CubaBrief: Cuban poet, journalist, and independence leader José Martí at 170. Remembering strategic nonviolence scholar Gene Sharp. Biden’s border policy punishes those the U.S. should help

José Julián Martí Pérez:  28 January 1853 – 19 May 1895

The Castro regime’s agents of influence spent the 170th anniversary of the birth of José Martí  attempting to co-opt his legacy, but in order to do so, they needed to omit much of his writings, and who this man was. In the midst of the Cuban war of independence,  he repeatedly defended democratic norms and issued a statement on revolutions that, in light of the Castro regime, seems prophetic today.  “A revolution is still necessary: the one that does not make its leader president, the revolution against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceful men, once soldiers, so that neither they nor anyone will ever be so again.”

José Martí was a practicing journalist and free speech advocate who was a contemporary of Karl Marx and gave a critical assessment of the German communist philosopher when reporting on a memorial service for Karl Marx in New York City following his death on March 29, 1883.

“Karl Marx studied the methods of setting the world on new foundations, and wakened those who were asleep, and showed them how to cast down the broken props. But being in a hurry, with his understanding somewhat clouded, he did not see that children who do not have a natural, slow, and painful gestation are not born viable, whether they come from the bosom of the people in history, or from the wombs of women in the home.”

Martí also recognized the dangers of Socialism and its doctrine of envy more broadly, observing: 

“Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.”

Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter had a blog entry titled “José Julián Martí Pérez at 170: The descendants of José Martí and those who repress them now” that explores some of the Cubans who continued to, or are continuing to live out the values of José Martí in today’s Cuba.

“Looking for these values in contemporary statements leads to Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, who said in a speech to the European Parliament on December 17, 2002: ‘The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together.’ It also leads to #27N and the San Isidro Movement, and on January 27, 2021, artists, journalists and intellectuals peacefully gathered in front of the Ministry of Culture to read the works of José Martí. They are his descendants.”   

There is also an interesting reflection on the above-mentioned quote about “the revolution against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceful men, once soldiers, so that neither they nor anyone will ever be so again,” as seen through the eyes of those familiar with Mohandas Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s accomplishments in the twentieth century.

This prompted the blog entry to highlight American nonviolent theorist Gene Sharp, who died five years ago on January 28, 2013, on the 165th anniversary of the birth of José Martí.

“Today also marks five years since nonviolence scholar Gene Sharp died. He taught generations that there was an alternative to bloody conflict and that it was non-violent armed conflict. Professor Sharp practiced nonviolence as a conscientious objector during the Korean War, and studied the examples of Mohandas Gandhi, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and many other nonviolent practitioners. He demonstrated that nonviolent resistance was anything but passive, and that success in a struggle required strategy as well. Gene Sharp presented his case succinctly at the National Conference on Nonviolent Sanctions and Defense in Boston in 1990. “I say nonviolent struggle is armed struggle. And we have to take back that term from those advocates of violence who seek to justify with pretty words that kind of combat. Only with this type of struggle one fights with psychological weapons, social weapons, economic weapons and political weapons. And that this is ultimately more powerful against oppression, injustice and tyranny than violence.”

Finally, on January 27, 2023 the Miami Herald published an Op Ed by the CFC executive director titled “Biden’s border policy punishes the very people the U.S. should be helping” that takes a closer look at the migration policy announced by the Biden Administration.

“On Jan. 5, the Biden administration announced a series of new border enforcement actions that, according to immigration experts, amount to a transit asylum ban.” … “Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan dissidents persecuted by their respective governments for reasons of conscience are refugees, as are Haitians fleeing political turmoil. The Biden administration is denying them the right to apply for asylum in the United States.” …”The president’s policy contradicts the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which recognize a refugee’s right to seek asylum outside their home country if they have a credible fear of persecution if they return, and which the United States signed and ratified.”

This policy is not only a violation of an international treaty signed by the United States, but runs counter to existing U.S. law:

“8 U.S. Code § 1158 (a) Authority to apply for asylum (1) In general Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.”

While reflecting on the ongoing migration crisis in the Americas, the words of Martí come to mind.

“We are free, but not to be evil, not to be indifferent to human suffering, not to profit from the people, from the work created and sustained through their spirit of political association, while refusing to contribute to the political state that we profit from. We must say no once more. Man is not free to watch impassively the enslavement and dishonor of men, nor their struggles for liberty and honor.”

Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter, January 28, 2023

José Julián Martí Pérez at 170: The descendants of José Martí and those who repress them now

 “I think they kill my child every time they deprive a person of their right to think.” – José Martí

28 January 1853 – 19 May 1895

José Martí was a poet, journalist, and Cuban independence leader. He had also endured prison for writings critical of the Spanish government. He organized a war of independence, but did so without resorting to dehumanizing his adversary or appealing to hatred. He was also a fierce advocate for civil liberties and especially freedom of thought and expression. Today, January 28 marks 170 years since the day José Julián Martí Pérez was born.

The communist dictatorship in Cuba claims José Martí as its own, but their ideology and actions are in stark contrast to his values. 

Over a thousand sons and daughters of Cuba are arbitrarily and unjustly imprisoned today for exercising their right to free thought and expression in calling for freedom in July 2021. Eleven thousand are jailed for pre-crime in Cuba. The regime jails them for what they might potentially do in the future.  Millions of Cubans have gone into exile, and many are barred from returning home by the Castro regime. The Castro regime continues to kill Cubans for standing up for freedom or attempting to flee Cuba to live in freedom.  It has criminalized free speech, and jailed artists and independent journalists for exercising their profession. 

José Martí with shirt of stars by Camila Ramírez Lobón

Ideas expressed below by José Martí are in conflict with Castroism, but are in accord with the democratic Cuba that helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and struggled for a more just and democratic order, but was damaged by Fulgencio Batista after 1952 then systematically destroyed by the Castro brothers after 1959. 

“Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist.”

“Freedoms, like privileges, prevail or are imperiled together. You cannot harm or strive to achieve one without harming or furthering all.”

“Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”

“It is the duty of man to raise up man. One is guilty of all abjection that one does not help to relieve. Only those who spread treachery, fire, and death out of hatred for the prosperity of others are undeserving of pity.”  

 Martí also criticized the writings of Karl Marx, observing they were antithetical to his own values. If one considers that he wrote, “It is the duty of man to raise up man. One is guilty of all abjection that one does not help to relieve. Only those who spread treachery, fire, and death out of hatred for the prosperity of others are undeserving of pity.” He was a contemporary of Marx who had written in 1849, “We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism.” Martí recognized the dangers of Socialism and its doctrine of envy, observing: 

“Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.” 

The observation of José Martí that “A revolution is still necessary: the one that does not make its caudillo president, the revolution against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceful men, once soldiers, so that neither they nor anyone will ever be so again,” is a damning indictment of the 64 year dictatorship of the Castro brothers, but also relevant to free Cubans.  

Martí wrote this before nonviolence was recognized as a powerful force to be used to achieve change. He led the effort to initiate Cuba’s second war of independence and was killed in action during an early skirmish in that war in 1895. 

However, the idea of an uprising of nonviolent men and women to carry out a “revolution against revolutions”  that will usher in a democracy, and not another dictator, is precisely what many Cubans want. 

Today also marks five years since nonviolence scholar Gene Sharp died. He taught generations that there was an alternative to bloody conflict and that it was non-violent armed conflict. Professor Sharp practiced nonviolence as a conscientious objector during the Korean War, and studied the examples of Mohandas Gandhi, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and many other nonviolent practitioners. He demonstrated that nonviolent resistance was anything but passive, and that success in a struggle required strategy as well.

Gene Sharp, January 21, 1928 – January 28, 2018

Gene Sharp presented his case succinctly at the National Conference on Nonviolent Sanctions and Defense in Boston in 1990. 

“I say nonviolent struggle is armed struggle. And we have to take back that term from those advocates of violence who seek to justify with pretty words that kind of combat. Only with this type of struggle one fights with psychological weapons, social weapons, economic weapons and political weapons. And that this is ultimately more powerful against oppression, injustice and tyranny then violence.”

The descendants

Cubans of all ideological stripes claim him as their own, but objectively who has maintained the spirit of his words and ideals? Castroism is the antithesis of all that José Martí represented. 

There is a movement that seeks to restore human rights and liberties using nonviolent means that uphold his values. These are courageous men and women who risk all standing up to the Cuban dictatorship. Many have been jailed, some have been killed, and their families targeted for reprisals in this struggle for freedom.

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas addresses the EU parliament (2002)

Looking for these values in contemporary statements leads to Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, who said in a speech to the European Parliament on December 17, 2002:

 “The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together.’”

It also leads to #27N and the San Isidro Movement, and on January 27, 2021, artists, journalists and intellectuals peacefully gathered in front of the Ministry of Culture to read the works of José Martí. They are his descendants.   

The San Isidro Movement

[ Full Article ]

https://cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com/2023/01/jose-julian-marti-perez-at-170-heirs-of.html

Miami Herald,  January 27, 2023

Biden’s border policy punishes the very people the U.S. should be helping | Guest Opinion

By John Suarez

January 27, 2023, 6:27 PM

​On Jan. 5, the Biden administration announced a series of new border enforcement actions that, according to immigration experts, amount to a transit asylum ban.

Biden created an opportunity for up to 30,000 people per month from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba to apply for parole back in their home country as a diversion from ending asylum at the border, but this means that refugees fleeing a deadly situation will have to return to it. Furthermore, the Cuban dictatorship has a history of prohibiting dissidents from traveling.

Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan dissidents persecuted by their respective governments for reasons of conscience are refugees, as are Haitians fleeing political turmoil. The Biden administration is denying them the right to apply for asylum in the United States.

The president’s policy contradicts the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which recognize a refugee’s right to seek asylum outside their home country if they have a credible fear of persecution if they return, and which the United States signed and ratified.

Cubans have well-founded fears of persecution. In 1959, a communist dictatorship emerged that demonized those who tried to leave as counter-revolutionaries, “worms” and “scum.”

Since the Castro regime eliminated independent mass media in Cuba, outlawed human-rights groups and banned international human-rights organizations, including Amnesty International, from the island, the full scope of human-rights violations, including torture and extrajudicial killings, remains undocumented. The International Committee of the Red Cross has not had access to Cuban prisons since 1989, and only for one year beginning in 1988. It had been barred from entering them since 1959.

Despite the regime’s best efforts, however, some atrocities have been revealed.

Over six decades, Ministry of Transportation vessels committed numerous acts of brutality against Cubans attempting to flee the island on boats or on rafts. Castro regime agents shot at Cubans trying to swim to the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base, their bodies pulled from the sea with gaff hooks used for sport fishing.

The most recent massacre took place on Oct. 28, 2022.

[ Full article here ]

https://www.miamiherald.com/article271754387.html