We must read José Martí’s Our America

166TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF JOSÉ MARTÍ

Revisiting Our America
We must read José Martí’s Our America over and again, as it continues to surprise us with eloquent and relevant ideas

Author: Yenia Silva Correa | informacion@granma.cu
january 23, 2019 09:01:38

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Photo: Painting by Jorge Arche
We must read José Martí’s Our America over and again, especially in these times, as it continues to surprise us with ideas as eloquent and relevant as this: “The incapacity lies not in the emerging country, which demands forms that are appropriate to it and a grandeur that is useful, but in leaders who try to rule unique nations of a singular and violent composition, with laws inherited from four centuries of free practice in the United States and nineteen centuries of monarchy in France.”

Martí also dazzles us with the wisdom of a visionary who, back in the 19th century, warned: “In America, the good ruler does not need to know how the German or Frenchman is governed, but what elements his own country is composed of and how he can marshal them so as to reach, by means and institutions born from the country itself, the desirable state in which every man knows himself and is active, and all men enjoy the abundance that Nature, for the good of all, has bestowed on the country they make fruitful by their labor and defend with their lives.”

Today, “our long-suffering American republics” — as Martí referred to them in that essay — continue to suffer, under new names, the old ills that four centuries of colonialism bequeathed them.

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Guáimaro and Cuba’s enduring constitutional spirit

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Guáimaro and Cuba’s enduring constitutional spirit
Some six months have passed since the anniversary of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes’ call for liberty at the Demajagua plantation, when patriots took up arms against Spanish colonialism and slavery, providing a lesson in unity and citizenship

Author: Miguel Fernández Martínez | internet@granma.cu
january 22, 2019 10:01:04

The determination of Cuba’s Mambi forces to unite in the struggle for independence is central to the nation’s heritage.  

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Photo: Milenio.com
Some six months have passed since the anniversary of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes’ call for liberty at the Demajagua plantation, when patriots took up arms against Spanish colonialism and slavery, providing a lesson in unity and citizenship.

The small settlement of Guáimaro was one of the first to be liberated by the mambises after the beginning of the armed struggle, and had the honor of serving as the site for a transcendental event in the Revolution of ‘68.

Gathered in an assembly April 10-12, representatives from the three insurgent areas (Oriente, Camagüey, and Las Villas) sought to establish agreement to form a single, united front to combat the Spanish.

José Martí, who considered the event a great symbol and passion, would write 23 years later in the newspaper Patria, “Free Guáimaro had never been so beautiful as the days when it was about to enter into glory and sacrifice.”

With barely enough time to get to know each other, and facing divergent, even antagonistic, opinions on the issues at hand, delegates settled their conceptual disagreements, putting love of the country and desire to serve Cuba first.

After bitter debates, they approved a unique type of state – the Republic of Cuba in Arms – democratic institutions, and a basic constitution that would serve as a programmatic base in the national liberation struggle.

Despite the limitations of the agreement which negatively impacted the military struggle, the relevance of the Guáimaro Assembly is undeniable, as the first step toward the achievement of unity in the Cuban independence movement.”Whatever the problems, the difficulties, and the results, the effort was admirable,” said the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, a century later, offering his assessment of the events.

In this small Camagüeyan town, a new way, now traditional, was established of reaching consensus for the nation’s good: open debate and collective reflection as the basis of unity and cohesion.

This presupposes a high level of political maturity, allowing the homeland’s interests to prevail in discussions of the country’s strategic issues, above and beyond any personal, sectorial, or group projects or ambitions.

In the year of the 150th anniversary of Cuba’s first Constitution, approved in Guáimaro, this principle acquires renewed value as a guarantee of the consolidation of our revolutionary project and its continuity over time.This has been the case thus far, and will be so on February 24, when the people will vote in a referendum to approve the Constitution that will define the present and the promising future of our homeland, in a gesture of eternal gratitude to those who gave their all for freedom.

Cuba categorically rejects the threat of activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton

Cuba categorically rejects the threat of activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act
Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba
Author: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba | informacion@granmai.cu
january 17, 2019 11:01:24

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Cuba categorically rejects the threat of activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act Photo: Granma
On January 16, 2019, the United States State Department announced the decision to suspend for only 45 days the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, “to conduct a careful review… in light of the national interests of the United States and efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba and include factors such as the Cuban regime’s brutal oppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms and its indefensible support for increasingly authoritarian and corrupt regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.”
The government of President Donald Trump threatens to take a new step that would dangerously reinforce the blockade against Cuba, flagrantly violate International Law, and directly attack the sovereignty and interests of third countries.
Cuba rejects this threat in the most energetic, firm and categorical way. It regards it as a hostile act of extreme arrogance and irresponsibility, while condemning the disrespectful and slanderous language of the State Department’s public message.

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Cuba’s President participated in activities on the occasion of President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing in ceremony

Díaz-Canel in Caracas
Cuba’s President participated in activities on the occasion of President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing in ceremony

Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
january 11, 2019 09:01:45

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Photo: Estudios Revolución
CARACAS, Venezuela.–This city of hills awoke yesterday, January 10, to accompany Nicolas Maduro during swearing-in activities, following his overwhelming victory in elections this past May 20, in which almost six million Venezuelans supported his Presidency with their votes, some four million more than his closest opponent obtained.

Also on hand was the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who tweeted upon his arrival “Cuba defends and supports Venezuelan sovereignty and Bolivarian integration.”

Leaders from more than 120 nations have expressed support for Maduro on the occasion and some 90 sent delegations to the swearing-in ceremony for his second term in office.

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Photo: Estudios Revolución

Counterpunch: 60 Years of Defending Cuban Sovereignty

 

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By Arnold August

When Fidel Castro triumphantly announced the people’s victory on January 1, 1959, it had been barely 15 years since the U.S. had savagely bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This atrocity marked the passage of the baton of barbarism from the inhumanity of World War II to the U.S. Since the devastating atomic bombing, it has been documented that the U.S., in its insatiable drive for world domination, has killed more than 20 million people in 37 nations. Innumerable murderous invasions have taken place around the world, such as in Korea, Vietnam and the Playa Girón military intervention that was defeated by Cuba in less than 72 hours. All of this constitutes an uncivilized foreign policy reminiscent of WWII cruelty. What would have happened to Cuba and Latin America had the Revolution led by Fidel Castro not defeated the U.S. incursion?

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As Washington continuously beefs up its economic and military imperial overreach, its ongoing international gunboat diplomacy is now backed up by more than 800 military bases (from giant “Little Americas” to small radar stations) virtually all over the world, including Guantánamo. All of this foreign policy and more, such as the increasing use of the Internet as the new road to regime change (e.g. in Cuba, especially since 2014), constitute the daily staple of arrogant threats, murderous aggression and cynical interference by the U.S. All of this happens every day on many occasions through allied states, such as Israel’s ongoing slow genocide against the Palestinian people. The post-WWII violation of other countries’ sovereignty and international law occurs with virtually no international protection. The blockade against Cuba is a case in point of international impunity. The peoples of the world, such as the Cubans, can rely only on their own forces and support from the peoples and progressive nations in the world struggling to maintain a multi-polar world to resist U.S. domination.
The Cuban Revolution has been curbing the U.S. for 60 of the 75 years since the inauguration of the “new face” of the post-WWII barbaric epoch. This period, based on inhumanity to the extreme, shifted from Europe and East Asia to the U.S., only 90 miles from Cuba’s shores. Think of this geopolitical and historical reality as people in every corner of the planet reflect today upon the historic significance of the 60th anniversary.
The Genocidal Blockade

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IN IMAGES: 60 years since Fidel entered Havana triumphant January 8, 1959

IN IMAGES: 60 years since Fidel entered Havana triumphant
January 8, 1959, after a journey of more than a thousand kilometers taken by the Rebel Army across the island following the triumph of the Revolution, the Caravan of Liberty, led by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, entered the Cuban capital

Author: GI news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 8, 2019 10:01:1

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Columbia military base, now the Ciudad Escolar Libertad, Havana, January 8, 1959. Photo: Archive
Every year, Cuban youth and outstanding figures reenact the journey across the island of the Caravan of Liberty, led by Fidel from January 2 to 8 of 1959, culminating in a gala event at the former Columbia Military Base, now the Ciudad Escolar Libertad educational complex.

The caravan members participate in official events in each province along the route traveled by the triumphant Rebel Army, visit historical sites, combatants and relatives of the Revolution’s martyrs, among other activities.

Below, we offer iconic images of the 1959 Caravan.

THE CUBA OF TODAY

Today, 60 years after the Caravan of Liberty, Granma offers some examples of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in key sectors:

EDUCATION

In preschool, primary, special and secondary education, the continuity of studies is guaranteed to 1,606,500 students.

Higher Education guarantees the enrollment of 155,000 students, cost-free.

CULTURE

Cubans enjoyed more than 9 million artistic and cultural activities across the island in 2018.

The state budget supports the operation of nearly 5,100 sports facilities, and more than 616,000 hours of radio and television broadcasting.

HEALTH

51% of the state budget goes to the health, social welfare and education systems.

More than 13,000 health institutions provide coverage to the entire population.

Cuba has more than 94,000 doctors, representing 8.2 doctors per thousand inhabitants, as well as 19,000 dentists, and 85,000 nurses.

At the end of 2018, for the second consecutive year, and with four fewer deaths than the previous year, Cuba saw the lowest infant mortality rate in its history, at 4.0 per thousand live births.

HOUSING

More than 2,568,000 homes have been built since the triumph of the Revolution.

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The people cheer Fidel and the bearded Rebel Army troops. Photo: Archive

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Fidel Castro enters Santiago de Cuba in 1959, accompanied by Celia Sánchez. Photo: Archive

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Fidel and Raúl Castro on the balcony of Santiago de Cuba’s City Hall. Photo: Archive

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The triumph of the Revolution. Photo: Archive

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January 3, Fidel meets Camilo Cienfuegos, who reports important developments in the center of the island. Photo: Archive

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Fidel enters Havana, January 8, 1959. Pictured as well are Juan Almeida Bosque, Camilo Cienfuegos, Augusto Martínez Sánchez and other rebel leaders. Photo: Archive

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Fidel enters Havana. Photo: Archive

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The Caravan traveled along the Malecón and up 23rd Street. At the Radiocentro, Fidel spoke with several artists, and amidst joyful crowds continued on to Marianao. Photo: Archive

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Photo: Archive

The event held in Havana to mark the arrival of the Caravan of Liberty lasted until 2:00am on the 9th. Photo: Archive

José Ramón Fernández Álvarez dies

José Ramón Fernández Álvarez dies
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba and retired Brigadier General passed away in the early hours of Sunday, January 6, at the age of 95

Author: Digital news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 7, 2019 10:01:25

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Photo: Granma archives
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba and retired Brigadier General, José Ramón Fernández Álvarez, passed away in the early hours of Sunday, January 6, at the age of 95.

Familiarly known as “El Gallego Fernández,” he was born November 4, 1923, in Santiago de Cuba. From a young age he participated in the revolutionary struggle against the Batista dictatorship, in conspiratorial movements with different military and political groups. He was imprisoned for almost three years on the Isle of Pines for these activities.

With the triumph of the Revolution, he joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces, participated in the fight against counterrevolutionary bandits, as well as in the direction of the battles in Playa Girón, under the orders of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.

Fernández held different responsibilities within the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, including director of the Rebel Army Cadet School, the School of Militia Officers of Matanzas, and the Militia Battalion Schools of the province of Havana, and was head of the Combative Training Directorate and FAR deputy minister.

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A Constitution enriched by the contributions of the Cuban people

A text enriched by the contributions of the Cuban people
Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, presented December 21 a detailed report to the National Assembly of People’s Power on the results of the popular consultation process on the draft Constitution, including the most debated issues and significant changes to the text

Author: Granma news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 3, 2019 09:01:27

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This process of popular consultation on the draft Constitution of the Republic of Cuba is a genuine expression of the democratic and participatory nature of our socialist system. Photo: Studios Revolución

THE proposed Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was described as a text that has gained in quality in terms of its wording and content, enriched by the proposals emanating from the people, in the report presented December 21 by Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State, during the Second Ordinary Period of Sessions of the National Assembly of the People’s Power’s Ninth Legislature, on the results of the popular consultation process.

The resulting document is a genuine expression of the democratic and participatory nature of our socialist system. The broad popular participation in the process reflected the high degree of cultural and political education of the Cuban people and their commitment and majority identification with the perfecting of the country’s political, economic and social system.

It also highlights the transparency, organization, responsibility and rigor with which the preparation and realization of the consultation assemblies on the draft Constitution were carried out, as well as the collection, processing and analysis of the population’s proposals at all levels.

DEVELOPMENT AND RESULTS OF THE CONSULTATION

As agreed by the National Assembly of People’s Power in its ordinary session of July 21 and 22 this year, the draft Constitution of the Republic was submitted to a popular consultation process August 13 through November 15, 2018.

Prior to the consultation, working infrastructure was established to collect and process all the information derived from it, and those responsible for chairing the assemblies were trained to ensure the smoothest process.

The popular consultation process saw:

• 133,681 meetings, of which:

79,947 were of the general population

45,452 were held among groups of workers

3,441 among campesinos

1,585 among university students

3,256 among high school students

8,945,521 people attended these meetings
1,706,872 comments were made, of which:
783,174 proposals

666,995 modifications

32,149 additions

45,548 deletions

38,482 requests for clarification

This information was processed according to each of the paragraphs of the document submitted for consultation, and those that were very similar were grouped into 9,595 standard proposals (each conformed of an average of 78 individual proposals).

Also evaluated were the 2,125 proposals submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), received from Cubans residing abroad. Of these, 1,150 were modifications, 350 additions, 406 deletions and 219 requests for clarification. A total of 978 standard proposals were derived from these.

In total, the web page enabled by MINREX received 4,751 visits from 123 countries, although proposals were only registered from 58. The vast majority of these do not question the essence of the Cuban system.

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The deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power undertook an exhaustive study of the changes to the document resulting from the popular consultation. Photo: Estudios Revolución

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Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, at the central act to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, in Santiago de Cuba

After 60 years of struggle, sacrifices, efforts and victories, we see a free, independent country, the master of its own destiny
Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, at the central act to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, in Santiago de Cuba, January 1st, 2019, “Year 61 of the Revolution”

Author: Raúl Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
january 2, 2019 18:01:31

As part of Our America, our respect and solidarity with sister nations has, and will be, invariable.

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Photo: Estudios Revolución

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

SANTIAGO women and men;

Compatriots of all Cuba:

We gather today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the revolutionary triumph of January 1st, and we do so again in Santiago de Cuba, cradle of the Revolution, here in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where the immortal remains of many of the best children of the nation are venerated, very close to the tombs of the National Hero, of the Father and Mother of the Homeland, and of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution.

I do not come here to speak in a personal capacity; I do so in the name of the heroic sacrifices of our people, and of the thousands of fighters who gave their lives over more than 150 years of struggle.

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We Will continue to be victorious Speech by President Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President

We will move forward. And we will continue to be victorious
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the close of the Second Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of People’s Power’s Ninth Legislature, Havana International Conference Center, December 22, 2018, “Year 60 of the Revolution”

Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | internet@granma.cu
december 24, 2018 18:12:41

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Photo: Estudios Revolución
(Council of State transcript, GI translation)

Dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Party Central Committee;

Compañeros Machado and Lazo;

Deputies;

Compatriots:

Our first words on Educator’s Day are to congratulate and recognize Cuban teachers who, more than their time, dedicate their life’s purpose to us.

The year 2018 is almost at an end, and we gather again for the traditional embrace and evaluation of a crucial period in the history of the Cuban Revolution.

The year we bid farewell to today will remain in our national memory as the year in which a new generation, gradually and progressively, in a clear expression of continuity, began to assume the principal leadership tasks, with the good fortune of maintaining the guidance of the Historic Generation, in particular, of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

During the months since the Assembly sessions of April, we have relied on that guide in the face of the most difficult and unexpected challenges, and found in his confidence and collective leadership the fundamental resources to come here today to render accounts, committed to the solution of the problems that most concern the people, which are those that absorb every minute of our days, and every element of our energies.

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Defending the Cuban Revolution