Message to Evo Morales from Cuba
By Ricardo Alarcón and Fidel Castro
The following message to Evo Morales appears on the Granma web site over the signatures of Ricardo Alarcón and Fidel. I was struck most by its evaluation of what December 18 represented historically: America—our America, as José Martí said—is rising up and in so doing discovering its true face, its indigenous face, its Black face, its Mestizo face. And then by the evaluation it projects of Evo Morales as a leader and combatant in the revolutionary struggle.
Without a doubt, the Cuban leadership, although they addressed this message to Evo Morales, and through him the Bolivian people, really had a different intended audience. The intended audience, I believe, is people like us—revolutionary and progressive forces of the entire world—to help us become conscious of the tremendous, historic significance of this moment, nothing less than “a new history.” And to help us have faith and trust in the leadership that the Bolivian people—and above all the indigenous peoples of Bolivia—have raised up at this moment in the person of compañero Evo Morales and the team around him.
You will find many nice-sounding diplomatic statements of congratulations from Cuba to dignitaries of various countries over the past decades, but you will not find many like this one. Fidel’s statement upon arriving in Venezuela for Hugo Chavez’s first inauguration did not even refer to Chávez personally, but said that he wanted to share this moment with the Bolivarian people of Venezuela, a moment, he said, that could mark a turning point like July 26, 1953 marked in Cuba, that is, marking the beginning of a revolutionary struggle.
There were undoubtedly political and diplomatic considerations involved in Fidel’s deliberate understatedness at that moment, as there are today in relation to the outspoken character of this statement. What needs to be kept in mind, I think, is not just that Cuba felt it could speak so freely today, but also that such seasoned revolutionaries as the Cuban leaders felt it necessary and useful to throw the full weight of their own prestige behind Evo Morales and his comrades, and not just the cause he represents, but his leadership personally.
That message is not for the people of Bolivia—not the working people, the indigenous people, the oppressed people, who backed Evo massively—but for us. My own surmise is that the Cuban leadership understands that a very sharp struggle may soon break out around Bolivia, and it is necessary to begin rallying the revolutionary and progressive forces into battle formation.
[This is my translation of the original message in Granma since I have been unable to find the full text in English elsewhere.]
Dear compañero Evo Morales:
We have received with profound joy the historic victory of the people of Bolivia in Sunday’s election, and your proclamation, by a crushing and indisputable majority, as President of Bolivia.
For months we have followed with interest the news coming from your country and were aware of the tremendous obstacles that were being erected to frustrate the will of your people. We knew of the pressures of the Empire, of the maneuvers and intrigues of those who would continue to strip Bolivia of its immense natural resources and who are the ones responsible for the tremendous misery, oppression and discrimination imposed for centuries on a noble and rebellious people that has never stopped fighting for freedom and justice.
Millions of Quechuas, Aymaras, Guaranies, Chiquitanos and other native peoples of your country had been always excluded from a political system that was the legacy and continuation of colonial servitude. Many of them were arbitrarily denied the right to vote on December 18, and in that way they snatched hundreds of thousands of votes from you.
But on that day, despite everything, the people won. The magnitude of their victory was so great and eloquent that all were forced to recognize it, even those who for years have slandered you, have distorted the aspirations and sacrifices of the social movements you have known how to lead with wisdom and dignity, and until the eve of the elections were determined to hide the tremendous support for your candidacy.
With your victory, a new history is born, the history of the emancipation of the peoples whom colonialism and racism wanted to crush and wipe out. Finally, after half a millennium of genocide, they come to power with you. It is the hour of the true discovery of America, of indigenous America, of Black America, of mestizo America, of the America of Bolívar and Martí, that today is everywhere proclaiming its definitive and unrenounceable independence.
You and your people have before you new and great challenges. It is necessary that you be accompanied, from right now, by the full solidarity of the entire world.
We send you the solidarity of the Government and People of Cuba. In greeting you and celebrating with you this victory that we feel as our own, we call on all peoples to reject imperialist threats and to unfold the most energetic and firm backing of the government you will lead with the determination and dignity that have characterized your life as a selfless fighter.
Thank you, Evo, thanks to the Bolivian people for having demonstrated with the clarity of the sun that another, better world is possible.
Receive the embrace of a Cuba that is always revolutionary and in solidarity.
Ricardo Alarcón, National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba
Fidel Castro Ruz, Council of State of the Republic of Cuba
—Granma (Havana), December 28, 2005