Fifteen years ago to this day, on December 14, 1994 we met at the Main Hall of the University of Havana. The previous night I had waited for you at the steps of the plane that brought you to Cuba.
I was aware of your armed uprising against the pro-Yankee government of Venezuela. We had learned of your ideas when you were still in prison devoting your time –the same as we had done—to delve deeper into the revolutionary ideas which had led you to the uprising of February 4, 1992.
At the University’s Main Hall, you spontaneously let your Bolivarian ideas flow candidly. Under the specific conditions of your country and times, those ideas had led you to the struggle for the independence of Venezuela from the imperial tyranny. After all of the efforts made by Bolivar and other great men, who in pursuit of their dreams had fought against the Spanish colonial bondage, the independence of Venezuela was no more than a ridiculous pretense.
Not one minute in history is the same as any other; no idea or human event can be judged heedless of their own time. We both share concepts that evolved throughout millenniums but which have a lot in common with old and recent history in the sense that society’s division in masters and slaves, exploiters and the exploited, oppressors and the oppressed was always unpleasant and hateful. In our times, it is the source of the deepest shame and the main cause of human suffering and unhappiness.
Today, when the support of science and technology has increased productivity ten times, one-hundred times and even one-thousand times, such unfair differences should disappear.
These ideas you and I sustain are shared by millions of Cubans and Venezuelans.
You started from the Christian principles you were brought up with and from a rebellious personality; I started from Marx’s ideas and from a rebellious personality, too.
There are universally recognized ethical principles which are valid both for a Christian and a Marxist. Drawing from that, the revolutionary ideas can be continuously enriched with study and experience.
It would be worthwhile indicating that our sincere and revolutionary friendship goes back to the days when you were not the President of Venezuela. I never asked you for anything. When the Bolivarian movement won its victory in the 1999 elections the price of oil was less than 10 USD a barrel. I remember this very well because you invited me to your inauguration as president.
Your support to Cuba was spontaneous, the same as our cooperation with the fraternal people of Venezuela had always been.
During the Special Period, after the demise of the USSR, the empire tightened its brutal blockade against our people. At a certain point, the fuel prices climbed and it was difficult to obtain the necessary inputs. You then ensured our country a safe and steady commercial supply.
We do not forget that after the political coup of April 2002 against the Bolivarian Revolution, and your shinning victory over the oil coup at the end of that same year, the prices exceeded 60 USD a barrel; then, you offered us to supply the fuel with credit facilities. [George W.] Bush, the President of the United States at the time, was the mastermind of those illegal and treacherous actions against the Venezuelan people.
I remember that you were extremely annoyed by his demand that I leave Mexico as a precondition for his landing in that long-suffering country, where we were both attending a United Nations international conference that he was also supposed to attend.
The Bolivarian Revolution will never be forgiven for its support to Cuba at a time when the empire believed that our people would again fall in their hands, after nearly half-a-century of heroic resistance. In Miami, the counterrevolution was asking for a three days permit to kill revolutionaries as soon as the transition government demanded by Bush was established in Cuba.
Ten years of exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba have passed. The ALBA was born in that period. The US-promoted FTAA had failed, but the empire was again on the offensive.
The coup d’etat in Honduras and the deployment of seven military bases in Colombia are recent events which have occurred after the inauguration of the new President of the United States. His predecessor had re-established the Fourth Fleet half-a-century after the latest world war had concluded, when the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union was no more. The real intentions of the empire are obvious this time behind Barack Obama’s nice smile and Afro-American face.
Yesterday, Daniel Ortega explained how the coup in Honduras had weakened the members of the Central American Integration System and determined their behavior.
The empire is mobilizing the Latin American right-wing forces to strike Venezuela and the other member states of ALBA along with it. If again the empire could seize the considerable oil and gas resources of Bolivar’s homeland, the English-speaking Caribbean countries and others from Central America would lose the generous conditions of the supplies provided by revolutionary Venezuela.
A few days ago, after President Barack Obama’s remarks at the West Point military academy, where he announced a surge of 30,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan, I wrote a Reflection qualifying his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Price, after he had already made such decision, as a cynical action.
Last December 10, during his acceptance speech in Oslo, he made statements that put forward an example of the imperialist logic and thought. He said that he is responsible for sending thousands of young Americans to fight in a distant country where some will kill and others will be killed. It was an effort to present as a “just war” the brutal carnage against that distant country where most of those killed are helpless villagers struck by the bombs dropped from unpiloted planes.
After these phrases, which were among the first he spoke, more than 4,600 words were used to present his massacre of civilians as a just war. Then he said that in today’s wars many more civilians die than soldiers.
In fact, more than a million non-combatant civilians have died by now in Iraq, Afghanistan and along the Pakistani border.
In the same speech, he praises Nixon and Reagan as distinguished characters. He doesn’t stop to remember that one of them dropped one million tons of bombs over Vietnam while the other had the Siberian gas-pipeline blown up by electronic means under the appearance of an accident. The explosion was so strong and devastating that the nuclear test monitoring equipment recorded it.
The speech made in Oslo is different from that of West Point because the latter was better phrased and recited. In the case of the one made at the Norwegian capital the speaker’s face showed that he was aware of the falsehood in his words.
Neither the timing nor the circumstances were the same. Oslo is close to Copenhagen, the place where the extremely important Conference on Climate Change is being held, the same that I know you and Evo are planning to attend. The most important political battle of human history is being fought there at this very moment. There one can see the scope of the damage that developed capitalism has brought on humanity, which currently needs to fight desperately not only for justice but also for human survival.
I followed attentively the proceedings of the ALBA meeting. I offer my congratulations to you all. I really enjoyed seeing so many beloved friends working out ideas and struggling together; my congratulations to all.
Ever Onward To Victory!
My best regards,
Fidel Castro Ruz
December 14, 2009