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Fidel Castro: What I wrote on Tuesday 19

That Tuesday, there was no fresh international news. My modest message to the people of Monday, February 18 had no problem being widely circulated. I began to receive news from 11:00 a.m. The previous night I slept like never before. My conscience was at rest and I had promised myself a vacation. The days of tension, with the proximity of February 24, left me exhausted.
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Fidel Castro: What I wrote on Tuesday 19

That Tuesday, there was no fresh international news. My modest message to the people of Monday, February 18 had no problem being widely circulated. I began to receive news from 11:00 a.m. The previous night I slept like never before. My conscience was at rest and I had promised myself a vacation. The days of tension, with the proximity of February 24, left me exhausted.
Today I shall not say anything about people in Cuba and the world who are close and who expressed their emotions in thousands of different ways. I also received a large number of comments collected from people on the street via confirmed methods who, almost without exception, and spontaneously, voiced their most profound sentiments of solidarity. One day I shall approach that subject.
At this point I am dedicating myself to the adversaries. I enjoyed watching the embarrassing position of all the candidates for the United States presidency. One by one they were obliged to announce their immediate demands of Cuba in order not to risk losing a single voter. Not that I am a Pulitzer Prize winner interrogating them on CNN on the most delicate political and even personal matters from Las Vegas, where the logic of chance of the roulette rules and where one has to make ones humble presence if aspiring to be president.
Half a century of blockade seemed little enough to the favorites. "Change, change, change!" they cried in unison.
I am in agreement, change! but in the United States. Cuba changed a long while ago and will follow its dialectical route. "No return to the past ever!" exclaim our people.
"Annexation, annexation, annexation!" responds the adversary; that is what they are really thinking deep down about when they talk of change.
Breaking the secret of his silent struggle, Martí denounced the voracious and expansionist empire discovered and described by his brilliant intelligence more than one century after the revolutionary declaration of independence of the 13 colonies.
The end of one stage is not the same as the beginning of the end of an unsustainable system.
Immediately, the diminished European powers allied to that system, began to pronounce the same demands. In their judgment, the hour had come to dance to the music of the democracy and freedom that, since the times of Torquemada, they have never really known. The colonization and neo-colonization of entire continents, from which they extract energy, raw materials and a cheap workforce, morally disqualify them.
An extremely illustrious Spanish figure, previously minister of culture and an impeccable socialist, today and for some time now a spokesman on arms and war, is the synthesis of pure wrong. Kosovo and the unilateral declaration of independence is hitting them at this time like an impertinent nightmare.
People of flesh and blood with U.S. and NATO uniforms are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memory of the USSR, disintegrated in part due to its interventionist adventure in the latter of the two countries, haunts the Europeans like a shadow.
Bush Sr. is backing McCain as his candidate, while Bush Jr., in a country of Africa – yesterday the origin of humankind and a martyr continent today – and where nobody knows what he is doing, said that my message was the beginning of Cuba’s road to freedom; in other words, the annexation decreed by his government in a voluminous and enormous text.
The day before, international television showed a group of latest-generation bombers executing spectacular maneuvers, with the complete guarantee that bombs of any type could be launched without radars detecting the aircraft carriers, and this is not even considered to be war crime.
A protest was made by important countries in relation to the imperial idea of testing a weapon on the pretext of avoiding the possible fall over the territory of another country of a spy satellite – one of the many artifacts that, for military purposes, the United States has sent into orbit of the planet.
I was thinking of not writing a reflection for at least 10 days, but I had no right to keep quiet for so long. I revised it yesterday and today, Thursday, will hand it over. I have insistently asked for my reflections to be published on Page 2 or any other page of our newspapers, never on the front page, and to give simple summaries in the other media if they are extensive.
I am now absorbed in the effort of confirming my united vote for the President of the National Assembly and the new Council of State and how to do that.
I thank my readers for your patient wait.

Fidel Castro Ruz

February 21, 2008

6:34 p.m.

Translated by Granma International • (Fidel reflections in various languages)

Cuba Set to Select New President

This Sunday, February 24, the new Cuban legislature of the National Assembly of Popular Power will be constituted

By: Agnerys Rodríguez Gavilán

Email: digital (at)


Barely 72 hours separate us from one of the most crucial moments for the Cuban people. This Sunday, February 24, the nation’s 614 recently elected deputies will take office and officially constitute the new legislature of the National Assembly of Popular Power.
With that step, Cuba will conclude the general elections process that its citizens began participating in starting in July 2007, as they traveled along new roads to democracy, the Revolution, the nation, socialism, independence and sovereignty.
The formation of the new legislature, whose mandate is for five years, is not the only moral, legal and historic responsibility that will fall on the highest body of state power; their members will also be responsible for choosing the leadership of the assembly as well as the Council of State.
In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and the Electoral Law, the deputies have the duty of carrying out their work for the benefit of the people. These tasks include maintaining contact with their electors; listening to their positions, suggestions and criticisms; and explaining to voters the policy of the state. In addition, the legislators will make public accounts of their work, also in accordance with established law.
Among other powers, the National Assembly of the Popular Power must discuss and approve national plans for economic and social development; discuss and approve the state budget; approve the principles of the system of planning and guidance of the national economy; agree to the monetary and credit system, and approve the general limits of the foreign and domestic policy.
No less important are the responsibilities of declaring a state of war in the event of military aggression and approving peace treaties; establishing and modifying the political-administrative division of the country; exercising the highest inspection of bodies of the state and government, and to designate the president of the Council of State, the first vice president, the vice presidents and other members of the Council of Secretaries.
On February 24, once the election certificates of each one of the deputies are examined and validated, the National Assembly will be officially constituted. At that point, all of their members will be able to choose from among themselves the president, vice president and secretary of that body, by virtue of proposals that are presented by the National Commission of Candidacies.
Also elected from among the deputies —based on the proposal presented by the National Commission of Candidacies— is the Council of State. This body is made up of a president, a first vice president, five (5) vice presidents, a secretary and 23 additional members. The president of the Council of State is the head of state and head of government.
The deputies will make their selections through a direct and secret ballot for their fellow members that they consider capable to fulfill those positions, with those elected having to obtain more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast.
Prior to these two important votes, the National Commission of Candidacies —made up of representatives of workers, grassroots and mass organizations carry out necessary consultations at all the levels, including meetings with the deputies, to shape a high-quality candidacy slate. This commission is made up of the leadership of the Cuban Confederation of Workers (CTC), the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), the Secondary School Students Federation (FEEM), the National Association of Small Agricultural Producers (ANAP), and the Federation of University Students (FEU).
The 614 deputies elected this past January 20 are representative of the work of the Revolution in all the sectors, territories and generations. They are people with talent, solid revolutionary convictions, high levels of training and proven human qualities.
This is confirmed by the fact that more than 28 percent are laborers, small farmers and workers linked to services, education and health; and that there is a greater female presence, with 265 women delegates (43 percent) coming into the new Assembly (7.16 percent more than on the preceding body). Likewise, 35.67 percent of the delegates are black or mixed.
The average of age of the incoming parliament is 49, with more than 56 percent of the delegates having been born after the victory of the Revolution. In terms of tenure, 385 deputies (63 percent) are freshmen delegates, while 224 representatives (37 percent) were re-elected.

What is "the transition"?
Losing our identity?


• IT is not surprising that W. Bush has returned to his recurring discourse on Cuba and the transition. "I believe that the change from Fidel Castro ought to give rise to a period of democratic transition," he said two days ago during a press conference in Rwanda, as part of his tour of five African nations.
For the Cuban people, this is a worn-out discourse. The United States has concentrated its attacks on Cuba with the personalization of the revolutionary process and thus conceals in a sibylline manner the real objective that inspires it: destroying the Cuban revolution.
Under Bush, there has been great enthusiasm for the idea. They began to describe his "transition" proposal as "peaceful", and shortly afterwards removed the adjective to the discourse and began affirming the need to accelerate the process.
Some of the principle representatives of the U.S. administration have been very direct in their meetings with the Miami mafia, by defining the process as "swift political transition".
Roger Noriega, Dan Fisk, Otto Reich and certain others have publicly confessed, with no shame whatsoever, the interventionist proposals that inspire the Bush Plan through the supposition of the "transition".
"We need to do everything we can to guarantee that it will be "a successful democratic transition, or rather a succession" within the dictatorship. This is the objective of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba."
"We must be prepared to be active and decisive when this day finally comes in order to bring to an end, once and for all, to all the vestiges of Castro’s corrupt regime".
"In order to initiate the transition, the principal obstacle must be removed (the figure of Fidel Castro) and we believe that the transition could happen at any time and we have to be prepared to act swiftly and guarantee that (…) the cronies of the regime do not take control…"
Another of these people’s projections has been the so-called public diplomacy and working for the internationalization of aggression through an increase in direct efforts with governments of third countries who are willing to apply a firm and dynamic policy to support a "transition" in Cuba.
What structural changes or transition did Cuba have to make after January 1, 1959?
Who can forget that the most radical revolutionary laws and measures that completely modified the foundations of our state were adopted with the approval of the vast majority of the population?
There is probably no other case in history in which a revolution and its leadership have counted on such mass support, in an age characterized by profound, radical, and accelerated changes, and at the same time confronting themselves with the colossal force of U.S. aggression for half a century.
The revolutionary state rescued the national wealth for the whole nation, from the hands of imperialists and exploiters of all kinds; eliminated unemployment and opened up sources of work for all; brought an end to illiteracy and placed free education within reach of everyone, with full social equity; guaranteed for the first time medical attention and hospital care free-of-charge for the whole population; popularized and increased cultural channels; developed sport and something else that was the most significant: organized the people, gave them weapons, and taught them how to use those weapons to defend themselves.
The Revolution has assumed authentic motivations, ethical and moral values and principles to move the majority of Cubans towards a sovereign participation by its citizens in the most important issues in society.
That is not to say that we are satisfied, not at all, and that even in the democratic order we have to work to reach a higher stage, but no one can deny that for the first time in our national history, the social majorities were able to express themselves as political majorities.
If we made that transition 50 years ago, what are they then proposing today that would not be a return to the past, to another half a century of neo-colonialism with irreversible damage: losing our identity?
We cannot ignore that the Helms-Burton Act and the Bush Plan deliberately determine faculties so that the president of the United States has the power to "certify" the government that our country should have.
This is the high price that we pay for defiance; this is the merit that they can never remove from Fidel, the one who re-founded a free and sovereign nation and sowed in the minds of various generations a love of liberty and justice; and who never accepted that anyone could attempt to break our pride and national identity and come here with impositions of how we should be and what we have to do so that the United States satisfies its obsession.

Helmsman of an Infinite Expedition

By: Alina Perera Robbio


A media avalanche broke loose after the message from Commander-in-chief Fidel Castro. Like clones, countless headlines from around the world spoke of the end of Fidel in power. Analysts are putting a lot of effort into figuring out and outlining the course of Cuban society into the future, with the idea of this event being the gate to a “democratic transition” repeated over and over. Some say this is only a “cosmetic change” which will not bring any substantial transformation on the island.
It’s always the same. When something in this small part of the world shakes, it is hardly possible to navigate through the oceans of the Internet to find a warm sea, a familiar expression, a word that sounds similar to the rhythm marked by those who live in this part of the world.
What is unleashed in abundance is the coldness of strangers who do not know us. It is here where the mystery of who we are widens, like a powerful and saving weapon. Those unaware find it even stranger; they find it harder to understand the easiness with which many of us wake up every morning, the emotions that are not dramatic at all but modest, because Cubans are calm when the life circumstances demand it.
I talk of the emotions that have shaken the feelings of millions of Cubans when we read in silence or out loud that Fidel, the elected representative to the National Assembly, will not aspire to nor accept the positions of president of the State Council and Commander-in-chief when the elections of the president, vice presidents and secretary of the Council of State occur in the next few days.
This is a matter of great importance, rooted in the deepest memory. Fidel is not a traditional president; he is not a “figure” one can wash their hands of just like that. For my generation, born in the 1970s, he became present through his TV appearances that lasted hours. Our parents listened to carefully while we were playing and the ether was filled by the voice of the man who, as the adults said, knew what he was doing and had a long-term vision. He knew the Yankees very well, they said.
Our conscience woke up in that environment grew up there so we could find out some truths by ourselves. Now we understood very well what Fidel meant in his message when he said: “The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.” We have been part of that virtue that the head of the Revolution has known how to guide very well. And it is clear that this will not be definite, that it will depend on our daily work.
Another expression inviting us to think are the references of Fidel, in his message, to a letter written by him in 2007, in which he shares his deepest conviction that “I strongly believe that the answers to the current problems facing Cuban society (...) require more variables for each concrete problem than those contained in a chess game,” because we are an educated people. Equally chilling is the concept in which he says that organizing and leading a revolution is a complex and almost unattainable art.
All this means that those who have preferred to live in a society where intelligence prevails instead of barbarism and destruction; we must, once and for all, have to take our aim, shine like the sun wherever we are, be efficient in untying knots that bound our creativity, imagination, hard work, capacity for astonishment, devotion, braveness and deepness.
“Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful,” Fidel has written in his message. His exceptional experience will be important in this hard task of making this Revolution possible in favour of the human being. It will be a privilege to still count with the thoughts of such a special comrade of struggles. And it will be a great responsibility for all of us, especially for those who should make decisions and prevent timely ideas of long-term from falling in a broken sack.
In those dispositions we will always be accompanied by the qualities of that helmsman that lead us in an infinite expedition.

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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