Category Archives: Cuban Revolution

60 Years Ago Until Today!


Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations
Josefina Vidal, Cuban Ambassador to Canada
Lianys Torres Rivera, Cuban Ambassador to the United States
Peter Kornbluh, Senior Analyst and Director of Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects, National Security Archive. He is the author/editor of Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba (The New Press, 1998). His most recent book is Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana (UNC Press, 2014).
Mary-Alice Waters, President, Pathfinder Press, editor, Playa Girón
Catherine Murphy, Founder, and Director of The Literacy Project. Her documentary Maestra explores the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign through the eyes of the youngest women teachers


The moment the Batista regime’s fall

The moment I learned of the Batista regime’s fall
Raúl recalls speaking to Batista’s troops in Santiago de Cuba, on orders from Fidel, to arrange their surrender

Raúl Castro Ruzjanuary 4, 2021 09:01:44

Raúl enters the Moncada Garrison, with only his escort, to talk with Coronel Rego Rubido, chief officer of the dictatorship’s troops in Santiago de Cuba.

Photo: Granma Archives
Fidel had predicted that the Moncada Garrison would surrender its forces during the first days of January, 1959. I had been inside the fort in 1953, as a prisoner, along with other compañeros who attacked the Moncada. Fidel had been taken directly to the Santiago de Cuba Vivac.

The story goes like this. I was at the Soledad sugar mill, now called the El Salvador, when I heard about the fall of Batista regime. At the time I was organizing the attack on the city of Guantánamo, on orders from Fidel. As soon as we began to hear the first news coming from the Dominican Republic, I left to find Fidel and we were able to meet between San Luis and Palma Soriano. Together we went to the foothills located to the north of Santiago de Cuba, to a place known as El Escandel. From there, contact was established with a group representing the troops in Santiago de Cuba, which included some 5,000 men. This delegation was headed by the base commander, Coronel Rego Rubido. Fidel ordered that all the officers be brought to El Escandel, and if I remember correctly, Rego Rubido proposed that the revolutionary command speak with the officers first, and I offered to do that.

Two officers from the Rebel Army accompanied me to Santiago de Cuba, and we arrived in the afternoon. The people were in the streets. The army, although defeated, still had its weapons. We entered through the Moncada’s main door, the same door through which they led me after being detained in 1953, under the threatening eyes and insults of officers and soldiers. In the command building, I greeted two or three guerilla officers from the Third Front who were already there, and who, via a different route, led by Comandante René de los Santos, had reached the Moncada before me.

I was taken to the Regiment Chief’s office, where I had also been interrogated in 1953, on that occasion by General Díaz Tamayo. There, in the office, I spoke to the officers, standing on top of the Regiment Chief’s desk. I noticed that hanging on the wall, within my reach, was a portrait of General Tabernilla, head of the Army, and another of Batista.

When I finished by words to the officers and communicated Fidel’s decision that I was to take them to El Escandel to talk with him, I yanked the portrait of General Tabernilla from the wall and handed it to Coronel Rego Rubido, who accepted it hesitantly, not knowing what to do, unaware of my purpose. I then immediately pulled down Batista’s portrait, and holding it over my head before the officers, shouted, Viva la Revolución, as I threw the dictator’s likeness to the ground. All the Army and Navy officers and the main Police chiefs were there, and in unison let out a thundering cry of Viva la Revolución, in response to mine. The officer at my side atop the desk, still holding the portrait of Tabernilla in his hands, stood looking at me, still not knowing what to do. That was when I asked him, “What’s the matter, old man?” He finally understood and threw the portrait of his former general to the ground, too.

Immediately following the applause, the officers insisted that I speak to the troops who had gathered, upset and without leadership, in the Moncada’s main square. I went to the balcony. I didn’t have a microphone. After some applause, it quieted down and I began to speak.

First as a tenuous murmur and quickly becoming a shout, more like a generalized chant, they yelled, “Gerolan, gerolan, gerolan!” The shouting surprised me and I asked a Batista army officer at my side what gerolan was. He said he didn’t know, so I asked another one, while the rhythmic demand for gerolan continued. Finally, one of the officers approached me and explained, “Comandante, Gerolan is the name of a restorative medication for old people, and this is what the soldiers call the overtime, the bonus, they are paid on campaign.” The uproar was about the fact that they had not been paid for months, since the bonus had simply been stolen by some officers in the leadership of the troops.

“There will be gerolan for everyone tomorrow,” I told them, and the troops applauded my words deliriously. I was finally able to conclude my message to the defeated army.

As Raúl looked out to the horizon, he said, “Gentlemen, it is something tremendous to see the fall of a regime.”

Note: This testimony was published in the book El pueblo cubano, in the collection by Antonio Núñez Jiménez entitled La naturaleza y el hombre.


When the Revolution triumphed January 1, 1959, Cuba’s condition was abysmal, ranking among the poorest countries in Latin America and the world. This is the “inheritance” left by the Batista dictatorship:


85% of small farmers paid rent and lived under the perennial threat of eviction from their plots.


51.5% of the working age population, in 1953, had jobs. Three years later, the situation was worse.


85% of rural homes had no running water.

90% of rural homes had no electricity.


65% of the country’s doctors were in the capital, serving only 22% of the population.

2,026 trained nurses were available in 1959.

60 children died for every 1,000 live births.

62% of the hospital beds were in Havana.

58 years was the average life expectancy.

8% of the rural population had access to free medical care.

Access to state hospitals was only possible on the recommendation of a political figure, who demanded in return the votes of the patient’s and his or her entire family.


45% of children between the ages of six and 14 did not attend school. In public schools, of every 100 children who enrolled, only six reached the sixth grade.

500,000 children without schools.

23.6% of the population over ten years of age was illiterate and more than 1,000,000 who could not read or write.

Secondary and higher education was reserved for a minority.

Tens of thousands of children were forced to work to alleviate hunger in their homes.

Secondary education was available to only half of the school-age population.

Continue reading The moment the Batista regime’s fall

Cuba and the complex relationship between the individual and the collective

Cuba and the complex relationship between the individual and the collective
When a cause is just, it will find a place within the Revolution. Perhaps this is what Fidel meant when he said that there was room for everyone in the Revolution

Author: Karima Oliva Bello |
july 23, 2020 12:07:45

El Carro de la Revolución, by painter and engraver Alfredo Sosabravo, portrays the history of the Cuban people on the road to independence and sovereignty.

Photo: Abel Rojas
Just recently, the 59th anniversary of Fidel’s quintessential words to Cuban intellectuals was commemorated. One passage in the speech is particularly noteworthy. Fidel said, and I quote: “The Revolution… must act in such a way that the entire gamut of artists and intellectuals who are not genuinely revolutionary, find that within the Revolution they have an arena in which to work and to create; and that their creative spirit, even if they are not revolutionary writers or artists, has the opportunity and freedom to be expressed. That is, within the Revolution.”

He added, immediately thereafter, “This means that within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing!” Speeches should not be interpreted independently of the historical moment and the context in which they were delivered, but in these words Fidel addresses a contradiction that continues to be relevant, perhaps one of the most significant faced within a revolutionary process: the complex relationship between the individual and the collective.

Liberalism takes this contradiction to an agonizing level. Stated individual freedoms are a formality and end up being effective only for those who possess economic power, or when they do not directly affect the interests of these powerful groups. The history of social movements on a global scale has shown that individual freedoms, for the historically dispossessed, must be a collective conquest under certain conditions, and that their continuity must be defended over time, also collectively. Where collectives have been splintered, captured, or corrupted, individual rights and freedoms have been brutally swept away, with those affected lacking the resources to defend them. This is what we have seen occurring with the increasingly precarious nature of work over the last decades on a global scale. Today it is difficult to find a job with a minimum of protected labor rights, historical conquests of the working class which are now endangered.


The imperative of valuing the collective leads us to reconsider the individual, which cannot be annulled. The collective must be a vehicle for individual interests to stand a chance of being honored. Thus, personal dilemmas should be placed in the light of a collective context, which is not always simple. Julio Cortázar did this with exemplary acuity when, in March of 1980, at the Casa de las Américas, he said: “I have not hidden from anyone my conviction that at this point the critical horizon should open up more in Cuba, that the media – as some leaders have already pointed out – have not reached the level they could have, and that there are a number of things that could be done and are not being done or could be done better. But I make these criticisms always starting from a sentiment I call the joy of confidence, I make them as I see and live the Cuban Revolution’s great number of positive accomplishments in all fields and, above all, I make them without stupidly anchoring myself in what I am, That is, a writer, not confining myself to the exclusive criteria of the intellectual at a time when an entire people, against all odds, despite errors and stumbling blocks, is today a people infinitely more worthy of its Cuban identity than in the times when it was vegetating under alienating, exploitative regimes.”

The people of whom Cortázar spoke are precisely the collective subject of the historical process that is the Cuban Revolution. And when I say people, I am not referring to a homogeneous bloc. To think that way is untenable. The people of Cuba are heterogeneous in their living conditions and in their desires, denying this today makes no sense. What then defines this collective subject that makes itself felt when it marches through the plaza, approves a Constitution or ignores the “opposition” in Cuba? Perhaps a structural consensus continues to exist on the basis of fundamental principles that have been constructed alongside a sense of Cuban national identity (hence its power), through a complex historical process of struggle, resistance, demands, great sacrifice and devotion as the cost of a desire: the sovereignty of the Cuban nation and the defense of a system that is considered more just insofar as it guarantees, in a universal and inalienable manner, a set of collective rights, that is, to all men and women equally, with an effectiveness in this sense has made its presence known these days, saving lives with names and surnames, beyond statistics.

This is the biggest obstacle facing the “opposition” in Cuba. No social mobilization can be triggered by an “opposition” manufactured in Washington, with interests far removed from the collective consensus of Cubans, given that they are connected to the economic interests of power groups with which the people do not identify. In short, there has been no Cuban “opposition” that was not a made-in-USA product. This is not a paranoid view of the enemy; it is a reality recognized within the U.S. itself. The private press and other political actors in Cuba are financed by some of the most discredited and malicious organizations of the international right, and we must be prepared for a context in which this reality becomes increasingly present.

With the rise of social media, the Cuban “opposition” is diversifying its face and we are no longer confronting only groups in Miami that continue to spin a narrative of hate, but also new actors and platforms within the island itself, although trained and supported from abroad. They constantly manipulate symbols that have value within the collective imagination and capitalize on existing social problems. Of course, I am not referring to those who – outside of state media but without foreign financing – are creating valuable materials on the internet reflecting a critical perspective on current Cuban society, which enrich the debate on our reality from Marxist and de-colonialized positions, which contribute and in no way detract.

In the recent period, perception of the right to participate in public decision-making has increased in Cuba: Cuban men and women debate all areas of national life, be it a local architectural decision or one involving the borders of an entire country. There are voices that take advantage of this context to manipulate public opinion in the media regarding state administration and institutional work. We cannot ignore this reality, but it is also true that these manipulators do not have the upper hand. Despite the haters, there is a popular sense of defending the common good. The need for government efforts at the local level to develop mechanisms for greater and more profound popular participation is key. Making a regular practice of consultation, transparency, and the provision of timely information on decision-making processes is imposed as a work philosophy absolutely essential to the development of socialism.


In March of 2020, a national program to combat racism and racial discrimination was announced. The adoption of a Decree-Law on animal protection was approved this year. And it will be necessary to continue creating working platforms to analyze, debate and develop alternatives to resolve problems present in Cuban society today, which will allow for the deepening of the democratic, just character of Cuba’s political system. This cannot be done outside of context of socialism. Capitalism today is exacerbating all of these problems throughout the world. The transition to socialism does not solve these problems naturally or spontaneously, as something inherent, but it does create better conditions for these problems to be analyzed, debated and worked on. Inclusive, transparent platforms for building dialogue and consensus are needed. When the causes are just, they will find a place within the Revolution and its institutions. Perhaps that is what Fidel meant when he said that there was room for everyone in the Revolution.


No one receiving payment from abroad to change Cuba has ever presented a decent proposal to our people. Fighting tooth and nail for Cuban men and women to preserve our lives under adverse conditions, since Cuba is a poor country, without sacrificing our sovereignty in the least, is a proposal worthy of this people. Perhaps that is what Fidel meant when he said everything within the Revolution and nothing against it. Although there are many things, as Cortázar would say, and revolutionaries recognize, that should be done better for the collective good, so individuals have ever greater and fuller possibilities of being.

WHy there are no george floyds in cuba

Why there are no George Floyds in Cuba – July 7, 2020

Webinar: Tuesday, July 7, 8:00 PM (Eastern), 5:00 PM (Pacific)

(This Program will go for 2 hours with Q&A)

Register Here

Nesbit Crutchfield

Call meeting to order, welcome, the introduction of co-chairs:

Nesbit Crutchfield — Involved in Progressive Solidarity activities and movements for over 52+ years. Starting with his involvement and imprisonment with the BSU/TWLF Strike @ San Francisco State University in 1968, to his activism with the Anri-Apartheid Movement in support of the ANC in the establishment of a Democratic South Africa.
A long term veteran and activist in Puerto Rican, Haitian, and Cuban Solidarity work, and is now active in the Bay Area and National Venceremos Brigade.


Jamilah Bourdon

Jamilah Bourdon—Organizer, All-African Revolutionary Party; Jamilah has been studying and organizing around anticapitalism for over half her life; She has participated in community defense organizing, anti-foreclosure security, free breakfast programs, and liberation schools. Forward ever!

Kennedee Geffinger

Kennedee Geffinger — Universal Zulu Nation Hip Hop for Humanity Committee; Children’s Programs Director, JCC Harlem; Founder, Keys to Ubuntu


August Nimtz

August Nimtz – Author: “Why There Are No George Floyds in Cuba.”  
Co-coordinator of the Minnesota Cuba Committee; Professor of Political Science and African American and African Studies, University of Minnesota; Co-Author (with Esteban Morales), The Dynamics of Racial Discrimination in Cuba, Past and Present; Author, Marxism vs Liberalism: Comparative Real-Time Political  Analysis.

Yanet Pumariega Pérez

Yanet Pumariega Pérez  – Third Secretary, Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C.

Rodney A. Gonzalez Maestrey

Rodney A. Gonzalez Maestrey – Counselor to the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC (October 2018). Master Degree, International Relations (2011). Major in Economics, University of Havana, (2005).

Soffiyah Elijah, Esq

Soffiyah Elijah, Esq – Long Time Activist, Organizer, and Friend of Cuba

Michael Washington

Michael Washington —  Longtime Oklahoma-based Black Liberation freedom fighter and supporter of Second Amendment rights for African Americans in the tradition of Robert F. Williams and Malcolm X; Organizing project documenting African Americans killed by US police authorities to present a petition to International World Court; Certified Paralegal; Founder, Empower People Inc.; Leading organizer and participant of peaceful, legal mass actions, self-policed by Black and white-armed veterans, Oklahoma City on Juneteenth and in counter-protest to Trump’s Tulsa appearance.

Ahjamu Umi

Ahjamu Umi —  Organizer, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party for 36 years; Ahjamu does a weekly webinar series on subjects from formulating revolutionary parties and alternatives to the policing system; He has engaged in community defense for many years, standing in the face of armed white supremacists; Ahjamu has contributed to formulating liberation schools for youth in Oregon and California and around the clock anti-foreclosure house security and shutdowns. His writings can be seen at

Gabriel Prawl

Gabriel Prawl —  President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 152. Leading organizer of an unprecedented strike of ILWU members up and down the West Coast in solidarity with Black Lives Matter against police murder and brutality.

César Omar Sánchez

César Omar Sánchez — Organizer, New York/New Jersey Cuba Sí Coalition, Advisory Board Member of ProLibertad: Free All Political Prisoners Campaign.

Cuba Solidarity in Solidarity with
Black Lives Matter Movement

Chelliah Phillips —  An activist and organizer for POC Bergenfield Alumni and 4Change Bergen County. Also a leader and creator of a nonprofit organization 4Change Scholarship. Passionate about fighting social injustices and Human rights issues.

Vanessa Amoah —  Ghanaian-American 24-year-old Graduate Student fighting against racial injustice and part of POC Bergenfield Alumni and 4Change Bergen County organizations.

Pacey Hackett  —  LA activist and organizer at massive Black Lives Matter protests. Member, Bay Area Amazonians working to organize and unionize California warehouse workers. Active in LA US Hands Off Cuba Committee.

Mark Ginsburg —  Professor, University of Maryland. Mark has taught recently at the University of Havana in Cuba. Longtime activist with DC Metro Coalition in Solidarity With the Cuban Revolution. Participated in mass Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, DC.