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   Vol. 69/No. 8           February 28, 2005  
Cuba’s example teaches that revolution is possible
(Books of the Month column)
Below is an excerpt from The Second Declaration of Havana. Pathfinder’s Spanish-language edition of the document is one of the publisher’s Books of the Month for February. The declaration was read by Cuban president Fidel Castro to a rally of one million in Havana on Feb. 4, 1962. A few days earlier, on Washington’s orders, Cuba had been expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS in turn called on governments throughout the hemisphere to cut all economic and diplomatic ties with revolutionary Cuba. On the day before the rally where the declaration was read, Washington instituted an embargo on U.S. trade with Cuba, which remains in place today, 43 years later. Copyright © 1994 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

The duty of every revolutionist is to make the revolution. It is known that the revolution will triumph in the Americas and throughout the world, but it is not for revolutionists to sit in the doorways of their houses waiting for the corpse of imperialism to pass by. The role of Job does not suit a revolutionist. Each year that the liberation of Latin America is speeded up will mean the lives of millions of children saved, millions of intellects saved for culture, an infinite quantity of pain spared the people. Even if the Yankee imperialists prepare a bloody drama for Latin America, they will not succeed in crushing the peoples’ struggles; they will only arouse universal hatred against themselves. And such a drama will also mark the death of their greedy and stone-age system.

No nation in Latin America is weak—because each forms part of a family of 200 million brothers, who suffer the same miseries, who harbor the same sentiments, who have the same enemy, who dream about the same better future and who count upon the solidarity of all honest men and women throughout the world.

Great as was the epic of Latin American independence, heroic as was that struggle, today’s generation of Latin Americans is called upon to engage in an epic that is even greater and more decisive for humanity. For that struggle was for liberation from Spanish colonial power, from a decadent Spain invaded by the armies of Napoleon. Today the call for struggle is for liberation from the most powerful world imperialist center, from the strongest force of world imperialism and to render humanity a greater service than that rendered by our predecessors.

But this struggle, to a greater extent than the earlier one, will be waged by the masses, will be carried out by the people: the people are going to play a much more important role now than they did then, the leaders are less important and will be less important in this struggle than in the one before.

This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly abound in our suffering Latin American lands. A struggle of masses and of ideas. An epic that will be carried forward by our peoples, mistreated and scorned by imperialism; our people, unreckoned with until today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins to be terrified of that flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees its gravediggers.

This toiling humanity, these inhumanly exploited, these paupers, controlled by the system of whip and overseer, have not been reckoned with or have been little reckoned with. From the dawn of independence their fate has been the same: Indians, gauchos, mestizos, zambos, quadroons, whites without property or income, all this human mass that formed the ranks of the “nation,” which never reaped any benefits, which fell by the millions, which was cut into bits, which won independence from the mother country for the bourgeoisie, which was shut out from its share of the rewards, which continued to occupy the lowest step on the ladder of social benefits, continued to die of hunger, curable diseases, and neglect, because for them there were never enough life-giving goods—ordinary bread, a hospital bed, medicine that cures, a hand that aids.

But now from one end of the continent to the other they are signaling with clarity that the hour has come—the hour of their redemption. Now this anonymous mass, this America of color, somber, taciturn America, which all over the continent sings with the same sadness and disillusionment, now this mass is beginning to enter definitively into its own history, is beginning to write it with its own blood, is beginning to suffer and die for it.

Because now in the fields and mountains of the Americas, on its flatlands and in its jungles, in the wilderness and in the traffic of its cities, on the banks of its great oceans and rivers, this world is beginning to tremble. Anxious hands are stretched forth, ready to die for what is theirs, to win those rights that were laughed at by one and all for five hundred years. Yes, now history will have to take the poor of the Americas into account, the exploited and spurned of the Americas, who have decided to begin writing their history for themselves for all time. Already they can be seen on the roads, on foot, day after day, in an endless march of hundreds of kilometers up to the Mt. Olympus of government to obtain their rights.

Already they can be seen armed with stones, sticks, machetes, in one direction and another, each day, occupying lands, sinking hooks into the land which belongs to them and defending it with their lives. They can be seen carrying signs, slogans, flags; letting them flap in the mountain or prairie winds. And the wave of anger, of demands for justice, of claims for rights trampled underfoot, which is beginning to sweep the lands of Latin America, will not stop. That wave will swell with every passing day. For that wave is composed of the greatest number, the majorities in every respect, those whose labor amasses the wealth and turns the wheels of history. Now they are awakening from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected.

For this great mass of humanity has said, “Enough!” and has begun to march. And their march of giants will not be halted until they conquer true independence—for which they have died in vain more than once. Today, however, those who die will die like the Cubans at Playa Girón: they will die for their own, true, never-to-be-surrendered independence.

Patria o muerte! [Homeland or death]

Venceremos! [We will win]  
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