January 28, 2008
A Tribute to Martí
FIVE years ago, Cuba’s capital hosted the International Conference "For World Equilibrium", which was attended by delegates from 43 countries of all continents, to honor Martí on the occasion of his 150th birthday.
I talked to them all on the evening of January 29 of that year 2003. By a mere chance – or rather, by more than a single chance – that moment of 1953 repeated itself, although under significantly different circumstances. Back in 1953 we had to honor Martí’s memory by liberating our homeland from the imperialist yoke. This time it was necessary to wage our struggle in the field of ideas to counter the threats against humanity openly implied in the words of the U.S. president in his speech at the West Point Academy. What I said on that day, which is consistent with my deepest convictions, has become a starting point for most of the reflections I wrote during the stage of convalescence I was obliged to go through. It is my modest tribute to the maestro. I likewise salute the hundreds of intellectuals, men and women of thought, who once again gather with the same purpose of paying tribute to José Martí on the occasion of his155th birthday. I could not find any better words to honor him! I would request our press to publish it, if possible, in the inner pages, to avoid taking space from other important news about this commemoration.
Fidel Castro Ruz
To el coma andante:
On this birthday anniversary of one of the greatest Cubans, Jose Marti, I enjoyed a Montecristo No2 (alleged to be one of the greatest Cuban smokes), and I reflected on the past forty years. Sitting here with my Cambio bracelet on (which I will never remove), I’m feeling philosophical. I ask, would Marti be proud of what has become of Cuba today? The answer is obvious, I think. So while we honor Marti, we owe a debt of gratitude to you.
Thank you, Fidel, for showing us how to single handedly unravel an economy, an achievement many Democrats seem ready to emulate in an election year. Thank you, Fidel, for showing us how to establish a system of apartheid ninety miles away from one of the greatest bastions of freedom. Thank you for showing us how to live on rations rather that cooking entire pigs and washing them down with a few bottles of Bacardi.
Thank you for showing the world how resolute and entrepreneurial the Cuban people are. Adversaries can call the Miami Cubans the mafia, but the truth is that there are unbelievable numbers of Cuban businessmen and women, artists and politicians who have brought that city to an incredible height, beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you for showing me that my father and other Cubans came here with no money and were able to create businesses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions or billions. Thank you…thank you…thank you.
Thank you for showing me that Cuban Americans are a minority in the United States, but not entitled to the freebees which other minorities get. For example, when I applied to medical school, I found out the some Latinos received special consideration, not Cubans, though, because they are not underrepresented in medical school
Thank you for Cuban politicians that you have put in your government such as Lage and Alarcon, without them, we would not know the fine art of brownnosing and how to scramble when the golden goose is frying. Thank you for not even giving your beloved people the decency to decide their political fate when you are on your death bed.
Thank you, Fidel, for making me the Republican, Capitalist Pig that I am. I am grateful, my family is grateful. And I look forward to the day that I may drink a rum ‘n coke in Habana and scream Cuba Libre! Viva Marti! Fuck you, Fidel!