Saturday, May 09, 2009

Invisible

Living invisible lives behind hammers, hoes, brooms; molding steel and concrete
Your children born hard looked around at the country you'd built - then took to the streets
Said no more bowing of heads or turning the other cheek, they spoke up and started to feel
Rage, the anger folded inward for survival, runs in the blood - it's what made torn hearts beat

Your children born hard looked around at the country you'd built - then took to the streets
They'd had enough of the beatings, the lynchings, the murdering, all that lying and cheating
Rage, the anger folded inward for survival, runs in the blood - it's what made torn hearts beat
Some wanted to take up arms, or to defend by any means necessary - others by demonstrating

They'd had enough of the beatings, the lynchings, the murdering; all that lying and cheating
Some learned to attack the problems of race and hatred by reclaiming their traditions peacefully
Some wanted to take up arms, or defend by any means necessary - others by demonstrating
History tells stories of countless who defended the people, who never gave up willingly

Some learned to attack the disease of race and hatred by reclaiming old traditions peacefully
Cut tongues were pieced together in songs for the ancestors and playing the sacred drum
History told stories of countless who defended the people, who never gave up willingly
Their spirits soared while their descendants prayed to their own God, dancing in the sun

Cut tongues were pieced together in songs for the ancestors and playing the sacred drum
Ceremonies for healing the creation were remembered, and hearts took on another beat
Their spirits soared while their descendants prayed to their own God, dancing in the sun
No more living invisible for others - behind hammers, hoes, brooms, molding steel and concrete




©/s Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009


Friday, May 08, 2009

CUBA UPDATES


Fidel Castro
Reflections & Speeches














THE ONLY AMERICAN EX-PRESIDENT I HAVE MET


Carter is the only ex-president of the United States that I have had the honor of meeting, other than Nixon who was not one yet.

I had visited Washington to take part in a press conference that meant a tough challenge for me because of the questions that the expert reporters would be asking. The president had suggested to Nixon that he invite me for a conversation in his office. He was deceitful and hypocritical. He left that office with the idea of recommending the destruction of the Cuban Revolution.

Following his advice, Eisenhower was the author of the first plans to eliminate me physically, of the terror campaign against Cuba and the mercenary Bay of Pigs invasion.

The year 1959 marked the beginning of the treacherous history that President Carter tried to rectify 18 years later.

I knew, or rather I guessed, that he was a man of a religious ethics, from a long interview in which difficult subjects were broached and which he handled with sincerity and modesty. In those days, there were strong tensions between Panama and the United States. The leader of that country, Omar Torrijos, was an honest, nationalist and patriotic soldier. He could be persuaded by Cuba to not adopt extreme positions in his struggle for the return of the Canal territory which, like a sharp knife, was splitting his country in two. Perhaps because of that, the small nation was able to avoid a blood-bath although later on the country would be portrayed to the people of the United States and to the world as an aggressor.

Later, and without talking to anyone in the United States, I could predict that maybe Carter was the only president of that country with whom it would be possible to reach an honorable agreement without spilling one single drop of blood.

Not much time had passed before Washington would sign the agreement between the United States and Panama in the presence of other heads of state, excluding Cuba of course.

I mention this because Omar Torrijos himself, on a visit he made to our country, spoke about the efforts Cuba had made in this respect.

As president of the United States, Carter agreed with Cuba to create the Interests Sections in Havana and Washington. With that move we saved a lot of diplomatic procedures and paperwork that were driving the austere and meticulous Swiss diplomats insane. Maintaining the colossal building in the former United States Embassy in Havana was already in itself quite a feat for Switzerland.

Another thing: Carter discussed major issues with Cuba, such as the limits of territorial waters and the rights of each, the use of energy resources included in the jurisdictional waters of Mexico, Cuba and the United States as well as fishery resources and other subjects of inescapable attention. Not all the agreements favored Cuba. Our fishing fleet had been catching in international waters, as it was established, 12 miles off the coasts of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. However, in solidarity, Cuba was supporting Chile, Peru and other Latin American countries in their right to exploit fishery resources on their respective sea shelves. The final result was that our modern expensive fishing boats finally ceased to work in those waters, when such a battle was finally won. The requisites established by the U.S. authorities were such on the rich shelves where our boats were fishing near the coast of that country, and other limitations in the light of the new law, that they priced themselves out of the market.

When Carter became president of his country, the aggressions, terrorism and blockade against the people of Cuba had existed for many years. Our solidarity with the peoples of Africa and many other poor and underdeveloped nations in the world could not be the object of negotiations with the U.S. government. Nor would we leave Angola, or suspend the assistance already committed to the African countries. Carter never actually requested it but it is clear that many in the United States were thinking along those lines.

The defense of our sovereignty not only unleashed deep contradictions with the U.S. but also with the USSR, our ally, when as a result of the October [Missile] Crisis, without consulting our country, the USSR negotiated a mutually convenient agreement with the U.S. by which the blockade, terrorist actions and the Guantanamo Base remained intact in exchange for strategic concessions by the two superpowers. We did not seek unilateral advantages. Revolutionaries who act that way do not survive their mistakes.

Compliance with the international standards would have never been an obstacle for Cuba and, as we have often said, peace is also an unavoidable objective of the Cuban Revolution. Many forms of cooperation are possible between peoples with different political concepts.

One proof of that is the war against drug trafficking, organized crime and the trafficking of human beings; this can be extended to many forms of cooperation in the fight against epidemics, natural catastrophes and other problems.

The Revolution has never used terrorism against the United States.

That country invented plane hijackings to strike against Cuba. That action, in a society with so many social conflicts, became an epidemic. How could they have resolved it without Cuba’s cooperation? We had adopted severe laws to punish the culprits, but it was useless. Finally, we made the decision to return them in the very same hijacked planes after warning them about it earlier.

Thus, the first plane we returned was the last one hijacked in the U.S.; this coincided exactly with the Carter years. I have spoken about this at greater length. I’m not saying anything new.

After Carter, Reagan took the dirty war to Nicaragua, using drugs to get around the laws of Congress and with the incomes supply weapons to the counterrevolution, mining ports; his policy took thousands of Sandinista lives while many were wounded and maimed.

Bush senior carried out the horrible slaughter of El Chorrillo to punish Panama and erase the marks left by Carter’s gesture.

When Carter visited Cuba between May 12 and 17 of 2002, he knew that he would be welcomed here; I attended his lecture at the University of Havana; I invited him to an important baseball game played between the national Occidentales and Orientales teams at the Latin American Stadium. Both of us were there at the opening pitch to which he was invited, with no bodyguards whatsoever, surrounded by 50,000 people in the stands, perfect targets for any sharp-shooter hired by the CIA. Bush Jr. was already governing the U.S. I only wanted to show Carter the relationship of the country’s leaders with the people. When we arrived at the stadium, he accepted with dignity my invitation to persuade his chief of security to leave him on his own, and that’s what he did.

What I know about forestry in the U.S. was explained to me by Carter at the dinner we hosted for him on the last day: how the trees are planted, what varieties, the time they need to grow, production per hectares, and so on and so forth.

I observed his faith in the capitalist system where he was raised and educated; I respect that.

When he was in the government, times were difficult. He had to carry the burden of the effects of an economic crisis, but he was austere, he didn’t drown the future generations in debt. His successor, Ronald Reagan, would squander all the savings Carter had made. He was a movie actor and handled the teleprompter well, but he never asked himself where the money was coming from.

Yesterday, former President Jimmy Carter said to the Folha de São Paulo newspaper: “’I would like (the embargo) to end today. There is no reason why the Cuban people should continue to suffer’, stated the former president who heads a human rights organization and this week was visiting Brazil to meet with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“According to Carter, the initiatives adopted so far by Obama to ease the restrictions dictated against the island were less daring than what would be desired.

“’I think that Obama’s initiatives were not as good as those of the two U.S. Congress houses which today are one step ahead of the president with regards to Cuba.

“’The next step should be immediate removal of all travel restrictions to the island, not just for Cuban-Americans. It was what I did when I was president 30 years ago. The end of the embargo will follow suit’, the former president said.

Carter finally expressed that results were also depending on the Cuban leaders; surely, on us and on all the Cubans who have struggled and are willing to struggle.



Fidel Castro Ruz

May 7, 2009

7:15 p.m.

source: Cuban News Agency

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Poem #30 of poem a day for National Poetry Month April 2009


At a distance




Mom I love you so very much but we do better at a distance
I never have had the heart to say this straight to your face
But when I reached the age I said so much more with my body
Things a mind of your time just couldn't let in for the disgrace

I never have had the heart to say this straight to your face
Long ago because a good daughter would never think to do so
Things a mind of your time just couldn't let in for the disgrace
And later after I became a mom because then I too began to know

Long ago, because a good daughter would never think to do so
I never said what my heart really felt - I acted it out instead
Later, after I became a mom because then I too began to know
That no matter how hard you try your child inherits part of your bad head

I never said what my heart really felt - I acted it out instead
Never at home but out in bars, in stranger's beds - wild in the streets
That no matter how hard you try, your child inherits part of your bad head
So instead I tried to model the kind of parent I wanted my child to someday be

Never at home, but out in the bars, in strangers beds, and wild in the streets
At home I became a rebel against your iron rule with my ever growing resistance
So instead I tried to model the kind of parent I wanted my child to someday be
I went across the country to fight along side people who struggled against injustice

At home I became a rebel against your iron rule with my ever growing resistance
I knew you loved me, but you didn't like me being so much my father's reflection
I went across the country to fight along side people who struggled against injustice
Mom I love you very much, but you and I, we do so much better at a distance


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Poem #29 - 30/30


A BIG Fish Taco Story




Marsea


Marsea grew up in a palapa close to the clear blue waters of the gulf of Mexico
Her family fished for a living and what they couldn't eat, they sold
Mainly tourists wanted to eat the fish but had no place to cook it
Marsea's mother Luz decided to sell fish tacos and cold drinks on the shore

Her family fished for a living and what they could not eat, they sold
Marcos, Marsea's dad, put up more palapas and built tables and chairs
Marsea's mother Luz decided to sell her fish tacos and cold drinks on the shore
Their spot became famous, but everyone wanted what they had to be theirs

Marcos, Marsea's dad, put up more palapas and built tables and chairs
Their palapa houses grew, and became an outdoor hotel with hammocks by the week
Their spot became famous, but everyone wanted what they had to be theirs
All kinds of people came and stayed for the food and to catch the waves wide and sleek

Their palapa houses grew, and became an outdoor hotel - with hammocks by the week
One Sunday Marsea's parents went out together on their fishing boat to be alone
All kinds of people came and stayed for the food and to catch the waves wide and sleek
Nightfall near, a storm was rolling in but there was no sign of her parents coming home

One Sunday Marsea's parents went out together on their fishing boat to be alone
A terrible sea storm with lightening and thunder rocked the shoreline and scared the people
Nightfall near, the storm had rolled in and still there was no sign of her parents coming home
Marcos and Luz never made it back that night and the next day Marsea was orphaned at 18

A terrible sea storm with lightening and thunder rocked the shore and scared the people
Friends searched, and searched until there was no place else to look or to go
Marcos and Luz never did come home and people say they sailed straight up to God's steeple
Marsea grew up in a palapa close to the clear blue waters of the gulf of Mexico


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Cuban Updates


Fidel Castro
Reflections & Speeches

CUBA: A TERRORIST COUNTRY?

Thursday, April 30 was unlucky for the United States. On that day it occurred to them to include Cuba yet again on the list of terrorist countries. Committed as they are to their own crimes and lies, perhaps even Obama himself was unable to untangle himself from that mess. A man whose talent nobody denies must feel ashamed about the empire’s cult of lie. Fifty years of terrorism against our Homeland come to light in an instant.

What can one explain to those who know about the horrific event of a plane blown up in mid flight, with its passengers and crew, about the participation of the United States in the events, the recruiting of Orlando Bosch and Posada Carriles, and the supplying of explosives, funds and the complicity of the intelligence agencies and the authorities of that country? How can one explain the campaign of terror that preceded and followed the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the attacks on our coasts, towns, transport and fishing vessels, the terrorist actions inside and outside of the United States? How can one explain the hundreds of frustrated assassination plots on the lives of Cuban leaders? What can one say about the introduction of viruses such as hemorrhagic dengue and swine fever that genetically had never even existed in the hemisphere? I am merely mentioning some of the acts of terror in which the United States has played a part, the ones recorded in their own declassified documents. Don’t these events embarrass the current administration?

I could put together an endless list of abhorrent activities.

At our request, Bruno Rodríguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, sent me the exact words used by a France-Presse reporter to ask him a question on April 30, along with his compelling answer.

Rigoberto Díaz, of AFP: “Coinciding with the final moments of this meeting and also on a subject that has been dealt with during this event, the US government has once more included Cuba on the list of countries sponsors of terrorism along with Sudan, Iran and Syria. I would like to hear your opinion on this.”

Bruno’s reply:

“We do not recognize any political or moral authority to the US government to make any list on any subject, or to “certify” good or bad behavior.

The Bush government was “certified” by world public opinion as a government violating international law; as being aggressive and war-mongering; as a government that tortures and that is responsible for extrajudicial executions.

“Bush has been the only president who has boasted in public, in the US Congress, about having carried out extrajudicial executions. That is a government which kidnapped people and transported them illegally, created secret prisons that nobody knows whether they are still in existence, and a concentration camp where torturing is going on in the part of territory usurped from the Republic of Cuba.

“In the matter of terrorism, the US government has historically held a long record of State terrorism acts, not only against Cuba.

“In the US, Orlando Bosch and Posada Carriles are free to come and go; these two who are responsible for numerous terrorist acts including the blowing up of a civilian Cuban plane in mid-flight. There is no answer to Venezuela’s official request for the extradition of Posada Carriles who is being tried for various charges, but not as a notorious international terrorist.

“The US government held a travesty of a trial against the five young Cuban anti-terrorist activists who are today being held as political prisoners in its jails.

“The US government covers up acts of State terrorism committed by Israel against the Palestinian people and the Arab peoples. And, it kept silent before the crimes taking place in the Gaza Strip.

“Therefore one shouldn’t recognize that the United States has any moral authority whatsoever, and I, frankly, believe that nobody pays any attention or reads those documents, among other things, because the author is an international outlaw in many of the matters which it criticizes.

“Cuba’s position against all manifestations and forms of terrorism, wherever they may be committed, against any state that may be affected, in any form it may be carried out, for whatever purpose, is clear and consistent with its actions.

“Cuba has been the victim of terrorism for many years and it has a completely clean record in this matter. Cuban territory has never been used to organize, fund or execute terrorist acts against the United States of America. The State Department which issues those reports cannot say the same.”

This declaration, issued at the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Countries, is not yet widely known by the population which in these days has been receiving plenty of news of all kinds. If the State Department wishes to discuss this with Bruno, there is sufficient information to bury it in its own lies.

Fidel Castro Ruz

May 2, 2009

7:12 p.m.



WE WILL HAVE TO GIVE OUR ALL

Yesterday, I had a lengthy talk with Miguel d’Escoto, president pro tempore of the United Nations General Assembly. I had listened to his remarks at the ALBA meeting in Cumana on April 17.

I admired his significant statement. I had first met him after the victory of the Revolution in Nicaragua when Daniel Ortega appointed him minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he held until Reagan’s dirty war, which caused the death of thousands of Sandinista youths and great economic damage, ended up with the victory of counterrevolution in Nicaragua.

The backwardness that situation brought throughout seventeen years, and the economic and social disaster imposed by the U.S. “democracy” on the noble Nicaraguan people, led to the return of the Sandinista government to the country; this time with constitutional limitations and a marked dependency from the United States. Daniel denounced it on April 17, at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain where with great dignity he condemned the blockade on Cuba. On the other hand, Miguel d’Escoto, who as a minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua had earned great prestige with his talents and ideas, was elected in 2007 president of the UN General Assembly for a two-year period.

It was in this capacity that he attended the Non Aligned Movement’s ministerial meeting held in Havana this past April 28, 29 and 30. Today, he was at the Revolution Square with Raul watching the impressive parade for the International Worker’s Day carried live by our television while in Santiago, the cradle of the Revolution, and in the other provinces of the country enthusiastic parades took place which constituted an irrefutable expression of the fortitude of our Revolution.

The words of the announcers were heard from the rostrum vibrant with emotion as Miguel d’Escoto and many foreign relation ministers and representatives of NAM as well as two thousand visitors from countries of every continent shared the joy of this workers’ celebration.

The poem dedicated by Fayad Jamis to Manuel Navarro Luna, a revolutionary and communist poet who lived in Granma province since he was a six year old child --the same province where our last war of liberation started-- was quoted more than once.

From his early childhood, Navarro Luna was forced to give up school and start working in various trades. He worked as a janitor, a shoe shiner, and a diver, a night watchman and a clerk. He studied by himself to acquire some knowledge.

In 1915 he published his first poems and in 1919 his first book. In 1930 he joined the Communist Party.

He worked at the first Communist Mayor’s office in Cuba after the fall of Machado’s government in 1933. After the revolutionary victory in 1959, and challenging the passing of time, he became a member of the National Militias and took part in the fight against the counterrevolutionary bandits at Escambray and in the victory of Playa Giron.

…For this freedom of song beneath the rain

We will have to give our all

For this freedom of being closely bound

To the heart of the people sweet, firm we will have to give our all

For this freedom of a sunflower opened in the dawn of factory furnaces

And illuminated schools

And of crackling earth and waking child

We will have to give our all

There is not alternative but freedom

There is not other path but freedom

There is not homeland but freedom

There will be no poetry without the violent music of freedom

For this freedom which is the terror

Of those who always violated it

In the name of lavish misery

For this freedom which is the night of the oppressors

And the definitive dawn of the whold invincible people

For this freedom which lights up sunken eyes

Bare feet

Leaking roofs

And the eyes of children who wander in dust

For this freedom which is youths empire

For this freedom

Beautiful like life

We will have to give our all

If necessary

Even our shadows

And it will never be enough.

The white, red and blue colors of our flag, sustained by the industrious hands of thousands of students from the University of Informatics Sciences closed the parade, preceded by the youths of the university and middle level education students’ federations from the capital; the disciplined and active youths of humble origins being trained as Social Workers; the children from La Colmenita art troupe and other creations of the Revolution; they are all aware that they carry a flame that nobody will ever be able to extinguish.

I was very pleased to know that Miguel d’Escoto was there watching the parade. Three days before, in his remarks to the foreign ministers and representatives of the Non Aligned Movement he had said:

“…The world order exists based on the capitalist culture in which having more means being better; the same that promotes selfishness, greed, usury and social irresponsibility. These anti-values of the capitalist culture have led the world to a number of converging crises that should be effectively taken care of; otherwise they might endanger the life of the human species and the capacity to sustain life on Earth.

“At the root of all of the different crises we are facing lie an enormous moral crisis, a deep crisis of ethical values and principles. We have all betrayed the values derived from our respective religious and ethical-philosophic traditions. By succumbing to the capitalist temptations we have betrayed ourselves, and by assuming its anti-life values of hatred and selfishness, we have become the worst predators, enemies of our Mother Earth, we have dehumanized ourselves…

“…Cuba has always been a place for spiritual refreshment. Here we can all see that love is stronger and more powerful than selfishness. Here more than anywhere else we can learn what solidarity is: the most important antidote for humanity to survive the insane selfishness that seems destined to bring about its annihilation.

“…In this 21st century, a century of reconciliation and peace through the rule of law, social justice and democratic inclusiveness, we respect every minority and we want to hear them all. It is at the G-192, the General Assembly, where we shall decide on the path to take in order to avoid the trap of the insane and suicidal selfishness that capitalism has led the world to. It will not be with any kind of revanchism but with the spirit to build a better world for all, without exceptions or exclusions…

He did not run for the position of president of the UN General Assembly he now occupies. He learned of his candidacy through the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the UN. It was Latin America’s turn, and Daniel Ortega, being aware of his qualities had made the proposal unhesitatingly. He did not even have time to explain his health problems to take on such a high responsibility. The countries of Latin America, Africa and the Third World quickly offered their support. Miguel was not perturbed by the difficulties and accepted the position.

He handed me a document he signed as president of the UN General Assembly designating Cuba a paradigm of international solidarity and showed me the gold medal that comes with the decree and that he designed himself.

He said in his remarks many other interesting things that I am not quoting here to avoid being to extensive.

His words and deeds have honored our Revolution.

…. We will have to give our all

If necessary

Even our shadows

And it will never be enough.

These were the final words of this poem by Fayad Jamis.


Fidel Castro Ruz

May 1, 2009

7:23 p.m.

source: Cuban News Agency