Tuesday, February 24, 2009

El Grito de Baire

What better day can there be to relaunch the José Martí Blog than February 24th, the anniversary of the "Grito de Baire," when Martí renewed the epic struggle begun in 1868 to win our country's independence?

114 years removed from that day, which was as redolent with hope for our country as the present is bereft of it, Cuba finds herself in a more deplorable state than she did in 1895: then Cuba was a colony of Spain, now she is the fiefdom of one transplanted Spanish family whose patriarch fought with Weyler's forces against our independence. His sons, who head the criminal enterprise which has despoiled our country and enslaved her people for half a century, have attempted to co-opt Martí's legacy, proclaiming him the "Architect" of their anti-Cuban Revolution though it is the negation of everything Martí lived and died for.

It would, perhaps, have been better if Castro's revolution had proclaimed its enmity for him from the first; but, of course, if it had done that it would never have triumphed in the end. More vital to its success than concealing its Communist origins was to feign a devotion to the Apostle which was inconsistent and, indeed, irreconcilable with its Marxist orientation. For decades the party ideologues asserted that Martí would have been a Marxist if only he had been able to understand Marx. In fact, Martí understood him all too well, which was the reason that he was not a Communist.

After the fall of Communism (everywhere in the Western world but Cuba), the island's political commissars, fearful that Marx was no longer emblematic of anything but catastrophic failure, instructed the official historians to diminish Marx's role in the construction of their tropical Stalinism and credit Martí instead for their so-called "achievements."

The hatred which the Cuban people feel for Castro and his henchmen has in some measure been "grandfathered" to include Martí. I had heard reports of this development but always refused to believe it, as it would mean that the Castroites had succeeded in dislodging the very cornerstone of our nationality. But the testimony of defectors, the regime's own point men, as it were, in this massive effort to repoint every brick in that edifice, has convinced me that it is now necessary not only to expose the horrors of the present but to uncover the historical truths that have been buried in order to falsify our history. The ruins of our country are no less valuable than those of any other land. The only difference is that in Cuba the ruins are buried to conceal the past whereas elsewhere they are excavated to reveal it.

JMB will do whatever lies in its power to rescue and preserve our history. Its focus will be on José Martí because by saving him much else that matters will be saved too. But we shall also attempt to clarify other elements of our history which are imperilled and vital to our future.


From 2008:

Today marks the 113th anniversary of the "Grito de Baire" (Battle Cry of Baire), the start of Martí's Revolution which culminated, after nearly a half-century of armed struggle, in Cuba's independence. Those 50 years (1850-1898) were the most heroic in our country's history, with 300,000 of our countrymen perishing on the battlefield and another 300,000 (mostly women and children) in Spanish concentration camps. This out of a population which struggled to rise above 3 million in the 19th century. The population of the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the American Revolution was also approximately 3 million. Washington's soldiers sustained a total of 4000 casualties in the whole course of the American Revolution. Something to remember when the "pressure-cooker" theorists cast aspersions on Cuban heroism or contrast what we have sacrificed to obtain our freedom to the price which Americans have paid to maintain theirs.

The difference between that glorious epoch and today is that Cuba was not then an impermeable island fortress; for Spanish oppression, although terrible, was not systematic and even Cuban slaves enjoyed more rights then than do Cuban citizens today. U.S. Neutrality laws, which exist to preserve tyrannic but stable regimes in power, were an impediment then as now to Cuban freedom, but the U.S. had not entered yet into an international agreement to become the guarantor of tyranny on the island as it would in 1962. Even if U.S. presidents betrayed the rebels' plans to the Spanish, seized their expeditions, confiscated their weapons and imprisoned their leaders while they waited for the ripe apple to fall into America's lap, the people of the United States, whose sympathies were always with the Cubans, refused to assist their government in prosecuting those earlier freedom fighters. Thousands of indictments were obtained against the Cuban patriots but not one single conviction was ever secured from an American jury.

With the unremitting enmity of successive U.S. administrations, but with the good-will of the American people and the so-called "yellow press," Cubans had already won the war on the ground and were in effective control of 90 percent of the island's territory when the U.S., using the fortuitous explosion of the U.S.S. Maine as a pretext, invaded Cuba to seize the ripe apple at the last moment from Spain and to deny the rebels their just victory. For 50 years the U.S. refused to throw a lifeline to the Cuban rebels as France and even Spain had done for them in 1776, and when Cubans finally obtained alone what they might have won 50 or 30 years earlier with U.S. assistance, the Americans swooped down to secure "peace and order" on the island. This insignificant if calamitous episode within Cuba's War of Independence is known as the "Spanish-American War" (American arrogance going so far as to ignore the participation of the main actors). Americans also once called it the "Splendid Little War" because it cost them less than 400 casualties (most of these from chronic diarrhea). Then came the Treaty of Paris, the U.S. occupation of the island, the Platt Amendment and the seizure of Guantánamo Bay. (Do the French still have their naval base at Chesapeake Bay?).

Even after Cuba became a republic under American tutelage in 1902, Cubans never ceased their struggle to realize completely the dream of José Marti, Antonio Maceo and all Cuban patriots who preceded and followed them: a free, independent, sovereign and democratic republic. In 1933, Cubans finally secured through another revolution the abrogation of the Platt Amendment and the nightmare of 1898 (except for Guantánamo) seemed finally to have been overcome.

Or so it seemed. But some nightmares have a tendency to reassert themselves, with different demons and horrors. We can never really put history behind us.

February 24, 2008

46 comments:

Mamey said...

Welcome back!

Fantomas said...

No , Manuel

Yo no te seguire aqui a hablar de Marti

Si abres otro con temas actuales si

Pero el tema martiano realmente no me mueve

Respeto la historia pero hasta ahi

Rick said...

Was it a month? Did you even make it a month?

Hilarious!

.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Thanks, Mamey, and welcome on board.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Rick:

How long did I last? About as long as you after you closed SotP.

I commend your (surprising) interest in José Martí and Cuban history.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Fantomas:

I am sorry to hear that you will not be reading this blog because it does not address current events. I expect you not to be reading it several times a day.

I have nothing to say about the present state of civilization, and I am too humble to spend the next 4 years saying, "I told you so."

The Universal Spectator said...

Welcome back, Manuel. This is the venue you were meant for. I hope you keep this place clean of undue and negative influences. Speaking of which, I didn't know Fantomas could read...

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

George:

Glad that you found us. I see the potential of this blog becoming a meeting place for those that would not otherwise converge anywhere else. I think that would have pleased Martí, too.

As for Fantomas, he has sworn not to visit this blog again, and I know that we can rely on his word (at least for the rest of today).

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

La figura de Moeno es tan repugnante que solo vengo para enfrentarmelo de cara a cara

Ya falta poco para Nostalgia 2009 may 15-17

Te repito Manuel si entro aqui sera para unica y exclusivamente comentar de cosas que NADA tengan que ver con Marti

Realmente no es mi fuerte no tengo mucho que decir ni positivo ni negativo de el ...Fue hace tanto tiempo Manuel y hay cosas tan y tan importantes ahora como querer a venirme tu a ahablar de la niñas de guatemala y los zapatos de rosa

Bueno ahora Moeno es regular aqui, no si yo te digo que el mundo se tiene que acabar

YO SIEMPRE SE LO DIJE A TODOS USTEDES CHUPARLE EL BIBERON AL NICHE

IT AINT EASY

8 YEARS CHUPANDO biberon IS A LONG TIME

The Universal Spectator said...

You may be right. He's only left a little under 1,600 comments on your last post at RCAB; he may want to go for a new record here.

Vana said...

Welcome back Manuel! I'm glad you chose Marti as a topic for your new blog.

Now all can learn what we the old guard know, not Castros hijacked version of him, he lived his life mourning for Cuba and the tyrany she lived under during his lifetime, the last thing he wanted for us was a despot, had he lived Cuba would not be where she is today.

So glad you are back :o}

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Moeno the only record you have to worry about is la diarrea que te va a dar cuando me veas de frente a frente in Miami

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Moeno , please tell Val que le diga a anastasio blanco to place the NY protest post on top of he page until Sunday

Do it for Cuba not for me

Manuel te felicito no permitas anonimi here. La cosa estara mucho mas controlada

Could you open the site meter here?

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Speaking of which, I didn't know Fantomas could read...

10:39 PM

Moneo despues no te quejes

Centurion said...

Moneo que significa Agente provocateur?

Por favor respondame en mi idioma español el que hablamos regularmente todos los cubanos

Centurion said...

Moneo realmente que tu harias si tienes a Fantomas en tu cara

Realmente que harias primero

Centurion said...

Manuel seria usted generoso con nuestra causa cubana. Nos gustaria que en ambos blogs que usted posee pueda exhibir informacion detallada para la marcha a celebrarse en NY el domingo proximo
De mas esta decirle que esperamos con su asistencia . Lleve a Nancy y a Barbara. Si Vana decide quedarse en su casa pues bien- Pero que lleve el cajon a la protesta para que lo utilize alli

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Ya empezaron a salir tus alter egos Manuel

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

Welcome, my friend. No blog of mine would be complete without you. Many think of you as my alter ego and I would not argue that point with them. Your sanity and clear-thinking is desperately needed in these parts, and I will count on you as always to help me keep the peace here. You know what I mean.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

George:

I believe that Fantomas was trying to break the Guinness Book record for most consecutive blog comments (supposing such a record exists). But he has just announced that he is abandoning his quest at 1600 (as in Pennsylvania Ave., current home of his idol) in order to follow me here.

Many have been urging me at RCAB to "clip Fantomas' wings." I was reluctant to do so because that might mean he would never fly away. But, apparently, the cuckoo-bird is on the wing.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Fantomas:

It goes without saying that I support the protest in New York, on Sunday, March 1st, at the U.N. Cuban Mission. Any expression on behalf of freedom, anywhere in the world, at any time, is deserving of the support of all freedom-loving people.

I think, however, that it would be more effectual to protest at the White House, since it is Obama, not Castro, who holds Cuba's fate in his hands, not only for the present but for the indefinite future.

Vana said...

Manuel:

As always you can count on me!

Rick said...

Don't forget to take a handful of carnations when you and Moneo meet for dinner at Versailles on Friday night. I hear he likes blood red, Manny.

Was it Marti who coined the phrase, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em?"

Man, I called that one, didn't I?

.

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Your sanity and clear-thinking is desperately needed in these parts

Osea que tu alabas a Vana y a mi ni me dices ni pio queriendo decir que yo no tengo sanidad ni hablo claro

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

It goes without saying that I support the protest in New York, on Sunday, March 1st, at the U.N. Cuban Mission.

If you support it , DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, BASTA DE HABLAR MIERDA TELLECHEA

ANYTHING TO HELP THE PROTEST

TAKE THE TRAIN WITH YOUR FAMILY AND GO

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

I think, however, that it would be more effectual to protest at the White House, since it is Obama, not Castro, who holds Cuba's fate in his hands, not only for the present but for the indefinite future.


Manuel Obama knows what to do, speak face to face with the enemy

I cant wait

Is Camp David the site or Guantanamo Bay

VErsalles is out of the question

Raul les tiene miedo a las croquetas atomicas

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Don't forget to take a handful of carnations when you and Moneo meet for dinner at Versailles on Friday night. I hear he likes blood red, Manny.


Rick , no cuques a Manuel con Moneo
I want moneo alive for Nostalgia , i will bring him 12 red roses personally

lol

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Manuel how many comments do you need on this post?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Rick:

Wasn't it you, Rick, who once suspected that George and I were the same person? You certainly didn't call it right then.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Our good friend Steve at Obalesque has dedicated a post to our return to blogging.

To which we have responded:

Thank-you, Steve, for your generous words and noble sentiments. I shall try my best to inject some humor in my new blog, though the subject, of course, does not lend itself naturally to it.

As for agreeing with you only 14.33% of the time, it is quite enough for me because within that percentage falls our total agreement about the Cuban people's right to freedom and self-determination, which defines for me a good conservative or a good liberal.

Berocos Menocál said...

Very interesting topics and illuminating commentaries, a lot can be learned at this blog.

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

This blog is dead

It needs una tranfusion de vida y de sangre urgentemente

Algun voluntario

El Observador Universal said...

What qualifies this blog's author to write on behalf of the Cuban people as an historian?

I am not attacking the blog author, my question is genuine and sincere.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

What qualifies you to doubt my right to do so?

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Manuel cuando te hagan una pregunta fuerte mastica , aguanta y por favor no respondas con otra pregunta

Eso es muy desagradable y deja mucho que decir de ti

Te lo dije que este proyecto de Marti no tiene futuro nadie quiere hablar del 1800

El problema actual de Cuba no tiene nada que ver ni buscar en el pensamiento martiano

Porque debemos concentrarnos en acabar con el pensamiento del raulato

Ese es el que vale ahora

12:44 PM

Vana said...

No luck fanto I already saw the furrte..LOL..besides this is Manuel's blog, he can answer as he pleases, furrte or weak.

Furthermore, Marti has everything to do with the present situation, read him! perhaps you can aquire the same love for your country he possesed, imagine if we all did?

Berocos Menocál said...

Oye Fantomas, parece que tu tienes razon al decir que, tu sabes quien, tiene varias personalidades inventadas en su mente, por eso te contesto sin tu preguntar, el trabajo nocturno por la estrada tiene que estar flojo esta noche, o el producto no atrae clientes por falta de calidad.

Nos vemos en Manhattan esta tarde asere. trae las camaras.

CJB-BCJ said...

"He vivído en el monstruo y le conosco las entrañas"

José Martí




Without a doubt, our apostle's most outstanding short analysis, few words from a great patriot who never allowed his condition as a Cuban exiled in the USA, to blind him to the realities of his time, Martí never allowed his convictions to blindfold him to the truth, he was a Cuban nationalist of the finest caliber, he never espoused any communist or Marxist ideology of any ilk, his example demonstrated that we can and should be able to emulate him.

Tarzan said...

Hey MAT, here's some good advice. BAN RUBBERHEAD FROM POSTING HERE FOR LIFE. HE IS NUTS

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Without a doubt, our apostle's most outstanding short analysis, few words from a great patriot who never allowed his condition as a Cuban exiled in the USA, to blind him to the realities of his time, Martí never allowed his convictions to blindfold him to the truth, he was a Cuban nationalist of the finest caliber, he never espoused any communist or Marxist ideology of any ilk, his example demonstrated that we can and should be able to emulate him.


De quien hablan de Frank Pais?

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Hey MAT, here's some good advice. BAN RUBBERHEAD FROM POSTING HERE FOR LIFE. HE IS NUTS

Tarzan a Fantomas no hay quien lo desconecte

Nunca

Alex said...

MAT, you didn't let me know you were back? Shame on you. You weren't trying to keep me out because of that little discussion about Marti's mawkishly sentimental poetry we had a while ago? The man more than makes up for it with his first-class journalism and essays.

(And I certainly know you won't take Poodle's censorship advice. The guy can't help himself,can he?)

I don't agree at all that Cubans in the island repudiate Marti as a consequence of Castroism. For many of my generation, discovering the real Martí was an eye-opening experience. "La futura esclavitud", his demolishing criticism of Spencer and socialism, was passed hand to hand in secret. A book by Roberto Retamar mining Martí's writings in an attempt to link his ideas to communism was universally ridiculed among the intellectuals. There were even jokes. (Martí to Castro: "you must be the son of a bitch who assaulted the garrison and then tried to frame me for it").

El Observador Universal said...

My question has not yet been answered. I reiterate. What qualifies this blog author to write on behalf of the Cuban people as an historian?




"I think, however, that it would be more effectual to protest at the White House, since it is Obama, not Castro, who holds Cuba's fate in his hands, not only for the present but for the indefinite future."


As per the blog author's idea, a question comes to mind. When will the blog author begin to organize a protest at the White House, so that Obama may be clearly informed about the concerns of the potential organizer, and all who may share that opinion?

Fantomas Agent Provocateur said...

Manuel te sonaron, defiende el honor Martiano , anda

joep(GM) said...

Manuel, a belated-welcome back. And to Rick, who chides you for supposedly not lasting "a month" (presumably w/o blogging)...if he'd been paying attention, he'd have caught your public statement that despite closing RoCAB, you had a project in mind to facilitate your continued presence in the blogosphere. I'm just glad that your "return" didn't take any longer than it did.