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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Daily LIFT #239

Fidel Castro delivers the Second Declaration of Havana, February, 1962 -- Daily LIFT #239

"They reckoned little if at all with that laboring humanity, subjected to inhuman exploitation pauperized, driven by the whip and the herdsman. Since the dawn of independence there has been no change in the destiny of Indians, gauchos, mestizos, zambos, quadroons, whites with neither property nor income. This is the great human mass who served the "homeland" they never enjoyed. It was they who died by millions, who were slaughtered, who won the independence of their countries for the bourgeoisie. It is they who were robbed of their lands, who remained on the lowest rung of social benefits, who continued to die of hunger, of curable diseases, of neglect, because they never received what they needed to live — bread itself, a hospital bed, medicine, a helping hand...

But the hour of their vindication is striking, the hour they themselves have chosen. The signal sounds clearly from one end of the continent to the other. Now the anonymous masses, the America of color, somber, taciturn, whose singing throughout the continent echoes grief and reproach, these masses are beginning to inscribe the pages of history with their own blood, to suffer and die. They are rising from the fields and mountains of America, from the slopes of the sierras, from the plains and the forests in lonely spots and in the city's traffic, along the sea shore and the riverbank. Now they are beginning to shake that world full of reasons, fists hot with determination to die for what is theirs, to seize those rights which have been deprived them by one group or another for almost 500 years. Yes, now history must reckon with the poor of America, with the exploited and despised of Latin America who have decided to begin writing their own history for themselves, and forever. They can be seen on the roads any day marching endlessly for hundreds of miles to storm the governing "heavens" in order to obtain their rights. They can be seen, armed with stones, sticks, machetes, now here, now there, daily occupying lands, digging their hooks into the soil which is theirs, and defending it with their lives. They can be seen carrying banners, flags, placards, unfurling them in the winds among the mountains or across the plains. And this wave of battering fury, of justice demanded, of trampled rights — this wave engulfing the lands of Latin America will never stop again. This wave will mount with each passing day. For this wave is formed by the most, the majority in all things, the people whose work piles up the riches, who create the values, turn the wheels of history and are now awakening from the long brutalizing slumber to which they were subjected.

For this great humanity has said: "Enough!" and has begun to move." - The Second Declaration of Havana, 1962


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