II. THE 10th
What we need is not a
newspaper article, but a challenge to combat. Not here, within the
corrupt exile, but in Cuba, taking possession of the homeland's
forbidden soil; this is how we had expected, how we had hoped, how
we had demanded that this sacred day be remembered.
Not by fake
patriotism, not by embellished literature, not by election day
oratory-no, a revolutionary should be inspired by quiet patriotism
by the literature that calls upon the conscience, by the oratory
of days mourning.
revolutionaries, those who, having a duty to fulfill, a pm pose to
accomplish, and a high aspiration to satisfy, let hours, day!
weeks, months and years-entire years, endless years for the
martyred homeland-go by, feeling nothing but the destruction of
feeling, thinking of nothing but the dream dying in weariness,
doing nothing but bribing their consciences so as to suffocate
revolutionaries, those whose coolness, whose sluggishness and
whose barrenness of means and resources, makes them inferior to
Are those who cannot
achieve their purposes revolutionaries?
We cannot be revolutionaries if we are unable to derive anything
from the greatness of our aspirations but the stupid virtue of
We cannot be
revolutionaries if, in spite of our daily suffering, we have the
patience to sit back and watch while blood gushes from the heart;
days pass uselessly by in which the slightest of the sacrifices w
accept with idiotic resignation would suffice to make something
powerful out of the powerless inertia in which we weaken and
October 10th has
ceased to be a day for celebration.
As long as our
brothers on the battleground are so superior to us, a long as the
memory of the homeland long waiting to be rescued bring us great
remorse, as long as we are responsible for the dream whose
salvation is in our hands, and whose risks are idly felt, October
10th will be a day of sadness and mourning.
All the glory, all the
joy of that day, belongs to those who have called upon themselves
to do what their heroic patriotism demanded.
They have the right to
link that date to the memory of the nation the have brought forth,
and in that way sanctify their heroism.
The day is theirs
because theirs has been the heroism.
A few pinched
pennies have been spent; some unsuccessful attempts
have been made. A few
desperate days by those faithful to the
ideal, a few hungry days by those who could not be corrupted
by all the exiles' flattery, and some days of sacred rage by
the best of us have been spent. Does this entitle us
to share with those who forged the nation the pleasures of
the day which commemorates its birth?
We must do
more, yet we do not. We must triumph, yet we do not.
We must finish what we have begun, yet we do not.
and personal accusations to those who measure themselves
against others or who measure others against themselves.
If it was necessary at one time to release a pain long
repressed, the need has passed. A higher one presents itself
to us on the glorious anniversary of a yet unfulfilled duty.
This duty must be fulfilled. This is what we should be
thinking about today. It has been six years since Cuba's
torment have lasted for so long, if the desire to rescue the
forsaken homeland had been placed before any other, with
increased passion, faith, and greatness in the face of
The homeland has
not wavered for an instant.
Her liberators' example of self-denial was perhaps unmatched
even by the noble men who liberated the entire Continent.
Heroism such as that of our brothers on the battleground,
perhaps no history can offer as a noble example. Resistance
such as theirs to misery, pain, and disillusionment; to the
deep sorrow of being forsaken by everyone, of being coolly
seconded by their natural allies, has never proved to what
degree the cause which they alone support is a just one.
Spurred by their example, thousands of patriots within the
forced immigration have implored a hundred times to be
enrolled as soldiers and fight for their country. Many
selfless men, had they been supported, could have obtained
aid from other nations. A thousand opportunities had they
been taken, could have presented themselves to an
What have we
lacked money? No one can say that without disgrace. The
least we can contribute in the service of the bloodied
homeland, in honor of the ideal we pursue, the least we can
give in oblation to a suffering which we share
intellectually and morally, is money. Essential as it may
be, money is a sacrifice only when a family is sacrificed
because of it. We also have models of that kind of
sacrifice. Without having to follow
hundreds of rich Cubans could have restored to the country some of
the wealth they owe to it. Doing this would have been like an
operation in common arithmetic: the more money they invested the
more the revolution would progress, the faster it would end, and
faster they would be reimbursed.
Has this not been
done? Then let us lift our heads so that we can look into the eyes
of the conscientious men of this world.
We have lacked other
things that are as important to the revolution as money. We have
lacked enthusiasm; we have lacked timing in our patriotic
contributions; we have lacked loftiness of the spirit, and we have
lacked self-denial, which is how revolutions begin and end, which
the weapon that guarantees victory.
The fighting patriots'
deeds represent a miracle of faith in themselves and in their
Given an arithmetic
which only includes addition, it would seem that any of our fellow
nations in Latin America has resisted longer than the Cuban people
Given an arithmetic
which reasons, we can see that a revolution lacking the values
that glorify our revolution could not have resisted so much time,
so many setbacks, so much opposition, adversity, indifference, and
injustice. No revolution could have resisted as much violence and
as much power as ours has confronted during the last six years.
Six years during the
era of the steamship and the telegraph are worth countless years
of another era.
announces any new undertaking, and the steamship moves to oppose
it. The telegraph brings the anguished throbbing of the Island to
the ears of its transatlantic oppressors, and the steamship ex-ecutes
the order which averts danger, which overcomes a formidable
The telegraph tells
lies each day through the deceptive words of the tyrant, and each
day false news is spread about the fall of the revolution causing
grave damage: revolutions thrive on universal enthusiasm, an no
enthusiasm can withstand the constant repetition of news of defeat
The steamship brings the victim closer to the offender. Every time
he has been able to, the offender has sent-sometimes with horrible
regularity-fortnight after fortnight, thousands and thousands of
The telegraph is a
medium for universal discussion. Since it is at the enemies'
disposal, the world has discussed their version of the revol-
tion a hundred
thousand times for each time it has analyzed the true revolution
they have disfigured. The steamship hastens commercial
transactions. Since those who could have been our friends
continued to trade with our enemies, commercial interests, which
grew in proportion to the speed with which they were stimulated,
started to turn against us. The telegraph brought to the
battleground the confused murmur of the world's contradictory
discussions about the revolution: fleeting hopes, disappointments
which in a brief second destroyed an edifice of sacred dreams,
friendly voices drowned out by enemy screams, and good advice
debased by evil suggestion, insults, taunts, condemnations, and
steamship either failed to arrive, or arrived without the aid that
was needed and expected.
We must mentally place
ourselves in that terrible situation, the most tragic one ever
experienced by a people; a people divested of everything, its
enemy vested with all the power and all the resources of
civilization; a people forsaken, its enemy well-aided; a people
disdained, its enemy adulated by the complicity of the whole
world. We must be capable of feeling all the pain of those long
years of agony to realize how long the revolution has endured, to
know how much time has passed, to appreciate the amazing example
of resistance set by its soldiers, to appreciate their heroism, to
be worthy of admiring those admirable men.
Those men are
not merely fighting, resisting, and winning against an enemy who
is superior in numbers, organizational discipline, and monetary,
military and social resources. They are fighting, resisting, and
winning against the blind forces of nature, which civilization
exploits and injustice hands over to their opponents.
We must live in a time
as infamous as this, stumbling in the darkness of injustice, not
to feel for those men, whole men who have risen to high levels of
dignity, all the zealous reverence, all the fervent admiration
inspired by those who are able to heroically represent humanity's
If only to be worthy
of them, to convince ourselves of our moral stature when we look
at them face to face, equal to equal, honest man to honest man; if
only to, in the struggle by and for the good, finally put to use a
life which becomes useless in the barren anguish of exile-solely
for this, if not for some other cause, do we feel capable of, and
should all feel capable of, rising to the heights of duty.
When we look our duty
in the eyes, what a disgraceful difference we see between what our
brothers have done and what we have done, or rather what we have
attempted to do!
They have taken
responsibility for a land dishonored by despots and have raised it
to the category of a nation, while we have been counting the sighs
our distance from the homeland has cost us, if indeed it has cost
They have fought and
kept silent, while we have argued and demanded. They have
resisted all the violence of pain, while we have not been able to
resist all the temptation of pleasure.
They have grown,
whereas we have become smaller.
The have learned their
lessons on the battleground, while we have ignored the lessons
taught by exile.
They have accomplished
a great deal, and they have faith. We have done nothing, and to be
frank, have almost completely lost the faith we had in ourselves.
They are dying in
order to live within the memory of the future nation. We are
living only to die definitively in the memory of the nationpast,
present, and future.
Come! Let us
commemorate with tears of blood the anniversary we could have
celebrated in our own country with tears of joy!