Simple Human Beings / Fernando Dámaso

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Chauvinism has been an evil that has always accompanied us, exacerbated in the last 50 years, with the objective of making us forget our small, medium and large problems, on altars of resolving those of humanity, as the different and chosen people that we are. This aims to explain and validate our direct or indirect participation in dozens of countries, as much in times of war as of peace, at the cost of human lives and material resources.

Nevertheless, if we review our history, in spite of being rich in facts and important people — like any other country — this strange self-valuation has not contributed much. Not because of caprice did Spain place on its shield its famous phrase: The always loyal Island of Cuba, without forgetting that we were one of the last colonies to free ourselves, when all the rest had already managed it.

Our first armed uprising against Spain was organized and directed by a Venezuelan, General Narciso Lopez, on disembarking in Cardenas in 1850, with the majority participation of foreigners, principally North Americans, and only five Cubans. No inhabitant of the place swelled his forces, and he had to re-embark, pursued by the Spaniards.

On his second landing, by Pinar del Rio, 10% were Cuban, but the Hungarian General Johann Pragay and North American Colonel William Crittenden formed an important part of it. It failed, being captured by a Cuban patrol in the service of the Spaniards, and the majority were executed.

In 1868, in the uprising of Yara, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes commanded; Maximo Gomez and Luis Marcano, both Dominicans,participated, Marcano was second in command (substituted for Bartolome Maso). Afterward they were joined by General Modesto Diaz, also Dominican. The post of Chief General of the Liberating Army, on producing the division of powers in the year 1869, was occupied by the Cuban General Manuel de Quesada, who had fought in the Mexican war against the French, but afterward the North American General Thomas Jordan arrested him for a short time — in the Ten Year War, and General Maximo Gomez — during all of the War of Independence.

In these suppressed wars the brigadier Henry Reeve, North American, and General Carlos Roloff, Polish, stood out in addition to some other lesser known foreigners. In more recent times, an important role in insurrectionist triumph belonged to commander Ernesto Guevara, Argentinian.

As can be appreciated, although I have only referred to the military and have not made reference to medicine, education, architecture, the arts, etc., on many occasions we have needed foreigners for the achievement of our goals. This does not diminish the role of the Cubans, but it puts us in our just place, without nationalist outbursts of any kind.

Neither is the cowardice well founded that some attribute to us in recent times for not being capable of fighting for an exit from the profound economic, political and social crisis that overwhelmed us more than half a century ago. Without a doubt fear exists in society, but it is an induced fear that has deformed a great part of the population, making it accept and even be complicit in a bad government, forgetting their most elemental duties as citizens.

Ultimately, like everyone, we have lights and shadows, good things and bad things. We are neither different nor chosen, but simple human beings.

Translated by mlk

May 15 2012