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Guáimaro and Cuba’s enduring constitutional spirit

GuaimaroSome six months have passed since the anniversary of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes’ call for liberty at the Demajagua plantation, when patriots took up arms against Spanish colonialism and slavery, providing a lesson in unity and citizenship.

The small settlement of Guáimaro was one of the first to be liberated by the mambises after the beginning of the armed struggle, and had the honor of serving as the site for a transcendental event in the Revolution of ‘68.

Gathered in an assembly April 10-12, representatives from the three insurgent areas (Oriente, Camagüey, and Las Villas) sought to establish agreement to form a single, united front to combat the Spanish.

José Martí, who considered the event a great symbol and passion, would write 23 years later in the newspaper Patria, “Free Guáimaro had never been so beautiful as the days when it was about to enter into glory and sacrifice.”

With barely enough time to get to know each other, and facing divergent, even antagonistic, opinions on the issues at hand, delegates settled their conceptual disagreements, putting love of the country and desire to serve Cuba first.

After bitter debates, they approved a unique type of state – the Republic of Cuba in Arms – democratic institutions, and a basic constitution that would serve as a programmatic base in the national liberation struggle.

Despite the limitations of the agreement which negatively impacted the military struggle, the relevance of the Guáimaro Assembly is undeniable, as the first step toward the achievement of unity in the Cuban independence movement.”Whatever the problems, the difficulties, and the results, the effort was admirable,” said the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, a century later, offering his assessment of the events.

In this small Camagüeyan town, a new way, now traditional, was established of reaching consensus for the nation’s good: open debate and collective reflection as the basis of unity and cohesion.

This presupposes a high level of political maturity, allowing the homeland’s interests to prevail in discussions of the country’s strategic issues, above and beyond any personal, sectorial, or group projects or ambitions.

In the year of the 150th anniversary of Cuba’s first Constitution, approved in Guáimaro, this principle acquires renewed value as a guarantee of the consolidation of our revolutionary project and its continuity over time.This has been the case thus far, and will be so on February 24, when the people will vote in a referendum to approve the Constitution that will define the present and the promising future of our homeland, in a gesture of eternal gratitude to those who gave their all for freedom.


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