The images and voices coming from Cuba are unmistakable. Millions of people of all ages are waiting for the caravan carrying Fidel’s ashes. They give their personal and collective farewell to the man they consider as the leader who defended the island’s independence, at a great cost, and made those social conquests that we can define as difficult, minimal and extraordinary.
While all this happens, a myriad of high-sounding trombones from both the right and the former left unleashed a new game: how to open new Bay of Pigs scenarios, flipping real verbal and written assaults.
First of all, assaults to common sense and to the historical truth.
In 1961, the invasion of the Bay of Pigs was the U.S. administration’s attempt to shoot down the young revolutionary power of Havana. It failed due to the armed uprising of the Cuban people. Now that bay seems to re-emerge.
The fact is that after almost 60 years, they do not forgive Fidel the fact that Cuba did not become as poor as Haiti and that, being located in the backyard of the United States, it was not added to the other American stars robbed from its own identity and dignity, like another Puerto Rico. They do not forgive him that the statement of the Cuban revolution was an example for the entire Latin American continent, that, in the seventies, suffered military intervention by local coup leaders supported by the “democratic” West, first of all the U.S. that stood in front row for the order of Allende’s assassination in Chile and the coordination of the bloody massacres of Operation Condor.
An entire continent which then redeemed itself with an unfolding of movements, from Brazil to Chile, from Venezuela to Argentina and Bolivia, which came to power and executed the momentous changes of power and social conditions of millions and millions of human beings.
Of course, now the governments that led that breakthrough are in crisis everywhere, but the transition from the coups to democracy could happen, among other things, because it kept Cuba as a reference point. They did not forgive Fidel for the fact that he supported Nelson Mandela’s ANC struggles against apartheid in Africa and the anti-colonial ones in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau.
In essence, they do not forgive Fidel for having shown that “rebelling is right.” This is the reason why Obama and most European leaders will not attend Fidel’s funeral (Putin won’t go as a sign of “respect” to the newly elected Donald Trump).
And they make fun about the libreta, the Cuban ration card that entitles the holder to the purchase of key food items, while in the advanced United States, 30 million people live with the more semantic food stamps; they make fun on the egalitarian Cuban health system, forgetting that just 6 km away from the White House, in Washington, in the infamous and hidden Anacostia black ghetto, infant mortality is so high that it was denounced in Save the Children and the United Nations’ statistics; they scream about human rights, but they forget that the concentration camp at Guantanamo — the U.S. military base on Cuban soil — is a shame before the world and every self-respecting international law.
These ignorant attacks are the new invasions of the Bay of Pigs.
That said, however, a decisive argument is left out.
If we do not want to have just a celebratory attitude, we have to consider that our verbal solidarity will not save Cuba from the new insulation which will be forced upon it after the advent of Trump — the wonderful product of the U.S. democratic disaster.
Only a capacity of positive criticism of the changes achieved in Cuba as well as the difficult and contradictory reforms initiated by Raul Castro, will support the effort to continue that revolutionary experience.
And only with the resumption of a political initiative and movement for the radical transformation of power and the development model here, in the advanced citadels of capitalism in the West, a ritual logic stronghold will break to make a farewell to Fidel Castro with a concrete evidence of a renewed commitment. Hasta siempre.