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The Forging of the Cuban Nation. By Graziella Pogolotti

In the painful times of the neocolonial Republic, every May 8 we paid tribute to Antonio Guiteras, a victim of an infamous betrayal when he tried to embark for Mexico from Morrillo to organize an insurrectionary movement in the neighboring country aimed at achieving the total and definitive independence of Cuba.

The annual homage preserved the vitality of a memory bearing the explicit recognition of the continuity of a decolonizing process and, at the same time, a cohesion of wills, always in force despite the apparent defeats suffered in successive endeavors.

This is how Fidel defined it on the one-hundredth anniversary of the struggle since the so-called Grito de Yara in 1968. Then, in the same act, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes called for the fight for independence and granted freedom to his slaves.

To be true, the proclaimed freedom had to be based on social justice. From that date on, the nation began to be forged in the Mambi camp.

The landowners of yesteryear learned the art of surviving in extreme precariousness. To achieve this, they incorporated the teachings of the old runaway slaves (Cimarrones). Even in the most difficult circumstances, such as that of the Father of the Nation abandoned by his people in San Lorenzo, no one could take away the dignity they had won.

The history is well known. Disunity and the predominance of local interests led to the Zanjón Pact. A period of disenchantment followed. Some succumbed to autonomist and annexationist temptations. Marti’s preaching aroused the union of wills. From East to West, the redemptive flame crossed the island’s territory. Entrenched in the cities, appealing to a desperate resource, the government of the metropolis implemented the atrocious reconcentration. The North American intervention took place. The Mambises could not enter Santiago de Cuba. Neither were they recognized as contenders and they were marginalized from the negotiations of a peace treaty that would define the immediate destiny of the nation.

The era of imperialism had arrived. In Cuba, the then-novel experiment of the neocolonial rule was implanted. We would have an anthem and flag, presidents, and political parties. But the iron umbilical cord would be established through the preeminence of the economic factor. Along with the Platt Amendment, leonine “reciprocity” treaties were imposed. We produced raw sugar for the American refineries, and the rest of the merchandise came from that country, which made the development of a national industry unfeasible. The structural deformation of the economy was growing. In the eastern zone, the large sugar cane plantations displaced the small producers. Subjected to months of idle time, the labor market became extremely precarious.

The frustration of the emancipation project imposed a brief flicker of bitterness and disappointment. At the beginning of the third decade of the 20th century, workers, women, and students adopted, in keeping with the spirit of the times, new forms of organization.

Intellectuals united around the Grupo Minorista. With the Mexican and Bolshevik revolutions, Latin Americanist sentiment was strengthened and new ideas spread. The confrontation with the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado accelerated the radicalization process. All the features of an explosive revolutionary situation were taking shape. North American interference found a point of internal support in a strong man who would impose repression with an iron fist. Thus, the Caffery-Batista-Mendieta coup against the Grau-Guiteras government was consummated. Apparently defeated, the Revolution of 1930 left an irreversible legacy in the fields of ideas and fighting tradition.

The North Americans also appreciated the latent explosiveness in the Cuban panorama. In 1934, a few months after Carlos Mendieta became president of the country, a commission of academics carried out an investigation on the economic and political reality of the island. The sobering study was entitled Problemas de la Nueva Cuba. It contained a diagnosis and a set of recommendations. Nothing was done. In any case, it was no time for palliatives. The situation continued to deteriorate. Years later, President Prío Socarrás requested an analysis from the Truslow Mission. As the structural deformations increased, the panorama augured an irreversible crisis. The strong man appeared again. On the eve of the elections, Batista overthrew the Authentic government.

In the context of a hundred years of struggle, animated by an emancipating ideology based on the inseparable pillars of freedom and social justice, the living body of the Cuban nation was consolidated. At each stage, it had to assume the challenges of the times adjust methods and establish priorities.

The wars of the 19th century confronted the traditional forms of colonialism. The Republic was born marked by the debut of neocolonialism, which in contemporary times assumes the guidelines of neoliberal globalization. Our sling has been that of David and its strength lies in the ability to mobilize a thought developed through the recognition of the keys of history, the affirmation of the common destiny shared with other peoples who are victims of colonialism, the elucidation of the terms of the conflict at each precise moment, the lucid assumption of the realities of each era and the definition of a program with a future perspective, free of dogmatic schemes and prisons. José Martí did it in Our America. Fidel also did it in 1968 when he vindicated the legacy of Yara’s redemptive gesture.

source Cine Reverso

translation Red en Defensa de la Humanidad

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