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Culture is a heritage of the people

Published: 2016.10.28 - 14:21:55   /  /  Conrado Vives Anias  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

With this article I do not intend to analyze the significance of October 20th for the Cubans, nor the close relationship that our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro has kept with the artistic and literary avant-garde of the country.

Particularly, I stop in the transcendental Words to Intellectuals said by Fidel in June 1961, so much has been discussed and written about this speech, which defined the way of cultural policy of the Revolution.

In light of the latest developments, especially everything that happened from the normalization of US-Cuba relations, the ideas of the leader of the Cuban Revolution expressed in that memorable meeting still contain readings and very current alerts.

Undoubtedly, you cannot discuss the great significance of that dialogue of the top leadership of the country with a representative group of artists and Cubans, who were then worried and occupied in building a cultural policy that would face the colonizing attempts by the United States.

Above all, the phrase "Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing", is the guideline that set the definition of culture and art at the service of the people, and the new triumphant social process of January 1, 1959.

In one part of his speech, Fidel said that "the revolution cannot attempt to stifle art or culture, when one of the goals and one of the fundamental purposes of the Revolution is to develop art and culture, so that art and culture become a true heritage of the people."

That principle was consolidated, despite polemics, misunderstandings and taboos that eventually were erased. Achievements for the spiritual growth of the Cuban people are countless and unique in the world, which watched on in amazement how a small Caribbean nation won its desired freedom a few miles from its historic enemy, in order to promote opportunities for spiritual accomplishment in large sections of the population.

When you do an analysis of the socio-cultural scene of the country in 1961, milestones such as the Literacy Campaign, strengthening of the National Ballet of Cuba and the National Library, the construction of the National Theater and the foundation of the Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industry (ICAIC), the Casa de las Américas, the Symphony Orchestra, the National Printing and then the birth of the National Association of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) come to mind.

The extraordinary vision of Fidel surpassed the concept of culture for the masses, as an essential element to preserve the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of a nation attached to its roots, traditions, customs, which are nothing more than the intrinsic reflection of a truly national identity.

Cuba is a range of races, refined in a permanent and enriching process of transculturation, but it only results in a unique essence: Cuban identity.

The challenges posed by the new internal and external scenario, demand that we join forces in order to reverse the cultural penetration and alienating consumerist models, which seek to remove the spiritual and artistic values of the Cuban people to bring back ignorance, political and historical amnesia and unconscionable consumption, which are so inherently linked to American Way of Life.

The largest archipelago of the Antilles has endured, and does so with absolute pride of its roots and identity values; it is not only sugar, cigars, rum and beautiful mulatto women, but a homogeneous entity of beating hearts and minds to consolidate culture as a shield and sword of the nation.

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