The Second Revolution in Cuba

The Second Revolution in Cuba

The Second Revolution in Cuba

The Second Revolution in Cuba

Excerpt

At the beginning of his account of the Revolution of 1848 in France, Karl Marx remarked that all great revolutionary convulsions take disguises from history. Heroic performances of the past, weighing "like a nightmare on the brain of the living," must be repeated in new and altered circumstances. Therefore, just when people "seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something entirely new, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present the new scene in world history in this time-honored disguise and this borrowed language. Thus Luther donned the mask of the Apostle Paul; the Revolution of 1789 to 1814 draped itself alternately as the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire; and the Revolution of 1848 knew nothing better to do than parody, in turn, 1789 and the revolutionary tradition of 1793 to 1795."

The Cuban people have recently been "engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things" under the leadership of Fidel Castro. And as in 1789 and 1848, these new struggles have been glorified by awakening the dead. Fidel Castro "donned the mask" and borrowed the language of José Martí, the Thomas Jefferson of Cuban independence. The Rebel Army held high the honored banners of two scourges of the Spanish occupation, Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. By casting the United States in the role of imperialist Spain, Cuban revolutionaries have found comfort in the assurance that they fight, like their forefathers, the Mambises of the 19th century, in behalf of national independence and patriotism, still the highest civic ideals their tradition affords. The slogan that expresses their determination to preserve the Revolution is "Our country or death!" when . . .

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