Daisy Valera

HAVANA TIMES — It was another January 28, but now with TeleSUR broadcasting the presidents of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) referring to Marti as a center of Latin American and Caribbean unity, all of this transmitted “live” for us Cubans.

At 160 years since his birth, I was indifferent.

Photos of another “March of the Torches,” fire and little paper flags, which are excuses for fun prior to that tribute.

As a little girl I learned Marti’s “Versos Sencillos,” “Yugo y estrella,” “Abdala” – all poems of bravery and sacrifice that brought me face to face with the concept of nationhood.

Filled with excitement, I also recited “La bailarina española,” and I was deeply intrigued by “La niña de Guatemala”. Love, disappointment, suicide. How did they feel Marti’s kisses?

Contests, Marti notebooks, his words traced on each wall of every classroom.

The Marti youth movement, a “Joven Patria” award for those who stood out in the study and dissemination of his thought, and who purged themselves of individual selfishness.

Parades, the Fragua and the Rincones Martianos, which inevitably reminded me of El Rincon and the San Lazaro pilgrimage.

We can still see our national hero on walls and billboards, incapable of making mistakes, as he’s diluted with each mention of him in each new speech.

His head converted into ivy-covered busts, sparing no costs on these, in children’s day care centers as well as in parks.

Marti losing his human dimension and becoming a myth, an object of religious worship that demands white roses.

His statue was imperturbable in the Civic Plaza of Batista as it is in the Revolution Square of Fidel Castro.

Another that with his finger signaling something we don’t understand and that has him frowning. Marti in marble, in bronze, motionless.

His words are repeated in so many contexts, his phrases parading before our eyes and driving us almost to the edge of hysteria, that independence leader, that Cuban Republican.

His idea of the Cuban Revolutionary Party (PRC) is now used as a justification for the current one-party system.

Marti is pushed around and referenced in a constitution that’s also proclaimed Marxist-Leninist.

Finally, he’s a diffuse ghost by dint of 50 years of contradictions.


Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

9 thoughts on “Jose Marti: Confusion and Fatigue

  • Good quote. I’ve not read Jose Marti. Perhaps I should.

  • Well, Moses, if you really believe that capitalism is “tried and true,” then you must be orbiting mentally in outer space.

    It is true that Marxian, state monopoly socialism carries with it a kind of genetic, degenerative disease that eats away at productive incentives, chokes society with bureaucracy and political absolutism, and ultimately jeopardizes socialist state power. But it also carries with it the potential to correct its affliction and burst forth in all its potential glory.

    You have discounted “theoretical cooperative socialism” as somehow inferior to capitalism, which is tried-and-proved-horrific and anti-human. The truth is however that socialism–authentic cooperative, state co-ownership socialism–is Cuba’s and humanity’s only hope.

  • I stumbled upon this Marti quote:

    “Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and? the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic
    defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.”
    –Jose Marti

  • Cuba’s population fell by nearly 100,000 between 2011 and 2012. Because of the recent immigration reforms and a worsening economic climate on the island, there is every reason to believe this number will increase for 2013. Rather than engage in the interesting debate as to whether one party is better than multi-party or if theoretical cooperative socialism is better than the ‘tried and true’ capitalism, I suggest focusing on what Cubans believe. They are voting ‘with their feet’ as we say in the US. What the Castros are doing has not worked, is not working and as far as the Cubans who live in Cuba apparently believe, will not work.

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