APPEAL/OPEN LETTER TO FIDEL CASTRO
By Andre Vltchek
I am writing this letter from the frozen shore not far from the northernmost Japanese city of Wakkanai. It is pristine and cold here, bitterly cold. When the wind blows, the snow powder takes to the air – on such occasions it looks like a real snowstorm although instead of descending from the sky, the snow is actually elevated from earth. It is as white as it gets anywhere in the world, and then blue late in the evening.
On the shore, huge antennas and satellites are facing north; they are pointed towards Sakhalin – an enormous island that at the end of the WWII was taken by the Soviet Union and now belongs to Russia. More than two decades ago Cold War officially ended, but the dishes, listening posts and who knows what else are still here, scaring the nature and silencing goodwill.
I love pristine snow and humble villages of Northern Hokkaido. I often come here to hike and to think. However, this time I undertook this journey of more than 2.000 kilometers from central Honshu in order to get away from my duties of a writer and filmmaker and to assume my duties of revolutionary. I have come here to address you – to write this chaotic and untidy appeal or a letter or whatever one should call it.
In November 2010 you quoted my article “The West Perfecting Its Techniques To Hurt China” where I am arguing that Peace Nobel Price given to Liu Xiaobo was nothing more than yet another cruel attack against China, aimed at disorienting Chinese people and discrediting tremendous achievements of their country.
I was deeply moved by your interest in my work and would like to use this opportunity to launch our dialogue and to share with you and with the Cuban people much that I have learned throughout my nomadic life, things that could help to put some recent events into perspective and eventually help our cause.
Above all, I would like this letter to be seen as my personal appeal to you, in which I am pleading that you do even more than what you are already doing to promote unity among Socialist and Communist governments and movements of Latin America and Asia.
* * * *
This seems to be the crucial moment in history: the West is solidifying its iron hand of total control and indoctrination that reaches far and wide – to all corners of the planet. What colonialism failed to achieve during few long centuries, neo-colonialism accomplished in just a few decades. The circle is closing, and at times there seems to be no escape from its powerful grip. Market fundamentalists, neo-colonialists and Western supremacists from both sides of the Atlantic are managing to choke all forms of resistance and only few islands of sanity are remaining: Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Against all odds Cuba has survived without having to compromise its revolutionary principles and despite the vitriolic propaganda from the US and European Union, it is still offering inspiration and hope to millions of desperate men and women in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. One after another, Latin American countries are choosing the socialist path: some do it ‘with songs’ and fiery speeches like Venezuela and Bolivia, other cautiously but determinedly like Brazil. Even Chile, often described at the most market-oriented society on the continent is definitely socialist in its heart – something that was apparent during and after the 2010 natural disaster and outburst of solidarity that followed. Hopefully, four years of the rule of business mogul there will not change much in terms of general direction in which the country is developing.
It would be too early and too simplistic to say that we – the Left – won in entire Latin America. After all this vast part of the world includes huge and stagnant Mexico, worn out and divided Colombia as well as Honduras – country recently destroyed by the old-fashioned coup supported by the North. Despite the setbacks it is obvious that tremendous progress has been made. Camaraderie and cooperation between Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, for instance, opened new chapter in internationalism. And progress should not only be judged by achievements. Tens of millions of people in Latin America demanded and were given back their dignity and hope.
More than ten thousand kilometers away from Latin America, China has also stood tall, building its own brand of socialism, lifting up hundreds of millions of people from clutches of poverty. Its revolution first drew inspiration from Western Marxist ideals but later combined them with Confucianism and other elements of its own enormous culture of more than 6,000 years.
The West has flatly refused to accept and tolerate this great and gentle power, which for centuries refused to colonize and brutalize the world the same way as Western empires had done. Tricked, defeated and divided by sly and power-hungry European states and later by Japan, China has had to clench its fists and fight for its independence and freedom, struggling and undergoing tremendous effort while build true socialist nation and defending its territorial integrity. Like Cuba, China has been facing subversion and infiltration from abroad, malicious propaganda and direct mingling in its internal affairs. As a matter of principle, the West is siding with all enemies of Beijing – it glorifies and canonizes anti-government terrorists as well as former feudal lords and religious buffoons. Especially cherished are those who are trying to destroy China’s territorial integrity.
The greatest fear, the darkest nightmare, true horror scenario for the Empire and its propaganda machine has been the possibility that one day the people all over the world would wake up and realize that China (PRC) is actually enormously successful because it is a Communist country! The Empire does and will do everything in its power to convince the world that ‘China is more capitalist than capitalist nations themselves’ (one of the favorite phrases of the propaganda machine). In the mainstream Western press China is described as Communist only when it is being bashed for selected issues like ‘democracy’ (the West is naturally claiming that its dysfunctional multi-party system that serves business interests instead of its citizens is the only genuine form of the ‘rule of the people’) or for ‘human rights’, mostly for jailing those who want to overthrow the system – something that would earn their counterparts in the West Guantanamo Bay-style accommodation. To simplify the situation: China is described as capitalist whenever its success is admitted and as Communist whenever it is criticized.
Who are the Western allies in Asia? Basically all those self-proclaimed anti-Communists who are ready to harm, ostracize or isolate China: from Indonesian fascist generals and politicians to Thai ruler (the closest ally of the US in Southeast Asia and the richest monarch on earth), from new servile and often extreme right-wing Mongolian leaders to a handful of those Chinese people who feel spite for their own nation and culture.
One of the darlings of the West is still Dalai Lama, that feudal lord and during the last few decades one of the chief propagandists of anti-Chinese hysteria, who in the past offered India thousands of its serves for the war with ‘Red China’. ‘Chinese opposition intellectuals’ are pampered and awarded every imaginable and unimaginable price, grant and funding. Visitor to any major London, New York or Hong Kong bookstore would be facing enormous offerings of anti-Chinese, anti-Communist fiction and non-fiction books painstakingly translated into English language, but would hardly be able to stumble over anything positive regarding Chinese Revolution, Chairman Mao and recent developments. As if more than one billion of people living in China had no right to have their voices heard! No empire on earth and no political block ever managed to develop such successful and effective censorship, as did the West! Instead of human censors with ink-stained fingers, censorship of Western regimes is anonymous – it is playing on people’s fear of losing job, fear of not being hired, fear of becoming undesirable or simply fear of something abstract and yet omnipresent.
It is interesting, one would say fascinating, that while we constantly hear from our publishers and film distributors that ‘writing political books is out of vogue, almost like committing commercial suicide’, political books are all over us, awarded prices and supported by mighty funding and scholarships. However, these are political books supporting regime’s dogmas: books criticizing China and Cuba, recalling hardships of Soviet era in former Eastern Block. All those Jung Changs, Andrei Makines and Sofi Oksanens! Would anyone buy it that they are not political? Of course they are, but being political and out of fashion is reserved to those works that are exposing horrors, genocides and mass murder committed by the Empire and by colonial Western powers.
One of the latest ‘stars’ of Chinese ‘dissent’ – an absolute intellectual lowlife – is Nobel Peace Price winner Liu Xiaobo. To quote great thinker Tariq Ali and his article “Does Liu Xiaobo Really Deserve the Peace Price”:
For the record, Liu Xiaobo has stated publicly that in his view:
(a) China’s tragedy is that it wasn’t colonized at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan. This would apparently have civilized it for ever;
(b) The Korean and Vietnam wars fought by the US were wars against totalitarianism and enhanced Washington’s ‘moral credibility’
(c) Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and Senator Kerry’s criticism were ‘slander-mongering’;
(d) Afghanistan? No surprises here: Full support for Nato’s war.
Those who visit China refusing to hum left and right Western propaganda tunes and then decide to write what they saw with their own eyes are ostracized. Courage is not valued, anymore. Qualities that are expected from journalists, academics and thinkers are mainly those: corporate discipline as well as ability to censor oneself. Those who are submissive enough, those who prostitute themselves in front of the power elegantly enough are nobly rewarded.
Those who are rebelliously insisting on ‘telling the truth’ are punished. They represent danger to the system and there are tens of thousands of men and women in academia and mainstream media ready to ‘expose them’ or even to cut their throat. To bash, ridicule, criticize and harass China is tremendously good business these days – often a door opener for certain type of careers, some of them even respectable ones.
Especially in the cowardly climate that rules at European, North American and Australian Universities (where it is ‘quote or die’ or more precisely ‘recycle what the others said or simply shut up’, leading to ‘it was raining last night according to Professor Green’, or if he didn’t say it, it was not raining at all!), any supporter of Communist China would encounter entire army of scandalized and outraged critics, well funded and well connected – literally shutting up anybody who would dare to follow his or her independent judgment.
When I was invited by Cambridge University in UK to show my film and to speak, I felt like public enemy by even daring to suggest that Indonesia is fascist and feudal dictatorship as all those professors Greens and Browns from here and the US universities and ANU were united in screaming that it was actually a vibrant democracy. It takes some guts and stamina to stand in front of all those honored professors and scream back to their faces that white is really white and that black is black although they are paid to prove the opposite!
There is nothing new in such approach: the greatest Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett – the first reporter to cover Hiroshima nuclear genocide in his article: “I Write This As a Warning To The World” and the one who produced virtuoso reportages and books about the massacres of North Korean citizens by the US troop during ‘Korean War’ as well as brilliant coverage of Vietnamese and Chinese revolutions –was declared “an enemy of Australian people” and stripped of his passport. Unlike most of the others in Western media and especially academia who are recycling each other’s quotes, Mr. Burchett wrote what he saw with his own eyes, and that was classified as unforgivable. He was a great friend of both Communist Vietnam and China – something that the West could neither stomach nor forgive. At the end it was you, Fidel, who presented him with the Cuban passport so he would be able to cover the world events as he pleased.
I know his son well – George Burchett. He is now in his 50’s, he is a good painter and a good friend. In 2008 we drove across Indonesia together, discussing the past and the present of the world. And we met on several occasions in Sydney. George is guarding the legacy of his father, arranges publication of his books and production of the films about him. We had many laughs while traveling together, but once in a while I felt deep sorrow when we would touch the past of his family. George was born in Hanoi and grew up in Cambodia, France and Bulgaria. In the West, nobody talks about the people like him – the exiles; children of the enemies of the [Western] states, hunted by the Empire.
* * * *
I know intimately almost entire Asian continent, from East Timor to Bangladesh, from Palestine and Israel to Sri Lanka, from India to Japan. Nowhere in this part of the world, not in one single country I observed such determined effort of the leadership to improve the lives of its citizens like in China. While pro-market regimes in Indonesia and the Philippines (but also in Thailand) literally robbed their own people of everything from land to public parks (almost all green areas were converted to private golf courses for the ‘elites’) to sidewalks, China is constructing enormous parks equipped with exercise machines, playgrounds and places for traditional exercises like Thai chi. Its cities banned scooters and motorbikes and instead invested tens of billions of dollars in ecological public transportation: from super-modern and efficient metro system to electric trolleybuses and buses that run on LPG. Beijing is experimenting with enormous catamaran-like buses propelled by solar energy that will be running on rails over the highway lanes. It is all almost free: many Beijing buses charge an equivalent of 5-6 US cents, while metro goes for 25 cents, in the city where the average income is approaching 1.000 dollars a month!
Streetlamps in the countryside are increasingly powered by solar energy. Many historical rural areas are undergoing facelift, revealing stunning beauty, sensitively combining traditional life and culture with modern services.
Life is improving dramatically – in the cities as well as in the countryside – but that is somehow unacceptable to say or especially to write, as many journalists and ‘thinkers’ of the West are expected to emphasize ‘enormous and growing’ differences between those few rich cities (obviously increasing standard of living of urban areas is impossible to hide, anymore) and ‘miserable’ countryside (hardly any foreigners travel to the villages, so those few hand-picked men and women from academia and media can basically say or write whatever they want without being challenged).
China is reforming its medical system; it is building the fastest and the longest train system in the world (already partially operational), improving education and quality of life of its citizens. It is obvious to anyone who knew China 20 or 10 years ago and knows it now that the country is ‘Communist’ or ‘Socialist’ or ‘run for the benefit of its people’ or whatever definition one would choose.
Better is China’s performance, more it is being dragged through dirt and more those monstrous bastions of fascism like Indonesia as well as semi-feudal societies with cast systems like India are hailed by the West as democratic and tolerant. In the country like Indonesia, statistics are massaged to fit to Western stereotype of ‘growing economy’, ‘vibrant democracy’ and ‘tolerant society’. More than half of the population there lives in misery, political parties bribe and corrupt voters who are not educated to make informed decisions. Country of 250 million (several world-class statisticians I talked to believe it has already over 300 million but the government does not want to admit existence of the poorest of the poor) is actually producing close to nothing, living from plunder of its own natural resources and high commodity prices on the world markets. Its wealth goes only to the pockets of the very few. Its infrastructure (including that of Jakarta which has no mass transit system and almost no sidewalks to speak of) is in ruins. Open sewers and children suffering from malnutrition are common sights near luxury malls and 5-star hotels where money is being washed.
Hillary Clinton sang odes to Indonesia when she arrived on her first official visit there. Then President Obama was heard declaring his love for this archipelago, remembering his childhood in Jakarta. To put things into perspective: his mother married Indonesian army officer and they moved to the military compound in Menteng neighborhood in Jakarta less than 2 years after the Western-sponsored military coup in 1965 and consequent massacres of 1965/66 took lives of between 2 and 3 million people of Chinese ethnicity, of Communists, teachers, trade unionists, atheists, intellectuals and artists.
The West needs great turbo-capitalist success stories and if they don’t exist in developing world, they are being manufactured in North America, in Europe and in Australia by academics, media people and propagandists and then imported here. Above all, the West needs all those corrupt monarchs of Asia, it needs elites who are willing to log out the forests while selling all there is under the earth and under the sea as long as they get their mighty cuts so they could drive their Ferraris on bumpy roads and through the slums. The West needs these raped countries decorated with glorious labels hanging from their ragged attires – it needs them for the gains of its own companies, but also as staunch allies against China!
Democracies they all are! Indonesia already massacred more than 100,000 innocent people in Papua where Western mining companies use TNI (the military) as their own paid guards. Torture is not banned in Indonesia while Communism and atheism are! In the Philippines, ruling gangs (yes, so called ‘elites’) are openly bribing voters (I witnessed them in action in Mindanao) and raping and killing those who oppose them, including journalists. And forget about some social benefits – just for illustration: several dental clinics in the south of the Philippines that I visited have only equipment to extract teeth – no drills, amalgam or anesthetics! Nowhere in this part of the world is spite for ordinary people so evident as in Indonesia and the Philippines. And then another ‘democracy’: Thailand. It is ruled by the richest – US born and Swiss-educated – monarch in the world and by the ‘upholder of the throne’ – British-born and British educated Prime Minister. Thailand is nicknamed (by the West) ‘Land of Smiles’. On closer examination one realizes that it is yet another feudal land and very violent on top of it. Thailand’s homicide rate is higher (per capita) than that of the United States. In the past, Thai opposition had been liquidated in the most fascist way: many men and women were even burned alive in fuel barrels. And the monarchy opened the country to the US military and participated in the crimes against humanity in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Women from poor countryside were forced to prostitution themselves by the regime. Recently, in this ‘land of smiles’, snipers were shooting peaceful opposition leaders through the heads, while the Western press was busy inventing headlines like ‘This Is Not Tiananmen Square!’ Well, definitely not! At Tiananmen, China (although heavy-handedly) was fighting for its survival. In the center of Bangkok, Thai pro-Western regime was murdering people in order to safe feudalism! Poor men and women demanding social justice were butchered in front of Western cameras. The footage was then re-interpreted and fully twisted in editing rooms in London, New York and elsewhere. I was there with the protesters – I spent days talking to them before the slaughter!
But we should not really trust our ears and our eyes. Instead we should trust those wise interpretations offered to us by propaganda-makers of the Empire.
* * * *
It is clear that the Empire (and by Empire I don’t mean only the Unites Sates, because it is clear that Washington did not invent the wheel and the essence of Western propaganda and manipulation has roots in European colonial culture) is extremely successful in dividing those people, movements and nations that should essentially feel like natural allies.
Breaking or at least isolating China is now the main goal of the West, which embarked on its new crusade with such zeal that it now even periodically abandons its favorite activity of many decades and centuries: torturing and breaking free will of the people of Latin America.
One could never repeat it often enough: if it becomes clear that China is Communist and successful country (as it obviously is), the entire “We won the Cold War because our political and economic system is superior” will go straight to the dogs. That’s why the West is so obsessed in demonizing China, that’s why each error this enormous country makes (and how could the country with over 1.3 billion inhabitants make no errors) is immediately put on television screens and on front pages of the newspapers, magnified to the extreme.
At the same time, Beijing should grasp momentum and repeat over and over again that China is proving to the world that although it is enormous and powerful, it does not see the world as its playground; it does not terrorize the planet as the West has done for centuries.
However, propaganda is not a forte of Chinese state! China, attacked and ostracized, does not shoot back. Or if it does, the rest of the world could not hear it.
But China should counter Western propaganda – for its own sake and for the sake of the world.
There are so many misconceptions that the Chinese leadership could easily correct through more forceful language.
On military spending: all those recent statements by Japan – staunch ally of the West or to use the language of South African apartheid ‘the nation of honorary whites’ – that it is concerned about growing military might of PRC! Japan is hosting military forces of the Empire, the same forces that brought so much horror on Asian continent! On top of it, China never attacked the West or Japan, while Japan did, spreading suffering all over this part of the world. On per capita basis, China’s military spending is much lower than that of Japan and in comparison to the United States, it is negligible.
On environment: China should reject the claim of the West that it is the second biggest polluter in the world. The only way to measure pollution (or energy consumption) is on per capita basis, and if such calculations would apply, any European country would fare much worse than China. On top of it, the US is constantly threatening to drag China to WTO court simply because Chinese government is subsidizing environmentally friendly industries! Such absurdities should be highlighted by China and repeated and criticized at all international forums and in the press.
On human rights: It is no secret that on per capita bases, the United States has more than 3 times more people in jail than China, and even United Kingdom has more! This fact should not forget. China should also repeat that it violates human rights much less than the US, UK and most of other Western nations. Human rights violations include murdering people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, dragging Muslim minority people from homes and brutally interrogating them on the coast of Kenya, supporting murderous Rwandan invasion in DRC Congo, staging coups in Latin America to mention just a few.
Than, there is an issue of Socialism. China is officially socialist state. It should at least periodically remind the world that it is.
Let’s look at the main Western claim that China is some sort of ‘state capitalism’. It is so easy to dispute this through numbers. Majority of Chinese production and all vital industries are in the hands of the state and the same is true about its medical system, transportation, defense, most of the science research and education. Country goes through state planning cycles. In the same time China privatized some non-essential production and some agriculture sectors, but it is still well below 50% of its economic output! Furthermore, China privatized trade. And here comes the favorite Western claim that some people are getting extremely rich.
First of all, Lenin decided to introduce the same or similar policies, launching NEP (New Economic Policy). Maybe NEP was supposed to be on much smaller scale, but it still returned many private enterprises to private hands. Whether this approach is correct or incorrect, its implementation is no way the proof of the change to capitalism. Planning is still done by the state and private sector has to fit to greater design and work for the good of the nation, not just for its own profit.
In the Chinese system, individuals are allowed to trade; they are allowed to import and export and to set up shops and retail stores. Stock exchange has been launched. China is the most populous country on earth, with approximately 1.3 billion inhabitants. If only 10% of its population would be involved in trade or business (or however we want to call it), some 130 million people would be involved, the same number as the entire population of Japan.
It is true that some individuals in China got spectacularly rich from trade, but definitely not all, and definitely not as spectacularly as in capitalist and feudal countries. Others tried and failed and went back to the state sector or to farming. Majority of those who tried to do business now owns simple shop or eatery – nothing particularly extravagant – and the income of these people is not much different from that of the Chinese average. There are also those individuals who misinterpreted the law and ended up in prison instead of in some luxury of proverbial townhouse or luxury villa on the lake.
Naturally the Chinese system is not perfect as no system in the world could be. Majority of city dwellers and farmers sees business people as something quite unpleasant but to some extent useful – they help to bring Chinese products to the world, to import what is lacking at home, even to co-finance some important projects. Purists don’t necessarily like the arrangement; I myself would be happy if the role of private sector in China would be reduced, but I also understand that the goal of the leadership is to increase standards of living of the majority of Chinese people by converting this colossus into a place where people live longer, healthier, more interesting lives, and are well educated and housed.
Recently I drove through China with one of my best friends, brilliant concert pianist Yuan Sheng who happens to be a very good friend of Cuba (he is the First Prize Winner of the First Ignacio Cervantes International Piano Competition in Havana and is one of the first Asian musicians who introduced Cuban classical music to Asia). From endless conversations that we had about the Chinese system I understood that, contrary to what Western mainstream media and academia write, the great majority of Chinese people actually want the Communist Party to retain its ruling position in the society. They in fact see Communist Party and the government as something that should protect them from the excesses of private enterprise.
Reading Western press, one would be made to believe that Chinese people would actually like to have much more pro-market reforms – thorough nonsense.
On the other hand, China is doing its best to avoid mistakes that were made in North Korea and particularly Soviet Union and its allies. Once again, Beijing considers welfare of its population to be of utmost importance. I heard so many times that Chinese people have to live better before China decides to play much more important role in the world. I heard it from the leadership and from the common folks. It made me realize that there is obviously some unpronounced deal between the Party and the people.
“China used to be confrontational with the West and as a result our people suffered”, said Yuan Sheng. “The most important now is to make sure that they live well.”
But that is exactly the greatest fear in the West: rich, Communist, healthy, educated China. Propaganda blasted from Washington, Berlin, London and Paris repeats tirelessly that Communism is not able to feed its people, educate them well, give them artistic freedom, and guarantee that they can afford nice things.
For manufacturers of clichés and propaganda in the West, Communist Cuba was already a little nightmare for several decades – people there were better educated than in most of the Western countries or the rest of Latin America, they lived longer than in the United States and for such a small country it kept producing brilliant music, literature and films. As my mother – half Russian and half Chinese architect and painter – once said after driving with me for several hours, listening to Cuban bands blasted on my car stereo: “Somebody who is not free could never sing like that!”
Now Communist China is building on Cuban tradition of ruining Western clichés step by step. No more Mao pants and uniformed hats and jackets – average woman in Shanghai is now dressed more creatively than a woman in London or New York. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have better airports and more efficient subway systems than New York or Paris. New Center for Performance Arts in Beijing is much bigger and more cosmopolitan than any of its counterparts in the West. One of the curators of this magnificent structure recently told me: “When I lived abroad, I would dream about all those tremendous pianists, cellists, and conductors. Then I went back to Beijing, got this job and I am having dinner with all those artists almost every night, as we are planning their appearances here. Everybody wants to perform in China!” The Center For Performing Arts does not only stage Chinese and Western operas, it does not only invite the greatest symphony orchestras; during my last visit I studied the program to realize that several traditional musical groups from Latin America were part of this impressive internationalist repertoire!
Chinese intercity trains now run faster than those in France or Japan. Chinese satellites are circling the orbit. Chinese passenger airplanes are taking to the sky. Chinese designers are conquering the world, so are Chinese artists.
Some of the brightest sons and daughters of China go abroad to study and unlike their counterparts in India, many of them come back. “It is tremendous fun and joy to be here, to help to build this country”, Yuan Sheng – himself a graduate of Manhattan School of Music in New York City (his mentor was Solomon Mikowsky – world-renowned Cuban pianist and professor) who returned to China after more than a decade in the United States – told me. “Much more is happening here. I even gave up my Green Card. I don’t need it. When I go back to the US to perform, I simply apply for visa.”
And I would repeat, just to make sure that it is not forgotten: All this mentioned above, under the red flags and in the name of Communism!
* * * *
Naturally, all that I wrote above could be simply seen as my own interpretation. I am not claiming that I hold the keys to the truth. However, what I see with my own eyes is what I see and what the lenses of my still and film cameras capture could be hardly disputed. I could manipulate the angle but not existence of the objects and people that I am recording.
Shocking contrast between development and strive for socialist society in China and between those countries that opted for (or were forced to adopt) capitalist path (including India, Indonesia, the Philippines to name just a few) is simply too great to be ignored.
Despite tremendous success of Chinese model, many Communist and Socialist movements, parties and governments, including those in Latin America, are still reluctant to discount the differences and to join hands – to support China as one of the most important forces of opposition to Western global dictatorship.
In reality there are only two major bonfires of hope and opposition left in this world: It is the group of Latin American countries and movements that naturally consists of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador but also Brazil and countless movements, parties and individuals in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and elsewhere. The second group is in Asia and it mainly consists of China and Vietnam as the issue of North Korea and rural Laos (both claiming to be Communist) is too complex and too specific to be discussed in this short format.
The core, traditional core, consists of Cuba and China. Venezuela joined with the arrival of President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia with Evo Morales. Vietnam – country where I lived for almost 3 years and which I admire – has tremendous symbolical importance, as it defeated both European (French) and North American imperialism. However, it seems that Vietnam is presently not sure which path to follow. It is much smaller than China and also much poorer, and the West knows how to play on historic rivalry between Hanoi and Beijing. At times it appears that the relationship between Hanoi and Washington, as well as big business, becomes too cozy. But let’s include Vietnam, out of respect for its struggle and achievements, to what I call ‘the core’.
At times I get also convinced by many of my friends on African continent that present South African government is also, despite everything, essentially Marxist.
What appears to be certain is that if this small group of nations – this flame of opposition and dignity and humanism – would be crushed or tricked or pitched against itself (I just learned more about some strategies used in India, where apparently the British conquest and centuries later, British ‘planned’ departure, caused collapse of entire traditional defense structures, later triggering one of the most horrid chapters in human history, so called ‘Partition’), humanity would without doubt go through prolonged and probably truly terrible period of market-fundamentalism, of the return of European colonial rule (naturally it would not be just Europe this time, but also and primarily the products of Europe like the United Sates, Australia, and other nations, depending on the region). The world would be choked, and with technological advances and military might of the west, there would be no way out of the situation.
In such scenario, the world as we know would end. Everything would turn to commodity, humans reduced to production units. As creativity already disappeared from Hollywood films (it seems that the degenerate and sick horrors and doomsday movies we are being fed with from the screens are produced on purpose – to prepare us, to immunize us, to make sure that we are not going to resist the world like that if it is to arrive anytime soon) as there are hardly any ideals or dreams in European art, we would be going back to Dickensian existence – to early capitalism – but this time all of us, without exception: the entire planet!
I personally don’t care one single bit about such scenario and I believe that it is our duty – duty of all those who are still ready to defend basic human values while fighting for social justice – to unite and prevent it from happening. First of all to unite intellectually, to define the problem once again, to inspire each other, to support each other, regardless of the color of skin or the continent on which we live.
Cuba has demonstrated tremendous solidarity with the rest of the world. Its men went to Congo and elsewhere in Africa and Latin America to bring freedom to oppressed people. Some of them died. Others died – struggling against natural calamities and diseases – as doctors and educators. Others even died as development workers as happened during the US invasion to tiny Caribbean country of Grenada where Cuban workers were killed while on assignment of enlarging the airport.
The West was not ready to allow Cuba to develop into successful Communist country. The more democratic the island was becoming, the more it was accused of being a ‘dictatorship’. As Cubans lived longer than in any Latin American country, as they were better educated than citizens of any other nation in Western Hemisphere, the country had to defend itself from the acts of terrorism from outside. It had to survive military attacks and provocations, assassination attempts again you, Fidel, and against your comrades. Restaurants were blown up, while propaganda was blasted through airwaves. ‘Opposition’ (those who wanted to overthrow the state) was pampered and paid and cheered by both the United States and several European countries.
Cuba was openly provoked. It is logical that in such a climate – being under military, economical and ideological attack – no country could remain fully ‘democratic’. This tactic was used by the West and particularly by the United States to destroy dozens of progressive and socially oriented societies: from North Korea to Chile, Indonesia (under Sukarno) and Nicaragua (I spent some time discussing this with Eden Pastora who had been used by the US to destroy Nicaraguan revolution but who made it no secret that he had no use for the Empire as well). The strategy was simple: unleash propaganda and terror against all socialist countries, push them to the corner, then when they mobilize to defend themselves, call defense aggression and present freedom fighters as terrorists.
If the government of Socialist country refused to respond with force, it would be considered even more dangerous and destroyed directly. Probably the best example is Chile under President Allende, where foreign companies and governments first teamed-up with local business ‘elites’ and forcefully triggered food and other shortages causing misery to millions. When this was not enough to topple Unidad Popular, part of Chilean military was persuaded abroad to commit treason (similar scenario as in Indonesia in 1965). Right before the CIA-sponsored military coup on September 11th, 1973, President Allende was told what was being planned. Instead of arresting Pinochet and his cronies, Allende said that nobody would go to jail on mere suspicion. The result was terrible bloodbath in which the President became one of the first victims. From the most socially balanced country in South America, Chile became the playground of Los Chicago Boys and when Pinochet was forced to step down, it was among the countries with the most uneven income distribution on earth!
Fidel, you were not ready to become sacrificial lamb and your people indicated repeatedly and clearly that if attacked, Cuban people would fight to death any invader who would dare to land on your beaches or descend from your skies!
From the point of view of the Empire, such courage had to be punished.
Among the most effective forms of invasion was attempt to fully destabilize the country through consistent and well-funded flow of propaganda.
It was done in extremely unrefined but effective way: while children were tortured and raped in front of their parents in Western colonies of Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras, while US-sponsored and often trained death-squads were rampaging cities and countryside of almost entire Central America, while one coup after another was planned and executed in Washington and democratic revolution in Nicaragua was attacked with crack money with Contras as a vehicle, it was Cuba with its handful of ‘dissidents’ behind bars that was singled out as undemocratic!
It goes without saying that most of these ‘dissidents’ would be labeled as ‘terrorists’ if the table would be reversed and they would operate in the United States or France or UK: most of them advocate overthrowing of the state and constitution of Cuba (criminal act in most of the Western countries)! Unless, of course, we accept what the West wants us to accept through constant barrage of propaganda and million times repeated lies: that western multi-party system is actually some sort of god-given and exclusive form of humanistic form of governance and any type of brutality would be justified defending it.
* * * *
On closer examination, ‘truth-loving’ citizens of the West swallowed their countries’ propaganda about entire 20th century history, and they are now force-feeding it to the rest of the world not only through official channels of propaganda (media, academia, etc.) but even through the contacts between individuals!
The target of this propaganda is any progressive socially oriented system, which could potentially curb unlimited Western global business and political control over the world.
This propaganda also targets history, particularly the modern history.
It is hard not to notice consistent stream of well-funded documentary films and programs broadcasted by the BBC and other Western mass media outlets, commemorating ‘crimes’ of the Soviet Union and other communist countries. And it is not only done through mass media – hundreds and even thousands of writers and artists are being sponsored by European and North American cultural institutes and foundations to produce works discrediting all attempts of Soviet Union, China and other countries to create classless and internationalist societies.
Extremely successful trend in Western propaganda of the last two decades is to somehow connect fascism and communism. Mass media outlets, for instant, use standardized expression ‘Fascism and Communism’ whenever they are describing evils of the 20th century!
It is of course cheap nonsense, but nobody would dare to challenge it, anymore. To do so would mean losing job, losing funding and torpedoing one’s career.
As a result, very few of us would write that if anything should be compared to fascism, it should not be Soviet Communism, but Western imperialism and colonialism. Unless, of course, we consider life of white European more valuable than that of a person inhabiting Africa, Middle East, Asia, Latin America or Oceania.
No mistakes made by Stalinist Soviet Union (and some events there were actually directly connected to the Western attacks, provocations and the final plan to ‘feed’ Soviet Union to Nazi Germany) could ever match horrors of colonial rule of European empires in the same historical period. Tiny Belgium under Leopold II managed to slaughter over 7 million of people in Congo, at the beginning of 20th Century. Those who were not quick to adjust to increasing Belgian quotas had their hands cut off as punishment and entire villages were burned to the ground with their inhabitants locked inside their houses.
German genocide in Namibia at the beginning of the century took lives of about 80% of Herero Tribe.
The first concentration camps in the world were built by the British Empire in South Africa and later in Kenya.
Europeans in Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Asia Pacific committed massacres of epic proportions. The list would be so long that we would have to add several pages to this letter. Most of these crimes against humanity were never punished and even now are hardly acknowledged. Why should they if people like Winston Churchill refused all apologies for massacres in the Middle East and elsewhere, as he considered non-whites “the beastly lesser races” – fact well documented in his own writing for which he received Noel Prize for Literature! The crimes and even genocides were committed under existing ‘democratic’ political structures – including the ‘multi-party system’ as well as so called ‘Constitutional Monarchies’.
But the West managed to get away with genocides and the most terrible crimes against humanity, somewhere in the process convincing its own people and even some inhabitants of the rest of the world that it should be the sole one to have morale mandate to dictate to the planet what is right and what is wrong, deciding who is democratic and who is dictatorial, who is endangering the world and who is protecting it.
Being part of the world that caused immeasurable suffering to our planet, arrogance but also ability of the West to destroy all dissent is truly striking!
It became somehow understood although unpronounced that the life of white person from the Empire is immeasurably more valuable than lives of the others. My good friend from India jokes – although it could be described as very dark and sarcastic humor: “When I see on the news that 2 or 3 white people were killed in some ambush, I feel terrible. I had been conditioned to feel like this, my brain disagrees but my feelings were formed like that. If thousands of people in India or Africa die, I feel almost nothing! How is it possible? Who did it to me?”
English language became the mightiest tool of propaganda through which the entire world is forced to think and even feel in uniformed way. While the weapons used and the military personnel come mainly from across the Atlantic Ocean, the methodology of indoctrination which is used seems to be that of old British Empire; the very same empire which at some point ruled (and plundered) enormous parts of the planet, using not only force but also shameless Machiavellian tools of deceit and lies. This ‘division of labor’ between the new and old world was clearly visible in Bush-Blair crusades.
It is hardly a secret that our planet is now being run like a colony. Only the Empire is now increasingly resembling some enormous corporation, which is being fatefully serviced by politicians, military, media and academia of several, mainly Western, nations, plus Japan and South Korea. The rest of the world is not serving – it is in position of mere slaves.
In order to secure maximum level of control, all nations, parties, ideologies and movements that are truly determined to serve the people are being sidelined, demonized or directly destroyed.
We already mentioned manipulation of the history.
The culture in the West also lost its independence – art was successfully depoliticized: writers, filmmakers and performers turned to entertainers, painters to decorators. Most films are now made and books written for people to kill time and to have some laughs. There is awfully little in terms of political, philosophical or social discussion available in the bookstores and on the screen. It is not by chance.
Western cultural institutions and organizations are increasingly active in the poor countries, attempting to neutralize those few thinkers who are still willing to address burning issues of their countries. Instead of being killed or disappeared, intellectuals are now bought through elaborate system of grants, awards and funding. It is obvious everywhere from Southeast Asia to Africa.
Propaganda and manipulation does not have to be always loud: it can also be subdued. Worth mentioning is recent installation by Goethe Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia, of photo exhibition depicting ‘police brutality’ in Gdansk, during pro-Solidarity riots in Poland. Exhibition took place in Indonesian capital where everything Left from the center was banned, where 2 to 3 million people were slaughtered after 1965 just because the West did not like non-aligned movement of President Sukarno as well as the fact that PKI – the Communist Party of Indonesia which was very democratic and legal force represented in Parliament – was the third largest Communist party in the world after the Chinese and Soviet ones. Massacre – understandably under-reported in the Western mainstream press – had been arguably the most horrid event since the WWII. Communists, teachers, members of Chinese minority, intellectuals and many others had been slaughtered or sent to concentration camps or prisons. Communism, atheism, even words like ‘class’ were banned! None of the victims were rehabilitated and until now the nation is absolutely oblivious about its past. In such climate, Goethe Institute (one of the very few cultural institutions in the city) selected Gdansk and Polish Solidarity as the topic for its full-scale exhibition, while it never confronted Suharto’s dictatorship or local ‘elites’ plundering the nation on behave of Western interests. I don’t remember how many people exactly died in Gdansk during the clashes (although I was there, then as a young boy, coming to visit my Polish girlfriend who was then somehow involved), but the casualties could be counted on the fingers of one hand. 3 million died in Indonesia!
It seems that everything is now perverted and turned upside down. Soviet people who saved the world from fascism are reduced by Western propaganda to some bunch of rapists and lowlifes. They sacrificed some 20 million lives so the fascism – originally seen as quite useful ideology in many Western countries – would not succeed in destroying the world.
When I work in India or in Africa, I still meet many educated people who passionately repeat that without the Communist countries and their internationalist policies there would be no independence for them – for most of the colonies.
Isaac Soaladaob, former director of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs of tiny Micronesian country of Palau and one of the negotiators of the Compact with the United States met me when I was writing my book ‘Oceania’ about the US, Australian and New Zealand neo-colonialism in the Pacific. He was barely able to hide his bitterness: “As you are aware, we were colonized by Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States. De-classified documents we can now access clearly show that the U.S. was out to Americanize the entire Micronesia. They wanted to change our culture. Before the Japanese occupation, there was no concept of private property or ownership; we had our own traditional societies that were based on collectivism. But that type of society was not conducive to the capitalist system that the U.S. wanted to implement. We were fooled so many times . . . We wanted to be nuclear-free, because we knew that the Enola Gay left for Hiroshima from this part of the world—from Saipan… We also saw the devastation to the Marshall Islands—we saw what happened to our Micronesian brothers—where nuclear tests had been performed. But we negotiated with the U.S. – it was during the Cold War, after all, and we were told that ‘We have to be protected.’ People here were indoctrinated. Of course, there was not one Communist around here and people had no idea what was happening in Russia, but they were petrified of Communists. In those days we had almost no visitors from abroad and we were not allowed to travel. In the early 1950s we could only travel to the United States. We never realized that in reality our traditional culture was much closer to communism than to capitalism . . . We were colonized and thoroughly brainwashed.”
* * * *
Soviet Union is no more, but there is China; country that often declares that it wants to be ‘a friend of all developing nations’. China did some tremendously important work in Africa and Oceania, to name just two places where I saw it in action. As pattern would suggest, the more China offers to the poor nations, the more are its efforts perverted in the Western press and academia.
China builds roads, railroads, schools and hospitals in Africa. The more it does, the more it is being accused – mainly by the US and UK – of following its own interests and ‘attempting to take over natural resources of Africa.’ It is also being criticized for dealing with the Sudanese and other governments that the West out of office.
Recent Wikileaks are reflecting that even big and independent country like Kenya can be sidelined and its governments selected for destruction (both the US Embassy and European Union were preparing ‘Regime Change’ in Nairobi) simply because it dared to forge close relationship with China. For years, secret service agencies of the US, UK and Israel were kidnapping and interrogating members of Muslim (Swahili) minority from Kenyan coast. The West also torpedoed Somali and Sudanese peace agreements forged by Kenyan lawmakers, simply because it did not like the outcomes of such deals. But it is always China that is ‘guilty’ – it is China, which simply cannot do any good deeds because it is not part of the Western club, because it dared to develop on its own, because it puts interests of its people first, because it is socialist! That is how the propaganda works.
Presently, China has decided to fight malaria in East Africa. Malaria is the most merciless killer – for this part of the continent much more dangerous than AIDS. While the West is mainly talking and spending millions on its own advisors who are developing endless and useless studies, Beijing is combating the illness with full force: building research centers, hospitals and medical points in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and elsewhere, staffing them with doctors, distributing free medicine. But no recognition is coming from the Western press. Saving lives of millions of children must have, probably, some sinister meaning, too! The same situation could be observed in Oceania. China is building government buildings, hospitals, sport complexes and schools, to help those tiny island-nations, the same nations that were for decades used for strategic and often brutal goals of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and France (including nuclear experiments). But every sign of internationalism performed by China is met by immediate and cynical provocation. The West is encouraging Taiwan to play checkbook diplomacy – to corrupt governments of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia into recognizing Taipei as independent country – the act that immediately leads to severing all relationships between Beijing and the country that accepts such game. Situation is absurd, as even the United States does not recognize Taiwan as independent nation!
Cuba should be able to recognize the situation!
Those who saw Cuban doctors working in Kiribati and elsewhere in Oceania could see determination but above all professionalism and humanism of those wonderful men and women who traveled to the opposite part of the world with simple aim of saving lives. However, no matter what Cuba does, no matter how enormous are her achievements, there is no hope that she would ever be recognized and praised by those who are only interested in convincing the world that Communism has failed or is poised to collapse.
What we are fed with by the Empire is dark sarcasm; sickening cynicism, which already choked all optimism in the West – all natural desire of human beings to build just society.
Communist countries are expected to behave like good members of international community. Even if they do, they have to face embargos, interferences in their internal affairs, manipulations and propaganda. Ruling countries – the Empire – are behaving like bandits, invading countries, overthrowing governments, and killing millions of innocent people. They are above all international courts and agreements, even those that they signed. They and their allies are spiteful of UN resolutions. They are able to twist everything using media and the army of well educated and well funded experts who are helping to control public opinion. The citizens of the Empire – on both sides of the Atlantic – are truly badly informed, indoctrinated and as a result phlegmatic, egocentric and indifferent. With some exceptions, if they fight for social justice, they fight for their own. It is definitely not an internationalist struggle. With some exceptions that include several brilliant opposition figures in the West (ironically most of them are in the United States; people like Noam Chomsky), developing – or more precisely colonized – world can hardly count on solidarity of the people inhabiting the Empire.
* * * *
Fidel, I believe that the Left has to unite in order to resist fascism that, this time without much noise, assaulted the world, squeezing it in straightjacket. And to put it bluntly, the Left has to unite in order to survive. Not to survive just for the sake of survival, but in order to continue to carry on basic humanistic principals like equality and social justice, and to demand the world – to fight for the world – where any human life is valued well above than financial profit!
China needs Latin America and Latin America needs China. Entire world needs Latin America and China united, defending the same cause. No matter what, these are two parts of the globe where the opposition to the Empire is strong and honorable.
In 1997 when I revisited Cuba as a correspondent of Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun (I covered ‘Japanese hostage crises’ in Lima, Peru and worked in several countries where this complex story was unveiling: Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina and Cuba as there was a possibility that Fujimori’s government would reach agreement with MRTA and let them leave for Cuba), the situation was difficult and there was not much reason for optimism. This was just a few short years after the good friend of the West – Boris Yeltsin – boozed away Soviet state, and after most of the citizens of Eastern Europe ‘suddenly’ realized that instead of being internationalists they would maybe do [financially] better by joining oppressors and colonizers (not that it improved much lives of many of them). Cuba was struggling, as any other country that lost its trading block and most of its contracts would.
During that visit we met many people, mainly to fill the time and the pages of the newspaper. MRTA never landed in Havana – eventually they were all slaughtered in Lima in the most cynical action of Fujimori’s dictatorship. We – Asahi Shimbun – were the first ones to interview MRTA about their demands. We flew to Tarapoto and then marched, blindfolded, through the jungle to their camp. There they revealed their demands: all they wanted was to become a legitimate party and participate in Peruvian elections. This had proven too much to ask: with the US help, Fujimori’s men stormed the compound and massacred everybody, including a pregnant girl who was pleading for mercy on her knees. But when we were in Cuba, we still didn’t know this would happen. Nobody knew. Those were the days when the hostages were bounding with MRTA, learning Spanish, and playing football. Japanese government resolutely forbade Peru to take any military action on the territory of its compound.
In Havana we met Director of Cuban television; and we also met Santiago (yes, that ‘boy’ Santiago from Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” who was then already well over 80 years old). One day we were invited to the house of one of the members of Cuban Central Committee. The man was in his 70’s. But he lived in a walk-up flat and he rode bicycle to work: “My country is struggling and I am not going to burn petrol just to get myself to the office”, he said. His place was cozy but small. We drank tea and spoke about political situation, about books and about China. On the surface, nothing significant happened. Asahi never filed the story about this encounter. But that night I was tremendously touched – that old Comrade convinced me by his courage and determination that Cuba will survive, that it has to survive because despite all the blizzards blowing to its face it was standing tall, showing the world that one can resist with dignity and honor no matter what, even if all the former allies would go to devils.
And during those days it appeared that Cuba stood alone. There was almost no one to offer support, even in the entire Latin America. I moved to Chile for a few years and all I heard was rhetoric from my Left-wing friends: how much they lament all those difficulties that Cuba is facing, how much they wish they could do more. There was no concrete action, no serious attempt to mobilize funds, just talk after empty talk. China – that enormous Asian dragon with big heart – was the one that helped at the end. Two countries moved closer and in a way it had significance of yet another revolution that brought hope that the divisions between Left-wing countries and movements could soon end. Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez and then great triumph of Evo Morales in Bolivia further brightened prospects of emergence of solid and global opposition block. And naturally there was Brazil of Lula.
Suddenly, Cuba was not alone, anymore. I was hoping that this was the moment for a new beginning. I finished my novel ‘Point of No Return’ (now doing very well in France but not available in English!) with the ending that called for Latin American unity: one tiny unnamed country had been attacked by the United States and my main character – a journalist who covers the conflict – decides to take up a gun instead of camera at the same time as several South American countries scramble their air force to defend their Latin neighbor.
My hope was that Asian and Latin American Left would unite, would lean on each other, and intensify its cooperation.
It did not happen. Or more precisely, it happened but only to some extent, not too openly and not too ideologically. Brazil and China began to deepen their industrial and scientific cooperation, ties between Venezuela and China extended and so did ties between Cuba and China. However, there was no united front, or at least no united stand that could counter Western propaganda and aggression. There was no manifesto, nothing that could inspire people all over the world, particularly those in developing countries, who were losing hope that alternatives to the present global ‘arrangement’ were possible. There was no media network.
It appeared as if the cooperation between Asian and Latin American leaders and movements became something that was not supposed to be discussed in open.
During my travels I realized that many people in Latin America, particularly from the Left, were extremely interested in China but could not figure out what to think about this giant so far away from their shores. I discussed China in Merida and Maracaibo, in Ciudad Bolivar and Ciudad Guayana. In Buenos Aires I witnessed hundreds of people attending mini film festival of ‘Shanghai School of Cinema’ – great social-realism movement from 1930’s.
But I also encountered prejudice and misinterpretations. In Chile, one of high-ranking comrades (I will not use his name) from the Communist Party argued (using exactly the same words as they do in Europe) that China is destroying Chilean textile industry and that Chile can’t compete with ‘those miserable people who work 20 hours a day and are locked in sweatshops’. I tried to argue that work conditions in China are improving and some textile products come from Chinese cities where average income is over 1,000 dollars a month, but he was too fired-up with his anti-Chinese rhetoric and not ready to listen.
“It is not that China is standing with bazooka and forcing Chileans to buy its products”, said the same evening my old friend – labor lawyer who used to be part of the government of Michelle Bachelet. “The West often does it, but not China. If cheap products are flown here, it is because of Chilean business people.”
The same when I travel in China. There is great interest in Latin American music and among intellectuals there is great admiration for Cuba, for you Fidel, for Che for the resistance that Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales give to the West. But there is very little knowledge among common people and definitely not much of an understanding that Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil are China’s allies.
This is actually the main point of this letter, Fidel! I believe that you are the most important, the most relevant person who could address the Left, in Latin America and in Asia. To call for the unity of the Left; to attempt to bring together both Asian and Latin American nations in their struggle for true freedom from the Empire, for self-determination and for socialism.
I also believe that we should all think how to counter Western propaganda, with people like yourself recalling and summarizing attacks against your nations, with Chavez doing the same. Making things public, to recall terror Cuba had to face during all those decades after the revolution.
I believe that the world needs, once again, your leadership. It also needs your memory. I know you spoke a lot and you wrote countless articles analyzing the history of Cuba, Latin America and the world. But we have to find the way to get your work and your thoughts to the people all over the world, not just in Latin America and in the West. How to build bridges between Cuba and China is what interests me the most. I would do all I could to help to build them, as a writer and as a filmmaker.
Once again, I find it enormously important that the world hears about your struggle against imperialism. How did it all begin? Was the world then different from what it is now? What would be the thoughts of Che if he would be still alive and above all, what would be his actions? I think the world should hear about Cuban internationalism – something that I will never stop admiring.
These are difficult times, Fidel. The world is once again divided and controlled by a handful of states.
Cuba and China should not be on the defensive. They should be proudly showing their examples to the rest of the world – the examples of how to endure hardship and never surrender, how to proudly stand up for their own culture while defending the principles of internationalism. And they should insist, together, on fair arrangement of the world where those who have been torturing the planet for centuries should not be allowed to award themselves any special privileges nor rights to judge the rest of the world.
In comparison with the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, in fact almost all Western nations, Cuba and China have nothing to feel ashamed of, nothing to apologize to the world. They should not find themselves in the corner, in defensive. They did not butcher hundreds of millions of people. They did not orchestrate bloody coups all over the world. On the contrary, they resisted and still are; on behalf of their own people and the people of the world whose voices are now, once again, hardly audible. This should be made clear – in loud and plain language.
I am appealing to you, Fidel, to once again stand on the vanguard and to call for unity of all those people and nations that believe that equality, education and people’s welfare are of much greater value than profit, exploitation and plunder.
A few years ago, in historic center of Montevideo, in Café Brazilero, Great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano told me that he still maintains his belief in socialism and communism: “…it is also obvious that if capitalism doesn’t work for the majority of people, sooner or later we will have to lift up the old banners which were made dirty and were abused. But we will have to lift them up again, of course.”
I believe that the time for lifting the banners is approaching.
Let me show example: “I love both Cuba and China: I admire both of them! I worked and traveled in more than 140 countries of the world, but these are two places that inspire me the most, make me retain my belief in humanity. Are these two countries perfect? Of course not! What a dreadful place would be a perfect country! But they – Cuba and China – are alive and yes – they are free! That’s how I see it. That’s how many people who are not allowed anywhere near CNN or BBC see it. And I am not willing to say or write anything that I don’t see with my own eyes, anymore!”
(January 3rd, 2011, Wakkanai, Japan – January 19th, 2011 Guangzhou, China)
Andre Vltchek (http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/) is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. Author of many book of which the latest one – Oceania – is exposing western imperialism in South Pacific. His latest novel – Point of No Return – is presently available in French. Information about his work is available at: http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/