Nicolás Maduro pays respects to Jose Marti and Fidel Castro

Source:  Granma

August 16 2017

by: Yaima Puig Meneses y Yudy Castro Morales | internet@granma.cu

The Venezuelan President was accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez  Parilla

raul y nicolas aug 2017 1.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros visited the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, yesterday August 15, accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, to pay his respects to Cuba’s national hero José Martí and Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, on the 91st anniversary of his birth.

The two leaders, along with First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, observed the changing of the guard ceremony at the graves where the remains of Martí and Fidel rest.

The first tribute was to the Teacher, in his mausoleum, where they deposited white roses alongside the single starred flag.

Before the granite boulder that holds Fidel’s ashes, they placed flowers, since the Venezuelan President could not miss a visit on the 91st birthday of the Comandante en Jefe who always championed the Bolivarian Revolution.

The group also paid tribute to July 26 Movement martyrs and those who gave their lives as internationalists after the triumph of the Revolution in January of 1959.

raul y nicolas aug 2017 2.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

In a brief tour of Santa Ifigenia, Raúl spoke with Maduro about Cuba’s history, explaining why Carlos Manuel de Céspedes is considered the country’s founding father; recalling Mariana Grajales and María Cabrales, mother and widow of General Antonio Maceo, respectively; and informing the visiting President about several officers in the War of Independence who are buried in the historic cemetery.

Stopping alongside the tomb of Frank País García, they also left flowers, and Raúl recalled the valiant youth who was murdered, as was his brother Josue, by the Batista dictatorship.

Soldier of ideas

 

It is unquestionable that Fidel is incarnated in the hearts of millions of Cubans and admirers throughout the world.

We evoke him dressed in his customary olive green uniform with its epaulets of Comandante en Jefe, with his upright gait, friendly manner, inquisitive gaze; and the deep anti-imperialist convictions he shared with Martí; his iron will to overcome the hardest blows, his wisdom… and above all his infinite love for humanity, for the poor, to whom he dedicated his entire life.

The eminent Cuban writer, debater, professor and diplomat Raúl Roa García said of Fidel, “He hears the grass growing and sees what’s happening around the corner.” He is our undefeated Comandante, confronting any danger whatsoever to safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of Cuba. He is the man who, alongside the people, defeated a bloody military dictatorship and the dark imperialist designs of 11 U.S. administrations, which failed in their efforts to eliminate, even with attempts on his life, the example, the symbol, the soldier of ideas he was.

Che’s farewell letter to Fidel

It’s worth recalling the farewell letter Che Guevara wrote to Fidel, in which the legendary Argentine-Cuban said, “I have lived magnificent days at your side and felt the pride of belonging to our people in the luminous and sad days of the Caribbean (missile) Crisis.

“Few times has a statesman shone as brightly (as you did) on those days. I am also proud to have followed you without hesitation, identifying with your way of thinking, seeing, and evaluating dangers and principles.”

Today, the prolific seeds he sowed in millions of followers across the entire planet are flowering. And resounded in the sure words of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closing of the constituent session of the National Assembly of People’s Power 7th Legislature, February 24, 2008, when he said, “Fidel is Fidel. We all know it well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work when he is no longer physically present. Although his ideas always will be those which have made it possible to uphold the bastion of dignity and justice our country represents.” He was not mistaken.

This August 13, when Fidel would have celebrated his 91st birthday, he continues among us, surrounded by the affection of his people. He bequeathed to us his abiding guidance, his revolutionary firmness, his unwavering optimism and confidence in victory. Thus our best tribute will be making a reality of his principles every day, regardless of where he might be.

 

March of the torches across all of Cuba

Source: Granma
January 16 2017

by María Elena Álvarez Ponce | internet@granma.cu

The people united will march the night of January 28, on the eve of the anniversary of José Martí’s birth, from San Antonio to Maisí, with Fidel as always

march of the torches in cuba.jpg

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

The night of January 28

Havana.–From San Antonio to Maisí, for Cuba and Martí, and as always with Fidel, the people united will march the night of January 28, in a tribute to José Martí, on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.

In 168 municipalities 

Confirming the news was Susely Morfa González, member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee and the Council of State, first secretary of the Young Communists League (UJC). She reported to the press that marches will take place in 168 municipalities across the country, in which men, women, youth, children, workers, older adults, retirees, homemakers, veteran combatants, and students will fill the nation’s streets to honor the national hero.

The demonstrations of patriotism will begin in unison shortly after 10pm on the night of the 27th, in an unequivocal show of support for the Revolution by a people which is true to its roots, proud of its history, conscious of all that has been accomplished, and confident in the future being constructed, she said.

World Festival of Youth

Together we will raise torches, the flame of life and liberty, as Fidel and his generation did on the first such march held in 1953, Morfa explained, departing from the University of Havana’s Grand Staircase and culminating at the Fragua where the youthful José Martí was imprisoned.

The Young Communist League leader additionally noted that the march will take place after a meeting of the national committee making preparations for Cuba’s participation in the upcoming World Festival of Youth, set to take place this coming October in the Russian city of Sochi. (ACN)

Fidel Castro: Hero of the Dispossessed

Source:  Granma
August 22 2016

New book by Salim Lamrani on the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution

Author: Salim Lamrani | internet@granma.cu

Photo: Granma

fidel castro hero of the dispossessed.jpgA controversial figure in the West, where he is heavily criticized, Fidel Castro is instead admired by the peoples of Latin America and the Third World, who consider him a symbol of resistance to oppression and a champion of the aspirations of the countries of the South to independence, sovereignty and self-determination. A mythical rebel, who has entered the pantheon of the great liberators of the Americas, the former guerrilla of the Sierra Maestra has seen his prestige surpass continental borders to become the archetype of anti-imperialism in the twentieth century and the champion of a universal message of emancipation.

Western media, due to its entrenched ideological position and clear condescension toward the peoples of the South, has failed to understand the historic significance of Fidel Castro to Cuba, Latin America and the Third World. Since the times of José Martí, Cuba’s national hero, no other figure has as powerfully embodied the aspirations of the Cuban people to national sovereignty, economic independence and social justice.

Symbol of pride, dignity, resistance and loyalty to principles

Fidel Castro is a symbol of pride, dignity, resistance and loyalty to principles and his status has surpassed the borders of his homeland to span the entire world. The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution took up arms in favor of the oppressed and reclaimed their right to a decent life. Born into a wealthy family from the east of the country, he gave up his class privileges to defend the voiceless, ignored and abandoned to their fate by the powerful.

Fidel Castro enjoys historic legitimacy. Arms in hand, he fought against the bloody dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista during the attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953 and during the uprising in the Sierra Maestra from December, 1956, through December, 1958. He triumphed against a brutal military regime endowed with an impressive firepower and backed by the United States. In a context of extreme hostility, he has realized the dream of José Martí, of an independent and sovereign Cuba and has led his people on the path to complete and definitive emancipation, in steadfast resistance to the hegemonic pretensions of Washington.

Fidel Castro also enjoys constitutional legitimacy. Each individual has the right to think what they want about the Cuban electoral system, but Fidel was elected President every five years, from 1976 to 2006. Prior to this, he served as prime minister and not as president of the Republic. Contrary to popular belief, Cuba has had no fewer than four presidents since 1959: Manuel Urrutia from January, 1959, to July, 1959, Osvaldo Dorticós from July, 1959, to 1975, Fidel Castro from 1976 to 2006 and Raúl Castro from 2006 to the present.

The  support of the people

No leader can remain at the helm of a country for thirty years, in a context of latent war with the United States, without the majority support of the people. Obviously, as in any society, there are the unsatisfied, the disappointed, the critics. The Cuban Revolution, the work of women and men, is by definition imperfect and has never had the intention of establishing itself as an example. But the vast majority of Cubans have huge respect for Fidel Castro and have never cast doubt on his noble intentions. The United States always has been very clear about this. Thus, on April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, deputy assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, recalled in a memorandum to Roy Rubottom Jr., then assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, the standing of the Cuban leader: “The majority of Cubans support Castro […] There is no effective political opposition […] The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” (1)

Washington’s imposition of extremely severe economic sanctions

Washington followed that advice, as evidenced by the policy of fierce hostility toward the Cubans, with the imposition of extremely severe economic sanctions that remain in place today. But this endeavor has not been crowned with success. Indeed, nearly half a century later, Fidel Castro’s popularity remains very much alive. Such was noted by Jonathan D. Farrar, then chief U.S. diplomat in Havana, who continued to emphasize Cubans’ “significant personal admiration for Fidel,” recalling that “It would be a mistake to underestimate […] the support the government has especially in poor communities and with some groups of University students.” (2)

Alongside the poor and oppressed

Three aspects characterize the figure of Fidel Castro. Firstly, he is the architect of national sovereignty, realizing the dream of the Apostle and National Hero José Martí of an independent Cuba and returning dignity to the people of the island. Secondly, he is the social reformer who has positioned himself alongside the poor and oppressed, creating one of the least unjust societies of the Third World. Finally, he is the internationalist who has extended a generous hand to those peoples in need, and has placed solidarity and integration at the center of Cuba’s foreign policy.

Salim Lamrani

Fidel Castro, héros des déshérités (Fidel Castro: Hero of the Dispossessed)

Paris, Editions Estrella, 2016

272 pages.

(1) Lester D. Mallory, Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mallory) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom), April, 6, 1960, Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-660, Secret, Drafted by Mallory, in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba: (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 885.

(2) Jonathan D. Farrar, The Speculation on Fidel’s Health, United States Interests Section, January, 9, 2009, cable 09HAVANA35, http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/01/09HAVANA35.html (Website viewed December 18, 2010).

Evo Morales Awarded the Jose Marti Order in Cuba

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2016

raul y evo may 2016

The Bolivian president will hold talks with his Cuban colleague Raul Castro. He praised Cuba’s solidarity with Bolivia despite the U.S. blockade.

Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived in Cuba this Friday for a visit aimed at reviewing the current state of bilateral relations and assess options aimed at expanding cooperation between the two nations, the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina reported.

During his visit, Morales will pay tribute this Friday to Cuban National Hero, Jose Marti, at the Revolution Square.

The Bolivian head of state is also scheduled to meet with President, Raul Castro to hold talks on the relations between the two socialist governments.

Latin America and the Caribbean integration

Both presidents will analyze ideas and new programs for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Morales will be awarded the Jose Marti Order, the highest distinction bestowed by the Cuban Council of State, and later he will carry out other activities, Prensa Latina said.

Before departing Bolivia, Morales spoke of the importance of the figure and teachings of the former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who he described as the most solidary man in the world.

Morales praised the Cuban government for providing assistance to Bolivia despite the fact that the Caribbean island nation is under an over five-decade U.S.-imposed blockade.

 

A woman of letters

Ana Cairo Ballester, winner of the 2015 National Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities, emphasizes the importance of studying the lives and work of the country’s great thinkers.

ana cairo 2 Ana Cairo Ballester

Source:  Granma
February 23 2016
by Granma International news | informacion@granma.cu

Cuba has always been a land of intellectuals, the home of men and women whose work represents the most authentic traditions of a cultured people. Ana Andrea Cairo Ballester, winner of the 2015 National Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities, is an exemplary figure in the area of cultural investigation.

She tells us how her studies began at the Raúl Cepero Bonilla Special Pre-University Institute, a high school established in 1962, the first of its kind in the country, “I entered in 1964. The school was intended to develop abilities in older adolescents both in the sciences and letters, and to do that, there was a good staff of teachers. I discovered that I liked what was then called the humanities.”

When were you first drawn to philology?

After high school, I enrolled in the School of Arts and Letters, where classes on literature in various languages were offered. In 1976, when restructuring was done by the Ministry of Higher Education, it became the Department of Philology, uniting what had been Letters, Journalism and Languages. Although the department later returned to its previous name, it is known as Philology.

Philology is a method of work, a way of investigating. I consider myself a Letters scholar who gives classes in literature and investigates cultural problems. No doubt, since I began my studies and research, I was drawn to it as a correct, necessary method.

– Ana Cairo graduated in 1973, and, as part of her social service, was placed in the assistant dean’s office at the University of Havana’s Humanities Department. She recalls, “I did research, but I taught, too, and I continue to do so.” Dear to her heart is not only her research, but the art of teaching, as well.

What were the first issues you investigated?

There were alternatives for professional work before graduating, which allowed me to help professors with their research. In the final years of my studies I went to work at the Casa de las Américas Cultural Investigation Center, from Monday to Friday, in the morning.

I investigated whatever was needed; they even asked me once for a file on Cuban authors. After I graduated, I began to research the Minorista Group (from the 1920s), and thus two books emerged

How did the approach of intellectuals to history become one of the fundamental issues you studied?

The history of intellectuals is, first of all, necessary, and secondly, it has to do with the tasks I was undertaking. I teach literature, but I also address the lives of authors. The tradition is not that an intellectual is solely devoted to writing. We must know ourselves as people who develop and think, which is later made concrete in our writing.

One of your most emblematic books is José Martí y la novela de la cultura cubana. Why approach Martí from this point of view?

novelta de cultura cubana.jpgThe book is divided into three parts. In the first, it addresses Martí’s relationship with the intellectual community. The second part approaches Spain’s relationship with this community, including Martí himself, and the last part addresses this same relationship, but with the United States. It is necessary to understand how this grouping spoke about this. This last part is going to have a follow-up, to be titled, Nosotros somos pueblo (We are a people).

– Ana Cairo is a member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists; the Cuban section of the Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians; the Center for José Martí Studies’ Scientific Council; and the Alejo Carpentier Foundation. She is also on the board of the Fernando Ortiz Foundation; and Temas magazine’s editorial council; while collaborating regularly with the José Martí National Library.

What inspired you to write Bembé para cimarrones?

Bembé para cimarrones emerged from a project at the Fernando Ortiz Foundation for the magazine Catálogo, which wanted to devote an issue to the issue of slave runaways, and I was motivated to make a contribution, but when I started to put together a file of my information and research, I realized it went beyond the possibilities of a magazine.

There were two options, write the 20-page text they requested of me, or take advantage of the fact that I was already into it, and do something more. It started to grow and became a book. I sent it to a competition, with the purpose of having it published, and it came out with the number of pages that could be financed.

You were just awarded the 2015 National Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities. Why do you think you were recognized?

It’s necessary to emphasize that there are two fields within the Prize, one for demographers, psychologists, geographers, who are in the Social Sciences, and the other is Humanities. I believe the Prize was granted to me in the field of Humanities.

Fernando Ortiz has already said it, “Although the sciences which address the problems of humans have been separated, they must be united again.” That’s why the Humanities have not died, nor will they ever die.

What would Ana Cairo say to people getting to know Cuba for the first time?

No beginning is one-sided. What life has taught me is that you start to discover things simultaneously. I would say: look, come, learn, and don’t let yourself be affected by prejudices.

There are many people who do not understand how Havana was declared one of seven Marvelous Cities, but our city has Italian palaces, emblematic buildings, and since the conquest of Hernando Cortéz, the port of Havana has been international.

Havana.jpgAre you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished?

You do what you can, not what you would like. Within what I can do and what I would like, I am unsatisfied. I would like to have finished books. I have as a goal re-publishing Bembé para cimarrones with the number of pages it really has. In the world in which I move, it’s important not to get tired.

 

ana cairo ballester

Economics, ideology and the youth in times of uncertainty

Source:  Granma
January 27 2016

A series of talks took place in Havana as part of the Second International Conference on the ideas of José Martí, entitled “With all, for the good of all”, addressing topics such as the global economy, culture and identity and the role of the youth

Authors: Lauren Céspedes Hernández | informacion@granma.cuJesús Jank Curbelo | internet@granma.cu

A series of talks took place in Havana this Tuesday, January 26, as part of the Second International Conference on the ideas of José Martí, entitled “With all, for the good of all”, addressing topics such as the global economy, culture and identity and the role of the youth.

Leonel Fernández Reyna.jpgFormer Dominican president Leonel Fernández Reyna in his speech entitled, “Global trends in an era of uncertainty”, addressed issues of interest for the global economy, such as globalization and the free market.

Referring to the global economic crisis, the lawyer and writer highlighted that China, the world’s second largest economy, has not been unaffected. (Photo:  Reyna at the ConferencePhoto: Anabel)

The Chinese stock market

Fernández Reyna explained that throughout January, the Chinese stock exchange has continued to decline. The Shanghai Composite Index, for example, has suffered a fall of 10%; while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined by 6.6%. This represents million-sum losses for the Asian nation and its contagion effect has had a negative impact on stock markets in several countries, including the United States, which has recently reported losses equivalent to 1.36 trillion dollars

He added that as a result, the Chinese central bank set the yuan at its weakest level since March 2011, with the currency losing 6% against the dollar.

However, the U.S. economy is going through a slow recovery process, the former president said. He added that the U.S. economy expanded by 2.5% in 2015, at the cost of a significant increase in public debt. For the first time in the history of this nation, the public debt exceeds GDP, presenting a tense situation for the country in the years ahead.

Regional economic growth

Fernández Reyna also noted that according to data provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the region’s economy grew by just 0.4% in 2015.

As for global economic growth, the former president highlighted that this amounted to 2.4% in 2015, with an expected increase of 2.9% over the current year, and 3.1% in 2017.

The outlook appears bleak, he stressed, but awareness of the situation can help to find ways to reverse it, and work towards achieving an overall improvement.

Trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone

Atilio Boron 3.jpgMeanwhile, during his talk entitled, “The new national security doctrine of the United States: allies, competitors and enemies”, Argentine sociologist Atilio Borón stressed the validity of Martí’s thought in the current stage of relations between Cuba and the United States.

We must commit to further spreading the work of Martí, as unfortunately it is not widely known in Latin America. Now more than ever we need to study Martí, as “trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone,” the member of the World Council of the José Martí Project of International Solidarity stressed.

Regarding the process of the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, Borón stressed that everything possible must be done to put an end to the blockade, and advance bilateral relations, while resisting erosion of the island’s cultural identity, an increasing threat in this age of cultural imperialism.

Ideology

Fernando Martínez Heredia.jpegSocialism is the guarantee of national liberation, especially in a continent such as ours, which serves as a paradigm of hope for today’s world, essayist Fernando Martínez Heredia stressed, speaking on the panel on “Neoliberalism, New scenarios in Latin America and the Caribbean and the global balance sheet”.

He noted that despite this being the most unequal region on the globe, Latin America has accumulated a number of initiatives, ideas and projects – projects which aim for a new political, economic and social model for the world that overcomes imperialist domination.

The role of the youth

Yusuam Palacios Ortega.jpgSpeaking during the forum of the José Martí Youth Movement, the national President of the organization, Yusuam Palacios Ortega, noted that contributing their ideas on solving global problems is a privilege for young people; and to do so based on the thought of José Martí has a double significance.

It is necessary to strengthen the role of the youth in a world marked by digital culture, and in which we must learn to position ourselves so that we can use these tools for revolutionary purposes, he added.

Lucía Topolansky.jpgAlso participating in the forum was Uruguayan politician Lucía Topolansky, member of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement and spouse of the former president of this South American nation, José “Pepe” Mujica.

A meeting of this kind is indispensable to a collective thought, in order that a diversity of views contribute to the freedom of our countries, Topolansky stated. She added that this challenge, as always, falls to the youth, noting, “How old were the rebels who came down from the Sierra? They were just youngsters!”

She referred to technological advances, primarily the internet, which today can serve as both positive and negative tools. The internet can help us generate collective thought and advance Latin American integration, as it shortens the physical distance between us, she noted. However, she stressed that this technology must be approached from a critical perspective, and that this task falls to the youth, who have a much better understanding of these networks than older generations.