By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES — Elio Delgado Legon’s article Cuba’s Revolutionaries Will Never Let the Sword Fall, published on Havana Times on April 21st, motivated me to write this article as a response. A commentary on the post alone wouldn’t be enough to clarify the grave mistake that derives from using this phrase from Marti in an anachronistic manner to praise the pseudo-revolution of tyranny’s modern defenders.
How far removed they are from Marti! And how they disgrace him by using his libertarian speech to justify their twisted ways!
Elio used Marti’s phrase or idea “Cuban revolutionaries swords weren’t ripped away from them, they simply dropped them” to give a name and substance to his post. Without looking into the mention of this thought, he took it to be true, because it really does coincide with Marti’s opinion about the subject, which I have read extensively about.
However, what sword was Marti talking about? Reading Elio, it would seem that he was referring to the sword of Communism or tyranny. Marti lived under Spanish tyranny, the son of Spanish parents he preferred to be Cuban and to defend Cuba’s freedom. Marti was very familiar with Marxism and it was contemporary to him, and he didn’t embrace its extremist ideals either, just its emancipatory essence, its purpose to create social justice.
So, if Marti were speaking of a symbolic sword, would it be the sword of Marxism that Elio was brandishing? Or was it the sword of freedom? Is Marxism synonymous with freedom? History has proven time and time again that this is NOT the case. And to whomever has doubts, please read the article Cuban Filmmakers and Counter-revolutionaries, published on the same day as Elio’s article; or so many others which report the Cuban people’s lack of freedom and basic rights.
Assuming that it is right to establish this bridge of historic continuity between all of the “partial” revolutions and the one in 1959 which had a triumphant end and was the “Great Cuban Revolution” (something which many people disagree with); it would also be right to say that this victory was shattered when it was taken over by an anti-democratic political system, which cuts liberties and fails to recognize basic human rights. Under these conditions, a revolution or political system will never be Marti-like, nor will they ever brandish Marti’s sword, which is the sword of freedom.
Preferring capitalism, to whatever extent, doesn’t mean you reject Marti, or freedom; it means you reject State centralism, an excessively planned economy, the dictatorship of the proletarian (which was never achieved) and the dictatorship of Communist parties (pseudo-socialism achieved in social practices in the 20th and 21st centuries).
Marti wanted a republic “with everyone and for the wellbeing of everyone”, not a divided nation, where those who don’t follow the ruling ideology have to live as outcasts or have to emigrate, in forced exile because of social exclusion. He didn’t fight for socialist statism either, which he strongly criticized in his essay “The coming slavery” about Herbert Spencer’s work.
Now it just so happens that Elio and his equals believe that they are the holders of Marti’s sword of freedom, because they are using the parapet of anti-Imperialism to protect a more authoritarian system than the Spanish tyranny which Marti himself fought against.
This sword, which was forged in Yara; which was rescued in Baragua; in 1895 with the cry in Baire; in 1902 achieving the republic in the face of the threat of being annexed to the US; in 1940 with its progressive and fair Constitution, the result of an intense struggle; and in 1959 doing away with a dictatorship and promising social justice, freedom, democracy and nationalism. This sword fell as if it had fallen into a gorge when our people, excited about the anti-imperialist struggle and the Revolution’s social projects, and from being divided with many in exile, plus indoctrination, signed the Socialist Constitution in 1976. A Constitution which made official socialist tyranny by transferring all popular sovereignty to the Cuban Communist Party.
Those who are defending the Revolution as it is today aren’t holding the sword of freedom. And because they prefer to see this country sink before letting democratic ideas and real social justice take root, it’s a fact that they are indeed public enemy no.1. If they are carrying any sword, it’s the sword of tyranny, the same sword which Napoleon took hold of when he changed his republic into an empire and the same sword that triumphed in Zanjon.
The sword of Baragua is being raised up high today by those of us good Cubans who want democratic change in Cuba. Totally opposite to the system, we don’t want to impose anything; we defend the people’s right to decide for themselves. We want capitalism, to the extent the nation wants and needs it; not to satisfy monopolies or empires, but because it’s in our interests as a country. We want democracy because we are tired of tyranny and we are a people who are capable of directly voting and choosing our own leaders. We don’t need a Communist Party to be our mentor, guardian or tyrant(?).
There isn’t an idea more absurd than the one that stigmatizes neo-colonialism with wanting greater freedom and a market economy, as an example of falling under the US’ radar. There are dozens of countries which have a market economy and democracy and they aren’t subordinated to the US. This manipulative strategy of confusing concepts to weaken the minds of the poorly informed Cuban people doesn’t work on these online platforms, where there is a wide range of information and the majority of us have already racked our brains.
It is completely anachronistic to use Marti to justify tyranny; and more than this, it is a huge error and reveals a complete lack of understanding of his ideas: it is just as manipulative as confusing concepts; and it only proves that they are with their backs up against the wall, because they know that the sword of Baragua (that of freedom) will finally defeat that of Zanjon (that of tyranny), to our suffering Cuban people’s pleasure.