Chapter 6 : Reality and Reflection

Submitted by libcom on April 26, 2006

The now obvious socioeconomic failure of the Cuban revolution could not have been appreciated before the mid 1970s. During the 1960s, Cuba had sufficient monetary reserves to hide this failure: international credits, cash on hand, foreign currency, and exportable agricultural production (primarily sugar and tobacco). These economic riches, inherited from the now-defunct capitalist system, maintained the Castro regime during the first "socialist" decade, the start of which had been officially announced in 1961.

The projects and policies instituted in these first years of economic adventurism, "revolutionary" inefficiency, and failed social attempts were all based in "scientific socialism," political, social, and economic centralism, and state control of all of the island's economic activities, including all but the smallest agricultural, industrial, service, and distribution businesses. The revolutionary course in these days was based in"”or at least was said to be based in"”the leninist concept of "democratic centralism," in which the entire socioeconomic life of Cuba was in the hands of the Partido Comunista Cubano; and, as was the custom in the European marxist models, the direction and supervision of all of the powers emanating from the state were made the responsibility of the Political Bureau and Executive Committee of the PCC, and Fidel Castro as First Secretary of the Party.

The first and most essential project chosen by the new socialist state was the rapid substitution of a gigantic project of industrial growth and agricultural diversification to replace the cultivation of sugarcane as Cuba's economic mainstay"”a monoculture which had sustained the Cuban economy since the beginning of the 19th century. With diplomatic and commercial relations with the U.S. broken, and with the U.S. economic blockade in place, this new economic direction would make it very difficult to return to the old politico-economic system. Preventing this return was precisely the aim of the Castro regime.

While this change in the economic system was taking place, the Castro government moved to establish closer ties with the Soviet Union, a country with which Cuba had maintained diplomatic and commercial relations since 1933. So, Cuba not only made a 180 degree turn economically, it made a similar turn politically, with the USSR assuming the dominating role formerly played by the USA for almost seven decades.

Cuba's workers and campesinos didn't benefit much from this transition from capitalism to leninism, nor from the substitution of the USSR for the USA as political master. In fact, this transition brought with it some of the worst labor abuses since the darkest days of Spanish colonialism.

The regime instituted "voluntary" hours of additional work, with the stated purpose of building "socialism," a system which no one appeared to understand. To these extra hours, "Red Sundays" were added"”"voluntary" days of (of course) unpaid work by students. At this time, one of the most popular slogans, repeated daily, was that of "making unemployment disappear"; and with all of these "voluntary" days and hours of unpaid work, the regime certainly succeeded in achieving that goal. But, curiously, this isn't one of the achievements touted as a triumph of Castro's first few years in power.

At the same time that these economic plans were being implemented, shortages began to appear in the necessities of daily life, and the government instituted rationing. Each citizen had a monthly allotment of food and clothing"”an allotment the government couldn't always supply. This rapidly led to protests, but these protests were quashed by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and by the state security apparatus. The protests, however, were clearly an alarm bell, and the government fast realized that its new economic measures, planned and instituted so quickly, had become a social and economic disaster. So, it changed course again in an even more marxist direction.

The government then implemented Ernesto Guevara's old proposals to complete the "collectivization of the means of production" and to create a system which at all costs would avoid material incentives, a system that would obligate the Cubans to become "new human beings""”honest, egalitarian, nonegotistical, and above all in possession of a "superior revolutionary consciousness" and thus willing to sacrifice everything for the construction of a socialist society. So, in 1968, the government, as part of a "revolutionary offensive," seized all the remaining small businesses in Cuba for the purpose of liquidating forever the hated "petit bourgeoisie" who still stubbornly persisted in creating personal wealth. Despite these measures which not only didn't improve things, but made them worse, the Castro regime and its policies could still count on the backing of many of those at the bottom of the social pyramid.

Things began to change dramatically after the failure of the touted "10 million ton sugar crop" campaign in 1970. This agro-industrial operation involved the unprecedented militarization of the labor force for the sowing, cutting, and milling of sugar, and also the slashing and burning of woods and other unspoiled natural areas in order to increase the area for the planting of sugarcane. This process, which involved cutting down large number of trees and the diversion of farm fields and pasture land to sugar production, caused long-lasting and perhaps irreparable damage to Cuba's natural environment. This process was so gigantic that it even affected rainfall and drainage patterns. Perhaps the most notable effect of this was the siltation and salinization of Cuba's rivers and reservoirs. (Unfortunately, this lack of concern for Cuba's natural environment persists to this day.) But despite these draconian and environmentally disastrous measures, the goal of a 10 million ton sugar harvest wasn't even approached.

After this dramatic failure, the USSR began to realize that the attempted rapid industrialization of the island and the reorganization of agriculture had been monumental errors. As Cuba's primary outlet for its products, the USSR "suggested" that the Castro regime return to the old methods of planting, harvesting, and milling sugar. But the damage was done. Future sugar harvest yields were all below what had been projected, and the island atrophied economically for almost a decade"”as was predictable, given that Cuba's workers had wasted almost a full year on Castro's impossible "10 million ton" project. Everyone could see that this scheme was both an economic and an ecological disaster, and the Cuban people began to distance themselves from the government.

Of course the Soviet bureaucracy in Moscow understood that the Cuban agricultural project wasn't producing adequate dividends, and as is natural in these sorts of affairs, it decided to up the ante. It drastically increased aid to the Cuban government beginning in 1971. This aid didn't consist of ICBMs or nuclear weapons; it consisted of massive amounts of development aid and commercial subsidies. The annual subsidy in the years 1961-1970 averaged $327 million (over $1.5 billion yearly in 2001 dollars), and in the decade 1971-1980 averaged $1.573 billion per year (over $5 billion today).

But despite this massive aid from the Soviet Union, popular discontent grew in Cuba in a manner unexpected by the guardians of the system. Public disillusionment with the false promises of the revolution's leaders grew rapidly during the 1970s, resulting in increased repression, jailings, and exiles.

To get a better idea of the extent of the repression in these years, one should note that new penal facilities were built in every single province throughout the length of the island. These consisted of prisons, jails, forced labor (one could fairly call them "concentration") camps, and prison farms. Prisoners were used to construct all of these. In 1984 there were 144 jails and prisons throughout the island holding tens of thousands of inmates, both common and political prisoners. The last data available indicate that there were 168 Cuban prisons in 1988 holding common prisoners (including those caught attempting currency transactions involving U.S. dollars), political prisoners, and those who had attempted to escape the island. In those years, the number of prisons and the number of prisoners in Cuba increased in an almost Malthusian manner.

The Cuban people weren't the only ones suffering from Castro's policies at this time; the people of Latin America and Africa were, too. In accord with the policy of "national liberation," the Castro regime supported guerrilla movements"”both urban and rural"”in almost all of the countries south of the Rio Grande. These movements ran head on into an iron determination by the U.S. government to keep control of the countries in its sphere of influence. This resulted in short order in the Castro-backed insurgents provoking the creation of military dictatorships (backed, of course, by the CIA), a gang of uniformed gorillas who dedicated themselves to kidnappings, "disappearances," rape, robbery, torture, and murder"”directed as much against innocent civilians as against their guerrilla enemies. Literally hundreds of thousands of people died as a result in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, and Colombia.

In Africa, the Cuban regime intervened militarily in several countries, most notably Ethiopia (on the side of the murderously repressive, marxist-leninist Dergue government, in its attempts to suppress the independence movements in Tigre and Eritrea) and Angola. Over a period of more than a decade, Cuba sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight in African campaigns, in the abovementioned countries and also in others, such as Algeria, the Congo, and Sudan; the Cuban troops found themselves involved in uprisings, coups d'etat, civil wars, tribal conflicts, and undeclared wars. The same Cuban troops who fought against South Africa for the independence of Namibia exterminated entire villages in Angola and Ethiopia. All of this cost Cuba many millions of dollars as well as tens of thousands of military casualties.

This long history of disasters and injustice, both inside and outside of Cuba, led even those Cubans who still support the government first to doubts, then to apathy, and finally to a frustration which they themselves don't understand. All of this has led to a mass desire to escape the country. But that's a bit difficult, given that the Constitution of 1976 denies Cuba's citizens the right to freely travel abroad"” or, more accurately, to flee the regime that oppresses them. This constitutional prohibition was, however, a formality, as measures denying the Cuban people that freedom had already been in force for years.

After the 1980 Mariel "boatlift," Castro's Cuba appeared to have stabilized itself at least economically, even though social tension continued. Soviet economic aid contributed notably to this economic stabilization; it increased further in the 1981-1985 period to a total of $22.658 billion, an average of $4.5 billion a year (roughly $8 billion today). This was by far the most aid Cuba had ever received throughout its history, and these huge figures graphically demonstrate the heavy involvement of Moscow in the remote Caribbean island.

Despite this massive aid, the results of the first 25 years of Castroism couldn't have been more negative. Cuba's economy was directly and massively dependent on the USSR, and its government was a dictatorship that permitted no criticism"”despite the empty words of the 1976 Constitution. The working people realized that the state had broken the social contract, and dedicated themselves to passively sabotaging that state. Those who couldn't escape attempted to survive by working as little as possible. From the construction sector to the massive state bureaucracy, and even in agriculture, production fell alarmingly.

This was well known when the state-controlled labor union central, the Confederación de Trabajadores Cubanos Revolucionaria, met in its 39th conference in October 1979. The leaders of the Castroite workers' organization noted "a series of grave alterations in Cuban labor life." The hierarchs of the CTCR accused Cuba's workers of "lack of discipline, thefts, and negligence." They ended their analysis of the Cuban labor situation with some truly astonishing statistics. They stated that, "[Of] 1,600,000 persons in the active population (labor force), only half a million produce anything." That is to say, if we can trust these statistics, that less than a third of Cuba's labor force was participating usefully in the economy.

This data, obtained from a "Report of the Conference," couldn't be more revealing. It indicates that a majority of Cuba's workers, because of lack of motivation or some other reason, were refusing to work for "the construction of socialism""”a slogan that emanated constantly from the highest places in the dictatorship, and was repeated ad nauseam in every communications medium imaginable. The Cubans had lost faith in their government and would soon lose it in their country.

In 1982, the Cuban state put in place a law that permitted foreign companies, for the first time in over two decades, to invest in Cuba. This in large part corresponded to the Soviet New Economic Policy of the 1920s which, like the Cuban measure, was instituted for the purpose of avoiding "state decomposition." This policy of capitalist investment would, ironically, have a bright future in "socialist" Cuba.

The smaller scale agricultural reform of allowing "farmers' free markets" had a much darker future. Under this reform, the state allowed campesinos to sell some of their farm products directly to consumers outside of the state rationing system. It was motivated to permit this largely because of its own inability to reliably supply rationed products. This small-scale experiment was rapidly shut down by the government, which reasoned in the admirable style of scientific socialism"”at the same time that it was encouraging investments by multinational corporations"”that farmers' markets would create a dangerous petit bourgeoisie, in contradiction to the principles of revolutionary socialism.

The sociopolitical crisis of the USSR at the end of the 1980s, and the sad ending in 1991 of the system imposed on the Russian people by Lenin, had deplorable consequences for the Cuban economy. During the last five years of Soviet assistance, 1986-1990, economic aid averaged over $5 billion per year, a figure which was impossible to maintain by a disintegrating political system. The Castro regime decided to survive the socialist camp disaster by changing its political economy and entering into a "Special Period," which would lead to a social situation worse than anything that had gone before, and to a quality of life worse than that in Third World countries. (The "Special Period" is still in effect.)

To avoid anything similar to the "Bucharest Syndrome" (the shooting of the dictator by his own forces), the regime instituted even more repressive measures, increased the severity of the political laws, and targeted its own military. General Arnaldo Ochoa, a national hero of the African campaigns decorated as a "Hero of the Republic of Cuba," was, because of suspicion of disloyalty, condemned to death; he was shot by a firing squad on July 13, 1989. Colonel Antonio de la Guardia was shot on the same day, as were two other military officers, Amado Padrón and Jorge Martínez. Patricio de la Guardia, Antonio's brother, and a general with the elite Special Troops (Tropas Especiales), was condemned to 30 years in prison. This purge of high-ranking military men ended in September 1989 with the arrest and sentencing of José Abrantes, a Ministry of the Interior (secret police) general. Abrantes died soon thereafter under mysterious circumstances while in prison.

At the same time that it was purging its military and secret police, the Castro regime initiated an opening in the direction of the so-called Cuban community in exile, particularly in the United States. This opening including permission for exiles to visit Cuba and to send money directly to their family members in Cuba. (Of course, money spent on travel and money sent to Cuban citizens would prop up the Cuban economy, and thus help prop up the Castro regime.) The Castro government also opened a strong diplomatic campaign to increase economic ties with all of the capitalist countries in Europe and Asia, as well as, surprisingly enough, the U.S., the Vatican, and Israel.

At the same time, and marking the definitive economic failure of Castro's "socialism," the farmers' markets were permitted to reopen; some establishment of privately owned small businesses was tolerated; and, most significantly, the "dollarization" of the Cuban economy took place. This last meant that the U.S. dollar could circulate just as freely in Cuba as it did in the U.S."”while up till this point trafficking in dollars meant going to jail in Cuba. The purpose of this measure was to expedite the sending of money by exiles to Cuba. This amount quickly reached $800 million per year, an amount higher than that produced by the most recent sugar crops (sugar being a badly decayed industry in Cuba).

Meanwhile the slogans about the "gains" realized in health and education were repeated, for external consumption, while class differences sharpened between those employed in Castro's apparatus, those receiving money from relatives abroad, and those relying on salaries paid in devalued pesos. Once again hopelessness spread like a cancer among the least favored and, as in not so remote times, the most daring Cubans decided to illegally abandon the island on flimsy rafts via the Straits of Florida"”a very dangerous journey that has claimed thousands of victims over the years. In a very real sense this is a form of suicide induced by desperation, and a form in which Cuba leads the world. The Elian González affair is a good illustration of this tragedy.

Perhaps the worst incident in this ongoing sad situation was that involving the tugboat "13 de marzo" ("March 13th"). On July 13, 1994, more than 70 persons crowded this tug as it set sail from Havana toward Florida. It was intercepted outside Havana Bay by the Cuban coast guard, which ordered it to return to Havana. The tug refused and continued heading toward Florida. At that point the Cuban coast guard vessel attacked the "13 de marzo" with high pressure water hoses, sinking it. Forty-one persons died when it went down, including many women and children. The survivors were taken prisoner. This sordid attack on unarmed civilians was supposedly ordered directly by Fidel Castro.

While all this has been going on, Castro has definitively ended his "socialist" experiment, with the sole purpose of maintaining his hold on power. He has instituted a form of state capitalism, similar to that of neo-fascist "Red" China, in which foreign investors in direct partnership with the Cuban state dominate the production of goods and services. As an example, the workers in the Cuban tourism industry, an industry entirely in the hands of the Cuban state and Spanish investors, receive their salaries in Cuban pesos (the exchange rate being about 20 pesos to one dollar), which effectively excludes them from the world of "dollarization." As well, the Cuban people in general are barred from entering the hotels and beaches reserved for foreign tourists, thus creating a type of apartheid"”imposed by their "socialist" government.

This is a pathetic conclusion to a revolution that began amidst jubilation and great hopes. After 40 years the Cuban revolution has ended in economic deprivation, desperation, sharp class divisions, massive emigration, and a criminal tyranny that suppresses all dissent. How did this come to pass? How did this project that promised civil liberties, political and social reforms, just and honest government, and an equitable redistribution of the country's riches come to such a bad end? How did a revolution"”and a "revolutionary" government "”with great popular backing end up like this?

There are many reasons for this failure, but in our view there are two primary ones: the socioeconomic course and the speed with which it was adopted by Cuba's ruling elite; and the continual, massive repression of individual liberties.

In regard to the first of these, the transition from the capitalism that existed in Cuba prior to the revolution to the authoritarian pseudo-socialism substituted for it never yielded the expected results. This was largely due to the idiotic and ego-driven speed with which changes were implemented. The bearded ones were in too much of a hurry to impose their system, and never seriously planned the transition from one system to the other. But it was also due to the very nature of the "socialism" they attempted to impose. Instead of handing over the fields, factories, and workshops directly to the workers after expropriating them from their owners"”a measure with which Cuba's anarchists would, of course, have been in accord"”the Cuban government placed all of the great businesses, industries, banks, transportation networks, etc. under the control of the state. And they put elements loyal to the government, but without the foggiest idea of how to make these enterprises function, at the head of them all. It's not surprising that those without expertise in the fields they controlled made a hash of things, especially in that they were attempting to implement rapid structural change.

The second reason, perhaps more important than the first, was the creation of a military dictatorship worse than that which preceded it, a massive repressive system reaching into every neighborhood (via the CDRs), capable of violence and murder to maintain itself in power, and that mistreated, harried, and tortured political prisoners more savagely than its predecessors. Castro's and the PCC's destruction of individual liberties was a crime against the Cuban people, a people whose chronicle is that of love of liberty and fighting for freedom.

This destruction of personal freedom was the principal reason for the Communist disaster on the island. A shocked, enslaved people on their knees cannot effectively collaborate in social and political reconstruction. This is precisely why the many marxist attempts to create free, peaceful, egalitarian societies through the systematic use of coercion, violence, and terror by small elites have failed so abysmally the world over.

For their part, the Cuban anarchists have fought against tyranny throughout Cuban history, from the struggle against the repressive capitalism of the sugar barons to the pseudo-socialism of Castro. The anarchists were the first to understand and denounce the Castro regime. The anarchists' struggle for freedom and their understanding of what Castroism meant for Cuba can be seen as early as 1960 in Agustín Souchy's Testimonios sobre la Revolución Cubana and the public denunciation of Castro in the same year by the Asociación Libertaria de Cuba. The correctness of these early appraisals can be fully appreciated now that end of Castroism finally appears to be drawing near.

With Castro's death, there will be a new dawning of liberty in Cuba. That dawn will allow Cuba's anarchists to once again propagate anarchist ideas and to organize on the island. The solidarity of overseas anarchist groups will be an important help in those efforts, but it won't be indispensable. It will be Cuba's workers themselves who will organize to achieve freedom in its concrete sense of control over their own lives, control over the wealth they create, and control of the work that produces that wealth. As the old Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores saying goes, "The emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves."

But Cuba's anarchists have pointed the way to that emancipation. Since the 19th century, they have fought a dual fight: against tyranny and for workers' control of the economy. In regard to Castro, Cuba's anarchists have consistently opposed his counterrevolution (suppression of individual freedom and the institution of state control rather than workers' control) since its early dark days. Remarkably early on Cuba's anarchists expressed their opposition to centralization, violence, coercion, and the remarkable militarization of Cuba (a matter on which many U.S. and European anti-militarists have been notably silent), and their support of worker-controlled unions, free municipalities, agricultural cooperatives, and collective workplaces. To put this another way, Cuba's anarchists have consistently supported a real revolution rather than the phony one which has mesmerized so many leftists (including many anarchists).

Anarchism and its ideas are not dead in Cuba, as many who wish to erase these concepts of social redemption from the Cuban agenda wish us to believe. Marxism, as a utopia, as a vision of a better world, and as a practical means to get to that world, died when its ideas were put into practice by Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, and Castro. The ideas of anarchism are, in contrast, quite alive"”and they showed their vitality in the one major test to which they were ever put: the Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939. It is clearly premature to bury libertarian ideas.

Anselmo Lorenzo once said, "The first thing necessary to being an anarchist is a sense of justice." We would add that it's also necessary to be an optimist. The new generation of Cubans, who have suffered the terrors of Castroism for decades, will find libertarian ideas to be the best, and probably the only, means of achieving a world free of intolerance, domination, hate, greed, and vengeance.

Optimism is a key factor in understanding the task of reconstructing anarchism in Cuba, in part because it's a key to Cuban psychology. But there are other psychological factors that must also be taken into account. One is the rampant ideological confusion and disillusionment on the island.

Marxists have always insisted that the correct path to socialism is the creation of an elite, a "revolutionary vanguard," that after taking power will lead the people to a socialist utopia by instituting "scientific" political and social principles. Of course, this approach has led to failure in virtually every land where the principles of Marx and Lenin have been put into practice. In Cuba, this attempt to produce a "new man" has led to disaster; the old revolutionaries were unable to force-produce a "revolutionary" youth.

The Cuban people have for nearly two centuries held in common a love of freedom. This first manifested itself in the struggle for independence from Spain, where some took the path of violent insurrection, others demanded reforms, and the majority simply wanted a better system of government that Spanish colonialism. Later, in the twentieth century, the failure of two republics semi-independent of the U.S., and the rise of two outright murderous regimes, those of Machado and Batista, didn't prevent the generation that came of age in mid-century from continuing the fight for Cuban freedom. But the defeat and humiliation of this idealistic, revolutionary generation by the at first authoritarian and later despotic figure of Fidel Castro placed a major roadblock in this centuries-old quest for liberty. If there's any positive aspect to the Castro dictatorship, it's that it has served as an object lesson to many Cubans to never support strongmen or "maximum leaders," no matter what "revolutionary" slogans they mouth.

But the Castro detour will be just that"”a detour. There are many other social, moral, and psychological characteristics of the Cuban people that incline them instinctively, as it were, toward anarchism: their disrespect or indifference toward the state; their permanent rebellion against authority and its representatives, be they political or religious; and their systematic opposition to laws, rules, and regulations that attempt to restrict their freedom.

At the same time, it's necessary to point out that even though the Cuban character has an affinity for anarchism, being anarchic and being an anarchist are not the same thing. Still, Cubans are inclined to defy authority and to defy the laws of both church and state.

The Castro government was well aware of this Cuban tendency, and it took pains to suppress it from the start through the massive use of terror and coercion. The fear unleashed by Castro has temporarily dried up the love of liberty and the disdain for tyrants and their orders. The Cuba of today, with its multitude of prisons, secret police, and government informers on every block (the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution"”more accurately, the Committees for the Defense of the Regime), is a society based on mere survival. Only through the use of near-infinite repression has Castro maintained his grip on power; and not only has he retained that, he's temporarily created a different Cuban attitude (at least as publicly expressed)"” one that disdains "bourgeois civil liberties" and that respects repressive laws. In short, Castro's is a remarkable achievement: replacement of the traditional Cuban love of freedom by its opposite, cringing submission.

At the same time, while the present regime bears great responsibility for this "achievement," there were tendencies in this direction prior to the rise of Castro; and Cuba's anarchists, from the time of El Productor, have attacked these tendencies. First and foremost has been the matter of racism. Cuba (at the same time as Brazil) was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish black slavery; and the racism and economic disparities left in slavery's wake were a severe hindrance to social emancipation in Cuba throughout the twentieth century.

The Castro regime has made much of its supposed elimination of racism in Cuban society, but in recent years racism has resurfaced, for economic reasons. Since the Castro regime reversed itself and allowed the free circulation of U.S. dollars on the island, and the sending of dollars from exiles (predominantly white Cubans) to those still in Cuba, a great many white Cuban families have been able to survive while doing very little or no work and, of course, while producing no useful goods or services. This has led to considerable resentment on the part of those not receiving money from abroad (primarily blacks), and it has also resulted in the introduction of a de facto class system with heavy racial overtones.

This class system has led to widespread indifference and indolence in agriculture and the sugar industry. Workers and campesinos refuse to work more than the absolute minimum necessary in a society where tourist dollars mean more than those produced by any type of production for export.

As for the means"”other than coercion, violence, and surveillance "”employed by the Castro government to keep itself in power, one must cite its propaganda apparatus. The Cuban government controls every radio station, TV station, and publication on the island. From these, the Cuban people receive a daily dose of marxist-leninist "scientific socialism," a doctrine with which they dare not publicly disagree. They also receive daily reports about how happy they are because of the revolutionary "gains" of the Castro regime, and because of their supposed "equality." Hearing such claims repeated day after day, year after year, without public contradiction, some come to believe them. And others"”primarily those in the government/Communist Party apparatus, the top tier in Cuba's class-based society"”want to believe those claims, because they help justify their privileged positions.

Cuba's educational system also serves as an indoctrination factory. Students receive daily doses of marxism as revealed truth, and they are not free to criticize it, just as they are not free to criticize the educational system imposed on them by the state. They also are not free to choose their own paths in life. As in Plato's republic, if the state decides that they have, for example, an aptitude for veterinary medicine, they must serve the state as veterinarians. In education, as in virtually every other aspect of Cuban life, freedom is absent.
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Since remote times, human beings have evaluated, criticized, and altered the society that surrounds them. Anarchism is a recent development in this noble and humane undertaking, which has run as a thread through human history from the Athens of Socrates, to the Stoic philosophers, to the Renaissance, and to the philosophers and encyclopedists of the Enlightenment. William Godwin in England and P.J. Proudhon in France are but two early examples of those who took this tradition and built upon it to produce anarchism. If I read them correctly, their purpose, like that of later anarchists such as Errico Malatesta and Peter Kropotkin, was not only to eliminate the state, but to create a freer, more just human society. This intention"”whether or not its bearers use the label "anarchist""”will, I am convinced, never die. It will continue to survive generation after generation, despite temporary setbacks, in Cuba as everywhere else.

As for Cuba, enchained and on its knees, I cannot help but think of the reference of Enrique Roig San Martín to the "tree of liberty." In Cuba, it put down roots and sprouted branches until, in the 1960s, it was burned and cut to the ground. But it didn't die. There will be those in the generations that succeed us who will take up the altruistic legacy of their forbears, so that the roots of anarchism, the roots of freedom, now buried in the fertile Cuban soil, will once again spring to life and will bear the fruits of liberty and social justice.