author photo

Daisy Valera: Until the middle of 2010, I was a university student. Today, at 22, I’m a graduate in nuclear chemistry and have joined the ranks of the Cuban work force. I love the cinema, books and architecture – even of the collapsing buildings. I like doing craftwork using thread, stone and metal. I fear monotony and I’m committed to the aim of building a better society.

Jose Marti: Confusion and Fatigue

January 30, 2013 | Print Print |

Daisy Valera

HAVANA TIMES — It was another January 28, but now with TeleSUR broadcasting the presidents of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) referring to Marti as a center of Latin American and Caribbean unity, all of this transmitted “live” for us Cubans.

At 160 years since his birth, I was indifferent.

Photos of another “March of the Torches,” fire and little paper flags, which are excuses for fun prior to that tribute.

As a little girl I learned Marti’s “Versos Sencillos,” “Yugo y estrella,” “Abdala” – all poems of bravery and sacrifice that brought me face to face with the concept of nationhood.

Filled with excitement, I also recited “La bailarina española,” and I was deeply intrigued by “La niña de Guatemala”. Love, disappointment, suicide. How did they feel Marti’s kisses?

Contests, Marti notebooks, his words traced on each wall of every classroom.

The Marti youth movement, a “Joven Patria” award for those who stood out in the study and dissemination of his thought, and who purged themselves of individual selfishness.

Parades, the Fragua and the Rincones Martianos, which inevitably reminded me of El Rincon and the San Lazaro pilgrimage.

We can still see our national hero on walls and billboards, incapable of making mistakes, as he’s diluted with each mention of him in each new speech.

His head converted into ivy-covered busts, sparing no costs on these, in children’s day care centers as well as in parks.

Marti losing his human dimension and becoming a myth, an object of religious worship that demands white roses.

His statue was imperturbable in the Civic Plaza of Batista as it is in the Revolution Square of Fidel Castro.

Another that with his finger signaling something we don’t understand and that has him frowning. Marti in marble, in bronze, motionless.

His words are repeated in so many contexts, his phrases parading before our eyes and driving us almost to the edge of hysteria, that independence leader, that Cuban Republican.

His idea of the Cuban Revolutionary Party (PRC) is now used as a justification for the current one-party system.

Marti is pushed around and referenced in a constitution that’s also proclaimed Marxist-Leninist.

Finally, he’s a diffuse ghost by dint of 50 years of contradictions.


What's your opinion?

  • Grady R. Daugherty

    A very effective critique of the current, one-party political system!

    I think the underlying problem with the system is that the leading party has an incorrect, state monopoly ownership concept of “real” socialism, and cannot extricate itself from its own mind-deadening sectarianism.

    The answer would lie in allowing loyal tendencies to arise within the party, and struggle democratically for various options for the nation, rather than allowing parties to arise outside the PCC which may, in fact, be clandestine creatures of the empire.

    • Griffin

      So… the cure for the one party system is …more one party system!

      And the way to bring democracy to Cuba is to ban democracy.

      Great advice, Grady. But Raul is way ahead of you.

      • Grady R. Daugherty

        You can’t seem to deal with reality, Griffin. Cuba is under constant attack by and subversion from the US government. Everything with regard to what goes on in Cuba is conditioned by this on-going “cold war.” In a certain sense, Cuba is under “martial law,” due to constant aggression from the US.

        I don’t believe that a socialist cooperative republic, whether in Cuba, the US, or any other country, should have one political party running the country. It’s certainly not part of our tiny movement’s program or ideology.

        In a future, post-capitalist world in which the imperialist banks have been decommissioned, and a world cooperative banking system without usury has been established, a multiplicity of political parties will most likely be the norm in every country. To confuse a future cooperative world, where democracy exists–in both government and the economy–with what is possible now in Cuba however, is quite unreasonable.

        You seem to be too busy upholding world capitalism, and the domination of the monopoly banks, to think in any terms other than abstract democracy, without regard to a real situation on the ground.

        • Griffin

          I can deal with reality just fine, thanks. It’s your “socialist cooperative republic” slogans I find hard to take seriously.

          • Grady R. Daugherty

            Perhaps it’s because you have lost the ability to think with your heart, and must live your waking hours in the prison of cynicism and self-centered egoism?

  • Moses Patterson

    Cuba’s population fell by nearly 100,000 between 2011 and 2012. Because of the recent immigration reforms and a worsening economic climate on the island, there is every reason to believe this number will increase for 2013. Rather than engage in the interesting debate as to whether one party is better than multi-party or if theoretical cooperative socialism is better than the ‘tried and true’ capitalism, I suggest focusing on what Cubans believe. They are voting ‘with their feet’ as we say in the US. What the Castros are doing has not worked, is not working and as far as the Cubans who live in Cuba apparently believe, will not work.

    • Grady R. Daugherty

      Well, Moses, if you really believe that capitalism is “tried and true,” then you must be orbiting mentally in outer space.

      It is true that Marxian, state monopoly socialism carries with it a kind of genetic, degenerative disease that eats away at productive incentives, chokes society with bureaucracy and political absolutism, and ultimately jeopardizes socialist state power. But it also carries with it the potential to correct its affliction and burst forth in all its potential glory.

      You have discounted “theoretical cooperative socialism” as somehow inferior to capitalism, which is tried-and-proved-horrific and anti-human. The truth is however that socialism–authentic cooperative, state co-ownership socialism–is Cuba’s and humanity’s only hope.

  • Moses Patterson

    I stumbled upon this Marti quote:

    “Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and? the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic
    defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.”
    –Jose Marti

    • Grady R. Daugherty

      Good quote. I’ve not read Jose Marti. Perhaps I should.