The Second Declaration of Havana
This is one of the great political documents of all time. It was presented to the Cuban people on February 4, 1962, following Cuba’s expulsion from the Organization of American States. It is printed here in its entirety. The Editors
On May 18,1895, on the eve of his death from a Spanish bullet through the heart, Jose Marti, apostle of our independence, said in an unfinished letter to his friend Manuel Mercado: “Now I am able to write I am in danger each day now of giving my life for my country and for my obligation ‘ to prevent before it’s too late through achieving Cuba’s independence the United States from extending its control over the Antilles and consequently falling with that much more force upon our countries of America. Whatever I have done till now, and whatever I shall do, has been with that aim.
“The people most vitally concerned with preventing the imperialist annexation of Cuba, which would make Cuba the starting point of that course which must be blocked and which we are blocking with our bloodof annexation of our American nations to the violent and brutal North which despises them, are being hindered by lesser and public commitments from the open and avowed espousal of this sacrifice, which is being made for our and their benefit.
“I have lived inside the monster and know its guts; and my sling is the sling of David.”
In 1895, Marti already pointed out the danger hovering over America and called imperialism by its name: imperialism. He pointed out to the people of Latin America that more than anyone, they had a stake in seeing that Cuba did not succumb to the greed of the Yankee, scornful of the peoples of Latin America. And with his own blood, shed for Cuba and America, he wrote the words which posthumously, in homage to his memory, the people of Cuba place at the head of this declaration.
Sixty-seven years have passed. Puerto Rico was converted into a colony and is still a colony saturated with military bases. Cuba also fell into the Clutches of imperialism. Their troops occupied our territory. The Platt Amendment was imposed on our first constitution, as a humiliating clause which sanctioned the odious right of foreign intervention. Our riches passed into their hands, our history was falsified, our government and our politics were entirely molded in the interests of the overseers; the nation was subjected to sixty years of political, economic, and cultural suffocation.
But Cuba rose, Cuba was able to redeem itself from the bastard guardianship. Cuba broke the chains which tied its fortunes to those of the imperialist oppressor, redeemed its riches, reclaimed its culture, and unfurled its banner as the Free Territory of America.
Now the United States will never again be able to use Cuba’s strength against America, but conversely, dominating the majority of the other Latin American states, the United States is attempting to use the strength of America against Cuba.
What is the history of Cuba but the history of Latin America? And what is the history of Latin America but the history of Asia, Africa, and Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but the history of the most pitiless and cruel exploitation by imperialism throughout the world?
At the end of the last and the beginning of the present century, a handful of economically developed nations had finished partitioning the world among themselves, subjecting to its economic and political domination twothirds of humanity, which was thus forced to work for the ruling classes of the economically advanced capitalist countries.
The historical circumstances which permitted certain European countries and the United States of America to attain a high level of industrial development placed them in a position to subject the rest of the world to their domination and exploitation.
What motives compelled the expansion of the industrial powers? Were they moral motives? Was it a matter of “civilizing,” as they claimed? No: They were economic reasons.
Since the discovery of America, which hurled the European conquerors across the seas to occupy and exploit the lands and inhabitants of other continents, the fundamental motive for their conduct was the desire for riches. The discovery of America itself was carried out in search of shorter routes to the Orient whose goods were highly paid for in Europe.
A new social class, the merchants and the producers of manufactured articles for commerce, arose from the womb of the feudal society of lords and serfs in the decline of the Middle Ages.
The thirst for gold was the motive which spurred the efforts of that new class. The desire for gain was the incentive for its conduct throughout history. With the growth of manufacturing and commerce, its social influence also grew. The productive forces which were developing in the womb of feudal society clashed more and more with the relationships of servitude
characteristic of feudalism, with its laws, its institutions, its philosophy, its morality, its art, and its political ideology.
New philosophical and political ideas, new concepts of right and of the state were proclaimed by the intellectual representatives of the bourgeoisie, which because they responded to the new necessities of social life gradually entered into the consciousness of the exploited masses. They were then revolutionary ideas opposed to those outworn ideas of feudal society. The peasants, the artisans, the workers, led by the bourgeoisie, overthrew the feudal order, its philosophy, its ideas, its institutions, its laws, and the privileges of the ruling class, that is, the hereditary nobility.
At that time, the bourgeoisie considered revolution necessary and just. It did not think that the feudal order could and should be eternal as it now thinks of its capitalist social order. It encouraged the peasants to free themselves from feudal servitude, it turned the artisans against the medieval guilds, and demanded the right to political power. The absolute monarchs, the nobility, and the high clergy stubbornly defended their class privileges, proclaiming the divine right of kings and the immutability of the social order. To be liberal then, to proclaim the ideas of Voltaire, Diderot, or Jean Jacques Rousseau, spokesmen for bourgeois philosophy, constituted in the eyes of the ruling classes as serious a crime as it does today in the eyes of the bourgeoisie to be a socialist and to proclaim the ideas of Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
When the bourgeoisie took political power and established its capitalist mode of production on the ruins of feudal society, it was on this mode of production it erected its state, its laws, its ideas, and institutions. Those institutions sanctified, in the first instance, the essence of class rule: private property.
The new society based on the private ownership of the means of production and free competition was thus divided into two basic classes: one, the owner of the means of production, ever more modern and efficient; the other, deprived of all wealth, possessing only its labor power, of necessity sold this labor power in the market as another piece of merchandise, simply in order to live.
With the feudal bonds broken, the productive forces developed extraordinarily. Great factories arose in which greater and greater numbers of workers were utilized.
The most modern and technically efficient factories continually drove from the market the less efficient competitors. The cost of industrial equipment continually rose. It became necessary to accumulate more and more capital. A greater portion of production passed into a smaller number of hands. Thus arose the great capitalist enterprises and later, according to the degree and character of the association, the great industrial combinesthe cartels, syndicates, trusts, and corporations, controlled by the owners of the major portion of the stock, that is to say, by the most powerful heads of industry. Free competition, characteristic of capitalism in its first phase, gave way to monopolies which entered into agreements among themselves and con trolled the markets.
Where did the colossal quantity of resources come from which permitted a handful of monopolists to accumulate billions of dollars? Simply from the exploitation of human labor. Millions of men, forced to work for subsistence wages, produced with their strength the gigantic capital of the monopolies. From the workers came the fortunes of the privileged classes, ever richer,
ever more powerful. Through the banking institutions, these classes were able to make use, not only of their own money, but that of all society. Thus was brought about the fusion of the banks with giant industry, and finance capital was born. What should they do with the great surplus of capital which was accumulating in ever greater quantities? Invade the world with it. Always in pursuit of profit, they began to seize the natural resources of all the economically weak countries and to exploit the human labor of the inhabitants, paying even more wretched wages than they were forced to pay to the workers of their own developed countries. Thus, began the territorial and economic division of the world. By 1914, eight or ten imperialist countries had subjugated territories beyond their own borders, covering more than 83,700,000 square kilometers, with a population of 970,000,000 inhabitants. They had simply divided up the world.
But as the world was limited in size and already divided down to the last corner of the earth, a clash ensued among the different monopolistic nations and struggles grew for new divisions, struggles originating in the disproportionate distribution of industrial and economic power which the various monopolistic nations had attained in their uneven development. Imperialist wars broke out which would cost humanity fifty million dead, tens of millions wounded and the destruction of incalculable material and cultural wealth. Even before this had happened, Karl Marx wrote that “capital comes into the world dripping from head to foot through every pore with blood and mire.”
The capitalist system of production, once it had given all of which it was capable, became an abysmal obstacle to the progress of humanity. But from its origins, the bourgeoisie carried within itself its contradiction. In its womb gigantic productive instrumentalities were developed, but with time a new and vigorous social force developed: the proletariat. The proletariat which was destined to change the old and worn out social system of capitalism into a superior socio economic form in accordance with the historic possibilities of human society, by converting into social property those gigantic means of production which the people, and none but the people, had created and amassed by their work. At such a state of development, the productive forces made completely anachronistic and outmoded the regime which stood for private ownership and the economic subordination of millions and millions of human beings to the dictates of a small, social minority.
The interests of humanity cried out for a halt to the anarchy of capitalist production; for a halt pto the waste, the economic crises, and the rapacious wars which are part of the capitalist system. The growing necessities of the human race and the possibility of satisfying them demanded the planned development of the economy and the rational utilization of means of production and natural resources.
It was inevitable that imperialism and colonialism would fall into a profound and insoluble crisis. The general crisis began with the outbreak of World War I, with the revolution of the workers and peasants which overthrew the Czarist empire of Russia and founded, amidst the most difficult conditions of capitalist encirclement and aggression, the world’s first socialist state, opening a new era in the history of humanity. From that time on., the crisis and decomposition of the imperialist system has incessantly worsened.
World War II, unleashed by the imperialist powers and into which were dragged the Soviet Union and other criminally invaded peoples of Asia and Europe who were invaded in a criminal manner and engaged in a bloody struggle of liberation culminated in the defeat of fascism, formation of the worldwide socialist camp and the struggle of the colonial and dependent peoples for their sovereignty. Between 1945 and 1957, more than 1.2 billion human beings gained their independence in Asia and Africa. The blood shed by the people was not in vain.
The movement of the dependent and colonial peoples is a phenomenon of universal character which agitates the world and marks the final crisis of imperialism.
Cuba and Latin America are part of the world. Our problems form part of the problems engendered by the general crisis of imperialism and the struggle of the subjugated peoples the clash between the world that is being born and the world that is dying. The odious and brutal campaign unleashed against our nation expresses the desperate, as well as futile, effort which the imperialists are making to prevent the liberation of the people. Cuba hurts the imperialists in a special way.
What is it that is hidden behind the Yankee’s hatred of the Cuban Revolution? What is it that rationally explains the conspiracy which unites, for the same aggressive purpose, the most powerful and richest imperialist power in the modern world and the oligarchies of an entire continent, which together are supposed to represent a population of 350 million human beings, against a small country of only seven million inhabitants, economically underdeveloped, without financial or military means to threaten the security or economy of any other country? What unites them and stirs them up in fear? What explains it is fear.
Not fear of the Cuban Revolution but fear of the Latin American revolution. Not fear of the workers, peasants, intellectuals, students, and progressive sectors of the middle strata which, by revolutionary means, have taken power in Cuba; but fear that the workers, peasants, students, intellectuals, and progressive sectors of the middle strata will, by revolutionary means, take power in the oppressed and hungry countries exploited by the Yankee monopolies and reactionary oligarchies of America; fear that the plundered people of the continent will seize the arms from the oppressors and, like Cuba, declare themselves free people of America.
By crushing the Cuban Revolution, they hope to dispel the fear that torments them, the specter of the revolution that threatens them. By liquidating the Cuban Revolution, they hope to liquidate the revolutionary spirit of the people. They imagine in their delirium that Cuba is an exporter of revolutions. In their sleepless merchants’ and usurers’ minds there is the idea that revolutions can be bought, sold, rented, loaned, exported, and imported like some piece of merchandise. Ignorant of the objective laws that govern the development of human societies, they believe that their monopolistic, capitalistic, and semi-feudal regimes are eternal. Educated in their own reactionary ideology, a mixture of superstition, ignorance, subjectivism
pragmatism, and other mental aberrations, they have an image of the world and of the march of history conforming to their interests as exploiting classes.
They imagine that revolutions are born or die in the brains of individuals or are caused by divine laws, and, moreover, that the gods are on their side. They have always thought that wayfrom the devout patrician pagans of Roman slave society who hurled the early Christians to the lions at the circus, and the inquisitors of the Middle Ages who, as guardians of feudalism and absolute monarchy, burned at the stake the first representatives of the liberal thought of the nascent bourgeoisie, up to today’s bishops who anathematize proletarian revolutions in defense of the bourgeois and monopolist regime.
All reactionary classes in all historical epochs, when the antagonism between exploiters and exploited reaches its highest peak, presaging the arrival of a new social regime, have turned to the worst weapons of repression and calumny against their adversaries. The primitive Christians were taken to their martyrdom accused of burning Rome and of sacrificing children on their altars. Philosophers like Giordano Bruno, reformers like Hus, and thousands of others who did not conform with the feudal order, were accused of heresy and taken by the inquisitors to be burned at the stake.
Today, persecution rages over the proletarian fighters, and this crime brings out the worst calumnies in the monopolistic and bourgeois press. Always, in each historical period, the ruling classes have committed murder invoking the defense of society, order, the country; “their” society of privileged minorities and exploited majorities, “their” class rule, maintained by blood and fire against the dispossessed; “the country,” whose fruits only they enjoy, depriving the rest of the people of those fruits, in order to suppress the revolutionaries who aspire to a new society, a just order, a country truly for all.
The March of Humanity
But the evolution of history, the upward march of humanity is not held back, nor can it be held back. The forces which impel the people, who are the real makers of history, forces determined by the material conditions of existence and aspirations to higher
goals of well being and liberty, forces which surge forth when man’s progress in the fields of science, technology, and culture make it possible, are superior to the will and the terror unleashed by the ruling oligarchies.
The subjective conditions of each country that is, the consciousness, organization, leadership can accelerate or retard the revolution, according to their greater or lesser degree of development, but sooner or later, in each historical period, when the objective conditions mature, consciousness is acquired, the organization is formed, the leadership emerges, and the revolution takes place.
Whether this takes place peacefully or in painful birth does not depend on the revolutionaries, it depends on the reactionary forces of the old society who resist the birth of the new society engendered by the contradictions carried in the womb of the old society. The revolution is in history like the doctor who assists at the birth of a new life. It does not use the tools of force needlessly, but will use them without hesitation whenever necessary to help the birth, a birth which brings to the enslaved and exploited masses the hope of a new and better life.
Today in many countries of Latin America revolution is inevitable. That fact is not determined by anyone’s will. It is determined by the horrifying conditions of exploitation in which American man lives, by the development of the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, by the world crisis of imperialism and the universal movement of struggle among subjugated peoples.
The anxiety felt today is an unmistakable symptom of rebellion. The very depths of a continent are profoundly moved, a continent which has witnessed four centuries of slave, semislave and feudal exploitation, beginning with its aboriginal inhabitants and the slaves brought from Africa, up to the national nuclei which emerged later: white, black, mulatto, mestizo, and Indian. Today they are made brothers by scorn, humiliation, and the Yankee yoke, and are brothers in their hope for a better tomorrow.
The peoples of America liberated themselves from Spanish colonialism at the beginning of the last century, but they did not free themselves from exploitation. The feudal landowners assumed the authority of the Spanish rulers, the Indians continued in painful servitude, the Latin American man in one form or another, continued to be a slave, and the minimum hopes of the people gave way under the power of the oligarchies and the yoke of foreign capital. This has been the truth of Americain one coloration or another, in one variation or another. Today Latin America lies beneath an imperialism, much more fierce, much more powerful, and more cruel than the Spanish colonial empire.
What is the attitude of Yankee imperialism to the objective reality of the historically inexorable Latin American revolution? To prepare to wage a colonial war against the peoples of Latin America; to create an apparatus of force, the political pretexts and the pseudo-legal instruments subscribed to by the reactionary oligarchies, to repress with blood and fire the struggle of the Latin American peoples. . . .
The intervention of the government of the United States in the internal politics of Latin American countries has become more open and unbridled each time.
The Inter-American Defense Council, for example, has been and is the nest where the most reactionary and pro-Yankee officers of the Latin American armies are trained to serve later as shock troops in the service of the monopolies.
The North American military missions in Latin America constitute a permanent apparatus of espionage in each nation, directly tied to the Central Intelligence Agency, inculcating in those officers the most reactionary sentiments and trying to convert the armies into instruments of its own political and economic interests.
Presently, in the Panama Canal Zone, the North America high command has organized special courses to train Latin American officers to fight revolutionary guerrillas, with the aim of repressing the armed action of the peasant masses against the feudal exploitation to which they are subjected.
In the United States itself the Central Intelligence Agency has organized special schools to train Latin American agents in the most subtle forms of assassination; and in the Yankee military services the physical liquidation of the antiimperialist leaders is an accepted policy.
It is notorious that the Yankee embassies in the different Latin American countries are organizing, instructing, and equipping fascist bands to spread terror and to attack labor, student, and intellectual organizations. These bands, into which they recruit the sons of the oligarchies, lumpen, and people of the lowest moral character, have already perpetrated a series of aggressive acts against the mass movements.
Nothing is more evident and unequivocal about the intentions of imperialism than its recent conducting the events in Santo Domingo. Without any kind of justification, without even making use of diplomatic relations with that republic, the United States, after stationing its warships before the Dominican capital, declared with its usual arrogance that if Balaguer’s government sought military aid, it would land troops in Santo Domingo to quell the insurgence of the Dominican people. That Balaguer’s power was absolutely spurious, that each sovereign country of Latin America should have the right to resolve its internal problems without foreign intervention, that there exist international norms and world opinions, that there even exists an OAS,’ did not count at all in the considerations of the United States.
What did count were its designs for holding back the Dominican revolution, for its reinstating its odious policy of landing Marines, with no more basis or prerequisite for establishing this new piratical concept of law than a tyrannical, illegitimate, crisis-ridden ruler’s simple request. The significance of this should not escape the peoples of Latin America. In Latin America there are more than enough rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis.
North American imperialism’s declared policy of sending soldiers to fight against the revolutionary movement of any country in Latin America, that is, to kill workers, students, peasants, Latin American men and women, has no other objective than the continued maintenance of its monopolistic interests and the privileges of the traitorous oligarchies which support it.
It can now be clearly seen that the military pacts signed by the government of the United States with Latin American governments often secret pacts and always behind the backs of the people invoking hypothetical foreign dangers which did not exist, had the sole and exclusive object of preventing the struggle of the people; they were pacts against the people, against the only dangerthe internal danger of the liberation movements that would imperil Yankee interests. It was not without reason that the people asked themselves: Why so many military agreements? Why the shipments of arms which, even though technically outmoded for modern war, are nevertheless efficient for smashing strikes, repressing popular demonstrations, staining the land with blood? Why the military missions, the pact of Rio de Janeiro and the thousand and one international conferences?
Since the end of World War II, the nations of Latin America have been impoverished more and more, their exports have less and less value, their imports cost more, the per capita income falls, the awful rate of infant mortality does not decrease, the number of illiterates is higher, the people lack obs, land, adequate housing, schools, hospitals, means of communication, and means of life. On the other hand, North American investments exceed ten billion dollars. Latin America, moreover, provides cheap raw materials, and is the buyer of expensive finished articles. The United States trades with Latin America like the first Spanish conquerors, who bartered mirrors and trinkets for gold and silver. To guard that torrent of riches, to gain over more control of Latin America’s resources and to exploit its suffering peoples that is what is hidden behind the military pacts, the military missions, and Washington’s diplomatic lobbying. . . .
This policy of gradual strangulation of the sovereignty of the Latin American nations, and of a free hand to intervene in their internal affairs, culminated in the recent meeting of foreign ministers at Punta del Este. Yankee imperialism gathered the ministers together to wrest from them through political pressure and unprecedented economic blackmail in collusion with a group of the most discredited rulers of this continent the renunciation of the national sovereignty of our peoples and the consecration of the odious Yankee right to intervention in the internal affairs of Latin America; the submission of the peoples completely to the will of the United States of North America, against which all our great men, from Bolivar to Sandino, fought.
Neither the government of the United States, nor the representatives of the exploiting oligarchies, nor the big reactionary press, in the pay of the monopolies and feudal lords, concealed this, but openly demanded agreements which constituted formal suppression of the right of self-determination of our peoples; abolishing it with a stroke of the pen at the most infamous conspiracy in the memory of this continent.
Behind closed doors, in repugnant and unlawful meetings, the Yankee minister of colonies dedicated entire days to beating down the resistance and scruples of some ministers, bringing into play the millions of the Yankee treasury in an undisguised buying and selling of votes. A handful of representatives of the oligarchies (of countries which together barely add up to a third of the continent’s population) imposed agreements that served up to the Yankee master on a silver platter, the head of a principle which cost the blood of all our countries since the wars of independence. The Pyrrhic character of such sad and fraudulent deeds of imperialism, their moral failure, the broken unanimity, and the universal scandal do not diminish the grave danger which agreements imposed at such a price have brought so close to the peoples of Latin America.
At that evil conclave Cuba’s thundering voice was raised without weakness or fear, to indict, before all the peoples of America and the world, the monstrous attempt, and to defend with a virility and dignity which will be clear in the annals of history, not only Cuba’s rights but the deserted rights of all our sister nations of the American Continent. The word of Cuba could find no echo in that housebroken majority, but neither could it find a refutation; only impotent silence greeted its demolishing arguments and the clearness and courage of its words. But Cuba did not speak for the ministers, Cuba spoke for the people and for history, where its words will be echoed and answered.
At Punta del Este a great ideological battle unfolded between the Cuban Revolution and Yankee imperialism. Who did they represent there, for whom did each speak? Cuba represented the people; the United States represented the monopolies. Cuba spoke for America’s exploited masses; the United States for the exploiting, oligarchical, and imperialist interests; Cuba for sovereignty; the United States for intervention; Cuba for the nationalization of foreign enterprises; the United States for new investments of foreign capital. Cuba for culture; the United States for ignorance. Cuba for agrarian reform; the United States for great landed estates. Cuba for the industrialization of America; the United States for underdevelopment. Cuba for creative work; the United States for sabotage and counterrevolutionary terror practiced by its agents the destruction of sugarcane fields and factories, the bombing by their pirate planes of the labor of a peaceful people.
Cuba for the murdered teachers; the United States for the assassins. Cuba for bread; the United States for hunger. Cuba for equality; the United States for privilege and discrimination. Cuba for the truth; the United States for lies. Cuba for liberation; the United States for oppression. Cuba for the bright future of humanity; the United States for the past without hope. Cuba for the heroes who fell at Giron to save the country from foreign domination; the United States for mercenaries and traitors who serve the foreigner against their country. Cuba for peace among peoples; the United States for aggression and war. Cuba for socialism; the United States for capitalism.
The agreements obtained by the United States through methods so shameful that the entire world criticizes them, do not diminish but increase the morality and justice of Cuba’s stand, which exposes the sellout and treason of the oligarchies to the national interests and shows the people the road to liberation. It reveals the corruption of the exploiting classes for whom their representatives spoke at Punta del Este. The OAS was revealed for what it really isa Yankee Ministry of Colonies, a military alliance, an apparatus of repression against the liberation movements of the Latin American peoples.
Cuba has lived three years of the Revolution under the incessant harassment of Yankee intervention in our internal affairs. Pirate airplanes coming from the United States, dropping incendiaries, have burned millions of arrobas 2 of sugar cane; acts of international sabotage perpetrated by Yankee agents, like the explosion of the ship La Coubre, have cost dozens of Cuban lives; thousands of North American weapons have been dropped by parachute by the U.S. military services onto our territory to promote subversion; hundreds of tons of explosive materials and bombs have been secretly landed on our coast from North American launches to promote sabotage and terrorism; a Cuban worker was tortured on the naval base of Guantanamo and deprived of his life with no due process before or any explanation later; our sugar quota was abruptly cut and an embargo proclaimed on parts and raw materials for factories and North American construction machinery in order to ruin our economy. Cuban ports and installations have been surprise attacked by armed ships and bombers from bases prepared by the United States. Mercenary troops, organized and trained in countries of Central America by the same government, have in a warlike manner invaded our territories, escorted by ships of the Yankee fleet and with aerial support from foreign bases, causing much loss of life as well as material wealth; counterrevolutionary Cubans are being trained in the U.S. army and new plans of aggression against Cuba are being made. All this has been going on incessantly for three years, before the eyes of the whole continent and the OAS was not aware of it.
The ministers meet in Punta del Este and do not even admonish the U.S. government nor the governments who are material accomplices to these aggressions. They expel Cuba, the Latin American victim, the aggrieved nation.
The United States has military pacts with nations of all the continents; military blocs with whatever fascist, militarist, and reactionary government there is in the world: NATO, SEATO and CENTO, to which we now have to add the OAS; it intervenes in Laos, in Viet Nam, in Korea, in Formosa, in Berlin. It openly sends ships to Santo Domingo in order to impose its law, its will, and announces its proposal to use its NATO allies to block commerce with Cuba. And the OAS is not aware! The ministers meet and expel Cuba, which has no military pacts with any country. Thus the government that organizes subversion throughout the world and forges military alliances on four continents, forces the expulsion of Cuba, accusing her of no less than subversion and having ties beyond the continent
Cuba, the Latin American nation which has made landowners of more than 100,000 small farmers, provided yearround employment on state farms and cooperatives to all agricultural workers, transformed forts into schools, given 70,000 scholarships to university, secondary, and technological students, created lecture halls for the entire child population, totally liquidated illiteracy, quadrupled medical services, nationalized foreign interests, suppressed the abusive system which turned housing into a means of exploiting people, virtually eliminated unemployment, suppressed discrimination due to race or sex, ridded itself of gambling, vice, and administrative corruption, armed the people, made the enjoyment of human rights a living reality by freeing man and woman from exploitation, lack of culture, and social inequality,which has liberated itself from all
foreign tutelage, acquired full sovereignty, and established the foundations for the development of its economy in order to no longer be a country producing only one crop and exporting only raw materials, is expelled from the Organization of American States by governments which have not achieved for their people one of these objectives. How will they be able to justify their conduct before the peoples of the America and the world? How will they be able to deny that in their concept the policy of land, of bread, of work, of health, of liberty, of equality, of culture, of accelerated development of the economy, of national dignity, of full self-determination and sovereignty, is incompatible with the hemisphere?
The people think very differently, the people think that the only thing incompatible with the destiny of Latin America is misery, feudal exploitation, illiteracy, starvation wages, unemployment, the policy of repression against the masses of workers, peasants, and students, discrimination against women, Negroes, Indians, mestizos, oppression by the oligarchies, the plundering of their wealth by the Yankee monopolists, the moral stagnation of their intellectuals and artists, the ruin of the small producers of foreign competition, economic underdevelopment, peoples without roads, without hospitals, without housing, without schools, without industries, the submission to imperialism, the renunciation of national sovereignty, and the betrayal of the country.
How can the imperialists make understood their conduct and condemnatory attitude toward Cuba? With what words and what arguments are they going to speak to those whom, all the while exploiting, they ignored for so long?
The Imperialist Record
Those who study the problems of America are accustomed to ask: what country has concentrated uponfor the purpose of remedying the situation of the idle, the poor, the Indians, the Blacks, and the helpless infants, this immense number of infants thirty million in 1950 (which will be fifty million in eight more years). Yes, what country?
Thirty two million Indians like the Andes mountains form the backbone of the entire American continent. It is clear that for those who considered the Indian more as a thing than a person, this mass of humanity does not count, did not count and, they thought, never would count. Of course, since they were considered a brute labor force, they had to be used like a yoke of oxen or a tractor.
How under what oath could anyone believe in any benefit, in any “Alliance for Progress” with imperialism, when under its saintly protection, its killings, its persecutions, the natives of the South of the continent, like those of Patagonia, still live under strips of canvas as did their ancestors at the time the discoverers came almost 500 years ago? Where are those great races which populated northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia, such as the Guarani who were savagely decimated, hunted like animals, and buried in the depths of the jungle? Where is that reservoir of indigenous stockwhose extinction is continually hastened which could have served as a base for a great American civilization? Across the Paraguayan swamps and desolate
Bolivian highlands, deeper into itself, America has driven these primitive, melancholy races, brutalized by alcohol and narcotics to which they became addicted in order at least to survive in the subhuman condition not only of nutrition in which they live.
Where does a chain of hands stretch out almost in vain, yet still stretching out across centuries, over the Andean peaks and slopes, along great rivers and in the shadowy forests, uniting their miseries with those of others who are slowly perishing. Where do hands stretch out to Brazilian tribes and those of the North of the continent and the coasts, until in the most incredible and wild confines of the Amazon jungle or mountain ranges of Perija, Venezuela’s hundred thousand indigent are reached, then to the isolated Vapicharnas, who await their end, now almost definitively lost to the human race, in the hot regions of the Guianas? Yes, all these thirty two million Indians, who extend from the United States border to the limits of the Southern hemisphere, and the forty five million mestizos, who for the most part differ little from the Indians; all these natives, this formidable reservoir of labor, whose rights have been trampled on, yes, what can imperialism offer them? How can these people, ignored so long, be made to believe in any benefit to come from such bloodstained hands?
Entire tribes which live unclothed; others which are supposed to be cannibalistic; others whose members die like flies upon their first contact with the conquering civilization; others which are banished, that is, thrown off their lands, pushed to the point of squatting in the jungles, mountains, or most distant reaches of the prairies where not even the smallest particle of culture, light, bread, nor anything penetrates.
In what “alliance”other than one for their own more rapid extermination are these native races going to believe, these races who have been flogged for centuries, shot so their lands could be taken, beaten to death by the thousands for not working faster in their exploited labor for imperialism?
“Alliance” for Blacks?
And to the Black? What “alliance” can the system of lynching and brutal exclusion of the Black offer to the fifteen million Negroes and fourteen million mulattoes of Latin America, who know with horror and rage that their brothers in the North cannot ride in the same vehicles as their white compatriots, nor attend the same schools, nor even die in the same hospitals?
How are these disinherited racial groups going to believe in this imperialism, in its benefits or in any “alliance” with it which is not for lynching and exploiting them as slaves? Those masses who have not been permitted even modestly to enjoy any cultural, social, or professional benefits, who even when they are in the majority or number millions are persecuted by the imperialists in Ku Klux Klan costumes, are ghettoed in the most unsanitary neighborhoods, in the least comfortable tenements built expressly for them, are shoved into the most menial occupations, the hardest labor and the least lucrative professions. They cannot presume to reach the universities, advanced academies and private schools.
What “Alliance for Progress” can serve as encouragement to those 107 million men and women of our America, the backbone of labor in the cities and fields, whose dark skin black, mestizo, mulatto, Indian inspires scorn in the new colonialists? How are they who with bitter impotence have seen how in Panama there is one wage scale for Yankees and another for Panamanians, who are regarded as an inferior race going to put any trust in the supposed Alliance?
What can the workers hope for, with their starvation wages, the hardest jobs, the most miserable conditions, lack of nutrition, illness, and all the evils which foster misery?
What words can be said, what benefits can the imperialists offer to the copper, tin, iron, coal miners who cough up their lungs for the profits of merciless foreign masters, and to the fathers and sons of the lumberjacks and rubber plantation workers, to the harvesters of the fruit plantations, to the workers in the coffee and sugar mills, to the peons on the pampas and plains who forfeit their health and lives to amass the fortunes of the exploiters?
What can those vast masses who produce the wealth, who create the values, who aid in bringing forth a new world in all placesexpect? What can they expect from imperialism, that greedy mouth, that greedy hand, with no other face than misery, but the most absolute destitution and death, cold and unrecorded in the end?
What can this class, which has changed the course of history, which in other places has revolutionized the world, which is the vanguard of all the humble and exploited, what can it expect from imperialism, its most irreconcilable enemy?
And to teachers, professors, professionals, intellectuals, poets and artists, what can imperialism offer? What kind of benefits, what chance for a better and more equitable life, what purpose, what inducement, what desire to excel, to gain mastery beyond the first simple steps, can it offer to those who devotedly care for the generations of children and young people on whom imperialism will later gorge itself? What can it offer to these people who live on degrading wages in most countries, who almost everywhere suffer restrictions on their right of political and social expression, whose economic future doesn’t exceed the bare limits of their shaky resources and compensation, who are buried in a gray life without prospects which ends with a pension that does not even meet half the cost of living? What “benefits” or “alliances” can imperialism offer them? .
If imperialism provides sources of aid to the professions, arts, and publications, it is always well understood that their products must reflect its interests, aims and “nothingness.” On the other hand, the novels which attempt to reflect the reality of the world of imperialism’s rapacious deeds; the poems aspiring to protest against its enslavement, its interference in life, in thought, in the very bodies of nations and peoples; and the militant arts which in their expression try to capture the forms and content of imperialism’s aggression and the constant pressure on every progressive living and breathing thing and on all that is revolutionary, which teaches, which full of light and conscience, of clarity and beauty tries to guide men and peoples to better destinies, to the highest summits of life and justice all these meet imperialism’s severest censure. They run into obstacles, condemnation, and McCarthyite persecution. Its presses are closed to them; their
names are barred from its columns of print and a campaign of the most atrocious silence is imposed against themwhich is another contradiction of imperialism. For it is then that the writer, poet, painter, sculptor, the creator in any material, the scientist, begins truly to live in the tongue of the people, in the heart of millions of men throughout the world. Imperialism puts everything backward, deforms it, diverts it into its own channels for profit, to multiply its dollars; buying words or paintings or stutterings or turning into silence the expression of revolutionists, of progressive men, of those who struggle for the people and their needs.
We cannot forget, in this sad picture, the underprivileged children, the neglected, the futureless children of America.
America, a continent with a high birth rate, also has a high death rate. The mortality of children under a year old in eleven countries a few years ago was over 125 per thousand, and in seventeen others it stood at ninety children per thousand. In 102 nations of the world, on the other hand, the rate is fifty one. In Latin America, then, there die, sadly neglected, seventyfour out of a thousand in the first year after birth. In some Latin America countries that rate reaches 300 per thousand; thousands and thousands of children up to seven years old die of incredible diseases in America; diarrheas, pneumonias, malnutrition, hunger. Thousands and thousands are sick without hospital treatment, medicines; thousands and thousands walking about, victims of endemic cretinism, malaria, trachoma, and other diseases caused by contamination, lack of water and other necessities. Diseases of this nature are common among those Latin American countries where thousands and thousands of children are in agony, children of outcasts, children of the poor and of the petty bourgeoisie with a hard life and precarious means. The statistics, which would be redundant here, are bloodcurdling. Any official publication of the international organizations gathers them by the hundreds.
Regarding education, one becomes indignant merely to think of what America lacks on the cultural level. While the United States has a level of eight or nine years of schooling for those in its population who are fifteen years and older, Latin America, plundered and pauperized by the U.S., has a level of less than one year of approved schooling in the same age group.
It makes one even more angry to know that of the children between five and fourteen years old, only twenty percent are enrolled in a school in some countries, and in those of the highest level, sixty percent. That is to say, more than half the children of Latin America do not go to school. But the pain continues to grow when we learn that enrollment in the first three grades comprises more than eighty percent of those enrolled; and that in the sixth grade the enrollment fluctuates from a bare six to twenty two pupils for each hundred who began in the first grade. Even in those countries which believe they have taken care of their children, pupil dropouts between the first and sixth grade averages seventy three percent. In Cuba, before the Revolution, it was seventy four percent. In Colombia, a “representative democracy,” it is seventyeight percent. And if one looks closely at the countryside only one percent of the children reach the fifth grade in the best of cases.
When one investigates this disastrous student absenteeism, there is one cause which explains it: the economy of misery. Lack of schools, lack of teachers, lack of family resources, child labor. In the last analysisimperialism and its product of oppression and backwardness.
The summary of this nightmare which torments America, from one end to the other, has lived, is that on this continent of almost 200 million human beings, two thirds are Indians, mestizos, and Blacksthe “discriminated against”; on this continent of semicolonies about four persons per minute die of hunger, of curable illness or premature old age, 5,500 per day, two million per year, ten million each five years. These deaths could easily be avoided, but nevertheless they take place. Two thirds of the Latin American population lives briefly and lives under constant threat of death. A holocaust of lives, which in fifteen years has caused twice the number of deaths of World War I . . . it still rages. Meanwhile, from Latin America a continuous torrent of money flows to the United States: some $4,000 a minute, $5 million a day, $2 billion a year, $10 billion every five years. For each thousand dollars which leave us, there remains one corpse. A thousand dollars per corpse: that is the price of what is called imperialism! A thousand dollars per death, four deaths every minute!
Punta del Este
But why did they meet at Punta del Este despite this American reality? Perhaps to bring a single drop of hope? No!The people know that at Punta del Este the ministers, who expelled Cuba, met to renounce national sovereignty; that the government of the United States went there not only to establish the basis for aggression against Cuba, but the basis for intervention against the people’s liberation movements in any American nation; that the United States is preparing a bloody drama for Latin America; that just as the exploiting oligarchies now renounce the principle of sovereignty, they will not hesitate to solicit intervention of Yankee troops against their own people, and that for this end the North American delegation proposed a watchdog committee against subversion in the InterAmerican Defense Council, with executive powers, and the adoption of collective measures. Subversion for the Yankee imperialists is the struggle of hungry people for bread, the struggle of peasants for land, the struggle of the peoples against imperialist exploitation.
A “watchdog committee” with executive powers in the InterAmerican Defense Council means a continental repressive force against the peoples under the command of the Pentagon. “Collective measures” means the landing of Yankee Marines in any country of America.
To the accusation that Cuba wants to export its revolution, we reply: Revolutions are not exported, they are made by the people. …
What Cuba can give to the people, and has already given, is its example.
And what does the Cuban Revolution teach? That revolution is possible, that the people can make it, that in the contemporary world there are no forces capable of halting the liberation movement of the peoples.
Our triumph would never have been feasible if the Revolution itself had not been inexorably destined to arise out of existing conditions in our socioeconomic reality, a reality which exists to an even greater degree in a good number of Latin American countries.
It inevitably occurs that in the nations where the control of the Yankee monopolies is strongest, the exploitation of the oligarchy cruelest, and the situation of the laboring and peasant masses most unbearable, the political power appears most solid. The state of siege becomes habitual. Every manifestation of discontent by the masses is repressed by force. The democratic path is closed completely. The brutal character of dictatorship, the form of rule adopted by the ruling classes, reveals itself more clearly than ever. It is then that the revolutionary explosion of the peoples becomes inevitable.
Although it is true that in those underdeveloped countries of America the working class is generally relatively small, there is a social class which, because of the subhuman conditions in which it lives, constitutes a potential force that, led by the workers and the revolutionary intellectuals, has a decisive importance in the struggle for national liberation the peasants.
In our countries are two conditions: an underdeveloped industry and an agrarian regime of feudal character. That is why, with all the hardships of the conditions of life of the urban workers, the rural population lives in even more horrible conditions of oppression and exploitation; but it is also, with exceptions, the absolute majority sector, at times exceeding seventy percent of the Latin American population.
Discounting the landlords, who often reside in the cities, the rest of that great mass gains its livelihood working as peons on the haciendas for the most miserable wages, or work the land under conditions of exploitation which in no manner puts the Middle Ages to shame. These circumstances determine that in Latin America the poor rural population constitutes a tre mendous potential revolutionary force.
The armies, built and equipped for conventional war, which are the force on which the power of the exploiting classes rests, become absolutely impotent when they have to confront the irregular struggle of the peasants on their own terrain. They lose ten men for each revolutionary fighter who falls. Demoralization spreads rapidly among them from having to face an invisible and invincible enemy who does not offer them the opportunity of showing off their academy tactics and their braggadocio which they use so much in military displays to curb the city workers and the students.
The initial struggle by small combat units is incessantly fed by new forces, the mass movement begins to loosen its bonds, the old order little by little begins to break into a thousand pieces, and that is the moment when the working class and the urban masses decide the battle.
What is it that from the beginning of the struggle of those first nuclei makes them invincible, regardless of the numbers, power, the resources of their enemies? It is the aid of the people, and they will be able to count on that help of the people on an evergrowing scale.
Role of Peasants
But the peasantry is a class which, because of the uncultured state in which it is kept and the isolation in which it lives, needs the revolutionary and political leadership of the working class and the revolutionary intellectuals, for without them it would not by itself be able to plunge into the struggle and achieve victory.
In the actual historic conditions of Latin America, the national bourgeoisie cannot lead the anti feudal and anti-imperialist struggle. Experience shows that in our nations that class, even when its interests are in contradiction to those of Yankee imperialism, has been incapable of confronting it, for it is paralyzed by fear of social revolution and frightened by the cry of the exploited masses.
Facing the dilemma of imperialism or revolution, only its most progressive strata will be with the people.
The actual world correlation of forces and the universal movement for the liberation of the colonial and dependent peoples points out to the working class and the revolutionary intellectuals of Latin America their true role, which is to place themselves resolutely in the vanguard of the struggle against imperialism and feudalism.
Imperialism, utilizing the great movie monopolies, its wire services, its periodicals, books, and reactionary newspapers, resorts to the most subtle lies to sow divisionism and inculcate fear and superstition among the most ignorant people with regard to revolutionary ideas which can and should frighten only the powerful exploiters with their worldly interests and privileges.
Divisionism, a product of all kinds of prejudices, false ideas and lies; sectarianism, dogmatism, a lack of broadness in analyzing the role of each social layer, its parties, organizations, and leaders, all make difficult the necessary unity of action of the democratic and progressive forces of our peoples. They are defects of growth, infantile sicknesses of the revolutionary move ment which must be left behind. In the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle it is possible to bring the majority of the people resolutely behind goals of liberation which unite the spirit of the working class, the peasants, the intellectual workers, the petty bourgeoisie and the most progressive layers of the national bourgeoisie. These sectors comprise the immense majority of the population and join together great social forces capable of sweeping out the imperialist and reactionary feudal rule. In that broad movement they can and must struggle together for the good of our nations, for the good of our peoples, and for the good of America. There is a place for all progressives, from the old militant Marxist to the sincere Catholic who has nothing to do with the Yankee monopolists and the feudal lords of the land.
That movement would pull along with itself the most progressive elements of the armed forces, those also humiliated by the Yankee military missions, the betrayal of national interests by the feudal oligarchies and the sacrifice of the national sovereignty to Washington’s dictates.
Where the roads for the peoples are closed, where the repression of workers and peasants is fierce, where the rule of the Yankee monopolists is strongest, the first and most important task is to understand that it is neither honorable nor correct to beguile people with the fallacious and convenient illusion of uprooting by legal means which don’t exist and won’t existruling classes who are entrenched in all the state positions, monopolizing education, owning all media of information, possessing infinite financial resources a power which the monopolies and oligarchies will defend with blood and fire and with the might of their police and armies.
The Duty of Revolutionaries
The duty of every revolutionary is to make the revolution. It is known that the revolution will triumph in America and throughout the world, but it is not for revolutionaries to sit in the doorways of their houses waiting for the corpse of imperialism to pass by. The role of Job doesn’t suit a revolutionary. Each year that the liberation of America is speeded up will mean the lives of millions of children saved, millions of intelligences saved for culture, an infinite quantity of pain spared the people. Even if the Yankee imperialists prepare a bloody drama for America, they will not succeed in crushing the peoples’ struggles, they will only arouse universal hatred against themselves. And such a drama will also mark the death of their greedy and carnivorous system.
No nation in Latin America is weakbecause each forms part of a family of 200 million brothers, who suffer the same miseries, who harbor the same sentiments, who have the same enemy, who dream about the same better future and who count upon the solidarity of all honest men and women throughout the world.
Great as was the epic of Latin American Independence, heroic as was that struggle, today’s generation of Latin Americans is called upon to engage in an epic which is even greater and more decisive for humanity. For that struggle was for liberation from Spanish colonial power, from a decadent Spain invaded by the armies of Napoleon. Today the call for struggle is for liberation from the most powerful world imperialist center, from the strongest force of world imperialism and to render humanity a greater service than that rendered by our predecessors.
But this struggle, to a greater extent than the earlier one, will be waged by the masses, will be carried out by the people; the people are going to play a much more important role now than then, the leaders are less important and will be less important in this struggle than in the one before.
This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly abound in our suffering Latin American countries. Struggles of masses and ideas. An epic which will be carried forward by our people, despised and maltreated by imperialism, our people, unreckoned with till today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins to be terrified of that flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees its gravediggers.
This toiling humanity, inhumanly exploited, these paupers, controlled by the whip and overseer, have not been reckoned with or have been little reckoned with. From the dawn of independence their fate has been the same: Indians, gauchos, mestizos, zambos, quadroons, whites without property or income, all this human mass which formed the ranks of the “nation,” which never reaped any benefits, which fell by the millions, which was cut into bits, which won independence from the mother country for the bourgeoisie, which was shut out from its share of the rewards, which continued to occupy the lowest step on the ladder of social benefits, which con tinued to die of hunger, curable diseases and neglect, because for them there were never enough essentials of life ordinary bead, a hospital bed, the medicine which cures, the hand which aids their fate has been all the same.
But now from one end of the continent to the other they are signaling with clarity that the hour has comethe hour of their redemption. Now this anonymous mass, this America of color, somber, taciturn America, which all over the continent sings with the same sadness and disillusionment, now this mass is beginning to enter conclusively into its own history, is beginning to write it with its own blood, is beginning to suffer and die for it.
Because now in the fields and mountains of America, on its slopes and prairies and in its jungles, in the wilderness or in the traffic of cities, this world is beginning with full cause to erupt. Anxious hands are stretched forth, ready to die for what is theirs, to win those rights which were laughed at by one and all for 500 years. Yes, now history will have to take the poor of America into account, the exploited and spurned of Latin America, who have decided to begin writing history for themselves for all time. Already they can be seen on the roads, on foot, day after day, in endless marches of hundreds of kilometers to the governmental “eminences,” to obtain their rights.
Already they can be seen armed with stones, sticks, machetes, in one direction and another, each day, occupying lands, sinking hooks into the land which belongs to them and defending it with their lives. They can be seen carrying signs, slogans, flags; letting them flap in the mountain or prairie winds. And the wave of anger, of demands for justice, of claims for rights, which is beginning to sweep the lands of Latin America, will not stop. That wave will swell with every passing day. For that wave is composed of the greatest number, the majorities in every respect, those whose labor amasses the wealth and turns the wheels of history. Now, they are awakening from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected.
For this great humanity has said, “enough!” and has begun to march. And their giant march will not be halted until they conquer true independence for which they have vainly died more than once. Today, however, those who die will die like the Cubans at Playa Giron. They will die for their own true and never to be surrendered independence.
Patria o Muerte! Venceremos!
THE PEOPLE OF CUBA Havana, Cuba Free Territory of America February 4, 1962
The National General Assembly of the People of Cuba resolves that this Declaration be known as the Second Declaration of Havana, translated into the major languages and distributed throughout the world. It also resolves to urge all the friends of the Cuban Revolution in Latin America that it be widely distributed among the worker, peasant, student, and intellectual masses of this continent.
From Fidel Castro Speaks edited by James Petras and Martin Kenner, 1969 Evergreen Black Cat Book