Cuba in the Central American and Caribbean Anarchist Federation

Dmitri Prieto

Cuban anarchists Lisette, Black Rose Foundation and the Industrial Workers of the World. Miami; Frank Fernandez, anarchist historian. Miami and Dmitri from the Taller Libertario Alfredo Lopez, Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — A new anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian organization has been created in Latin America: the Central American and Caribbean Anarchist Federation. The federation’s inaugural congress was held in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, some weeks ago, and a representative of Cuba’s Alfredo Lopez Libertarian Workshop attended the gathering. A few days ago, the first public statement issued by the correspondence committee of the fledgling federation was published.

“Anarchism today?” the incredulous are bound to ask.

“Yes, of course anarchism!” we will reply. We’ve had enough of authoritarian “socialism”, capitalist neoliberalism, elitist and competitive democracies and charismatic “fourth position” multi-polarisms.

A small but representative group of delegates met at Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, to speak on behalf of those of us who believe in the struggle for social justice but remain skeptical about the thesis that the State is best means of achieving it.

The Cibao Libertario community center in Santiago de los Caballeros.

“Social movements tend to lose their essence when they try to become a government, they lose their moving, social and autonomous nature,” one of the participants was saying during a coffee break, when the discussion as to how the new Federation ought to define itself threatened to become endless. Thanks to the kind of miracle that often takes place among those who believe in anarchist co-existence, the matter was resolved in a matter of minutes and the session continued, in a more relaxed atmosphere, to address aims that became increasingly clear.

The Federation was assembled by representatives from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the United States, Bonaire, El Salvador and Puerto Rico. It is an anarchist organization structured as a federation of different tendencies (which does not seek to impose a single tendency upon its members, but rather respects those that have already taken shape within the movement).

One of the immediate missions we assigned ourselves was assessing the complex situation involving the DR and Haiti, where nationalism is being used by States to inflame passions, produce violence and sexism and militarize society. To offer answers from the perspective of freedom, we created a group of anti-genocide volunteers. We also have a self-management team to coordinate and support projects that seek to develop self-organizing principles and draw a learning experience from it, as well as an anti-repressive and anti-prison team.

Omar, a psychology professor, and Lily, an anarchist-environmentalist from Bonaire, at the Congress.

Cuba joined through the Alfredo Lopez Libertarian Workshop, but other anarchist projects and even individual anarchists can join the federation independently.

The congress was hosted by Kiskeya Libertaria, an organization made up of three collectives based in the main cities of the Dominican Republic. One of the them (Cibao Libertario), operates an excellent community center in Santiago de los Caballeros, complete with a library, several community projects, a small vegetable garden and a commune with a cat (whose also fairly anarchistic).

One night, they held a party, where militants from Kiskeya Libertaria – who are also excellent musicians, incidentally – treated participants to bachata, rock and folk music songs. Anarchism in Kiskeya is something of a family enterprise: the fathers and mothers of young anarchists respect and support their activities. Libertarian ideas are present at Dominican universities, where a number of professors are also anarchists and maintain correspondence with renowned authors who share the tendency, such as Noam Chomsky, to mention the most renowned.

This anarchist is small but has claws.

The congress saw the support and attendance of invitees from the Anarchist Federations International (IFA) and the Black Rose Federation (US). During the first session, more than ten greeting messages from different anarchist groups across the continent were read or projected.

The new federation is opposed to capitalism and authoritarianism (in its State and other forms). Anarchism has had a growing presence in social struggles over the past decades. Its emphasis on popular power without bureaucratic mediation and on the basis of horizontal relations has had an impact on the most recent anti-capitalist activism.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

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