We are talking about altruism and think of those young people that were ready to combat, facing hunt torture, death, trial and sentence, all that came after the attack.
Also prior to the attack against the Moncada Garrison, when in order to finance such noble and bold action those men and women contributed all they had, savings or asked for a loan and even sold their jobs or personal materials.
60 years ago, everything had to be done.
Today there is a world of formidable conquests to preserve and that, after the victory, even before the parents of many of today’s young people were born -as the previous generations- are not dreams that came true, but reality, natural part of life in a world where there is nothing in common.
Times have passed but short in history. What is 60 years?, and we should look back more often, examine and think very seriously on the conditions of the country then and what it would have been if not for the attacks against the Moncada Garrison in Santiago de Cuba and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo.
To forget, this human capacity of erasing the ugly and bad can become a sedative or tear gas or sweetener.
What I am concerned about -above all for the danger of persuasion- so frequent practiced in informal talks about Cuba, is to see someone literally jumps when one talks about the wonders of a business or farm owned by their family and those that lived well before 1959 without having anyone express how the Cuban people lived in reality during that time.
Yes, times were allegedly great at the time, then why the Moncada attack?, why a Revolution? Cuba at that time with a little over 5 and a half million inhabitants, where there 600 thousand were unemployed or 500 thousand agricultural workers with a job for four months and then a so called “dead period” suffering hunger the rest of the year; 20 thousand small businesses with incredible debts and ruined by the crisis; 2.8 millions of people without electricity; 10 thousand young graduates without where to work; 400 thousand industrial and unskilled workers living in inhuman conditions and those that received a miserable wage?
Did Fidel exaggerate in his defense speech during the Moncada trial or were there truly 30 percent of the people in the countryside that did not know how to sign their name, parasites devoured 90 percent of the children in rural zones, access to the always packed State hospitals was only possible through a recommendation of a politician -that demanded in exchange of the favor for a vote from the patient and their family- while 85 percent of the small agricultural workers paid rent and lived with the threat of being evicted?
We must add to this drama words like neo colony, dictatorship, large plantation owners, dirty political campaigning, brutal repression, injustice and disenchantment.
To complete the oral picture of the Cuba of the mid 20th century, those that suffer from memory loss and talk about what they were able to buy for one peso; but do not say of those that walked kilometers each day in Havana itself because they did not have a nickel to ride on the bus.
The truth must be told and our children should know about that part of history.
In Jose Marti’s book “La Edad de Oro” (The Golden Age), he warned on the serious risk of lying or not telling the whole truth to the young people who live believing what they were told and if later they learn that the story is false “life will be wrong and cannot be happy with that style of thinking and lack the truth of things and not able to return to their childhood and begin to learn once again.”
I learned about the past by my parents. She, as a child went to bed many times without eating -not as a punishment, but because of poverty- and as intelligent as she was, barely finished 8th grade because there was no money to purchase the uniform and school supplies.
My father, meanwhile, said that the Revolution saved us, as a boxer when the bell rings at the precise time and expressed how the last night of 1958 he went to bed early without desires of celebrating a New Year expected to be fatal with his small business getting worse and a wife and three children to support.
I will never forget his joy when his sister graduated from medical school, profession which he had to renounce to because his family could only afford the university studies for one of them deciding it would be for the oldest.
I never thought of the stories as rhetoric. I was taught and learned to love Cuba in my home and school; to admire and live proud of its glorious past; to honor its heroes and martyrs; respect the country’s symbols, especially the flag that only the best students had the honor of hoisting each morning in the school’s backyard.
It is true, times have changed, but Patriotism is not a fashion or date of expiration. I don’t think that the cruel past leads to forgetfulness; or why, among generations, the “connection” from the present with facts, situations and humans more remote each time tends to forcefully “fall”.
Let’s not think of July 26th, 1953. One hundred years after the birth of Cuba’s National Hero, when his ideas was about to be extinguished with such political process, those young men and women -armed by Marti´s doctrine more than weapons- were ready to combat willing to give it all to preserve the soul of the Homeland and to complete his work and thinking.
We should not fear the passing of time when the task of inspiration and education has been accomplished. This is what we are dealing with in instructing the new generations: society and its institutions, family and school.
Educate, above all, to learn, reason and distinguish, to think oneself and defend the ideas; encourage the younger generation to fill their souls, at least as much as our stomachs and closet; talk to them a lot and also listen to them, as never before, to carry out a generational conversation to those children and adolescents that demand their space and close the doors to the empty slogans, dogma and rhetoric.
Against amnesia while the best antidote will always be studying history, Humanity and above all, on the small and common Homeland in which we were born and live.
It’s the history that must be well learned in order to tell others; be taught with the books and heart, not to just simply pass an exam and memorize dates, names, events, its causes and importance.
Cuba will always be loved with immense passion by its children and especially the young people of those that fought in the past, for its virtues and its flaws. Love her well as to give one’s life for the country, to live, work, struggle and save her, even from our own imperfections.
“To love our past glories we gain strength to acquire new ones”, said Jose Marti. These days we must demand more, oppose bad work, laziness, inefficiency and reduction of values, corruption, lack of discipline, and other “demons” and from those that differ from Marti who believes that the Homeland is not alter or pedestal and take advantage of their position instead of serving the people.
Future Moncadas will always be there. For the young people, the calendar will always be full of days like July 26th