It will soon be 62 years since a group of young men headed by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, an event that catapulted that figure to the foreground of national politics and definitively buried the possibility of a peaceful and political outcome to the situation created by Fulgencio Batista’s coup a year before.
The armed struggle prevailed and managed to oust the tyrant from power. But the violent way in which it was achieved marked the political fate of Cuba until today. The Encampment triumphed again over the Republic.
That same character who organized and led that assault and who then headed a rebel military movement capitalized on the popular triumph of the 1959 Revolution, made and supported by the great majority of the Cuban people in order to restore the democratic system.
The small group close to Fidel and Raul Castro leads, now for more than half a century, an authoritarian Government that never re-established democratic institutions, structured on the basis of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” according to the principles of Stalinism, which has nothing to do with Marx or with the founders of socialism.
All very well done to keep the little group in power. All very badly done according to the interests of the people and workers.
Injustice today still openly and violently represses different thought, prevents a few women [the Ladies in White] from marching with flowers on an avenue seeking liberty for political prisoners, imposes on the nation its own Communist Party and political economy that they decide and negotiate with the US Government, behind the backs of the Cuban people, an effort to save their monopolistic State capitalism with an alliance with the foreign capital that could lead to the virtual economic and geo-political annexation by the neighbor to the north.
The failure of monopolistic State capitalism imposed on Cuba in the name of socialism, the Revolution and the working class is more than evident in many of its main results:
1-Destroying the country’s economy. 2- Impoverishing workers and Cubans in general. 3- Covering the word socialism in mud. 4-Dividing and scattering the Cuban family. 5-Discouraging the Cuban people from working. 6-Distorting national history and de-nationalizing the Cuban nationality. 7-Retarding for almost half a century revolutionary progress in Latin America with its encouragement of violence.
The constant violation of the civil and political rights of the Cuban people is found today in the most recent absurd attacks by the bureaucratic system against artists of great national and international prestige such as Tania Bruguera and Juan Carlos Cremata
Another recognized achievement is international solidarity, which has been the work of the Cuban people, but some part would have to be celebrated, another part discussed and much re-evaluated as counterproductive and even reprehensible. Education and health in reach of all, with all its deficiencies and limitations, are the little improvement that it has achieved, but both were conceived for the skilled and continuous exploitation of salaried statism.
That is the concrete thing we have today. What happened before 1959 is ancient history for new generations, who are brought up in absolutism around the power established and recognized in an obsolete Constitution, copied from the former USSR, a constitution that the Government itself violates every day.
The constant violation of the civil and political rights of the Cuban people is found today in the most recent absurd attacks by the bureaucratic system against artists of great national and international prestige such as Tania Bruguera and Juan Carlos Cremata, attacks which constitute offenses against the whole national culture and prove that the Encampment does not back down in its outrage against the Republic.
If different expressions of art and national culture cannot be freely demonstrated, if they cannot creatively represent our contemporary national reality, then the old slogan “Within the Revolution everything, outside the Revolution nothing” has been turned into: The ‘Revolution’ is no longer ‘everything,’ rather it is ‘nothing.’
A nation is its culture and if it is not respected, it is nothing more than a group of empty symbols.
The most sacred thing that a human being has, what permits him to live, to be fulfilled and to build a family, is his work, his creative capacity, his physical and intellectual aptitudes, which are materially translated into remuneration for his efforts and results.
The right to payment for work is perhaps the most important right, which permits in turn the realization of other rights.
And the supposedly socialist State is violating that right since it appropriated and nationalized all the factories, lands, big, medium and small businesses, theaters, cinemas, parks, beaches, cultural and social centers, dance halls, etc., and converted everyone, even artists, into salaried employees of the State. Today they receive miserable salaries and pensions, the same as 50 years ago but devalued 50 times.
That desecration of the value of work, the main basis for any economy, has destroyed the productive forces of the nation, especially the most important, the human workforce, which has been demoralized and corrupted by the high level of exploitation to which it is subjected with extremely low wages. How can they ask people to be productive, to take care of the means of production and to feel like masters of them?
If they do not respect the workforce, art or the citizens’ civil or political rights, what mess are we facing?
We already told the General [Raul Castro] that it was time to close the Encampment and to open the Republic. But like all our messages to power, this one did not reach receptive ears either. It was ignored.
Do the current rulers really believe they can ignore with impunity the demands of other revolutionaries and citizens with different thinking? Do they believe that I gained this by shooting and by shooting they will have to take it from me? Why were those shots fired? To gain access to power eternally and return to the people trampled dignity and sovereignty? To keep themselves in power by means of violence? Do some still believe that it is preferable to sink the Island in the sea than to lose their power and privilege?
From the democratic left the government has been warned many times: if they continue forgetting the original contents that gave life to this process and continue to violate the rights of Cubans, the unchanneled discontent could overflow.
They go so slowly that they are becoming paralyzed. Everything has its limits. Patience, too.
Today repressive actions against the peaceful opposition do not stop not even with the approach of the pope’s visit. If anything, they increase in number and intensity in an effort to stop the inevitable progress of the democratization demanded by almost all of Cuban society, parts of which are equally inside and outside of Cuba, the worker, the fledgling entrepreneur, the student and the soldier, the communist, the indifferent and the dissident. We are all parts.
I recently demanded an end to the spiral of violence, which is the fault of the repressor State. The opposition no longer places bombs or makes attacks. It assumed the path of peaceful confrontation. The world today is different than that of the Cold War. Not realizing these changes and continuing with violence is good for no one.
As some opponents demand: Judge the repression’s direct actors for yourself.
From the democratic left it has been warned many times: if they continue forgetting the original contents that gave life to this process, and violating the rights of the Cubans, the discontent could overflow.
If they do not want people protesting in the streets or wherever or however they can, they must do things right: stop the repression, free the political prisoners, permit freedom of expression, association, election and economic activities. Start a dialogue with everyone. Move towards a new democratic Constitution, a State of law and a new electoral law.
We do not demand that you surrender or submit, but that you permit the democratization of Cuban society
Set reasonable internet prices. Eliminate obstacles to self-employment, cooperativism and state trading monopolies. Deliver state enterprises to the collective management of the workers. And free yourselves from so much blame.
Without peace, democracy and freedom, there will be no development or any socialism.
This is, once more, a plea from the political forces that emerged from the revolutionary process itself. From people who devoted the best years of their lives to fighting for the socialism in which they believed and who today see their poor families torn apart and their children and grandchildren risking their lives at sea or in the jungles searching for well being. Bringing people to desperation is the worst politics. Prevent violence from growing and spreading.
We do not demand that you surrender or submit, but that you permit the democratization of Cuban society or let others do what you espoused and were incapable of doing: achieving the complete happiness of all the Cuban people.
Do that last service for the Revolution that you began and that long ago you should have put into the hand of the sovereign people, and then no one will bother you. In any case, you would pass into history as those who righted the stray path.
Let the people decide, restore their sovereignty to them. Because of that, and for that, they supported the Revolution that you lead 62 years ago. Don’t provoke another one.
Translated by MLK