Bolivia: Human Progress

December 15 2019

by Keith Ellis

Image result for flag of bolivia

They used to speak
of Bolivia’s bitter boulders,
its reclusive mountains,
its obstinate place among
the sombre sites of need,
and yet a nest for a flock
of hatchers of plots against
the bearers of the flag of hope.
And then, oh monstrous,
those hatchers eliminated forever
the physical presence of
a main blazer of that hope.

But what is this that
now in Bolivia in 2010 I see?
White-winged black, mixed or white cherubs,
far from anywhere in their Cuba,
lightened by the spirit of Che,
flitting, like astronauts in weightless training,
among sun-reflecting friendly boulders,
in accessed mountains of streams and greenery,
until they glide down to welcoming doors,
solicitous of occupants’ well-being,
translating questions absolutely new,
of ophthalmic diagnosis, or sorting out
anybody just plain not feeling well,
to lift them to the hospital in Yayagua.

There, next to Evo, the angel Dausá,
the ambassador, chief of cherubs,
gleaming, resplendent,
adorned as son of the sun
by the progeny of Tavantinsuyu,
toasting the erasure
and the correction.

El progreso humano – Keith Ellis

Solían hablar
acerca de las piedras amargas de Bolivia,
sus montañas reclusas,
su lugar obstinado entre
los sombríos sitios de la adversidad;
y sin embargo un nido para una bandada
de hembras de complots contra
los portaestandartes de la esperanza.
Y luego, ¡oh monstruoso!,
esas hembras eliminaron para siempre
la presencia física de
un principal portador de esa esperanza.

Pero ¿qué es esto que
veo ahora en Bolivia en 2010?
Querubines negros, blancos o mestizos, de alas blancas,
lejos de cualquier sitio de su Cuba,
aligerados por el espíritu del Che,
revoloteando como cosmonautas en entrenamiento ingrávido,
entre rocas amistosas que reflejan el sol
en montañas asequibles de arroyos y verdura,
hasta que se deslizan a puertas acogedoras,
solícitos por el bienestar de los habitantes,
traduciendo preguntas absolutamente nuevas
de diagnóstico oftálmico, o elegiendo
a los que sencillamente no se sentían bien,
para transportarlos al hospital en Yayagua.

Allí, junto a Evo, el ángel Dausá,
el embajador, jefe de los querubines,
reluciente, refulgente,
adornado como hijo del sol
por la progenie de Tavantinsuyu,
celebrando la tachadura,
la corrección.


Fortified Forever by Fidel

by Keith Ellis

For Harry and Rose Williams

fidel 223.jpg

Cuba, with the passing of Fidel,

the peerless protector by thought

and deed, might now be seen as widowed.

But you who in dejected mood

risk seeing widowed as synonym of weakened,

sharpen your thinking!

Turn your eyes upon Mariana Grajales,

whose numerous progeny, still reproducing,

she gave unstintingly to the causes of

of independence, sovereignty and revolution.

Upon Celia Sánchez,

as dauntless as any guerrilla

and meticulous when architect or archivist.

Upon Melba Hernández, heroic combatant

From Moncada and the Third Eastern Front

To heroine of the whole Cuban Revolution.

Upon Haydée Santa María

from whose memory of steel

the darkest acts could not drive

the words “morir por la patria es vivir.”

Upon Vilma Espín who dared to fly

from roof to roof defying Batista’s murderers.
Upon Sara González, who never tiring

buoyed the revolution with vigorous song.

Upon Marta Rojas whose brave journalist’s pen saw

early that history would more than absolve them all.

Turn your eyes upon these and many, many more,

steadfast, unbending, at Cuba’s and humanity’s call,

forever fortified by Fidel.

Ellis: An engagement with virtuous Cuba is clearly beneficial for the US

by Keith Ellis

The return home of the final, and most imperiled, three of the Five Cuban heroes from their egregiously unjust treatment by the U.S. judicial and penal systems is cause for rejoicing.
ramon antonio y gerardo 201 4 2This is all the more so because this clear and definitive though tardy compliance with what is just was announced along with other positive measures.  But there are others that will be fruitful only if the U.S. abandons entrenched patterns of imperialist behaviour.  In this latter regard there is hope that comes, not from a willing benevolence on the part of the U.S., but from the well-demonstrated resistance and dignity of the Cuban people in defence of their sovereignty and independence.

CELAC 11The example set by Cuba has steadily eroded the U.S.A.’s assumed authority to dictate to the governments of this hemisphere.  In 1962 the Organization of American States succeeded in having all states in the hemisphere except for Mexico and Canada break relations with Cuba.  The revolutionary island then stood alone, seeing the OAS as what it called the U.S.A.’s “Ministry of colonies.”  By 2011 the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), one of the integrative organizations spearheaded by Venezuela and Cuba, had come to virtually supplant the OAS, with the membership of all the countries in the hemisphere except for the U.S. and Canada, which were excluded.

Cuba’s image as a country that contributes to the wellbeing of humanity

This reversal was reinforced by Cuba’s universally inerasable image as a country that readily contributes in a positive way to the wellbeing of humanity. raul bids farewell tomedical brigade heading for sierra leone If Cuba is wont to do this without trumpeting its virtue, its response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa—a scourge that has so alarmed people everywhere that the revolutionary island’s commitment to fighting it won plaudits even from the corporate press in North America—made attempts at continuing the demonization of Cuba unprofitable.

The image of the United States – bludgeoned by the exposure of misdeeds

On the other hand, the image of the United States was continuing to be bludgeoned by the exposure of misdeeds and crimes against humanity—torture, brutal applications of the law—perpetrated with impunity for all to see.  In these circumstances an engagement with virtuous Cuba was clearly beneficial for the United States.  The nerve it took to so misplace Cuba as to keep it on a list of terrorist-supporting countries had to give way; the absurdly punitive measures taken by the United States to limit severely the contacts between Cubans at home and those living as immigrants in North America had to become more rational; and the maniacally cruel economic, financial and commercial embargo placed on Cuba in 1962 and that has acquired increasingly odious characteristics with the passage of time had to be acknowledged as being rampantly evil.

For twenty-three successive years the UN General assembly has condemned the US embargo against Cuba

UN votes on US embargo against Cuba 2014This is especially so because it has been condemned in the UN General Assembly for twenty-three successive years by what is truly the international community.  Last October (2014), 188 countries on this planet voted to condemn it, while two, the U.S. and Israel, voted to sustain it.  We do not know with what zeal President Obama will work to free Cuba and the world of the embargo.  His will to do good has to be questioned as long as he acts to bring about the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela, employing sometimes the most reprehensible racist means.  For Cuba and Venezuela are, to adapt a phrase once used regarding Cuba and Puerto Rico, two wings of the same bird.

As with the struggle for the freedom of the Five, the struggle must continue for the end of the embargo.  It is likely that those in that struggle will be joined by the Cuban Five, for on their return to Cuba they have pledged to take on any task assigned to them by the Revolution.  Let us also notice that the announcements of December 17th were made on the Day of San Lázaro, a revered saint in the Afro-Cuban religion, Santería, a saint hailed throughout Cuba with masterful celebratory drumming, recalling the victory over slavery and the triumph of the Revolution.

keith-TorontoMoncadaDay-04Keith Ellis C.D. Professor Emeritus, at the University of Toronto, author or editor of eighteen books and some one hundred articles published in all the top journals in his field of Spanish-American literature and culture.   Professor Ellis is a Jamaican and a long-standing, active defender of the Cuban revolution.  Last September (2014) he was awarded the Friendship Medal by the State Council of the Republic of Cuba in recognition of his trust, dedication and solidarity with the nation.  He is a Coordinator of the Canadian Network on Cuba, CNC, Sandy Relief Fund


Cuba: Friendship Medal Given to Renowned Jamaican Intellectual

Ellis received the Friendship Medal from the hands of Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Fernando González Llort. Photo: Mailín Guerrero Ocaña

keith y fernando

The Jamaican intellectual Keith Ellis was awarded the Friendship Medal awarded by the State Council of the Republic of Cuba in recognition of his trust, dedication and solidarity with our nation

The award was imposed by the Hero of the Republic of Cuba and vice president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Fernando González Llort.

keith-TorontoMoncadaDay-04Ellis, Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto and Emeritus Professor at the University of Havana, has been an integral part of the Movement of Solidarity with Cuba in Canada and tireless fighter for the liberation of our five heroes.

In his acceptance speech, he praised the integrity of the character of the Five to assume the mission to live among the most abominable terrorists.

The Cuban Revolution has shown that culture is an element forming a suitable Continue reading

A descending spiral of human-rights abuses

by Keith Ellis, Guest Columnist in the Jamaican Sunday Gleaner

I write in response to the CMC article ‘Watchdog group claims Cuba committed fraud to influence review’, which The Gleaner published on May 5, 2013.

The US seems to have come to believe that it must torture, that its police must brutalise people, that its surveillance procedures must be increasingly intrusive, that completely innocent women, children and men must perish in its drone attacks, that its special forces must continue lethal operations in an ever-growing number of countries, that African countries must accept its armed forces.

Read letter at: