Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, José Martí! Fidel Rewrites History.

Tomorrow is the 159th anniversary of José Martí’s birth. The title of my novel comes from his poem, “I Cultivate a White Rose.” Annually, crowds carrying torches march through the streets of Cuban cities celebrating Martí as the father of the Cuban Revolution. Martí was democratic and zealously in favor of an independent Cuba. He spent a considerable time in New York and was offended by the race relations he saw in the United States. He condemned the lack of civil rights of African-Americans. He was brutally honest in his assessments and advocated a color-blind society for Cuba.While Martí was a revolutionary, he rebelled against Spain, fighting for a democratic society. Fidel has taken the truth and twisted it to suit the purposes of the Communist revolution. But Martí is not the only victim of Fidel's rewriting of history.

In comments that appeared a few days ago in Granma, the official Communist newspaper of Cuba, Fidel acknowledged the revolution’s debt to Marti. However, he went on to demonstrate the Orwellian double-speak of a press that is anything but free. My last post dealt with the tragic death of Wilman Villar. The entire world has condemned the brutality of his treatment. Fidel, with a stroke of a pen has rewritten history. He denies that Wilman Villar was a political prisoner, and instead notes:
Some news agency cables better illustrate what I wish to analyze, because they demonstrate the incredible cynicism generated by the decadence of the West. One of them, with amazing tranquility, talks of a Cuban political prisoner who, it states, died after a hunger strike lasting 50 days. A journalist with Granma, Juventud Rebelde, radio news or any other revolutionary organ might be mistaken in any interpretation of any subject, but would never fabricate an item of news or invent a lie.
A Granma informative note affirms that there was no hunger strike; the man was an ordinary prisoner sentenced to four years for attacking and injuring his wife in the face; that his own mother in law asked authorities to intervene; family members were kept fully abreast of all procedures used in his medical treatment and were grateful for the effort made by medical specialists who treated him. He received medical attention, as the note states, in the best hospital in the eastern region, as is the case with all citizens. He died from secondary multi-organic failure related to a severe respiratory infection.

The patient had received all the medical attention administered in a country which has one of the finest medical services in the world, provided free of charge in spite of the blockade imposed on our homeland by imperialism. It is simply a duty that is fulfilled in a country where the Revolution is proud of always having respected, for more than 50 years, the principles which give it its invincible strength.”
José Martí, a historic champion of liberty and democracy, has been hijacked by Fidel. The celebration of his birthday by a regime dedicated to obfuscation and willful ignorance is disingenuous and the antithesis of everything for which José Martí stood.

Happy birthday, José, I hope you are not rolling over in your grave.

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