Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

August 31, 2009

Reflections of Fidel: It is the hour of reckoning and a united march, Havana. C U B A, August 28, 2009

(Taken from CubaDebate)

THIS reflection is not directed at governments but at the sister peoples of Latin America.

Tomorrow, August 28, the UNASUR Summit meeting, whose significance cannot be ignored, begins in Argentina. Within it the concession of seven bases on Colombia territory to the U.S. superpower will have to be discussed. The prior talks of both governments have been kept rigorously secret. The agreement had to be presented to the world as a consummated fact.

In the early hours of March 1, 2008, the Armed Forces of Colombia, trained and armed by the United States, attacked with precision bombs a group of guerrillas who had entered a remote area of Ecuadorian territory. At dawn, men from the Colombian elite troops transported in helicopters occupied the small encampment, killed the wounded and seized the body of the guerrilla chief, Raúl Reyes whom, it would appear, was meeting at that time with young visitors of other nationalities who were interested in the experiences of the guerrilla movement which, since the death of the liberal leader Jorge Elicier Gaitán more than 50 years ago, have maintained the armed struggle. Among the victims were university students from Mexico and Ecuador who were not carrying any weapons. The method was brutal, in the yanki style. The Ecuadorian government had received no warning whatsoever of the attack.

The deed was a humiliating action for the small and heroic South American country, involved in a democratic political process. It was strongly suspected that the U.S. Manta airbase had volunteered information and cooperated with the attackers. President Rafael Correa took the valiant decision of asking for the return of the occupied territory of the Manta military base, strictly fulfilling the terms established in the military agreement with the United States, and withdrew his ambassador in Bogotá.

The handing over of territory for the establishment of seven U.S. military bases in Colombia directly threatens the sovereignty and integrity of the rest of the peoples of South and Central America with which our forefathers dreamed of creating the great Latin American homeland.

Yanki imperialism is one hundred times more powerful than the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal, and at a total remove from the origin, habits and culture of our peoples.

It is not about narrow chauvinisms. "Homeland is humanity," as Martí proclaimed, but never under the dominion of an empire that has imposed a bloody dictatorship on the world. In our own hemisphere the hundreds of thousands of Latin American compatriots murdered, tortured and disappeared in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and other countries of Our America in the last five decades by coup d’états and actions that the United States promoted and supported, irrefutably demonstrate what I am affirming.

When I analyze the arguments with which the United States is attempting to justify the concession of U.S. bases in Colombian territory, I can only describe them as cynical pretexts. It is affirming that it needs those bases for cooperation in combating drug trafficking, terrorism, arms smuggling, illegal emigration, the possession of weapons of mass destruction, nationalist excesses and natural disasters.

That powerful country is the greatest purchaser and consumer of drugs on the planet. An analysis of bills circulating in Washington, the capital of the United States, revealed that 95% have passed through the hands of persons who consume drugs; it is the largest market and at the same time the largest supplier of weapons for organized crime in Latin America, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people every year south of its border; it is the largest terrorist state ever to have existed. It not only dropped bombs on civilian cities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but in its imperial wars like those promoted in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries located thousands of kilometers away in which millions of people have died; it is the largest producer and possessor of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological ones.

Colombian paramilitaries, many of whom come from Armed Forces’ demobilizations and, to an extent, constitute their reservists, are the best allies and protectors of the drug traffickers.

The so-called civilian personnel who are to accompany the soldiers in the Colombia bases are, as a rule, perfectly trained ex-U.S. troops, subsequently contracted by private companies such as Blackwater, which achieved notoriety for crimes committed in Iraq and other parts of the world.

A country that respects itself does not need mercenaries, or soldiers, or U.S. military bases to combat drug trafficking, or to protect the population in cases of natural disaster, or to provide humanitarian cooperation to other nations.

Cuba is a country without drug problems or high incidences of violent deaths, the number of which is decreasing annually.

The only proposition of the United States in terms of those bases is to place Latin America within the reach of its troops in a matter of hours. The military hierarchy of Brazil received the surprise news of the agreement on the installation of U.S. military bases in Colombia with real displeasure. The Palanquero base is very close to the border with Brazil. With those bases, together with those of the Malvinas, Paraguay, Peru, Honduras, Aruba, Curacao and others, no single point of the territory of Brazil and the rest of South America would be left beyond the reach of the Southern Command where, in a matter of hours, via its latest transport planes, it would be able to fly in troops and other sophisticated combat means. Top specialists in the field have supplied the necessary data, to demonstrate the military reach of the yanki-Colombian agreement. That program, which included the reestablishment of the 4th Fleet, was drawn up by Bush and inherited by the current U.S. government, from which some South American leaders are demanding the due clarification of its military policy in Latin America. Nuclear aircraft carriers are not needed for combating drugs.

The most immediate objective of that plan is to liquidate the Bolivarian revolutionary process and to ensure control of Venezuelan oil and other natural resources. The empire, on the other hand, does not accept the competition of new emerging economies in its backyard, nor genuinely independent countries in Latin America. It can depend on the reactionary oligarchy, the fascist right and control of the mainstream internal and external media. Nothing that resembles genuine equity and social justice will have its support.

The emigration of Latin Americans to the United States is a consequence of underdevelopment, and this is a consequence of the plunder to which we have been subjected to by that country and the unequal terms of trade with the industrialized nations.

Mexico was torn away from Latin America by the Free Trade Treaty with the United States and Canada. The majority of the 12 million illegal emigrants in the former country are Mexican, as are also the majority of the hundreds who die every year along the border wall with that country.

With a population of 107 million inhabitants, in the midst of the current international economic crisis, the index of critical poverty in Mexico has risen to 18% and generalized poverty has extended to more than half of its inhabitants.

Nothing so much perturbed the life of Martí, the apostle of our independence, as annexation to the United States. From 1889, he became aware that that was the greatest danger for Latin America. He always dreamed of the Great Homeland, from the Rio Grande to Patagonia; for that and for Cuba he gave up his life.

On January 10, 1891, he wrote an essay titled "Our America" in the New York Illustrated Review, in which he stated unforgettable phrases: "…the trees have to march in line so that the seven-league giant cannot pass! It is the hour of reckoning, of the united march and we have to move in tight formation, like the silver in the roots of the Andes."

Four years later, after his landing via Playitas in the eastern province of Cuba, already marching through the battlefields, he met with the Herald journalist George E. Bryson, on May 2, 1895. Bryson told him that he had interviewed the famous General Arsenio Martínez Campos in Havana. The Spanish chief told him that rather than concede Cuba its independence he would prefer to hand it over to the United States.

That news had such an impact on Martí that on May 18 he wrote to his Mexican friend Manuel Mercado the famous posthumous letter in which he talks of "… the way that has to be blocked and which we are blocking with our blood, of the annexation of the peoples of Our America to the stormy and brutal North that scorns us…"

The next day, disregarding the advice of General Máximo Gómez, who told him to remain in the rearguard, he asked his adjutant for a revolver, charged a well-supplied Spanish troop and died in the combat.

"I have lived in the monster, and know its entrails," he stated in his last letter.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 27, 2009
12:40 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

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