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Vol. 81/No. 23      June 12, 2017

(feature article)

In Cuba, ‘There is no future without the past’

Revolutionary Cuba responds to US White House

“Someone failed to tell Donald Trump the truth before the U.S. president congratulated the Cuban people for its Independence Day May 20,” wrote Oscar Sánchez Serra in Granma, the official voice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba May 23.

“The only independence Cubans celebrate is that one we achieved definitively on Jan. 1, 1959, with the leadership of our undefeated Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz,” Sánchez said.

He was replying to a “Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Cuban Independence Day” marking May 20, 1902, which attacked and slandered the socialist revolution.

“Independence was not won 115 years ago,” states Sánchez emphatically. “The story is a bit longer.”

Sánchez tells the real story of Washington’s colonial rule over Cuba and Cuba’s victorious struggle for independence led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement that led workers and farmers to power in 1959.

And Sánchez explains the continuity of revolutionary leadership in Cuba, from José Martí to Castro. The editorial is titled, “There Is No Future Without the Past.”

He quotes Martí, a leader of the Cuban independence struggle against Spain, who warned his co-combatants that they should beware of Washington. “I lived in the monster and know its entrails,” said Martí, who lived in the U.S. for 14 years.

Sánchez explains that by 1898 the Cuban Liberation Army had “practically won the war against Spain. The colonial forces were defeated, and physically and morally exhausted.”

The USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana Harbor Feb. 15, 1898. Washington used this pretext to declare war on Spain. Sánchez quoted Vladimir Lenin, the central leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, who described the Spanish-American War as “the first imperialist war of the modern era.”

Cuban independence fighters didn’t know that the U.S. War Department had sent a letter, Sánchez noted, which called for “applying a blockade to cause hunger and disease — its eternal companion — to weaken the population and decimate the Cuban army. … We should create difficulties for the independent government” to force submission to U.S. demands, to weaken all contenders for power and eventually annex Cuba.

“This is the prelude to May 20, 1902,” states Sánchez. “Can this independence be celebrated? Do these events call for congratulations?”

The Dec. 10, 1898, Treaty of Paris, which decreed the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Caribbean, committed “a grievous offense against the dignity of Cubans who were not included in the talks,” he says, handing Cuba to Washington as spoils of war.

As a condition for the withdrawal of its military forces from Cuba four years later, Washington insisted that a piece of U.S. legislation called the Platt Amendment be incorporated into the Cuban Constitution guaranteeing U.S. control over the island’s affairs. The rider included granting Washington the right to build a naval base at Guantánamo Bay.

“The Platt Amendment established a de facto neocolonial republic,” says Sánchez.

“We are not going to celebrate May 20, 1902, but we are going to commemorate it, we are going to remember,” Sánchez says, quoting Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler. “We must deeply analyze the republic to understand this revolution we have. There is no future without the past.”

During his visit to Cuba in March 2016, President Barack Obama — like President Trump now — arrogantly advised the Cubans to forget about their past under the bloody domination of U.S. imperialism.

And to forget Washington’s more than 50-year history of efforts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. These included attempted invasions, backing attacks by counterrevolutionary Cuban exiles, economic sabotage, multiple attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and more.

“Obama made a speech in which he uses the most sugar-coated words to express: ‘It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind, let us look to the future together, a future of hope,’” Fidel Castro wrote after Obama’s visit.

Despite Washington’s grudging re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015, the U.S. rulers continue to press to overturn Cuba’s socialist revolution. This is why millions of Cubans marched on May Day, to honor Fidel Castro’s historic legacy and to demand Washington end its punishing economic embargo, get out of Guantánamo and end its regime-change interventions into Cuba’s internal affairs.
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