Bush, Mambí?

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 never imagined that I would hear those words coming from the mouth of a president of the United States 139 years later. It is as if a king of that time, 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, just a few kilometers from the sea, where Carlos Manuel de Céspedes declared the independence of Cuba and freed the slaves that he had inherited.

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

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

He died by an assassin’s bullet while, invincible at the polls, he was running for a second presidential mandate.

I am not forgetting that tomorrow, Sunday, marks 48 years since Camilo Cienfuegos’ disappearance at sea on October 28, 1959, as he was returning to Havana in a light aircraft from Camagüey province, where days earlier his sole presence disarmed a garrison of simple Rebel Army soldiers whose superiors, of a bourgeois ideology, were attempting to do what Bush is now demanding almost half a century later: rise up in arms against the Revolution.

Che, in a wonderful introduction to his book Guerrilla Warfare, states: “Camilo was the comrade of 100 battles…the selfless combatant who always made sacrifice an instrument for tempering his character and forging that of the troops… he gave the written framework presented here the essential vitality of his personality, his intelligence and his audacity, which are achieved in such exact proportions in just a few figures in history.”

“Who killed him?

“We might better wonder: who eliminated his physical being? Because men like him live on in the people…The enemy killed him; they killed him because they wanted him dead; 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 mentality as a guerrilla fighter, not one cloud could hold back or distort a line which had been charted…Camilo and the other Camilos (those who didn’t make it and those yet to come) are the indicators of the people’s strength; they are the highest expression of what a nation may give when on a war footing to defend its purest ideals and with its faith set on securing its noblest goals.”

Because of what their names symbolize, we reply to the false Mambí:

Long live Lincoln!

Long live Che!

Long live Camilo!

Fidel Castro Ruz
October 27, 2007