Our Readers' Opinions
July 23, 2010
Historical notes on Rebellion Day

by Olga Chamero Trias, Fri, Jul 23, 2010
Ambassador of Cuba to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

In 1953, when the centenary of the birthday of the Cuban National Hero, Jose Marti, was celebrated, a group of youngsters attacked the Moncada Barrack in the eastern part of the country, in Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city of the country.{{more}} A young lawyer, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the leadership of the Movement, one of ethical renovation and with a very serious determination to implement a Social Reform.

The 26th of July of 1953 was the third attempt to fully attain national sovereignty. The initiation of the War of Independence against the Spaniards by the Cuban patriots took place in 1868, and again in 1895, with the reinitiation of the Second War, or the Small War, in February 1895.

When in 1898, after thirty years fighting, the Mambi Army defeated the colonialist forces, in the formal ceremony the Cuban patriots were not able to participate. The American forces, who entered the War in its last stages, presided over the ceremony. Cuba was under the military occupation of the United States from 1898 till 1902, when the so called Independent Republic was proclaimed.

The American occupational forces reserved for them the economic and political control of the new so called Independent Republic, kept the best lands and the best resources; they were also the ones to decide when to intervene in Cuba if the “political or economic situation of the Island were in danger…” The Cuban Republic was born with an appendix, the Platt Amendment, an Amendment that was only eliminated in 1934, thanks to the fight of many Cuban patriots.

A national Census in 1953 showed that one in every four Cuban citizens in the rural areas was illiterate, while unemployment affected a fourth of the then six million Cuban inhabitants. On the other hand, 100 thousand peasants depended on the renting of the land from the big landowners. The rest of the rural masses did not have any land; they worked only three to four months a year, at the time of the sugar cane harvest.

In his self defense speech, historically known as “History will absolve me”, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, described in detail the life for those oppressed and exploited masses of the Cuban people. Fidel Castro and his companions were sent to jail, and three years later, due to a general amnesty, he went into exile, in Mexico. In December 1956, he disembarked with a group of combatants in the south eastern part of Cuba to initiate a Guerrilla War that in less than three years defeated the tyrannical forces of Fulgencio Batista.

Two land reforms

Since the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution in January 1959, the Cuban leader and the Revolutionary Government started to act on the Moncada Programme, as the document of self defense of Fidel Castro was later known. Profound changes were produced, starting with the two land Reforms which gave the land to the peasants; the Literacy Campaign and later on the Educational Revolution; the Urban Reform which gave the houses to all those who were not proprietors, among many other changes which transformed the Cuban socio economic reality.

The Cuban Revolution since the very beginning was attacked by the United States. The American Blockade was imposed in 1962 and it lasts till today. Cuba was invaded in 1961 by mercenary foces coming from that country, the well known Invasion of the Bay of Pigs and one year later, it had to confront a nuclear crisis of 1962, which put world peace at stake. Cuba fought and defeated all the attempts to annihilate its leader and its Revolution.

The internationalist solidarity of the Cuban Revolution has been one of its main Principles. Cuba assisted the nascent Republic of Argelia during her independence struggle in the 60’s; Cuba also helped Angola and other ex-European colonies in Africa, in their plight to be free. Cuba contributed to the defeat of the Apartheid Regimen in Namibia and in South Africa.

Cuba has graduated to date: 47 thousand students from 112 nations, of them, 30 thousand from Africa and 10 thousand from other Continents, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, 60,000 foreign students, from 120 countries are being professionally formed in Cuba, while medical assistance from Cuba is provided to 101 countries.

Projects like the Cuban Method for Eradication of Illiteracy, Operation Vision Now and Lives to Live, to help disabled people, done with the cooperation of the ALBA Project, are being implemented in several countries the world over. The reconstruction of Haiti, especially in areas like Public Health and Agriculture, is being done now with the presence of almost 1,000 Cuban specialists.

The 57th anniversary of the Moncada Barrack attack, its origins and its consequences deserve an historical review. It is the history of a great leader, Fidel Castro Ruz and of the people who have with unfaltering confidence accompanied him all these years. It is the epic of a people that, in spite of almost 50 years of a cruel economic blockade, have constructed a political project, in which every one is equal and enjoys the same rights, a people and a country who are still building a better society, perfecting it, while at the same time sharing with other people and countries not what they have in abundance, but simply what they have.

The new leaders of the Cuban Revolution, under the leadership of our President Raul Castro Ruz, accompanied by the Cuba people, see to it that the premises and Principles of the Cuban political project continue to be a valid example and an alternative for the oppressed people of the world.