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Posted July 11, 2003 by publisher in Cuban History

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Jorge Smith | Prensa Latina

Havana, Jul 11 (PL) “We lack a charge [of machetes] to kill scoundrels”, said Cuban poet Ruben Martinez Villena, and 30 years later Fidel Castro asserted that the July 26, 1953 attack on Moncada Garrison was the charge the poet was asking for.

Those verses from the “Mensaje lÝrico civil” (1923) by Martinez Villena were full of rage.

The attack on Moncada Garrison was based in the ethics of Jose Marti, our greatest poet, in that of martyrs who were betrayed by governments of a “republic frustrated from its beginning” due to the US intervention in the war of 1898.

Cuban intellectuals, more than in a confrontation of styles and schools, have always been immersed in the political debate of their homeland.

Corruption and colonial despotism, causes of the1868 independence war, emerged again in the period of the pseudo-republics after May 20, 1902, and up to 1959.

Stealing became a sort of national sport, with the governing classes assuming power was a way of enrichment.

Poet Roberto Fernandez Retamar in his “Ensayo de otro mundo” (Essay from Another World) (1967) affirmed that the 20th Century began in Cuba with “La protesta de los Trece” (1923), the important group of writers and artists led by Ruben Martinez Villena and Alejo Carpentier against the ruling administrative corruption.

This concern, this profound commitment reoccurring in its history, gave Cuban intellectuals the exceptional character they still have.

The March 10, 1952 coup d"etat created a revolutionary situation in Cuba which, following Lenin"s format, reinforced the contradictions between exploiters and exploited, because it was not enough that “those from below” could not stand it anymore, but that those “above” could not continue living as before.

Leaders of the traditional opposition to Batista did not react as the people expected, and one by one, almost all political parties joined the dictator. The situation demanded the famous charge asked for by Martinez Villena in 1923.

The attack on Moncada garrison on July 26, 1953, Jose Marti"s 100th anniversary, was the historic reply.

In the early hours of the attack on the fortress, led by Fidel Castro, a cultural act was celebrated that included the singing of the National Anthem, recitation of a poem “Ya estamos en combate” by soldier-poet Raul Gomez Garcia, and one by Jose Marti recited by Fidel Castro.

The cultural benefits for Cuba from this action were gigantic, especially because it broke the ideological fatalism of an axiom that “a revolution could be made with or within the army, but never against the army.”

The July 26th action had a demythologizing role and helped the people give a privileged place to ideas and spirit, as Marti said. A speech of culture and ethics.

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