Message to the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

DEAR Hugo,

Today is the 15th anniversary of our encounter at the University of Havana’s Aula Magna on December 14, 1994. The previous night, I had waited for you at the foot of the steps of the plane that brought you to Cuba.

I knew of your armed uprising against the pro-yanki government of Venezuela. News had reached Cuba of your ideas when you were still in prison and, like us, you devoted yourself to intensifying the revolutionary ideas which brought you to the uprising of February 4, 1992.

At the Aula Magna, in a spontaneous and transparent way, you voiced the Bolivarian ideas that you carried within you, and that led you, in the specific conditions of your country and our times, to the struggle for the independence of Venezuela against the tyranny of the empire.

After the effort of Bolívar and other great men who, filled with dreams, fought against the yoke of Spanish colonialism, Venezuelan independence was merely a ridiculous pretense.

No moment in history is the same as any other; no idea or human event can be judged outside of its own era. Both you and I share concepts that have evolved throughout millenniums, but which have much in common with distant or recent history in that the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and the exploited, oppressors and the oppressed has always been antipathetic and odious. In the present day, it is the source of the most profound shame and the main cause of human suffering and unhappiness.

When productivity, now supported by science and technology, has increased tenfold and, in certain aspects, even hundreds or thousands of times more, such unjust differences should disappear.

You, I and millions of Venezuelans and Cubans share those ideas.

You started with the Christian principles that were instilled in you from an early age and a rebellious nature; I, from the ideas of Marx and a likewise rebellious nature.

There are universally recognized ethical principles which are valid for both Christians and Marxists.

From that starting point, revolutionary ideas are constantly enriched through study and experience.

It is appropriate to note that our sincere and revolutionary friendship emerged when you were not the president of Venezuela. I never asked you for anything. When the Bolivarian movement won its victory in the 1999 elections, the price of oil was less that $10 per barrel. I remember that well because you invited me to your inauguration ceremony.

Your support for Cuba was spontaneous, just as our cooperation with the sister people of Venezuela has always been.

In the midst of the Special Period, following the demise of the USSR, the empire intensified its brutal blockade of our people. At a certain point, fuel prices rose, thus making it difficult for us to obtain supplies. You then guaranteed a safe, steady commercial supply to our country.

We cannot forget that after the political coup against the Bolivarian Revolution in April 2002 and your brilliant victory in the oil coup at the end of that same year, oil prices rose to $60-plus per barrel. You then offered us fuel supplies and credit facilities. Bush was already president of the United States and the mastermind of those illegal and treacherous attacks on the Venezuelan people.

I remember how annoyed you were at his demand that I leave Mexico as a precondition for his landing in that long-suffering country, where you and I were attending a United Nations international conference in which he also should have participated.

They will never forgive the Bolivarian Revolution for its support for Cuba at a time when the empire imagined that our people, after almost half a century of resistance, would once again fall into their hands. In Miami, the counterrevolution demanded three days’ license to kill revolutionaries as soon as the transition government demanded by Bush was installed in Cuba.

Ten years of exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba have passed.

The ALBA was born in that period. The U.S-promoted FTAA had failed but the empire was once again on the offensive.

The coup d’état in Honduras and the installation of seven U.S. military bases in Colombia are recent events that occurred after the inauguration of the new president of the United States.

His predecessor had reestablished the 4th Fleet, half a century after the end of the last World War, when the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union no longer existed. The real intentions of the empire are obvious this time, behind the amiable smile and African-American face of Barack Obama.

Yesterday, Daniel Ortega explained how the coup in Honduras determined the weakening and conduct of the members of the Central American Integration System.

The empire is mobilizing the right-wing forces of Latin America to strike at Venezuela and, with that, the other ALBA member states. If the considerable oil and gas resources of Bolívar’s homeland were once again seized, the English-speaking Caribbean countries and other nations in Central America would lose the generous supply conditions today offered by revolutionary Venezuela.

Just a few days ago, after President Barack Obama’s speech at the West Point military academy announcing the deployment of a further 30,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan, I wrote a Reflection in which I described as “an unprincipled act” his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already adopted that that decision.

On December 10, during his acceptance speech in Oslo, he made statements that were an example of imperialist logic and thinking. “… I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed,” he affirmed in trying to present as a “just war” the brutal carnage taking place in that distant land, in which the majority of those who perish are defenseless villagers struck by bombs dropped from drone planes.

After those phrases, which were among the first that he spoke, he devoted more than 4,600 words to presenting his massacre of civilians as a just war. “In today’s wars,” he affirmed, “many more civilians are killed than soldiers.”

More than one million non-combatant civilians have now died in Iraq, Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border.

In that same speech, he praises Nixon and Reagan as distinguished individuals, without stopping to recall that one of them dropped more than one million tons of bombs on Vietnam, and the other one had the Siberian gas pipeline blown up by electronic means so that it would look like an accident. The blast was so great and devastating that nuclear test monitoring equipment registered it.

The speech he gave in Oslo differs from that of West Point because the latter was better crafted and recited. In the Norwegian capital, the speaker’s face demonstrated that he was aware of the insincerity of his words.

Neither the timing nor the circumstances were the same. Oslo is located close to Copenhagen. In that city, the extremely important Climate Change Conference, which I know that you and Evo are planning to attend, is taking place. The most important political battle in human history is being fought there at this very moment. There, one can appreciate in all its magnitude the scope of the damage that developed capitalism has inflicted on humanity. Today, the conference must desperately fight not just for justice but also for the survival of the species.

I have closely followed the ALBA meeting. I congratulate you all. I very much enjoyed seeing so many beloved friends outlining ideas and fighting in a united way. I congratulate you all.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

A warm embrace.

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Fidel Castro Ruz
December 14, 2009

Translated by Granma International

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