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I am finishing these notes while traveling through Africa, moved by the desire to keep my promise, although after some delay. 1 should like to do so by dealing with the topic that appears in the title. I believe it might be of interest to Uruguayan readers.

It is common to hear how capitalist spokesmen use as an argument in the ideologi cal struggle against social i sm the assertion that such a social system or the period of building social i sm upon which we have enbarked, is characterized by the extinction of the individual for the sake of the State. 1 will make no attempt to refute this assertion on a merely theoretical basis, but will instead establish the facts of the Cuban experience and add commentaries of a general nature. I shall first broadly sketch the history of our revolutionary struggle both before and after taking of power.

As we know, the exact date of the begin ning of the revolutionary actions which were to culminate on January 1, 1959, was July 26, 1953. A group of men led by Fidel Castro at tacked the Moncada military garrison in the province of Oriente, in the early hours of the morning that day. The attack was a failure, the failure became a disaster and the survivors were imprisoned, only to begin the revolutionary struggle all over again once they were amnistied.

During this process, which contained only the first seeds of socialism, man was a basic factor. Man -- individualized, specific, named -- was trusted and the triumph or


failure of the task entrusted to him depended on his capacity for action.

Then came the stage of guerrilla warfare. It was carried out in two different environmenis: the people, an as yet unawakened mass that had to be mobilized, and its vanguard, the guerrilla, the thrusting engine of mobilization, the generator of revolutionary awareness and militant enthusiasm. This vanguard was the catalyst which created the subjective condition necessary for victory. The individual was also the basic factor in the guerrilla, in the framework of the gradual proletarianization of our thinking, in the revolution taking place in our habits and in our minds. Each and every one of the Sierra Maestra fighters who achieved a high rank in the revolutionary forcos has to his credit a list of noteworthy deeds. It was on the basis of such deeds that they earned their rank.


It was the first heroic period in which men strove to earn posts of greater responsi bility, of greater danger, with the fulfillment of their duty as the only satisfaction. In our revolutionary educational work, we of ten return to this instructive topic. The man of the future could be glimpsed in the attitude of our fighters.

At other times of our history there have been repetitions of this utter devotion to the revolutionary cause. During the October Crisis and at the time of hurricane Flora, we witnessed deeds of exceptional valor and selfsacrifice carried out by an entire people. One of our fundamental tasks from the ideological standpoint is to find the way to perpetuate such heroic attitudes in everyday life.

The Revolutionary Government was established in 1959 with the participation of


several members of the "sell-out" bour geoisie. The presence of the Rebel Army constituted the guarantee of power as the fundamental factor of strength.

Serious contradictions arose which were solved in the first instance in February, 1959, when Fidel Castro assumed the leadership of the government in the post of Prime Minister. This process culminated in July of the same year with the resignation of President Urrutia in the face of mass pressure.

With clearly defined features, there no: appeared in the history of the Cuban Revolution a personage which will systematically repeat itself:

the masses.


This multifacetic being is not, as it is claimed, the sum total of elements of the sare category (and moreover, reduced to the same category by the system' imposed upon them) and which acts as a tame herd. It is true that the mass follows its leaders, especially Fidel Castro, without hesitation, but the degree to which he has earned such confidence is due precisely to the consummats interpretation of the people's desires and aspirations, and to the sincere struggle to keep the promises made.

The mass participated in the Agrarian Reform and in the difficult undertaking of the management of the state enterprises; it underwent the heroic experience of Playa Giron; it was tempered in the struggle against the groups of bandits armed by the CIA; during the October Crisis it lived one of the most important definitions of modern times and today it continues the work to build social i sm.

Looking at things from a superficial standpoint, it might seem that those who


speak of the submission of the individual to the State are right; with incomparable enthusiasm and discipline, the mass carried out the task set by the government whatever their nature: economic, cultural, defense, sports,

The initiative generally comes' from Fidel or the high command of the revolution; it is explained to the people who make it their own. At times, local experiences are taken up by the party and the government and are thereby generalized, following the same procedure.

However, the State at times makes mistakes. When this occurs, the collective enthusiasm diminishes palpably as a result of a quantitative diminishing that takes place in each of the elements that make up the collective, and work becomes paralyzed until it Finally shrinks to insignificant proportions; this is the time to rectify.

This was what happened in March, 1962, in the presence of the sectarian policy imposed on the Party by Anibal Escalante,


This mechanism is obviously not sufficient to ensure a sequence of sensible measures; what is missing is a more structured relationship with the mass. We must improve this connection in the years to come, but for now, in the case of the initiatives arising on the top levels of government, we are using the almost intuitive method of keeping our ears open to the general reactions in the face of the problems that are posed.

Fidel is a past master at this; his particular mode of integration with the people can only be appreciated by seeing him in action. in the big public meetings, one can observe something like the dialogue of two tuning forks whose vibrations summon forth


new vibrations each in the other. Fidel and the mass begin to vibrate in a dialogue of growing intensity which reaches its culminating point in an abrupt ending crowned by our victorious battle cry.

What is hard to understand for anyone who has not lived the revolutionary experience is that close dialectical unity which exists between the individual and the mass, as a whole composed of individuals, is in turn interrelated with the leaders.

Under capitalism, certain phenomena of this nature can be observed with the appearance on the scene of politicians capable of mobilizing the public, but if it is not an authentic social movement, in which case it is not completely accurate to speak of capi tal i sm, the movement will have the same life span as its promoter or until the rigors of capitalist society put an end to popular illusions. Under capitalism, man is guided by a cold ordinance which is usually beyond his comprehension. The alienated human individual is bound to society as a whole by an invisible unbilical cord: the law of value, It acts upon all facets of his life, shaping his road and his destiny.


The laws of capitalism, invisible and blind for most people, act upon the individual without his awareness. He sees only the broadness of an horizon that appears infinite. Capitalism propaganda presents it in just this way, and attempts to use the Rockefeller case' (true or not) as a lesson in the prospects for success. The misery that must be accumulated for such an example to arise and the sum total of baseness contributing to the formation of a fortune of such magnitude do not appear in the picture, and the popular forces are not always able to


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