REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF
He spontaneously decided to
In the past, as he himself
said, he visited the
There I also met with Frei Betto who today is a critic,
but not an enemy, of Lula, as well as with Father Ernesto Cardenal,
a militant leftist Sandinista and, today, an adversary of Daniel. The two
writers were part of the Theology of Liberation, a progressive trend which we
always saw as a great step towards unity between revolutionaries and the poor,
beyond their philosophy and their beliefs, in accordance with the specific
conditions of struggle in
Nonetheless, I must confess
that I perceived in Father Ernesto Cardenal, unlike
others in the Nicaraguan leadership, an image of sacrifice and privations resembling
that of a medieval monk. He was a true
prototype of purity. I leave aside
others less consistent, who were at one time revolutionaries, including
militants of the far left in
What does all this have to do with Lula? A lot. He was never a left-wing extremist, nor did he become a revolutionary through philosophical studies but rather he came from very humble working class roots and Christian beliefs, and he worked hard creating surplus value for others. Karl Marx saw the workers as the ones who would bury the capitalist system: “Workers of the world unite,” he proclaimed. He presents us with reasons and demonstrates this with irrefutable logic; he takes pleasure and makes fun of the cynical lies used to accuse Communists. If the ideas of Marx were just at that time, when everything seemed to depend on the class struggle and the growth of the productive forces, science and technology, that supported the creation of essential goods to satisfy human necessities, there are absolutely new factors which say that he was right and which at the same time clash with his noble aims.
New necessities have arisen which could destroy the aims of a society with neither exploiters nor exploited. Among these new necessities we have that of human survival. No one had even heard about climate change in Marx’s day and age. He and Engels surely knew that one day the sun would be extinguished as it consumed all of its energy. A few years after the Manifesto was written, other men were born who made inroads in science and knowledge about the laws of chemistry, physics and biology ruling the Universe and unknown then. Into whose hands would this knowledge fall? Although it continues in its development and even improves, and again partially denies and contradicts its own theories, new knowledge is not in the hands of the poor nations who today make up three-quarters of the world’s population. It is in the hands of a privileged group of wealthy and developed capitalist powers, associated with the most powerful empire ever to exist, built on the bases of a globalized economy, governed by the very laws of capitalism described by Marx and thoroughly studied by him.
Nowadays, as humankind still suffers from these realities due to the very dialectics of events, we must confront these dangers.
How did the revolutionary
For me, unity means sharing
in the struggle, the risks, the sacrifices, the aims, ideas, concepts and
strategies, assumed after discussion and analysis. Unity means a common struggle against
annexationists, quislings and corrupt individuals who have nothing in common
with a militant revolutionary. It is to
this unity revolving around the idea of independence and against the empire as
it advances over the peoples of the
The old pre-revolutionary slogan of unity has nothing to do with the concept, because in our country today we do not have political organizations seeking power. We have to avoid that, in the enormous sea of tactical criteria, strategic lines become diluted and we imagine nonexistent situations.
In a country invaded by the
The real producers of sugar who were the recently freed slaves and the peasants, many of whom fought in the Liberation Army, transformed into squatters or completely lacking any land of their own, who were pitched into the sugarcane harvests in the great estates created by United States companies or Cuban land-owners who inherited, bought or stole land, were adequate material for revolutionary ideas.
Julio Antonio Mella, founder of the Communist Party together with Baliño –who knew Martí and who, with him, created the party that would lead Cuba to independence-- took up the banner, brought to it all the enthusiasm derived from the October Revolution, and gave this cause his own blood, that of a young intellectual conquered by revolutionary ideas. The Communist blood of Jesús Menéndez would join that of Mella 18 years later.
We, teenagers and youths, studying in private schools had not even heard of Mella. Our class or social group, having incomes greater that those of the rest of the population, condemned us as human beings to be the selfish and the exploiters of society.
I had the privilege of coming to the revolution through ideas, escaping the boring fate that life was leading me to. I explained why at another moment; now, I remember this only in the context of what I am writing.
Hatred for Batista's repression and his crimes was so great that nobody paid heed to the ideas I expressed in my defense at the Court in Santiago de Cuba, where there was even a book by Lenin printed in the USSR –coming from the credit I had at the People’s Socialist Party bookstore at Carlos III in Havana– found among the combatants’ belongings. “Whoever hasn’t read Lenin, is an ignorant”, I blurted out during the interrogation at the first sessions of the oral hearing when they brought it up as a damning bit of evidence. They were still trying me together with all of the surviving prisoners.
It would be hard to
understand what I am saying if one doesn’t keep in mind that at the time we
attacked the Moncada, on July 26, 1953, --an action
made possible by the organizational efforts of more than a year, with nobody on
our side other than ourselves-- the policies of Stalin, who had died suddenly a
few months earlier, prevailed in the USSR.
He was an honest and devoted Communist, who would later make serious
mistakes leading him to extremely conservative and cautious positions. If a Revolution like ours had succeeded at
that time, the
As the leaders of the USSR themselves told me when I visited that great country in April 1963, the revolutionary Russian combatants --well seasoned against foreign interventions aimed at destroying the Bolshevik Revolution, which was left blockaded and isolated-- had established relations and exchanged experiences with German officers, those with a Prussian militarist tradition, humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles which put an end to World War I.
The SS intelligence services devised schemes against many who were, in their vast majority, loyal to the Revolution. Motivated by suspicions that turned pathological, Stalin purged 3 of his 5 Marshals, 13 of the 15 Army Commanders, 8 of the 9 Admirals, 50 of the 57 Army Corps Commanders, 154 of 186 Division Commanders, one hundred percent of Army Commissars, and 25 of 28 Army Corps Commissars of the Soviet Red Army in the years preceding the Great Patriotic War.
In 1943, with some delay, the last Nazi spring offensive was launched at the famous and tempting Kursk Bulge, with 900 thousand soldiers, 2700 tanks and 2000 planes. The Soviets, experts in enemy psychology, laid in wait in that trap for the sure attack, with one million and 200 thousand men, 3300 tanks, 2400 planes and 20,000 artillery pieces. Led by Zhukov and Stalin himself, they destroyed Hitler's last offensive.
In 1945, Soviet soldiers advanced unstoppable to capture the German Reich Chancellery in Berlin where they hoisted the red flag stained with the blood of the many fallen.
I observe Lula’s red tie for a minute and I ask him, Did Chávez give you that? He smiles and answers: Now I am going to send him some shirts because he is complaining that the collars on his shirts are too hard, and I am going to look for them in Bahía so that I can make him a present of them.
He asked that I give him some of the photos I took.
When he said that he was very impressed with my health, I told him that I spent my time thinking and writing. Never in my life had I thought so much. I told him that, at the end of my visit to Córdoba, Argentina, where I had attended a meeting with many leaders, and he had been there as well, I came back, and then I took part in two ceremonies for the July 26th Anniversary. I was checking over Ramonet’s book. I had answered all his questions. I had not taken the thing too seriously. I had thought that it would be a quick thing, like the interviews with Frei Betto and Tomás Borge. And then I became a slave to the French writer's book, when it was at the point of being published without my going over it, with some of the answers being a bit off the cuff. I barely slept during those days.
When I fell gravely ill on the night of the 26th and in the early morning of the 27th of July, I thought that would be the end, and while the doctors were fighting for my life, the head of the Council of State Office was reading me the text, at my insistence, and I was dictating the pertinent changes.
Fidel Castro Ruz