Lessons From the Second Declaration of Havana

U.S. hostility against Cuba and Latin America prompted Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel to publicly reflect and draw attention to the Second Declaration of Havana (1962), in which the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro cautioned about the perpetual danger of U.S. imperialism.

On February 4 1962 in Plaza de la Revolucion, Fidel proclaimed the document in response to the decision by the Organisation of American states, influenced by the U.S., to expel Cuba from its ranks. The Cuban response was a pledge of resistance against U.S. interference in their country – a stance which Diaz Canel recently described as “resistance, struggle and emancipation.”

The U.S. illegal blockade against Cuba since February 7 1962 was a consolidation of previous restrictions placed by the imperialist power since the early days of the revolution. Targeting Cuba’s economy was one of the measures through which the U.S. sought to end the Cuban Revolution. What the U.S. failed to comprehend was that the revolution’s emphasis on education ensured a revolutionary process as opposed to a short-lived triumph. The Second Declaration of Havana is a magnificent representation of the revolutionary dynamic imparted and acted upon by Fidel.

Referring first to Cuban poet and revolutionary José Martí, Fidel juxtaposes two processes – imperialist intervention in Cuba and Latin America, and the importance of sustaining the revolution. One insight from Fidel which was later proved by U.S. intervention in Chile to depose President Salvador Allende is the following: “What unites them [the U.S.] and stirs them up in fear? What explains it is fear. Not fear of the Cuban Revolution but fear of the Latin American revolution.”

The Cuban Revolution was the first stage that represented a possibility for the rest of the region to follow suit and dissociate from U.S. imperialism. In 1962, Fidel asserted, “Today in many countries of Latin America revolution is inevitable.” The trail of U.S. interference in the region to this day has ensured a perpetual need for regional revolution. Indeed, the tactics employed by the U.S. as described by Fidel in the Second Declaration of Havana have not altered. The links between Latin American governments and the U.S. military, the CIA, as well as other forms of more covert interference to influence the rise of new dictatorships and the preservation of neoliberal legacies are what have prompted countries in the region to clamour for change.

In Fidel’s words, “North American imperialism’s declared policy of sending soldiers to fight against the revolutionary movement of any country in Latin America, that is, to kill workers, students, peasants, Latin American men and women, has no other objective than the continued maintenance of its monopolistic interests and the privileges of the traitorous oligarchies which support it.”

Cuba has protected its revolution at a cost. It is this cost that makes the Cuban Revolution relevant to other regional and international struggles. The U.S. blockade, which violates human rights and which the UN General Assembly has regularly voted against, is one lengthy example of U.S. diktats in a world that purportedly abides by international law.

The Cuban Revolution moved away from this dynamic. Its respect for international law is not determined by the international community, but rather the revolutionary values that are part of the Cuban people’s historical and current narratives. For Fidel, the UN provided a platform to articulate Cuba’s demands. The revolution, therefore, was never subjugated to external influence – a condition that is enshrined in UN Resolution 2625: “Every State has an inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural systems, without interference in any form by another State.”

The Cuban Revolution works within the parameters of international law, yet the same law has been corrupted by imperialist interests in furthering foreign intervention. While the current interference in Latin America may be constructed as a strategy to isolate Cuba further, imperialism is missing the point – revolutions are made by the people and the U.S. has triggered all the conditions for change in the region.

Strategic Culture

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