Reflections by the Commander in Chief




Viva Cuba libre!  (Long live free Cuba!). That was the war cry throughout the plains and the mountains, forests and sugarcane fields, identifying those who began Cuba’s first war of independence on October 10, 1868.

     I would never have imagined I’d be hearing those words 139 years later, coming from the mouth of a president of the United States.  It is as if a king of days gone by, or his regent, were proclaiming: Viva Cuba Libre!

     On the contrary, a Spanish warship drew near the coast and with its guns destroyed the small sugar mill where Carlos Manuel de Céspedes declared the independence of Cuba and freed the slaves that he had inherited, just a few kilometres from the sea.

     Lincoln, son of a poor woodcutter, fought all his life against slavery which was legal in his country almost a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence.  Clinging to the just idea that all citizens are born free and equal, making use of his legal and constitutional rights, he declared the abolition of slavery. Countless numbers of combatants gave their lives defending this idea against the rebel slave states in the south of the country.

     Lincoln is said to have stated: “You can deceive some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t deceive all the people all of the time.”

     He died by an assassin’s bullet when, unbeatable at the polls, he was running for a second term as president.

     I am not forgetting that tomorrow on Sunday, it will be the 48th anniversary of Camilo Cienfuegos' disappearance at sea, on October 28, 1959, as he was returning to Havana in a light aircraft from Camaguey Province, where days earlier just his presence unarmed a garrison of simple Rebel Army soldiers whose superiors, of a bourgeois ideology, were attempting to do what almost half a century later Bush is demanding: rise up in arms against the Revolution.

     Che, in a wonderful introduction to his book Guerrilla Warfare, states: “Camilo was the comrade of a 100 battles…the selfless combatant who always made sacrifice an instrument with which to temper his character and to forge that of the was he who gave this written armature here presented the essential vitality of his personality, of his intelligence and of his audacity, something which can be achieved in such exact proportions only in a very few personages in history.”

     “Who killed him?”

     “We might better wonder: who wiped out his physical being?  Because the lives of men such as he, live on in the people...The enemy killed him, they killed him because they wished for his death, they killed him because there are no safe planes, because pilots cannot have all the experience they need, because, overburdened with work, he wanted to reach Havana in a few short hours…in his guerrilla mentality there could be no impediment to hold back or distort a line which had been drafted…Camilo and the other Camilos (those who didn’t arrive and those yet to come) are the indicators of the strength of the people, they are the highest expression of what a nation may give, at the ready to defend its purest ideals and with its faith anchored in the securing of its noblest goals.”

     For all the symbolism in their names, we reply to the false Mambí:

    Long live Lincoln!

    Long live Che!

    Long live Camilo!


Fidel Castro Ruz

October 27, 2007

7:36 p.m.