Since the year 2006, for health reasons that were incompatible with the time and the efforts required to fulfill my duties –which I imposed upon myself when I entered this University on September 4, 1945, seventy years ago-, I renounced all my positions.
I was not the son of a worker, nor did I lack the material or social resources required for a relatively comfortable existence. I can say that I miraculously escaped wealth. Many years later, the wealthiest American, who was no doubt a very capable man, with almost 100 billion dollars, stated –as was published by a news agency last Thursday, January 22-, that the system of production and distribution of wealth that favored the privileged will make poor people rich from one generation to the next.
From the times of ancient Greece, during almost three thousand years, the Greeks, without going much farther, excelled in almost all areas of human knowledge: Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, Architecture, Arts, Science, Politics, Astronomy and others. However, Greece was a country of slaves who did the hardest works both in the countryside and in the cities, while the oligarchy devoted itself to writing and philosophizing. The first utopia was written precisely by them.
Have a close look at the realities of this well-known, globalized and very unfairly distributed planet Earth, where, as is known, every single vital resource is deposited by virtue of historical factors: some have much less resources than they need; others have so many that they do not know what to do with them. Now, in the face of serious war threats and risks, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one billion to seven billion inhabitants. ¿Would this be the right way to cope with the population growth during the next 100 years as well as with the food, health, water and housing needs that the world’s population will face, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made?
All right, but setting aside these enigmatic problems, it is astonishing to think that the University of Havana, at the time when I entered that beloved and prestigious institution, almost three quarters of a century ago, was the only one that existed in Cuba.
By the way, comrade students and professors, we should remember that today we not only have one, but more than fifty higher education centers scattered throughout the entire country.
When you invited me to participate in the launching of the campaign to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of my entering the University, a news that caught me by surprise, during very hectic days for me, for I was dealing with several issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful, I decided to have some rest and devote myself for some hours to remember those years.
I feel overwhelmed when I realize that seventy years have passed already. In fact, comrades, if I were to register again at the University at that age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitating, that I would have pursued a scientific career. And after graduating, I would have said just like Guayasamín: Leave a little light on for me.
In those years, I was already influenced by Marx and I managed to have a broader and better understanding of the strange and complex world in we all have had to live in. I was able to dispense with the bourgeois illusions whose tentacles succeeded in confusing many students when they were least experienced and most passionate. This would be a subject for a long and endless discussion.
Lenin, the founder of the Communist Party, was another genius of revolutionary action. That is why I did not hesitate for a single second when, at the trial after the attack on the Moncada, which I was allowed to attend just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high-ranking officers of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin’s works.
We did not talk about Mao Zedong because the Socialist Revolution in China, inspired by identical purposes, had not yet concluded.
But I should note, however, that revolutionary ideas are to be always on the alert as humanity is able to multiply its knowledge.
Nature has taught us that tens of billions of light-years may have passed by, but life, in any of its forms, will always be subject to the most incredible combinations of matter and radiations.
The personal greeting between the Presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, a notable and exemplary fighter against Apartheid, who was a friend of Obama’s.
Suffice it to say that, already by that moment, several years had elapsed since the Cuban troops had dealt a devastating defeat to the racist army of South Africa, led by a rich bourgeoisie that was the owner of huge economic resources. That is the history of a struggle that is still to be written. South Africa, the government with the most financial resources in that continent, had nuclear weapons that had been supplied by the racist State of Israel, by virtue of an agreement between the latter and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized it to deliver the devices required for the use of such weapons with which South Africa could attack the Cuban and Angolan forces that were defending the People’s Republic of Angola against the occupation of that country by the racist, thus excluding every possibility of negotiating peace, while Angola was being attacked by the Apartheid forces, with the best trained and equipped army in the African continent.
Under such circumstances, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution. The ceaseless efforts made to crush and systematically bleed out the People’s Republic of Angola with the power of that well trained and equipped army, was the determining factor behind Cuba’s decision to deal an overwhelming blow against the racists in Cuito Cuanavale, a former NATO base, which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs.
That arrogant country was forced to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola and to the Apartheid regime in Africa.
The African continent was then free from nuclear weapons. Cuba had to face, for the second time, the risk of a nuclear attack.
The Cuban internationalist troops withdrew from Africa with honor. And then came the Special Period in times of peace, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without hoisting the white flag, something we never did nor we will ever do.
Many friends of Cuba have known the exemplary behavior of our people, and it is to them that I will explain, in a few words, my essential position.
I do not trust the US policy, nor have I ever exchanged a single word with them, something that in no way means a rejection to a peaceful settlement of conflicts or war dangers. Defending peace is a duty of all. Any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not involve force or the use of force, should be addressed according to international standards and principles. We will always advocate cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, among them, the peoples of our political adversaries. That is what we are demanding for all.
The President of Cuba has taken relevant steps in accordance with his prerogatives and the faculties vested upon him by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.
The grave dangers that threaten humanity today will have to give way to the norms that are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied those rights.
It is in that spirit that I have struggled and I will continue to struggle to my last breath.
Fidel Castro Ruz
January 26, 2015