Please read this talk for it makes a lot of sense. The old man is still
sharp, he still understands the world extremely well. For those who never came
across this author it will be quite a surprise - he is better than Chomsky
anyday. Our man, positively one of us...
AN EPIPHANY GIFT
by Fidel Castro
January 14, 2008
The wires made the announcement ahead of
time. On January 6th we learned of Bush’s trip to the Middle East, just as
soon as his very Christian Christmas holiday break was over. He would be going
to Muslim territory, lands having a different religion and culture from that of
the Europeans, who converted to Christianity, declared war on the infidels, in
the 11th century A.D.
The Christians themselves killed each other, both
for religious reasons and national interests. It seemed that everything
had been overcome by history. Religious beliefs remained that should be
respected, the same as their legends and traditions, whether Christian or
otherwise. On this side of the Atlantic, as in many parts of the world,
children anxiously awaited every 6th of January, gathering enough hay for the
camels bringing the Three Wise Men. I also shared in these hopes during
the early years of my life, asking those three fortunate Wise Men for the
impossible, with the same wishful thinking that some compatriots expect miracles
from our determined and dignified Revolution.
I am not physically apt to speak directly to the
citizens of the municipality where I was nominated for our elections next
Sunday. I do what I can: I write. For me, this is a new
experience: writing is not the same as speaking. Today, that I have more
time to inform myself and to meditate about what I see, I have barely enough
time to write.
One always expects good tidings; bad tidings tend
to surprise and demoralize us. Being prepared for the worst is the only
way to be prepared for the best.
It seems unreal to see Bush, the conqueror of
other peoples’ raw materials and energy resources, setting out guidelines for
the world careless about how many hundreds of thousands or millions of people
die or how many clandestine prisons and torture centers must be created to
attain his objectives. “Sixty or more corners of the world” must expect
pre-emptive attacks. Let us not shut our eyes; Cuba is one of those dark
corners. The head of the empire said that in just so many words and I have
warned the international community of this on more than one occasion.
In Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates,
a few miles from Iran, AP says that “The President of the United States, George
W. Bush said Sunday that Iran is threatening the security of the world, and that
the United States and Arab allies must join together to confront the danger
before it’s too late.
“Bush has accused the Teheran government of
funding terrorists, undermining stability in Lebanon, and sending weapons to the
Taliban, the Afghan religious militia. He added that Iran is trying to
intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defying the United Nations and
destabilizing the region as a whole by refusing to be open about its nuclear
“'Iranian actions threaten the security of nations
everywhere’ Bush said. Therefore, the United States is strengthening our
long-range commitments to security with our friends in the Persian Gulf and
calling on our friends to confront this danger.”
“Bush spoke at the Emirates Palace Hotel, built at
a cost of 3 billion dollars, and where a suite costs 2,450 dollars a
night. It is one kilometer from end to end and has a 1.3 kilometer white
sand beach. According to Steven Pike, spokesman of the of the US Embassy
in the United Arab Emirates, every grain of sand on this beach was imported from
The entire world knows that he wants war against
Iran, it is his war. Furthermore, he promises that U.S. troops will remain
in Iraq for at least 10 more years.
What is worse is that the main candidates of the
two parties in line to succeed him are incapable of remedying this. Not
one of them dares to even slightly contest this imperial practice, which is
based on the excuse of fighting terrorism, an evil engendered by the system
itself and its colossal and unsustainable consumerism, while striving for the
impossible: sustained growth, full employment and no inflation.
These were not the dreams of Martin Luther King,
Malcolm X and Abraham Lincoln; nor were they the dreams of those great dreamers
throughout humanity’s turbulent history.
Whoever has the time to read and analyze the news
coming in on the Internet, cable and in books, can ascertain the contradictions
to which the world has been driven.
In an article run by El País, a widely read
Spanish newspaper, the subject of the prices of food and fuel are dealt
with. Signed by Paul Kennedy, professor of history and director of
International Security Studies at Yale University and one of the country’s most
influential intellectuals, the article states that “oil is the greatest element
of dependency for the United States in terms of external forces."
“By the mid-18th century, Great Britain had the
largest shipbuilding industry in the world. Yet, as its yards were
launching hundreds if not thousands of sailing ships each year, certain English
inventors were creating the magic of the steam engine, which used vast amounts
of energy secured in the especially bituminous depots of South Wales. The steam
and coal engine carried the British Empire onward for another 150 years.”
Later on he indicates the point of view that is
most interesting for us: the ever-greater interconnection between oil and
foods. The reasons are well-known: the enormous energy demands of the
large Asian economies and the inability of the wealthiest countries –the United
States, Japan and Europe– to reduce their consumption.
“But global soy bean demand is also spiraling
upward, again, chiefly due to the rising consumption in Asia; China’s tens of
millions of pigs devour an awful amount of soy bean meal in a year. The soy bean
futures prices are 80 percent higher this year (December 2007) than last
“No one can be certain of that, but the continued
increases in overall world population, and the surge in real incomes for more
than two billion people over the recent past, will surely translate into
ever-greater demand for the world’s protein: for more beef, more pork, more
chicken, more fish, and thus for more grains to feed them.”
The Yale professor might as well have added: more
eggs and more milk, since their production requires considerable amounts of
fodder. But a little later, he alludes to an article published in The
Economist, the main newspaper of European finance, describing it as “highly
detailed, impressive and very scary”; it is entitled “The End of Cheap
Food”. “That magazine began its food-price index way back in 1845. The
price index is higher today than in anytime in its entire 162 years.”
Brazil, which is now self-reliant in fuel and has
abundant reserves, will doubtlessly escape this dilemma. Stretching on a
plateau at 300 to 900 meters altitude, it is 77 times bigger than Cuba. This
sister republic enjoys 3 different climates. Almost every food can be
grown there. It is no hit by tropical hurricanes. Together with Argentina,
they could save the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, including
Mexico, although they could never guarantee security for them because they are
at the mercy of an empire which will not allow that union.
Writing, as many people know, is an instrument of
expression that lacks speed, tone and the intonation of spoken language, and it
doesn’t use gestures. It also takes several times our scarce available
time. Writing has the advantage that it can been done at any time, day or
night, but one doesn’t know who will read it; very few can resist the temptation
to improve it, to include what was not said or to cross out what was said;
sometimes one has the urge to throw it all in the waste basket since you don’t
have the interlocutor there in front of you. All my life I have
transmitted ideas about events as I was seeing them, from the darkest ignorance
until today when I have more time available and I have the possibility of
observing the crimes being committed against our planet and our species.
To the youngest of our revolutionaries, in particular, I
recommend to be extremely demanding with themselves and to observe an iron-clad
discipline. They should avoid being ambitious for power, presumptuous or
boasters. They should be watchful about bureaucratic methods and mechanisms and
avoid succumbing to simple slogans. They should recognize bureaucratic procedure
for the worst obstacle they are and use science and computation without falling
prey to the excessively technical and unintelligible jargon of the elitist
specialists. They should always be hunger for knowledge; and perseverance,
and both physical and mental exercises should be part of their lives.
In this new era in which we live, capitalism is
not even a useful instrument. It is like a tree with rotten roots, from whence
only the worst forms of individualism, corruption and inequality sprout.
Nor should we give away anything to those who could be producing and who don’t
produce, or who produce very little. Reward the merits of those who work
with their hands or their minds.
Just as we have universalized higher education, we
must also universalize simple physical labor; it helps us to at least carry out
a part of the infinite investments demanded by everyone, as if there was an
enormous reserve of money and labor force. Be especially wary of those
inventing State enterprises with just any excuse and then managing the easy
profits as if they had been capitalists all their lives, sowing egoism and
Until we become aware of such realities, no effort
can be made, as Martí would have said, to “timely prevent” that the empire which
he saw surging up, living as he did in its entrails, may destroy the future of
We must be dialectic and creative. There is no
other possible alternative.
We are grateful for Bush playing his part as one
of the Wise Men, visiting the place where the son on the carpenter Joseph was
born, if truly someone knows where the exact spot of that humble crib is, where
the Nazarene was born. The leader of the empire bears the gift, this time,
of tens of billions of dollars to the Arab countries to buy weapons that come
from the industrial-military complex; and at the same time, two dollars for
every one supplied to them to arm the state of Israel, where the United Nations
agency which tackles the subject assures us that 3.5 million Palestinians have
been deprived of their rights or expelled from their territory.
His obsessive instrument is to threaten the world
with nuclear war. Only he is capable of bearing this Epiphany Gift.
Fidel Castro Ruz
January 14, 2008.