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CubaNews Commentary May 19, 2005

by Walter Lippmann Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 6:20 PM

May 19th is a very important date in world and Cuban history. Fighters for a better world who were born on this date include: Malcolm X, Ho Chi Minh, Lorraine Hansberry and Yuri Kochiyama.


May 19 is an exceptionally significant date in world history.

For Cubans, it's the date when Jose Marti died in combat 110 years ago, during the independence struggle begun in 1895. Marti is referred to in Cuba as the apostle of the island's struggle for self determination., the apostle of the island's independence struggle. Fidel Castro has often said Marti was the "intellectual author" of the July 26, 1953 assault on the Moncada Barracks, after which the name of

Cuba's principle armed revolutionary movement was named.

In a speech given in 1973, Fidel explained about Jose Marti:

"Without the illuminating preaching of Jose Marti, without

the vigorous example and immortal work of Cespedes, Agramonte,

Gomez, Maceo and many legendary men of past struggles, without

the extraordinary scientific discoveries of Marx and Engels,

and without the genial interpretation of Lenin and his

portentous historical exploit, a 26 July would not have been conceived.

"Marti taught us ardent patriotism, impassioned love for

freedom, man's dignity and decorum, repudiation of despotism

and unlimited faith in the people. His revolutionary preaching

embodied the moral ba sis and the historic legitimacy of our

armed action. That is why we said he was the intellectual

Marti's ideas continue to be so central to both the theory

and the practice of the Cuban Revolution that you find them repeated frequently. Marti's last letter to Manuel Mercado, written the day before he was killed in combat. In Cuba this document is referred to as Marti's Political Testament.

Cuba's media are going all out about Marti's birthdate today. Fidel Castro gave a special presentation and participated in a special MESA REDONDA at the Karl Marx Theater. At that

event, in addition to explaining again Marti's significance

for Cuba's independence struggle, Ricardo Alarcon once again read that most famous of Marti quotations, from his final letter, his political testament.


"I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and

duty for I understand that duty and have the courage to

carry it out-the duty of preventing the United States from

spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence,

and from empowering with that additional strength our lands

of America. All I have done so far, and all I will do, is

for this purpose. I have had to work quietly and somewhat

indirectly, because to achieve certain objectives, they

must be kept under cover; to proclaim them for what they

are would raise such difficulties that the objectives

could not be attained."


May 19th is also the birthdate of Ho Chi Minh, known in his home country as being the father of Vietnam's independence

struggle. Tonight Fidel Castro spoke out about and link the

two great revolutionary leaders in a special presentation at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana. There will be a detailed report or series of reports on this shortly.

Today is also the birthdate of Malcolm X, the incomparable leader of the Black liberation struggle of in the United

States of America. Malcolm X inspired me personally and it

was my good fortune to have heard him speak in person as a young college student. In 1962 he came to speak on behalf of the Nation of Islam to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where I was a student. I'd never been so moved by any speaker in my life. Malcolm became a teacher and an influence to me which he remains to this day. Listen to Malcolm X's speeches at the excellent website developed by Abdul Alkalimat:

Here is an essay I wrote about Malcolm X and how is views

on self-defense were distorted by the New York Times:

The New York Times reviled Malcolm during his lifetime

and gloated over his death. They've been doing the same

thing about Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution through

all the succeeding year. Today with Malcolm X safely dead,

the US media says favorable things about him. But while he lived, taught and fought, they distorted his ideas and they slandered and reviled him at every moment in his life.

Here where I live in Los Angeles, radio station KPFK today

presented ten hours of programming devoted to him. You can listen to its programming on the internet at KPFK's website: Democracy NOW devoted today's program entirely to Malcolm X with excerpts from a speech by Manning Marable who's been

working on a new biography of Malcolm for the past ten years

Today is also the birthdate of Yuri Kochiyama, a fighter for social justice and Black liberation going back many decades. The only non-Black member of Malcolm X's Organization of Afro-American Unity, she went to Cuba on the Venceremos Brigade at AGE SIXTY SEVEN. You can read the chapter of her wonderful memoir, PASSING IT ON, in which she describes

Cuba as she saw it at that time on this webpage:

In light of Tuesday's giant mobilization, and the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles by the United States government hours after that demand was made by the marchers in Cuba, Fidel's remarks should be of exceptional interest. Fidel's speech at the march was short, but twelve minutes long. Read that:

A web-page has been prepared including the front pages of the main Cuban newspapers, Juventud Rebelde and Granma published after the demonstration to report on it. You can view that: It includes the gallery of lovely photographs of the demonstration taken by author and translator Mike Fuller.

Today is ALSO the birthday of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Her best known work was the play A RAISIN IN THE SUN and TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK.

Today is ALSO the birthdate of Harvey Cox, the theologian

from Harvard Divinity School who wrote the introduction to

Frei Betto's 1985 book of interviews with Cuba's Commander -in-Chief, "Fidel and Religion" (Simon & Schuster)

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews


Cubans Honor Jose Marti and Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi, May 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuban residents in Hanoi paid tribute Thursday to national heroes Jose Marti and Ho Chi Minh, coinciding with the death in battle and birth, respectively.

The island´s national hero died in action on May 19, 1895 in the Cuban eastern region of Dos Rios, and the founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party was born the same day but in 1890 in the small village of Sen.

A Vietnamese representation and the group of Cubans, led by ambassador Jesus Aise Sotolongo and members of the Vietnamese-Cuba Friendship Association put a white-flower offering at Jose Marti´s bronze bust at the central Tao Dan Park.

Later, participants honored Ho Chi Minh in the Mausoleum erected to him at the Ba Dinh Square, a place where he declared independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945.

The mausoleum director praised the fraternity and affection existing between the two countries, shown during the visit to this Asian nation of Raul Castro, first vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, who attended festivities for the 30th anniversary of the South and the Reunification of Vietnam on April 30 1975.

Visitors received the commemorative medal bearing a portrait of the Vietnamese hero and date of his death, as well as paid last tribute at the coffin where the embalmed body of President Ho Chi Minh rests.


Fidel Castro to Speak on 110th Anniversary of Jose Marti´s Death

Havana, May 19 (Prensa Latina) President Fidel Castro will make a public appearance Thursday, for the 110th anniversary of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti´s death in battle.

Granma daily reported today the speech, taking place at Havana"s Karl Marx Theater, will be broadcast live by Cubavision, Educativo and Cubavision Internacional channels, Radio Rebelde and Radio Habana Cuba, beginning at 17:30 local time.

The tribute to Jose Marti, a consummate supporter of peace and political commitment, is part of Cubans" struggle against terrorism, for justice and truth.


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