« PreviousContinue »
(From a report by U.S. Information Agency, Miami, Fla.)
DEBRAY AND CASTRO But Fidel Castro, in his endeavor to impose his guerrilla struggle line as obligatory for all Latin American leftist movements, was relying not only on propaganda, on personal contacts with Latin extremist leaders, on benedictions of supporters or condemnations of his political foes, or even on the creation in Havana of an apparently computerized Latin American information center. Castro, with the aid of a foreign friend, was creating a philosophical rationale for his ideas, a doctrinal base with which to justify his open intervention into the internal affairs of every Communist pary in Latin America.
As a Marxist, Castro, ideologically, has never stood on firm ground. For years, he has been praising the virutues of Marxist polycentrism. He has rejected interference from outside on many occasions. He has repeatedly stated that as a Latin American he knew more about the Hemispheric matters, let alone about Cuba, than Soviet bloc officials and European Communists who have criticized his revolutionary measures in the island and his ideas about what he calls “the Latin American reality.” But since 1965 things have changed. Now, inflating his position of the leader of the only Communist state in the Hemisphere, Castro has attempted to usurp the right to dictate policies of, say, the Communist Party of Chile, the country about which he knew probably less than the Russians knew about Cuba. Thus, denying the right of others to give opinions about the Cuban revolution, whose disastrous mistakes are for all to see, Castro instituted himself as the arbiter of the whole of Latin America.
Within the framework of polycentrism, this intromission amounted to a new Communist heresy. To turn the sin into a virtue, Castro employed a Frenchman to explain his “heretic" ideas and to elevate them to a level of a "new truth”, a Latin American variation of Marxism-Leninism-Castroism. This document, whose publication in Cuba on January 16, 1967 was preceded by an intense press and radio publicity campaign, was a booklet by Regis Debray entitled “Revolution Within the Revolution.
The 35,000 word booklet was published by the Cuadernos Series of the Journal Casa de las Americas and has been subject of countless discussions in the Cuban press and radio since. The Mexico City weekly Sucesos and other Latin American leftist publications also carried the summaries of Debray's after its Havana publication.
A Spanish-speaking 26-year-old French writer, (his arrest in Bolivia was reported on April 25, 1967], Debray has shown for years keen interest in Latin American subversive activities. A philosophy graduate of Sorbonne, and member of the Union of French Communist Students, Debray had been a professor at the Nancy Lyceum. His first contact with Latin America was in 1961 when he travelled to Cuba and supposedly took part in Castro's literacy campaign. In 1963 he visited Venezuela during the time when the Cuban dictator, through a terrorist campaign in Caracas and other cities, tried to do his utmost to thwart the presidential elections in that country. From Venezuela Debray went to Colombia, the country from which he was expelled to Ecuador, where he was promptly jailed. Expelled again, he then went to Chile and Brazil. At the end of 1965, after a stay in France, where he published an essay “Latin American Revolutionary Strategy”, Debray returned to Cuba.
“Revolution Within the Revolution" was written in the fall of 1966 after a number of interviews that Debray had had with Fidel Castro. The leitmotif of the essay, whose literary style is of high caliber, is that the Cuban experiencethe conquest by Communist power using force of arms—can be repeated in Latin America contrary to the opinion of many Marxists, particularly the leaders of the regular “Old Guard” party establishments.
Debray asserts that Latin America, “after the end of an era of a relative equilibrium among the social classes”, has entered a new situation, that of "the total
class warfare, an era in which there is no place for compromise or for the sharing of power.” The advent of this new epoch, the Frenchman went on, has been brought about by the revolutionary polarization of Latin American society into the exploited and the exploiters.
After denouncing the Latin American Trotskyites and following the analysis of the tactics employed by Castro during his Sierra Maestra campaign (and theorizing a posteriori about disjointed happenstances and fortuitous occurrences of that period as though these events took place because of Castro's infallible wisdom and clairvoyance), Debray proceeded to explain why the guerrilla warfare and not the political organization is more important at the present moment in Latin America.
He quoted Castro: “Who will bring about the revolution in Latin America? The people, the revolutionaries, with or without the Party.” According to Debray, Castro went on to say that “there can be no revolution without a vanguard, but this vanguard need not necessarily be the Marxist-Leninist party, and those who want revolution have the right and the duty to establish themselves as a vanguard, independent of these parties.
Eulogizing Castro's words, the Frenchman said that it took "courage to state things as they are, when these facts go against a tradition.” And he commented that "the Cuban revolution and the military activities this had engendered throughout Latin America have seriously disturbed the old picture. (What Debray calls “the old picture” is the existence of generally pro-Soviet Communist establishments in the Hemisphere.) He went on to say that a "new style of leadership’ should be introduced in Latin America beginning with a “rejuvenation” of the Central Committees of many Latin Communist parties, “replacing most of the old leaders with young men directly engaged in the war or the clandestine city struggle.”
But the rejuvenation of communist cadres is not enough to bring about a revolution, Debray theorized. New organization methods and new ideological concepts must be brought into play, he said, following the example of the Cuban revolution, a process that has made a "decisive contribution to international revolutionary experience and to Marxism-Leninism."
After making an extensive analysis of the technique of guerrilla warfare and of the relations between the partisan army and the political party in the cities, Debray came to a conclusion which is today Castro's main idea and his advice to Latin American Reds: “It is necessary for the guerrilla force to take all the functions of command, both political and military.” Underlining that the army comes first and the party second, that the mountains give orders and the cities carry them out, Debray went on: "Any guerrilla movement which wants to carry the people's war through to the end, to transform itself if necessary, into a regular army and to undertake a war of movement and to take a (firm) stand, will have, in Latin America, to become the undisputed political vanguard, and essential aspect being that its leadership must be incorporated in the military command.”
Debray recognized that this conclusion might be considered a "heresy" by the Marxist traditionalists, but stated that at the present time in Latin America “there is an order of objectives which is historically substantiated. The people's army will be the nucleus of the party and not vice versa . . . Under the current circumstances the main emphasis must be placed on the development of the guerrilla warfare and not in the strengthening of existing parties or on the creation of new ones. To this effect, in those places, the insurrection work of today is political work number one."
The Frenchman made a brief reference to Guevara: “When comrade Guevara resumed insurrectional work, he assumed, on the international level, the consequences of this line of action, embodied by the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro. Should Ché Guevara reappear, it would not be too venturesome to assert that he will be at the head of a guerrilla movement as its indisputable political and military chief.” Debray concluded his essay by saying: "In a given historical situation, there may be one thousand different wa of speaking about the revolution but a single necessary agreement among all those who have decided to make it.”
(From Granma, Feb. 12, 1967)
OLAS POINTS UP SIGNIFICANCE OF SECOND DECLARATION
OF HAVANA FOR LATIN AMERICAN STRUGGLE
The Organizing Committee of the Latin American Organization for Solidarity (OLAS) has issued the following statement:
The Second Declaration of Havana, was approved by the people of Cuba in a national general assembly on February 4, 1962. It was the direct, vibrant reply of more than a million patriots assembled in the José Martí Plaza de la Revolución to the submissive conclave of Punta del Este. Within the framework of the imperialist strategy for continental domination, that meeting of foreign ministers constituted a new step in the preparatory maneuvers for an attack against Cuba, employing the forces of the Latin American puppet governments, under the cloak of the OAS.
The historic document approved by the Cuban people five years ago, opens with a reference to José Martí, national hero of the struggles against Spanish colonialism in the XIX century, and precursor of today's continental anti-imperialist position. The document analyzes the Latin American revolution, its conditions and perspectives, and affirms that revolution in our time is the inevitable answer to the exploitation that the peoples south of the Rio Grande have suffered for centuries and still suffer.
The Second Declaration of Havana, like the First, is of historic importance of the national struggle of the Latin American peoples.
“The duty of all revolutionaries is to make revolution,” it states. “It is known that the revolution will come to Latin America and to the world, but it is not the role of a revolutionary to sit at the door of his house waiting for the corpse of imperialism to pass by.
“There where the path of progress is closed to the peoples, where repression of the workers and peasants is fierce, where domination by Yankee monopolies is strongest, the first and most important task is to understand that it is neither just not correct to divert the people with the vain and comfortable 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 instruction. They dominate all means of mass communication. They possess infinite financial resources and power which the monopolies and the oligarchies will defend through blood and fire with the strength of their police and their armies."
The Second Declaration of Havana graphically summed up the desolate picture, the terrible situation of some 200 million Latin Americans. Each minute, four persons in Latin America die of hunger, curable disease or premature old age; and each minute a thousand dollars flows from Latin America to the United States, the product of imperialist exploitation. “A thousand dollars a life, four times a minute.'
The Latin American peoples have risen in rebellion against that situation, demanding national and social liberation. Confronted by the peoples' insurrection, imperialism applies a policy of intervention. Thus, the anti-Cuban resolutions adopted at the Punta del Este Foreign Ministers Conference and in later meetings of the OAS, achieved by the United States through the subservience of native oligarchies and through the use of interventionist instruments, are directed not only against Cuba, but against all the Latin American peoples for the purpose of maintaining imperialist domination throughout our continent. But the moment has arrived to decisively break the chains of imperialism in Latin America, to open to the oppressed nations the doors to genuine progress and happiness. The Second Declaration of Havana stresses that, if yesterday a generation of Latin Americans fought against Spanish colonial power, "today's generation must confront the most powerful imperialist nation in the world.”
“The epic that lies before us will be written by the hungry masses of Indians, of landless peasants, of exploited workers, and students; it will be written by the progressive masses, by the honest and brilliant intellectuals who so abound in our suffering lands of Latin America . . .” The Declaration adds that the exploited and villified masses of the continent "have resolved to undertake the writing of their own history, once and for all.”
Inspired in the lofty principles of the struggle for the true and definitive independence of Latin America expressed in the Second Declaration of Havana, the peoples of Latin America will hold the First Conference of Solidarity of the Peoples of Latin America, in Havana next July.
The peoples of our continent will tighten their combative and militant bonds of solidarity still more in this assembly, and will establish a common strategy to be employed against the common enemy, U.S. imperialism, in behalf of the liberation and progress of all our nations, in the conviction that the duty of all revolutionaries is to make revolution. Organizing Committee of the Latin American for Solidarity Organization
(From Granma, Jan. 15, 1967)
LATIN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS SPEAK OUT IN DEFENSE
OF PEOPLES FACING POVERTY AND ILLITERACY
The Editorial Council of the Casa de las Americas magazine, meeting in Havana from the 5th to the 8th of January to discuss the policies of the magazine, agreed to release the following declaration:
Every responsible Latin American writer is aware today that he is facing a new situation. One aspect of this new reality is the realignment of forces in the socialist as well as in the capitalist world, but above all stands the recent U.S. offensive in the field of culture, which is specifically designed to neutralize and divide our intellectuals or win them over to the U.S. cause. This offensive has revealed itself through such programs as the Camelot, Simpatico and Numismatico Plans; the financing of sociological research through the CIA; the commissioning of academic studies by the U.S. Defense Department through foundations and universities; the purchase of publishing houses and magazines in Latin America; the activities of the Peace Corps ..
This new situation and, above all, the newness of the tactics employed, necessarily provoked a certain confusion in regard to the attitudes to be assumed and defended by us. Therefore, and in spite of the legitimate differences of opinion that may exist among our writers of the left, we are convinced that all feel the need for open discussion on the broadest possible basis with the aim of agreeing upon the principles that will enable us to face this new threat and establish a common denominator of action.
It is obvious that Latin America, like the Third World as a whole, is in need of an urgent transformation of its socioeconomic structures that, by favoring a full development of all its potentialities, will bring about that liberty in the sphere of creative activity without which no intellectual can fulfill his role. It falls to the peoples of our continent to carry out this revolution according to their traditions, their social concepts and their specific historic circumstances, even to exercising the legitimate right to armed insurrection as Cuba has done and other peoples are doing.
Militarism, with its habitual methods, and the Alliance for Progress, with far greater subtlety, are attempting to frustrate this revolution or turn it to their own purposes. In the field of culture the Alliance, like the OAS, both instruments of the new U.S. policy, have been attempting for some time now to place our intellectuals at a crossroads, by tempting them with possibilities and perspectives concerning whose true nature it behooves us to alert all writers and artists.
If the intellectual is, under any circumstances, bound to the deep aspirations of his community, and these are expressed, directly or indirectly, in his work, this tie is much more binding in underdeveloped countries like our own, subjected to the actions of U.S. imperialism, native oligarchies and the economic extortions of the highly industrialized countries. This exploitation results in misery and illiteracy for the great masses of our population, making it the responsibility of our writers to become the voice, in the field of culture, of these dispossessed. It can therefore surprise no one if, under the existing circumstances, many of our intellectuals have awakened to a responsibility that they frequently avoided in the past, while others have assumed increasingly more militant attitudes, even to the extent of entering combat, undergoing incarceration and exile, or being silenced in their own countries, at the same time that attempts are made to isolate our countries one from another by means of open or veiled cultural blockades. No one ignores that the population of Latin America is being submitted to a daily campaign that distorts truth, deforms values and muddles conscience, through the mass media of certain films, television and radio programs and publications that are tragically efficacious and, at the same time, destroy or adulterate authentically original work and sink our people into moral apathy, triviality or tacit consent.