Thursday, November 30, 2006

You don’t have a duty to beanywhere, Fidel: your duty to humanity is to look after yourself and go on living…

Dear brother and sister followers of Fidel:
Fidel’s transparency has made us clearly understand reality. But what he would most want is that we continue going forward. First you heard the voice of Oswaldo Guayasamín, creator of the Foundation 30 years ago, and whose living memory holds the thinking and sentiment of hundreds, thousands, millions of human beings, who are here or who have been unable to come to be with us in these days that are going to be marvelous, not only because of the love that we, you and the maestro’s family will be giving, but because of the personality of the man who is being honored: that volcano called Fidel!
The Guayasamín Foundation wishes to share with you, the visiting women and men from 80 countries, the privilege represented by being able to participate in this unparalleled tribute.
It is our wish that each segment of the program will be fulfilled as successfully as possible. It includes the Guayasamín exhibition, made concrete in an embrace from the artist to his brother Fidel; the international concert Todas las voces, Todas (All Voices Together) in which artists and singer-songwriters who are generously dedicating their music to Fidel will participate; and the colloquium in which we are going to dialogue on and update the memory of what has taken place and look at the projections of what is to happen in this world in turmoil, everything in relation to Fidel and to Cuba, both of whom symbolize the real concept of Revolution.
In the framework of this tribute, we are going to launch a book reproducing the works of Oswaldo Guayasamín twinned with poems from Pablo Neruda’s Canto General (General Song), and another book that brings together marvelously the thinking and a large part of the history of the Comandante, Cien horas con Fidel (One Hundred Hours with Fidel), written with such intelligence by the journalist Ignacio Ramonet, present here, in its third edition, which is an additional privilege for all of us.
However, that is little enough of what we can do as a tribute to a man who has given everything in favor of others, his own Cuban people and other peoples from Latin America and the world, whom he treats as if they were his own in the exemplary attitude of converting himself into the driving force of the most internationalist solidarity known to contemporary history.
An example of decorum, of austerity, of total detachment from material ambition, personal sacrifice in his inexhaustible work, all those virtues that have brought him to occupy that unique place in the history of these times in which he has dedicated most of his 80 years to fighting, leading battles, defeating – one after the other – the governments of imperialism and many of their figureheads, with all their blockades, their assassination attempts, their perverse genocidal practices.
Eighty years, which are many, many more for a person who found the strength to extend his days and working hours to the infinite.
His being this volcano that he has been, as Oswaldo Guayasamín describes him, is the reason for us meeting here to say to him:
Thank you, Fidel, for existing…
Thank you for having had the valor to forge the 26th of July…
Thank you for everything that you have done and for attaining the absolution of history a long time ago…
Thank you for the Granma landing, the beginning of the victory…
Thank you for making Cuba a free territory…
With the beneficiaries of the "I Can Do It," Operation Miracle (programs), and the thousands of medical students, we say to you: Thank you for making your dreams of social justice a reality…
Thank you for continuing to be a guerrilla…
With Elián González and with the five patriots imprisoned by the empire, we say to you: Thank you for being tenacious and for winning all your battles…
You do not have a duty to be anywhere, Fidel: your duty to humanity is to look after yourself and to go on living…
Friends: And so that Fidel hears from where you are, from the hand of the memory of Oswaldo Guayasamín, let us lavish to that volcano of tenderness the most loving standing ovation…
ALFREDO VERADirector of International Relations of theGuayasamín Foundation.Coordinator of the Tribute.
Message from President Fidel Castroto participants in the celebrations for his 80th birthday
Dear compatriots and dear friends from all over the world:
During this time, I have worked intensely to guarantee in our country the objectives of the Proclamation of the 31st of July.
Now we find ourselves facing an adversary who has led the United States into a disaster of such magnitude, that it is almost certain that the U.S. people themselves will not allow him to conclude his presidential mandate.
In addressing you, intellectuals and prominent individuals of the world, I was in a dilemma: I could not bring you all together in a small venue. It was only within the Karl Marx Theater that all of the visitors would fit and, according to my doctors, I was still not in a condition to face such a colossal encounter.
I opted for the variant of speaking to all of you utilizing this channel. My thinking is well-known regarding José Martí’s ideas of glories and honors, when he said that they can all fit on a grain of corn.
Your generosity really overwhelms me. There are so many people that I would like to mention here that once again, I am opting not to do so, and I ask you to forgive me for mentioning just one name: that of Oswaldo Guayasamín, because he was able to synthesize many of the best virtues of those present here.
He made four portraits of me. The first one that he painted in 1961 was lost. I looked for it in every possible corner, and it never appeared. I suffered so much when I found out what an exceptional person Guayasamín was. The second was in 1981 and is kept at the Casa Guayasamín in Old Havana. The third, in 1986, is kept at the "Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Man." How far we were, he and I, when we first met, from imagining that the fourth portrait would be his birthday gift in August 1996.
How inspired his words were when he said: "From Quito and in any corner of the Earth, leave a light burning, because I will be back later."
About Oswaldo Guayasamín, I wrote one day, during the inauguration of the Capilla del Hombre, "He was the most noble, transparent and humane person I have ever known. He created at the speed of light, and his magnitude as a human being was limitless."
As long as the planet exists and human beings breathe, the work of creators will exist.
Today, moreover, thanks to technology, the work and knowledge that humanity has created throughout thousands of years is within everyone’s reach, even though it is not yet known how human beings are affected by the radiation from billions of computers and cell phones.
Recently, the prestigious World Wildlife Fund, based in Switzerland and considered internationally to be the most important NGO overseeing the global environment, stated that all of the measures taken by Cuba to protect the environment made it the only country on Earth that meets the minimum requirements for sustainable development. This is an encouraging honor for our country, but of little importance in the world, given the weight of its economy. That is why, on this past 23rd, I sent a message to President Chávez saying:
"Dear Hugo:
"By adopting a Comprehensive Energy Savings Program, you have become the most prestigious defender of the environment in the world.
"The fact that Venezuela is the country with the largest oil reserves is extremely important, and will make you an example that will draw along all other energy consumers to do the same, saving a countless amount of investment.
"Just as Cuba, a nickel producer, can mobilize resources worth billions of dollars for its development, Venezuela, with its exports of hydrocarbons, could mobilize trillions.
"If the rich industrialized nations were to achieve the miracle of reproducing throughout the planet – within several dozen years – solar fusion, having first destroyed the environment with hydrocarbon emissions, how will the poor nations, who constitute the immense majority of humanity, be able to live in that world?
"¡Hasta la victoria siempre!"
Finally, dear friends, who have done us the immense honor of visiting our country, I very sorrowfully take my leave of you, because I was not able to personally thank you and embrace each one of you. We have the duty to save our species.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Preparations for Fidel’s Birthday Full Steam Ahead

More than a thousand personalities from all continents will be come to Cuba between November 28 and the first days of December to celebrate the 80th birthday of Cuban President Fidel Castro in what will be "a demonstration of love, passion, affection and respect for the leader of the Revolution," said Alfredo Vera, member of the Guayasamin Foundation, the institution promoting of the initiative.

"Fidel Castro and the late Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamin were united by profound ties of friendship and mutual admiration," said Vera.

The Foundation’s international relations person said the events to take place in Havana as part of the celebration include a colloquium on the thoughts of Fidel Castro; a concert at the Jose Martí Anti-imperialist Bandstand and an exhibition of Guayasamin’s paintings at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

The announcements were made on the nightly TV and Radio program The Round Table. Important intellectuals have confirmed their presence at the celebrations, among them, sociologist and journalist Ignacio Ramonet, Ecuador’s former president Rodrigo Borja, writer and essayist Luis Britto, and author Atilio Boron.

Foundation Vice-president Saskia Guayasamin, told the Round Table that convening the event was a task achieved on short notice, as a result of the great admiration for Fidel and his father Oswaldo, "who dedicated his painting to the defense of the poor and dispossessed of the Americas."

Vera added that the colloquium will run from November 29 through December 1. He said three commissions will delve into Fidel’s views on solidarity, internationalism and the need to forge a new type of human being. Discussions will also focus on the leader of the Cuban revolution’s concepts of justice, equity and humanity’s most pressing problems.

Round Table host Randy Alonso announced that all the debates will be taped for further broadcast on the program.

Guayasamin´s grandson, Alfredo Che Vera, provided details on the concert Todas las Voces Todas, scheduled to take place on November 30, with the participation of renowned musicians and singers from Cuba and Latin America.