The image of the Republic

By: Frank El Primo

This text was written by Carlos T. Trujillo, who was born in Cienfuegos in 1869 and died in the same city in 1937.   At the end of the war in 1898 he had the rank of Colonel of the Army of Liberation.

A friend has provided me with a book of his articles published in the newspapers of the time, between the years 1911 and 1936.  What do you think?  They knew something about him?  I will try to offer other texts of Mr. Carlos T. Trujillo.  Enjoy this:

The image of the Republic
Carlos T. Trujillo

I think the people are at fault, most often of time, for the mistakes committed by their governments.  When the “invisible government,” as Ruskin called civic influence, does not possess the purity or the spiritual energy to depose the government, in the face of all the known errors, the government, in a strict sense, that is always a much lower reflection of the “invisible government,” it has to be unbearable for the governed.

For years the country has yearned for a sincere Republic, the republic of “republican deeds”; but at the same time we all prevent, in fact, this Republic from existing.

Let there be no privileges—no immunity or privileges—the whole world proclaims it in the square; and in a low voice, each one wants, asks for, looks for and fights for privilege.  The political parties suffer from the same evil: in power and in opposition they use the same methods; they commit the same errors, commit the same evils, and are stained with the same crimes.  The country was deceived, resigned to the bad past, thinking to avoid the coming evil; its troubled gaze turns vainly to its surroundings, and it believes itself lost in a desert… Where is the Republic?

We won’t find the cure within us, say the low voices of the perpetrators, the accomplices, the indifferent, those who don’t suffer or love the new regime; those that exploit; in a word the same ones who enjoy the privilege.  What is within us is certainly not the Republic, only its image; it’s the distorted colony.

The big parties have already had the responsibilities of government; a group of men from both sides have performed the duties of rulers, and have failed in a definitive way; however, very few are the people with the republican virtue, they have resigned themselves to returning home, to take care of their private property and family.  There is no mistake, malice, nor crime that annuls between us and a man; the civil or political death, is unknown to us.  The people endure when the institutions are ruined.  If the country chose one time for forever, between persons and institutions; if it chose the parties who prefer the Republic over power, or rather, the Power within the Republic, we would begin a new era, one of “republican deeds,” one of the Messiah, with real freedom, and not imaginary.

The political parties have outraged the Republic; they have slandered the Revolution; they have presented as a model before Cuban youth a black banner splashed with gold.  Without principles, without strength, without sacrifices, you can be rich: steal. The Republic is of no concern to you.

The caudillos of the Revolution, the majority of them are to blame for that Cuban state of consciousness.  In the war they were sincere, because self-sacrificing and courageous they accepted the sacrifice that the Revolution imposed; in the Republic they are disloyal, because they do not surrender to the sacrifice that the Republic imposes.  They have been buried in the glorious past and, voluntarily dead, they have wanted to rule the life of the Republic.  An invisible wall for the material eyes, visible for every awake spirit, separated the Revolution from the Republic; those who have wanted to could pass through the doors of this wall, because the glory made them haughty, and they were lacking the humility of a citizen, those are outside the Republic, those!… Definitively, they are the enemies of the republican regime.  Their glories are in the Revolution; their prestige, in the nationality; their fall in the Republic.

Suppose a traveler, after long days crossing deserted lands, through valleys and mountains, finally comes to the hut where he hopes to find food and shelter; he goes faster so as to get there sooner, and when he believes he has finished his odyssey, asking the owner for a bit of bread and fruit to quell his hunger, the good man, in the middle of a thousand considerations and excuses, denies him the food; but believing a spiritual miracle possible, he shows him the sight of one of those paintings that are so common in many dining rooms, of a table covered with delicacies and pitchers and jars containing drinks: “It’s the only thing I can offer you, sir, to satisfy your appetite,” he says.

“These delicacies you show to a hungry man be damned,” says the traveler, “because they exasperate rather than console.  A little bit of hard bread, like the dog eats in the streets of our cities, is worth more to me now than these picture cards or paintings; images are not what my stomach needs.”

The Cuban people is that poor traveler, who asks for the bread and wine of the Republic to nourish his body and fortify his spirit.  It has asked in vain until now: because the image and not the reality of the Republic always shows.  To transform the image into reality, not to restore but rather to establish the Republic, what is needed is a new spiritual crusade; because the Revolution was nothing but a useful instrument, transitory; and the real Republic is the definitive thing, the political ideal.