Every so often, you hear news from Miami’s Little Havana, where crowds gather to celebrate the ´imminent collapse´ of Cuban socialism –which never occurs. Some of the things you can quickly run into during these gatherings are U.S. flags, Cuban flags, every variety of Latin American right-wing chants, death wishes to all communists, and a complete blind eye to the effects of blockades on millions of human beings. The usual Florida opportunists show up to unleash their rhetoric – a Mayor calling for an immediate U.S. military invasion – and similar Cold War solutions that can quickly be brought up in city council or the U.S. Congress, with no real chances of fulfillment. In recent days, we have seen these surreal gatherings once again, after a massive international media operation gave visibility to protests in Cuba, hoping that this time it would mean the fall of the Cuban Revolution. Left out of the narrative are the harmful effects of the Cuban blockade, made worse with a new set of illegal U.S. sanctions under the Trump Administration, including placing Cuba once again in a list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the lack of access to the necessary supplies to combat Covid-19.
The soft coup strategy has been tried many times before, sometimes with great success as in Eastern Europe, and others, with significant failures, like here in Venezuela. President Chavez described the strategy as a long wick of protests to accumulate strength to blow up in a large uprising eventually. Important to this strategy is controlling the narrative, using all available communications tools to promote the idea that change is coming and irreversible.
At a press conference in 2007, in light of similar attempts aimed against the Bolivarian Revolution, President Chavez was very clear: “the antidote against the Soft Coup is popular support.” The frustration on the part of the soft coup promoters, as well as the frenzied Miami crowd, described earlier, comes from not understanding that when a political process enjoys popular support, the spark never survives long enough to ignite an explosion – a social explosion to bring about a change of government.
Several sparks can cause pain, cause disruptions, and cause undesirable consequences to people already suffering the sustained aggression of illegal sanctions, as in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
Still, President Chavez warned during that press conference that it would not provide our enemies with the explosion they desire. Instead, the sum of many sparks can push history to an explosion in the opposite direction, an explosion that unleashes all of the people’s revolutionary potential. On July 17, Cuba’s dawn was filled with support all over the island for the Cuban Revolution. Fox News even resorted to blurring protesters’ signs when they realized that the mass gatherings they were reporting on were not counterrevolutionary, but rather people that took the streets to defend their country and their revolution. Patria o Muerte (Homeland or Death) is not an empty cry. The acknowledgment that unless the people gather together to build the common good, to build an inclusive society, their destiny as a people is doomed.
As the Sandinista Revolution turns 42 years old on July 19, we are reminded that, like Cuba, Nicaragua has resisted the sparks of destabilization. Millions of dollars have illegally financed opposition movements in Nicaragua to break down the wall of popular support enjoyed by President Daniel Ortega. However, the people of Nicaragua are also set on defending their revolution and their hard-won peace.
A new dawn in Our America can be seen on the horizon. As soft coups fail, popular movements in countries with the most reactionary governments are gaining ground. Rather than sparks for a big explosion of neoliberal restoration, we might be gearing for an explosion of a revolutionary wave that will wipe out neoliberalism’s tyranny.
- Carlos Fonseca (1936-1976), leader of the Sandinista Revolution: “We realize that the greater the difficulties are, the greater our obligation to confront them and to multiply our efforts…”. The Sandinista Revolution turns 42 despite the sustained imperialist aggression.
- We also remember the psychiatrist and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon, born in Martinique on July 20, 1925: “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”
1. The Right to Water is essential to human beings. Currently, this right is under threat by the effects of climate change and corporate interests. On July 16, we held a discussion with Fernando Huanacuni (former Foreign Minister of Bolivia) Pedro Arrojo Agudo (U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation), Jacqueline Faría (former Environment Minister), José Pereira (Vice Minister for Basin Administration), and water expert, César Aponte.
2. In recent years, people worldwide have come out to the streets to defend their democratic systems as they are threatened by non-democratic forces seeking power unconstitutionally. This week we analyzed people’s responses to the coup attempts in Venezuela in 2002 and Turkey in 2016. en 2016.
Bolívar in México
When he was only 15 years of age, Simon Bolivar embarked on a trip to Europe to continue his education. On February 1799, two centuries before our Bolivarian Revolution, the vessel Bolivar was travelling on, the “San Idelfonso”, was forced to make a stop in the Mexican port of Veracruz due to a naval blockade that the British were carrying out against Havana, last stop before reaching the Spanish Peninsula. This stop allowed him to get to know the cities of Jalapa and Veracruz. He also went to Mexico City where he stayed with the Marquis of Uluapa, in a house where often political gatherings took place. Young Bolivar was taken to see the Viceroy of New Spain, Miguel Azanza, who asked him about recent independence revolts in Caracas. Bolivar’s reply was that the Spanish American struggle was a just cause, to which the Viceroy reacted by recommending that the young man be sent quickly to Spain. Bolivar never visited Mexico again, but he constantly defended the need to integrate Mexico into the larger continental union of republics. His feats, in the struggle for Latin American emancipation, made the Constituent Congress of 1824 grant him Mexican citizenship. iar Servando Teresa de Mier, a member of Congress, advocated for Bolivar’s citizenship with the following words: “There are men privileged by Heaven on whose panegyric eloquence is useless because their name alone is the greatest praise.
Such is the hero who will occupy first place on the glorious verses of the New World besides the immortal Washington: For this unequivocal sign, everyone will know we speak of that general who amounting victories in the numerous combats, destroyed the aged Peninsular scepter in Venezuela, his homeland, in Cartagena, in Santa Marta, Cundinamarca, Quito and Guayaquil, with which he formed the immense Republic of Colombia. He did further: he overcame himself, he voluntarily gave up his triumphant sword at the feet of the homeland’s forefathers whom he gathered to constitute it, and became himself as its first subject, rejecting with determination, any rule. He of whom we speak obediently, in summary, without fiction, is currently succeeding in the country of the Incas, the last hopes of Spanish pride […] Simon Bolivar, President of the Republic of Colombia, Supreme Governor of Peru, righteously called The Liberator, who bears the admiration of Europe and the glory of the entire America […] For his treaties of intimate alliance between all of the Republics of America, he already is, and deserves to be, a citizen of all. We ask, therefore, that Your Sovereignty solemnly declare him also [citizen] of the Mexican Republic”.
On this July 24, 2021, on the 238th anniversary of his birth, the foreign ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), met in Mexico City. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took the opportunity to pay tribute to the Venezuelan hero and gave a speech inspired by the Bolivarian vision of unity and struggle in defense of sovereignty. He recognized Cuba’s resistance and rejected continued U.S. interventionism: The influence of U.S. foreign policy is overwhelming in the Americas. There is only one special exception, that of Cuba, the country that for more than half a century has asserted its independence by politically confronting the United States. We may or may not agree with the Cuban Revolution and its government, but to have resisted 62 years without being subjugated, is quite a feat”.
Lopez Obrador also called for the strengthening of CELAC and for a change in the way countries in the region relate to one another: “The policy of the last two centuries, characterized by invasions to put in place or remove governments at the whim of the superpower, is no longer acceptable; let’s bid farewell to impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions, and blockades. Let’s instead apply the principles of non-intervention, self-determination of peoples, and peaceful settlement of disputes. Let’s initiate a relationship in our hemisphere based on the premise of George Washington, according to which nations should not take advantage of other people’s misfortunes’. […] The proposal is no more and no less than to build something similar to the European Union, but in accordance with our history, our reality, and our identities. In this spirit, the replacement of the OAS [Organization of American States] by a truly autonomous organization, not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict, in matters of human rights and democracy, should not be ruled out.”
It has been 238 years since his birth, but the just cause for the peoples of Our America, that just cause that Bolivar defended at age 15 and throughout all of his life, was once again defended in Mexico City.