“Jose Martí was responsible for the groundbreaking concept of a party to lead the nation and Revolution in order to solve these problems, among others. Martí was born in Cuba in 1853 to Spanish parents. From the early age of fifteen, based on his own experience, he started to oppose Spanish colonialism and the injustices in Cuba. His personal exposure to the cruel treatment of slaves and exploitation of the peasantry led him to reach his own conclusions.”
– pg. 82, Cuba and itus neighbors, by Arnold August, Fernwood Publishing, Nova Scotia, 2013
“Castro presented his court summation in a two-hour defence from memory, because prison authorities had confiscated the notes he had carefully prepared. Castro quoted Martí by heart on innumerable occasions throughout his defence.
“One of Castro’s earliest biographers, Gabriel García Márquez, wrote about Castro, ‘He knows the 28 volumes of Martí’s work thoroughly.’ Even during his early high school days, as Castro wrote in a biographical essay in 2010, ‘The names of Martí, Maceo, Céspedes, Agramonte and others, appeared everywhere and aroused admiration and the interest of many of us.’ Martí’s humanist and advanced ideas found expression in the ideas of Marxism. Castro was able to fuse the two tendencies in applying them dialectically to Cuba. He thus remains ‘the anti-dogmatist par excellence’ (García Márquez 1998).”
– pgs. 92, 93, ibid.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been discussing political and economic concepts with you which have to do with the market place and the state. We say that the market place is committed to competition, raw competition, whereas systems wherein the state is prominent, focus on cooperation amongst the citizenry as the road to national progress.
In George Orwell’s classic satire, Animal Farm, he attempted to show that in the state-prominent models, there still have to be individuals in charge. And the likelihood is great that these individuals will become elitist, selfish, and acquisitive in their behavior, thus undermining the very philosophy which drove the people to overthrow the previous leadership and install new ones.
Near to us in Cuba, we have not seen Fidel and Raúl Castro become corrupt in material terms, although they have been in power now for 55 years. I think it is fair to say that the Castro brothers are exceptions to Orwell’s rule.
Fidel and Raúl have been authoritarian, nevertheless, and people in my profession do not have that freedom in Cuba which we enjoy here in the media. The thing is, the United States, the most powerful country in the world, essentially declared war on Cuba the year following the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and when you are in a war, you cannot tolerate as much dissent as when you are at peace.
Anyway, it is clear to me that there are Marxist-Leninist analytical approaches which are totally valid. Take the matter of our Southside Belize City situation. Look at it the way a Marxist-Leninist would. British capital forcibly moved African slave labor to Belize to cut logwood and mahogany. The logwood became irrelevant, and then the mahogany ran out. At that point, British capital no longer had any need for the African slave labor, and left us to the mercy of American and other foreign capital. Some of the labor moved to opportunities in the American economy, but enough remained in Belize to spark the community havoc we have been experiencing for the last 25 years. No mahogany, no food. This is a simple Marxist-Leninist analysis, and I challenge any of you wise guys to refute it.
Personally, I was raised in a competitive environment – in academics, in sports, and whatever. Boys have to be brought into manhood in a specific way, and that way is the hard way. This is the way of the world, and we live in the world. Some people join monasteries and remove themselves from the world. Fine. The rest of us, most of us, don’t.
When I went to college in America in 1965, it took me several months to become half competitive. Those American kids I was in school with were way ahead of me. It was frightening. I became committed to warning my Belizean people just how tough it was going to be for us to survive in the new world.
Belize entered a new world with self-government in 1964. Previous to that, we had been isolated from the Central American republics around us because of ethnicity and language; we had been isolated from the Caribbean island nations around us because of transportation modalities; and we had been kept out of the United States, at least previous to 1961’s Hurricane Hattie, because of our having been a British colony.
Now, we were moving forward to independence. We had to toughen up. But, in Belize, because of our isolation and small population size, most systems were dominated by families and friendships. Amateurism ruled, absolutely. In football, the lesson was taught in the early 1970s: Platense of Honduras gave San Joaquin, the Belize champions, 9 at the MCC Garden. In basketball, Puerto Rico poured 235 points on a Belize selection in Medellin, Colombia in 1978. Belize was a marshmallow then: we’re not so soft now.
I watch Belizeans talented in business, politics, and the professions who are completely selfish and acquisitive. They reason, I imagine, that they earn and deserve what they have; they have competed fairly in the market place in order to achieve and acquire. I respect these individuals. The key is honesty. What am I to think, however, when a Belizean who has been the epitome of rapacious greed in all his adult life comes to the Belizean people seeking votes and says to us, by way of a surrogate, that he stands for “poor people and social justice”? What am I to think? What am I to say?
I think I am to say as the Bible says, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” There are pockets of great wealth in this here Belize. But these pockets of wealth turned their heads and pretended they did not hear when our Belizean youth begged for help for the Gold Cup last year.
By and large, the Belizean people have not been educated to the real political and economic issues in Belize. The people have been fed intoxicants having to do with party colors and pleasing personalities. It’s a game in which five-year terms of office for alternating political parties somehow always end up with the Belizean rich getting richer and our poor suffering more.
The rulers call these processes all kinds of names, the most bogus name of which is “Christian democracy.” Read the New Testament for yourself: what we have here is the furthest thing from “Christian” I can think of.
Power to the people.