Baragua Oath: We Shall See Who Resists Longer!

Text published in Granma daily on February 18th and sworn as a commitment by thousands of Cubans in Mangos de Baragu on Saturday, February 19th.

THERE can be no doubt: in spite of the statement by the Secretary of State on the issue of kidnapped Cuban child Elin Gonzlez on February 17 in the House of Representatives, which could be described as a constructive, one, given the apparent and evident impotence of the U.S. administration, the Miami mafia are clearly betting on weariness in Cuba. They believe that our forces will become exhausted, that the monstrous injustice will be left to one side, that our peoples weariness is beginning to show. At least this is what was stated very recently in a cable agency dispatch and has been circulated by various U.S. newspapers.

How little they know our people!

The mass offensive unleashed in our country on the basis of ideas is unprecedented. Innovative, surprising and unexpected, U.S. imperialists, well used to committing all kinds of crimes and misdeeds with impunity, were totally incapable of imagining it. At no other time and in no other place has there been a similar battle of ideas and ethics between such a powerful nation and the people of a little island located only 90 miles from the formers coast. The world is contemplating with increasing surprise everything that is occurring here. It is not simply a battle for a childs return, it is the fight for the right of all children in the world not to be kidnapped, snatched from their her most intimate, closest and most legitimate relatives; not to be uprooted from the culture and nation into which they were born and spent the early and most tender years of their lives; nor from those who taught them their first letters, or took the best care of their health; or the first children they related to and played with. Even the landscape impregnating the first images of the exterior world and nature captured by Elins eyes was wrested from him. Having completed kindergarten a happy child, he wasnt even able to finish his first term in elementary school. These are and always will be an inseparable part of the life of any human being that nothing or nobody can replace. The crime was too great, too abusive, too arbitrary. That is why it has to hurt all the parents and close relatives of every child in Cuba, throughout the world and even in the country where he is being held: the United States. There are many issues over which human beings disagree, but there is one in which everybody believes: in a childs innocence, tenderness and defenselessness.

They are torturing him in a psychologically cruel way. They are shamelessly exploiting him, manipulating him, shooting thousands of photos of him, and exhibiting him like a political trophy, as if he was the scalped head of one of the millions of American Indians exterminated in that country. Or they are trying to purchase him like the child of any of the millions of slaves who were sold in public auctions for centuries by those who occupied, colonized and created that nation. In this case, what matters is not to buy the body but the soul of that child. The idea that children can be bought with trips to Disneyland or by stuffing them with all kinds of sophisticated games produced by consumer societies constitutes an insult to the world, particularly to the overwhelming majority of that world made up of the poor. What is most insulting and offensive to human sensibilities is the gross idea that parental custody is being decided on the basis of a countrys rich or poor nature. Worse still is the repugnant process of the destruction of that childs soul. Specialized personnel and sophisticated techniques, including brutal methods, are being utilized to destroy all vestiges of that defenseless childs love for and memory of his father, his baby brother and his four grandparents. When they feel like it, the individuals who have Elin in their power either allow or prevent his family in Cuba from communicating with him by phone. Thus they are not only torturing the child with pressure, coercion, shouting, noise, nudges and perceptible threats to disrupt the communication, but also his desperate father and grandparents on the other end of the line. The proposition? To create in the child fear, terror and rejection of his father and grandparents, in such a way that he even comes to fear the moment of communication with them. At all costs, they want the child to reject them and, to effect this, are utilizing methods similar to those of that eminent researcher Pavlov to create conditioned reflexes in dogs.

They made him put his name to a printed document, something that a child who cannot even read yet could draw on a paper, so as to name lawyers and apply for U.S. citizenship. In order to vote for any presidential candidate, legislator, mayor, state judge or any other elected official of greater or lesser importance, a young U.S. citizen must have reached the age of 18; on the other hand, in the case of a kidnapped Cuban child, they are claiming that a child of barely six years old is capable of choosing his homeland or of deciding whether he wishes to return to Cuba or not. And most outrageouslyf or a little boy who has not even reached the age of reason whether he wants to return to his father and real family, who wanted him with so much tenderness and sacrifice, managed to bring him into the world after numerous frustrated attempts, and cared for him so well up until that age. In summary, a child grossly kidnapped, who is also the victim of psychological torture and even daily physical maltreatment.

The authorities of that country have repeatedly been told that the governments duty is to proceed to halt the crime and return him ipso facto to his family in Cuba. That is in compliance with international, U.S. and Cuban law. There is no possible justification for assigning that task to the U.S. courts via a series of lengthy, interminable and illegal procedures, thus permitting the kidnappers the consummation of the barbaric act of destroying the childs mind. The U.S. courts not only lack jurisdiction over the case, but also the possibility of solving the problem with the urgency required to avert irreversible consequences for his health. It is the U.S. government that has total authority in this case.

Anyone in that country stupid enough to believe that the Cuban people would tire of waging this just battle, they should be shut up in a lunatic asylum for life. In the battle for the return of that child many values and principles are at stake, none of which can be renounced.

The U.S. authorities have gone too far in this case, in spite of the fact that they were warned at a very early stage of the consequences. Our government clearly stated that if the child was not returned as quickly as possible to his family and his homeland, a massive battle of national and international opinion which would be extremely costly for that countrys prestige would inevitably break out.

It was explained to our people from the beginning: the battle would be a lengthy one; our forces are massive, but it is necessary to use them intelligently and with the maximum of flexibility and conservation of energy so as not to wear ourselves down. In the initial days, the most difficult part was to ensure that the participants in open rallies and demonstrations were strictly limited in each case to the sectors and persons invited. With the passing of time our discipline has increased exceptionally and our experience has been enriched in an incredible way. And there exits something much more decisive: our revolutionary awareness has deepened like never before in our homeland. In fact, throughout this historic battle, popular energy and our ways and means of fighting have multiplied. We now have many more forces than those we had in the early days of December. A large and growing number of steadily more experienced cadres are sharing the tasks. Day by day events are becoming more effective and of a higher quality. Swarms of children, adolescents, young people, manual workers and academics of all ages, artists, combatants and organizers are displaying energy, talent and a capacity for communication and persuasion which is filling visitors with surprise, and is a source of pride for our country. The entire country has become a scenario of mobilizations, marches and open rallies, and the most significant aspects of politics, information and national and international culture have become the themes of roundtables. Orators, artists, exponents, professionals or persons with great natural talent are flowering everywhere.

Part II

Cuba is discovering itself, its geography, its history, its cultivated intelligence, its children, its young people, its teachers and doctors, its professionals, its tremendous human work over 40 years of heroic struggle against the greatest power ever to have existed; it is relying more than ever on itself; it is comprehending its modest but fruitful and promising role in the world of today. Its invincible weapons are its revolutionary, humanist and universal ideas. Against those ideas, nuclear weapons, military or scientific technology, the monopoly of the media, the U.S. empires political and economic power are useless, especially in the context of a world that is steadily more exploited, more insubordinated and more rebellious, and which more than ever is losing its fear and arming itself with ideas.

The combat for the return of the kidnapped Cuban child has become the first episode of a much more prolonged battle. The kidnapping and torture to which that child has been subjected mark the point of unleashing the great battle that lies ahead of us to put an end to the causes that led to such a cruel and painful deed. What would be the value of this childs simple return if, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or on any day of any week, month or year, another Elin, dozens of Elins, hundreds of Elins could disappear into the turbulent waves, be illegally transferred to the United States, be separated from one or both of their parents without their authorization or any legal possibility of recovering them?

How many equally cruel tragedies have occurred during the 33 years of the existence of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which rewards those who fail to comply with the norms of legal and safe emigration, many of whom never receive visas to travel to that country, and whose organizers regularly include women and children in their adventures? How many lives will have been lost due to U.S. incitement to illegal emigration in an attempt to destabilize the country? Is that country not satisfied with or has it already forgotten the huge efforts from the early years of the Revolution to take from Cuba en masse its qualified personnel, among them teachers, professors and doctors, in order to hinder our economic and social development, by using the lure of salaries and material living standards which a neocolonized country, exploited and maintained in underdevelopment by the United States for more than half a century, would be unable to offer?

Among the misdeeds committed against Cuba is it maybe necessary to recall how, in the early years of the Revolution, under the terror of an infamous slander invented by the U.S. intelligence services claiming that the Cuban state was suppressing the very same parental custody rights that they are currently abusing so cynically, 14,000 Cuban children were kidnapped and clandestinely taken to the United States, with the support of their own parents?

Aggression and threats against the countrys security and acts of terrorism; the blockade and economic warfare combined with subversive plans, ideological diversionism, sabotage and internal destabilization; legislation like the Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts and numerous amendments to intensify the blockade so as to crush our people with hunger and sickness: all these actions viewed as genocidal even in peace time in international treaties signed both by Cuba and the United States constitute a combination of factors to impede our development and compel emigration.

We have a right to peace, to respect for our sovereignty and most sacred interests. Our will has not been bent in 40 years of infamy. We have not tired and nor will we tire.

For a roundtable of special cultural or political interest 10 capable academics are sufficient, and there are tens of thousands of them in our country.

All over our country, at all its historic sites, all the trade unions, all the committees and sectors of the mass organizations, all the schools and educational, cultural and scientific institutions are fervently asking, are virtually demanding open rallies so as to participate in this struggle, and there are many thousands of them. There are tasks for years ahead.

The Cuban Adjustment Act has to end!

The Helms-Burton Act has to end!

The Torricelli Act has to end!

The amendments to aggravate our peoples suffering smuggled into many U.S. Congress laws have to end!

The blockade as a whole and the criminal economic warfare against Cuba have to end!

The threats, the subversive campaigns, the destabilization plans have to end!

And in its due time, given that it is not a priority at this moment, although a totally just right that cannot be renounced, the illegally occupied territory of Guantnamo must be returned to Cuba!

Meanwhile, the open tribunal that has emerged during this historic fight for the return of the Cuban child, which has become a symbol of the nations rights, will not stop for one single day. And the battle of ideas, the formation and deepening of the most solid revolutionary conscience, and our efforts to reach the highest knowledge and the widest and most integral culture are activities that will never stop in our homeland while there is one injustice to repair; while the imperialist system exists and even when it ceases to exist, because it will always be necessary to fight for a more sharing and humane world. Our struggle will take thousands of forms and distinct styles. The masses will always be ready; the transmission of the message will be constant, our forces and energies will continue to accumulate and be conserved for every necessary or decisive moment.

Some people are growing impatient and want to see more dramatic measures of the most varied categories, including violent ones, to save the child and free him from his suffering. Pretexts for an armed conflict between the United States and Cuba are the most desired objective of the annexationist traitors. That superpower is only powerful in the field of weapons. In the field of ideas it is an orphan and without defense. With intelligence and ideas we shall achieve our objectives.

We are going to pulverize their loathsome hypocrisy, their gross lies, the repugnant and egotistical imperialist doctrines with which they try to rule the world. They will not be left with one atom of the credibility needed to deceive anyone in this country or on the rest of the planet.

And in the midst of this pacific battle of ideas, our life will move ahead, we will continue our epic efforts to overcome difficulties and for our nations economic and social development, excepting if one day they should attempt the impossible and insane task of destroying us by force, interrupting our countrys normal life. In that case, there will not be one day of truce or calm for the aggressors and nothing will return to normal for them.

Our children and adolescents do not lack the space for healthy and enjoyable recreation while enriching their intelligence and lives. All our people shall have equal right to and space for happiness and the constant increase of their moral and spiritual values, which will show us how to guarantee the indispensable material well-being that we can conquer with our intelligence and our work.

Nobody will yield! And for a Cuban patriot and revolutionary, to tire is more shameful than to yield. We shall see who has more cause, more motivation, more will to fight!

We shall see who tires first!

We shall see who resists longer!

Before the immortal glory of (Antonio) Maceo, today, February 19, 2000, we swear it!

We swear it!