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Modern History Sourcebook:
Fidel Castro:
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 economy.

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 their armies.

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