Modern History Sourcebook:
Second Declaration of Havana, 1962
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 was a broadly based nationalist
revolution against a corrupt government. It was a revolution
faciltated by the long Cuban revolutionary tradition. [There had
been major disturbances in the Ten Years' War (18681878),
a failed attempt to break with Spain; during the war of independence
that began in 1895 but which resulted only dependence on the U.S.;
and the revolution of 1933, which tried to restore constitutional
order and democracy.] In the 1933 events Fulgencio Batista, an
army sergeant, emerged and he dominated Cuba for decades. Cuban
nationalists, with some reason, blamed U.S. foreign policy for
Cuba's problems. The revolution in 1959 was lead by Fidel Castro's. He apparently
had the support of most Cubans in his broad based "provisional
government". Castro turned to Cuban Communist Party for support
in internal struggles. By 1962, after the US began to give "covert"
assistance to Cuban exiles oppoing the revolution, Castro had
adopted MarxismLeninism as the ideology of the Cuban Revolution.
This is can be seen in thes Second Declaration of Havana, delivered
on February 4, 1962.
What is Cuba's history but that of Latin America? What is the
history of Latin America but the history of Asia, Africa, and
Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but the
history of the cruelest exploitation of the world by imperialism?
At the end of the last century and the beginning of the present,
a handful of economically developed nations had divided the world
among themselves subjecting two thirds of humanity to their economic
and political domination Humanity was forced to work for the dominating
classes of the group of nations which had a developed capitalist
The historic circumstances which permitted certain European countries
and the United States of North America to attain a high industrial
development level put them in a position which enabled them to
subject and exploit the rest of the world.
What motives lay behind this expansion of the industrial powers?
Were they moral, "civilizing" reasons, as they claimed?
No. Their motives were economic.
The discovery of America sent the European conquerors across the
seas to occupy and to exploit the lands and peoples of other continents;
the lust for riches was the basic motivation for their conduct.
America's discovery took place in the search for shorter ways
to the Orient, whose products Europe valued highly.
A new social class, the merchants and the producers of articles
manufactured for commerce, arose from the feudal society of lords
and serfs in the latter part of the Middle Ages.
The lust for gold promoted the efforts of the new class. The lust
for profit was the incentive of their behavior throughout its
history. As industry and trade developed, the social influence
of the new class grew. The new productive forces maturing in the
midst of the feudal society increasingly clashed with feudalism
and its serfdom, its laws, its institutions, its philosophy, its
morals, its art, and its political ideology....
Since the end of the Second World War, the Latin American nations
are becoming pauperized constantly. The value of their capita
income falls. The dreadful percentages of child death rate do
not decrease, the number of illiterates grows higher, the peoples
lack employment, land, adequate housing, schools, hospitals, communication
systems and the means of subsistence. On the other hand, North
America investments exceed l0 billion dollars. Latin America,
moreover, supplies cheap raw materials and pays high prices for
manufactured articles. Like the first Spanish conquerors, who
exchanged mirrors and trinkets with the Indians for silver and
gold, so the United States trades with Latin America. To hold
on to this torrent of wealth, to take greater possession of America's
resources and to exploit its longsuffering peoples: this
is what is hidden behind the military pacts, the military missions
and Washington's diplomatic lobbying....
Wherever roads are closed to the peoples, where repression of
workers and peasants is fierce, where the domination of Yankee
monopolies is strong est, the first and most important lesson
is to understand that it is neither just nor correct to divert
the peoples with the vain and fanciful illusion that the dominant
classes can be uprooted by legal means which do not and will not
exist. The ruling classes are entrenched in all positions of state
power. They monopolize the teaching field. They dominate all means
of mass communication. They have infinite financial resources.
Theirs is a power which the monopolies and the ruling few will
defend by blood and fire with the strength of their police and
The duty of every revolutionary is to make revolution. We know
that in America and throughout the world the revolution will be
victorious. But revolutionaries cannot sit in the doorways of
their homes to watch the corpse of imperialism pass by. The role
of Job does not behoove a revolutionary. Each year by which America's
liberation may be hastened will mean millions of children rescued
from death, millions of minds, freed for learning, infinitudes
of sorrow spared the peoples. Even though the Yankee imperialists
are preparing a bloodbath for America they will not succeed in
drowning the people's struggle. They will evoke universal hatred
against themselves. This will be the last act of their rapacious
and caveman system....
From Fidel Castro's Personal Revolution in Cuba: 19591973,
by James Nelson Goodsell (New York: Knopf, 1975), pp. 264-268.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997