Reflections by Fidel »

I Hope I Never Have A Reason To Be Ashamed

These words will be published tomorrow, on February 29th. A great many tasks lie immediately ahead of us. The 10th International Meeting of Economists on Globalization and Development Problems, a conference I had always attended and in which I had always expressed different points of view, will begin on Monday the 3rd. Judging from the international developments we’ve witnessed, this conference will doubtless be of great importance, owing to the presence of prestigious economists, some Nobel Prize Laureates and two eminent heads of State.

I wish to address a specific issue in this, today’s reflection.

In the course of these days of voluntary rest, I have read numerous cables published by the traditional press agencies or over the Internet. Among these, I found a dispatch dated in Cuba and published on the BBC World web site, whose blatant personal attack is indeed repugnant. Published on February 25th, one day following the election of the State Council President, under the sub-heading of El Peso de las reflexiones (“The Importance of the Reflections”), it states that Fidel Castro appears to want to reassure the new government and promises “to be cautious” in expressing opinions in his editorials, which are divulged by all of the country’s media, including the radio and television. In his reflections, it adds, he essays a new gesture of modesty, not only asking to be addressed as “comrade Fidel” but also that his articles not appear on the front page of the official newspaper and that the other media divulge a mere summary of these pieces. According to the article, this is strictly formal for, even if his reflections appear on the sports page, their significance won’t, as a result, be lessened: nationally and internationally, any comment made by “comrade Fidel” will have immense repercussions. In a sense, the note alleges, it is a sword of Damocles that hovers over the heads of the country’s leaders, for all of them know it would be extremely difficult to pursue any policy that is publicly condemned by Castro. The relationship between the Castro Brothers, we learn, is a mystery seasoned by the most varied rumors. It is said they locked themselves up in a room and argued for several hours, and that their yelling could be heard outside of Fidel’s office. None of this, the article tells us, can be confirmed, for there is no proof, only alleged witnesses. In Cuba, however, as in no other country, wherever there’s smoke, there’s fire, and the “grapevine”, the oral transmission of information, is almost always in the right.

Other important US newspapers, The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, expressed their frustration but did not resort to such vulgar insults.

Many picture our country as a steam boiler about to burst. They are thrown off balance by how it has heroically held its ground for half a century.

The wise and serene words Raúl spoke after the 609 members of the National Assembly in attendance unanimously elected him President of the State Council, his sincere arguments, unraveled the tangle of illusions wove with regards to Cuba. Those who know me and Raul well know that, out of a basic sense of dignity and respect, we could never hold such a meeting. No few people still harbor hopes of seeing the sudden collapse of a heroic revolution, which stood and continues to stand victorious in spite of half a century of imperialist aggression.

Now, they howl like wolves whose tails have been caught in traps. They seem particularly vexed by the election of Machadito, Secretary of Organization of the Communist Party, as First Vice-President entrusted by the Constitution with the most important tasks in the leadership of the people towards socialism.

In the world of nebulous speculation and protocol, what counts is the State leadership and the party organization is considered a meddlesome intruder, an internal principle. In the specific case of Cuba, thus, it should suffice to know that Raul has all of the legal and constitutional faculties and prerogatives he needs to govern our country. As he himself explained, I was consulted during the process of putting together a list of candidates for the position of First Vice-President that he had held, and of which no one was stripped. I did not demand to be consulted. It was Raúl and the country’s top leaders who decided to consult me. Similarly, it was my decision to ask the Candidacy Commission to include Leopoldo Cintra Frías and Álvaro López Miera, who joined the Rebel Army combatants when they were only 15, on the list candidates to the State Council. The two are much younger than McCain and have more experience as military leaders, as demonstrated by their victorious internationalist feats.

Polito led the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, to the southeast, and the counteroffensive, southwest, with over 40 thousand Cuban volunteer combatants and more than 30 thousand Angolan soldiers under his command, troops that drove the last Apartheid army invaders out of Angola.

The U.S. government created such conditions as would have allowed racist South Africa to use a nuclear weapon against those troops, under certain circumstances.

López Miera once had his own troops bombed when, near Luanda, he ordered the multiple launch artillery to fire on his own positions, under attack and nearly occupied by the South African forces that invaded Angola for the first time in 1975.

These were moves the chess board itself suggested. They were not the fruit of Raúl’s alleged militaristic tendencies, nor was it a question of different generations or factions rabidly fighting over a mundane slice of power. With respect to me, I say again that I cling to no position, as I expressed in my message to the people of February 18, 2008.

One person who was left speechless was the intellectual author of Kosovo’s “independence”. In my reflection of February 21st, I described him as “an illustrious Spanish personality, once an impeccable socialist and minister of Culture, who for some time now and even today has been advocating for the war and the use of weapons” (In addition to this, at various points, he was a government spokesman, Minister of Education and Science and Minister of Foreign Affairs).

What did he say? That yesterday’s news could have been more open and better. That what he is not certain of was whether a transition had begun from the political point of view, and that everything that could point to a political transition towards democracy is welcome.

He spoke as though we lived in Franco’s Spain, a close ally of the United States, and not in Cuba, where they have invested over a hundred billion dollars, much more valuable than today’s dollars, to blockade and destroy the country.

What a man! There’s no way he would shut up! What is his name? The Round Table program already mentioned the sin and the sinner two or three days ago: Javier Solana.

What party is he affiliated with? Spain’s Socialist Worker’s Party. He would not travel to our country because Cuba, in connection with the invasion of Serbia, urged the world to try him as a war criminal at an international court. As Spain’s Foreign Minister, he welcomed me at the Madrid airport when the 2nd Latin American Summit was held in the Spanish capital. He seemed like an angel back then!

Even Aznar, who advised Clinton to bomb Serbian television, an action which caused the deaths of dozens of people, understands that, right now, on the eve of elections, one cannot play with the issue of nationalities, as everyone realizes that, with such precedents, the Basque Country and Catalonia could invoke such a principle within the European Community, and we are talking about two of Spain’s most industrialized nations. The Scottish and the Irish could proceed in similar fashion.

With the fate of human species in such hands, it is as if we danced happily at the edge of a precipice, where the vanity of no few leaders of the globalized capitalist world reigns, putting all countries at risk. The humanitarian, educational and artistic values that the Cuban revolution they seek to destroy has created with its own resources means nothing to them, for it does not submit to the tyranny of the free market. The latter and its blind laws are miring the human species in an unsustainable economic crisis and bringing about changes to natural living conditions that could prove irreversible.

I write reflections to fight against these things. Had I unlimited time, I would perhaps be willing to recall ideas that are today dispersed across speeches, interviews, conversations, declarations, meetings, reflections and things of this nature. I have invested tons of paper and tons of sound – symbolically speaking – but I have no reason to be ashamed.

Fidel Castro Ruz

February 28, 2008

7:15 p.m.

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