation, went on in some countries until a little more than a century ago, as it happened in our own homeland during the final stages of the Spanish colonial domination.

Even in the United States, the enslavement of African descendants continued until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  That brutal form of slavery was abolished there hardly thirty years before it was abolished in Cuba.

Martin Luther King dreamed about the equality of black Americans until almost 44 years ago, when he was vilely murdered on April, 1968.

The accelerated development of science and technology has been a sign of our times. Whether we are aware of it or not, this is what will mark the future of humanity.  This is an entirely new era.  What prevails in every corner of this globalized world is the real struggle of our species for its own survival.

As for now, all Latin American nations, particularly our own, will be affected by the process that is taking place in Venezuela, the home country of the Liberator of the Americas.

I barely need to reiterate what you already know: the close links that exist between our people and the people of Venezuela and Hugo Chávez, the promoter of the Bolivarian Revolution and the United Socialist Party he founded.

One of the first actions promoted by the Bolivarian Revolution was the medical cooperation with Cuba.  This is an area where our country has achieved a special prestige, which has been recognized nowadays by the international public opinion.  Thousands of health centers equipped with state-of-the-art technology manufactured by the world’s specialized industry have been founded by the Bolivarian government to provide medical assistance to its people.  Chávez, on his part, did not choose to go to expensive private clinics to care for his own health.  He trusted it to the same medical services he was offering to his people.

Besides, our doctors have devoted part of their time to the training of Venezuelan doctors in classrooms that have been properly equipped by the Venezuelan government.  The people of Venezuela, regardless of their personal incomes, began to receive the specialized services offered by our doctors.  It is now among the ones with the best medical care in the world and their health standards have obviously begun to improve.

President Obama knows this only too well and has talked about it with some of his visitors.  He candidly told one of them: “The problem is that the United States sends soldiers while Cuba, however, sends doctors”.

Chávez, a leader who has not had a minute of rest in the last twelve years and enjoyed an iron constitution, was, however, affected by an unexpected illness that was discovered and treated by the same specialized staff that usually assisted him.  It was not easy to persuade him of the need to pay maximum attention to his own health.  Since that moment, with an exemplary behavior, he has rigorously followed the treatment prescribed without neglecting his duties as Head of State and leader of his country.

I would dare to describe his attitude as heroic and disciplined. Not even for a single minute does he forget about his obligations; at times he does that to the point of exhaustion. I can attest to that because I have not ceased to be in touch and exchange with him.  He has not stopped to devote his fertile intelligence to the study and analysis of the problems of his country. He finds the vile remarks and slanders of the spokespersons of the oligarchy and the empire to be amusing.  I never heard him utter any insult or vile remarks when referring to his enemies.  That is not his kind of language.

The enemy knows the features of his character and is multiplying its efforts with the purpose of slandering and attacking President Chávez.  I, for one, do not hesitate in stating my modest opinion –which emanates from more than half a century of struggles- that the oligarchy will never again be able to govern that country.  That is the reason why the US government’s decision to promote the overthrow of the Bolivarian government under such circumstances becomes a source of concern.

Besides, to insist on a slanderous campaign stating that among the top leadership of the Bolivarian government there is a desperate quarrel to assume command of the revolutionary government if the President is not able to overcome his illness, is tantamount to building a gross lie.

Quite on the contrary, I have been able to see the closest unity among the leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Under such circumstances, any mistake made by Obama could provoke rivers of blood in Venezuela.  The Venezuelan blood is also Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Argentinean, Bolivian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Central American, Dominican and Cuban blood.

It is necessary to bear in mind this reality when analyzing the political situation in Venezuela.

Is it now understood why the workers’ anthem is a call to change the world by doing away with the bourgeois empire?

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Fidel Castro Ruz

April 27, 2012

7:59 p.m.

The Fruit Which Did Not Fall

CUBA was forced to fight for its existence facing an expansionist power, located a few miles from its coast, and which was proclaiming the annexation of our island, which was destined to fall into its lap like a ripe fruit. We were condemned not to exist as a nation.

Within the glorious legions of patriots who, during the second half of the 19th century, fought against the abhorrent colonial status imposed by Spain over 300 years, José Martí was the man who most clearly perceived such a dramatic destiny. He confirmed it in the last lines that he wrote, the night before the anticipated difficult combat against a battle-hardened and well equipped Spanish column, when he declared that the fundamental objective of his struggle was, “…to prevent the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America. Everything that I have done up until now, and everything that I will do, is to this end.”

Without understanding this profound truth one cannot today be either a patriot or a revolutionary.

Without any doubt, the mass media, the monopoly of many technical resources and the substantial funds directed at dehumanizing the masses constitute considerable but not invincible obstacles.

Cuba demonstrated – starting from its position as a colonial yankee trading post, together with the illiteracy and generalized poverty of its people – that it was possible to confront the country which was threatening the definitive absorption of the Cuban nation. Nobody can even affirm that there was a national bourgeoisie opposed to the empire; the bourgeoisie developed in such close proximity to it that, shortly after the triumph, it sent 14,000 totally unprotected children to the United States, although that act was associated with the perfidious lie that parental custody was to be suppressed. This is what history recorded as Operation Peter Pan, described as the largest maneuver of child manipulation for political ends recalled in the Western Hemisphere.

National territory was invaded, barely two years after the revolutionary triumph, by mercenary forces – comprising former Batista soldiers and the sons of landowners and the bourgeoisie – armed and escorted by the United States with warships from its naval fleet, including aircraft carriers with equipment ready to enter into action, and which accompanied the invaders to our island. The defeat and capture of virtually all the mercenaries in less than 72 hours and the destruction of their aircraft operating from bases in Nicaragua and their naval transportation, constituted a humiliating defeat for the empire and its Latin America allies, which had underestimated the Cuban people’s fighting capacity.

In the face of the termination of oil supplies on the part of the United States, the subsequent total suspension of the historic sugar quota in that country’s market, and the prohibition of trade established over more than 100 years, the USSR responded to each one of these measures by supplying fuel, buying our sugar, trading with our country and finally, supplying the weapons that Cuba could not acquire in other markets.

The idea of a systematic campaign of CIA-organized pirate attacks, sabotage and military actions by armed bands created and supplied by the United States before and after the mercenary attack, and which would culminate in a military invasion of Cuba by this country, gave rise to events which placed the world on the brink of a total nuclear war, which neither of the parties involved nor humanity itself could have survived.

Without any doubt, those events resulted in the removal from the presidency of Nikita Khrushchev, who underestimated his adversary, disregarded opinions presented to him and did not consult with those of us in the front line concerning his final decision. What could have been an important moral victory thus turned into a costly political setback for the USSR. For many years the worst of crimes against Cuba continued and more than a few of them, like the U.S. criminal blockade, are still being committed.

Khrushchev made exceptional gestures to our country. On that occasion, I unhesitatingly criticized the non-consulted agreement with the United States, but it would be ungrateful and unjust not to acknowledge his exceptional solidarity at difficult and decisive moments for our people in their historic battle for independence and revolution in the face of the powerful empire of the United States. I understand that the situation was extremely tense and he did not wish to lose any time when he made the decision to withdraw the missiles and the yankees, very secretly, agreed to give up the invasion.

Despite the decades gone by, already half a century, the Cuban fruit has not fallen into yankee hands.

News reports currently coming in from Spain, France, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, the United Kingdom, the Malvinas and countless other points on the planet are serious, and all of them augur a political and economic disaster as a result of the stupidity of the United States and its allies.

I will confine myself to a few subjects. I must note that, going by what everyone is saying, that the selection of a Republican candidate to aspire to the presidency of this globalized and far-reaching empire is, in its turn – I am serious – the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that I have ever heard. As I have things to do, I cannot devote any time to the subject. I already knew it would be like that.

Some news agency cables better illustrate what I wish to analyze, because they demonstrate the incredible cynicism generated by the decadence of the West. One of them, with amazing tranquility, talks of a Cuban political prisoner who, it states, died after a hunger strike lasting 50 days. A journalist with Granma, Juventud Rebelde, radio news or any other revolutionary organ might be mistaken in any interpretation of any subject, but would never fabricate an item of news or invent a lie.

A Granma informative note affirms that there was no hunger strike; the man was an ordinary prisoner sentenced to four years for attacking and injuring his wife in the face; that his own mother in law asked authorities to intervene; family members were kept fully abreast of all procedures used in his medical treatment and were grateful for the effort made by medical specialists who treated him. He received medical attention, as the note states, in the best hospital in the eastern region, as is the case with all citizens. He died from secondary multi-organic failure related to a severe respiratory infection.

The patient had received all the medical attention administered in a country which has one of the finest medical services in the world, provided free of charge in spite of the blockade imposed on our homeland by imperialism. It is simply a duty that is fulfilled in a country where the Revolution is proud of always having respected, for more than 50 years, the principles which give it its invincible strength.

It would be more worthwhile for the Spanish government, given its excellent relations with Washington, to travel to the United States and inform itself as to what is taking place in yankee jails, the ruthless conduct meted out to millions of prisoners, the policy of the electric chair and the horrors perpetrated on detainees in the country’s jails and those who are protesting in its streets.

Yesterday, January 23, a strong Granma editorial titled “Cuba’s truths,” which occupied an entire page of the newspaper, explained in detail the unprecedented shame of the campaign of lies unleashed against our Revolution by certain governments “traditionally committed to anti-Cuba subversion.”

Our people are well aware of the norms which have governed the impeccable conduct of our Revolution since the first battle and which has never been stained over more than half a century. They also know that it can never be pressured or coerced by enemies. Our laws and norms will be respected unfailingly.

It is worth noting this with clarity and frankness. The Spanish government and the shaky European Union, plunged into a profound economic crisis, must know what should guide them. It is pitiful to read news agency reports of the statements of both utilizing their barefaced lies to attack Cuba. First concern yourselves with saving the euro if you can, resolve the chronic unemployment from which young people are increasingly suffering, and respond to the indignados, constantly attacked and beaten by the police.

We are not ignorant of the fact that Spain is now being governed by admirers of Franco, who dispatched members of the Blue Division, together with the Nazi SS and SA, to kill Soviets. Close to 50,000 of them participated in the cruel aggression. In the most cruel and painful operation of that war: the siege of Leningrad, where one million Russian citizens died, the Blue Division was among the forces attempting to strangle the heroic city. The Russian people will never pardon that horrific crime.

The fascist right of Aznar, Rajoy and other servants of the empire, must know something about the 16,000 casualties of their predecessors in the Blue Division and the Iron Crosses which Hitler awarded to officers and soldiers from that division. There is nothing unusual about what the Gestapo police are doing now to the men and women demanding the right to work and bread in the country with the highest unemployment in Europe.

Why are the mass media of the empire lying so barefacedly?

Those who manipulate the media are striving to deceive and dehumanize the world with their crude lies, possibly thinking that it constitutes the principal resource for maintaining the global system of domination and plunder imposed, particularly upon victims in close proximity to the headquarters of the metropolis, the close to 600 million Latin American and Caribbean people living in this hemisphere.

The sister republic of Venezuela has become the fundamental objective of this policy. The reason is obvious. Without Venezuela, the empire would have imposed its Free Trade Treaty on all the peoples of the continent who inhabit it from the south of the United States, a region where the greatest reserves of land, fresh water and minerals of the planet are to be found, as well as large energy resources which, administered in a spirit of solidarity toward other peoples of the world, constitute resources which cannot and must not fall into the hands of transnationals imposing a suicidal and infamous system on them.

For example, it is enough to look at the map to comprehend the criminal dispossession signified by stripping Argentina of a little piece of its territory in the extreme south of the continent. There, the British deployed their decadent military apparatus to murder rookie Argentine recruits wearing summer clothing in the middle of winter. The United States, and its ally Augusto Pinochet, shamelessly supported them. Now, just before the London Olympics, its Prime Minister David Cameron is also proclaiming, as did Margaret Thatcher, his right to use nuclear submarines to kill Argentines. The government of this country is unaware of the fact that the world is changing, and the scorn of our hemisphere and that of the majority of the peoples for the oppressors is increasing every day.

The case of the Malvinas is not the only one. Does anyone know how the conflict in Afghanistan is going to end? Just a few days ago U.S. soldiers desecrated the corpses of Afghani combatants, killed by NATO drone bombings.

Three days ago a European agency reported, “Afghani President Hamid Karzai has given his backing to a negotiated peace with the Taliban, emphasizing that this issue must be resolved by the citizens of his country.” It went on to add, “…the process of peace and reconciliation belongs to the Afghani nation and no country or foreign organization can take away this right from the Afghanis.

For its part, a cable published by our press communicated from Paris, “France today suspended all its training and aid operations in Afghanistan and threatened to expedite the withdrawal of its troops, after an Afghani soldier shot four French soldiers in the Taghab valley, in Kapisa province… Sarkozy instructed Defense Minister Gérard Longuet to travel immediately to Kabul, and indicated the possibility of an early withdrawal of the contingent.”

After the disappearance of the USSR and the socialist bloc, the U.S. government imagined that Cuba would be unable to sustain itself. George W. Bush had already prepared a counterrevolutionary government to govern our country. On the very same day that Bush initiated his criminal war on Iraq, I asked our country’s authorities to end the tolerance afforded the counterrevolutionary capos who, in those days, were hysterically demanding the invasion of Cuba. In real terms, their attitude constituted an act of treason against the homeland.

Bush and his stupidities prevailed for eight years and the Cuban Revolution has already lasted for more than half a century. The ripe fruit has not fallen into the empire’s lap. Cuba will not be one more possession with which the empire spreads through the lands of America. Martí’s blood will not have been spilled in vain.

Tomorrow I will publish another Reflection to complement this one.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

January 24, 2012

7:12 p.m.

The Two Venezuelas

Yesterday I spoke about the time when Venezuela was an ally of the US empire and the country where Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch carried out their plans for the brutal in-flight bombing of a Cuban plane that caused the death and disappearance of all people aboard, including the youth fencing team that had just won all the gold medals at the Central-American and Caribbean Championships held in Venezuela. With the Pan-American Games underway in Guadalajara, we remember them with great sadness.

It was not the Venezuela of Rómulo Gallegos and Andrés Eloy Blanco but that of the scoundrel, traitor and venomous Rómulo Betancourt. A man who was jealous of the Cuban Revolution and who, as an ally of the imperialists, cooperated so much with their attacks against our homeland. At the time Venezuela was an oil property of the United States and, after Miami, represented the epicenter for counterrevolutionary actions against Cuba. History recalls how Venezuela played a significant role in the imperialist attack on Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs), the economic blockade and countless other crimes against our people. It was the beginning of the dark ages in Venezuela that came to an end when Hugo Chávez was sworn in on the “dying constitution” held in the trembling hands of former President Rafael Caldera.

Forty years had passed since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and more than a century since the Yankee plundering of Venezuela’s oil, natural resources and sweat.

Many Venezuelans died amidst the ignorance and misery imposed by US and European gunboats!

Fortunately the other Venezuela exists, the Venezuela of Bolívar and Miranda, of Sucre and of a legion of brilliant leaders and thinkers who were able to conceive that great Latin American homeland of which we feel a part of and for which we have resisted aggressions and blockades for more than half a century.

“…so that Cuba’s independence will prevent the expansion of the United States throughout the Antilles, allowing that nation to fall, ever more powerfully, upon our American lands. Everything I have done, everything I will do, is toward this end,” wrote the apostle of our independence Jose Marti the day before he died in combat.

Included among us today is Hugo Chávez who is visiting a part of that great Latin American and Caribbean homeland envisioned by Simón Bolívar. Hugo Chávez understands better than anybody the José Martí principal that “…what Bolívar left undone, is still undone today. Bolívar has things yet to do in America.”

I spoke with him at length yesterday and today. I told him about the great passion with which I dedicate the energy I have left to the dreams of a better and more just world.

It is not difficult to share dreams with the Bolivarian leader when the empire is already showing unequivocal signs of a terminal illness.

Saving humanity from an irreversible disaster is something that today may be compromised by the stupidity of any of those mediocre presidents who in the most recent decades have led that empire or by one of those increasingly powerful leaders of the industrial military complex that rules the destiny of that country.

Friendly nations that have become increasingly important in the world economy —given their economic and technological advances and their condition as permanent members of the Security Council, such as the Popular Republic of China and the Russian Federation, along with the peoples of the so-called Third World in Asia, Africa and Latin America— could achieve this goal. The peoples of the developed and rich nations, increasingly sucked dry by their own financial oligarchies, are also starting to play a role in this battle for human survival.

Meanwhile, the Bolivarian people of Venezuela are organizing themselves and uniting to challenge and defeat the sickening oligarchy at the service of the empire that once again is attempting to take over the government of this country.

Venezuela, given its extraordinary educational, cultural and social developments, and its vast energy and natural resources, is called on to become a revolutionary model for the world.

Chávez, who came out of the ranks of the Venezuelan Army, is methodical and tireless. I have observed him over the course of 17 years, since his first visit to Cuba. He is an extremely humanitarian and law-abiding person; he has never taken revenge on anybody. The most humble and forgotten sectors of his country are profoundly grateful to him that for the first time in history there is a response to their dreams of social justice.

Hugo —I told him—, I clearly see that in a very short time the Bolivarian Revolution will create jobs, not only for the Venezuelan people, but also for their Colombian brothers, a hardworking people, who fought along with you for the independence of America, and of whom 40 percent live in poverty; a significant portion of them in extreme poverty.

I had the honor to speak with our distinguished visitor, the symbol of this other Venezuela, about these and many other topics.

castro signature

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 18, 2011

10:15 p.m.