Sarajevo, 2nd of May 2010
“It is possible to elaborate a radical socialistic program from the Christ's sermons, either you believe in God or not. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ's sermons, parabola and thoughts had been collected by the fishermen who couldn't read nor write. Sometimes I say: Jesus converted water to wine and multiplied fish and bread; it is the same thing that we want to do, to multiply fish and bread”, are the words of Fidel Castro.
The thing we call boomerang – effect, happened in Cuba. This small island, only twice as big as Bosnia and Herzegovina, is antagonizing imperialism over fifty years that USA tries to dictate to them. In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower said that he must do everything to knock down Fidel Castro and the communistic volcano in the USA's anteroom. After that, Fidel Castro survived over 600 assassinations, but Cuba never responded with force. In contrast, after 11th of September, Castro said that he feels deep pain because of the terrorist attacks. “The American regime cannot reduce empathy with American people and innocent victims”, he added. Cubans have endured all the American attacks and until today, they remained loyal to their regime, socialism.
In everything that American sanctions couldn't dispute and slow down, Cubans became very successful, sovereign and prosperous. Health and education systems are among the best in the world, Cuban sportsmen are champions in many disciplines, such as boxing, baseball or volleyball, and Castro and his regime enjoy a (certain) reputation worldwide. Many statesmen and world leaders visited Cuba during his fifty years mandate, among them Josip Broz Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indira Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Spanish king Juan Carlos, Mihail Gorbachov, Francois Mitterand, Leonid Brežnjev, Yasser Arafat, Olof Palme, etc. Also, Castro became befriended with many intellectuals, writers, artists, actors and important people from the whole world, such as Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Diego Maradona, Arthur Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Pablo Neruda, Henri Cartier – Bresson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Costa Gavras, Gerard Depardieu, Robert Redford, Noam Chomsky, etc. Ten US presidents switched during his regime.
Pope John Paul II‘s visit was one of the greatest proves that the church as an institution is not in conflict with the Cuban regime. It is worth mentioning that no other Pope ever visited Cuba. Fidel Castro says that aims of the church and socialism are not in conflict, but that some people from the church tried misuse their position in their fight against the Cuban Revolution. In article 54 of the Cuban Constitution, which is approved in 1976, is written that everyone has the right to believe and practice any religion they want to. Before the Pope’s visit to Cuba, this country has been visited by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and he officially opened a new Greek orthodox church in Havana. This church is the first of this kind in Cuba.
In a long interview, which Fidel Castro gave to Spanish journalist Ramonet, he admits that he is a Christian in the depth of his soul. In this interview, Castro mentions the Bible and its principles, and shares his great knowledge with readers of this 700 pages long interview. A quote of this conversation I prescribe here in the original shape:
“Few days ago, I told Chavez, Venezuelan president – because Hugo Chavez is an honest Christian and he speaks much about it – If the people consider me as a Christian, not from a religious angle of view, but from a social one, I declare that I am a Christian, regarding to beliefs and aims that I defend. It was the first doctrine that appeared in these times, these barbarian times, and a scale of very human set of rules has risen from it. There’s no need to be a Christian, in the religious way, to understand ethic values and values of social justice. Of course, I am a socialist, Marxist and Leninist, and I will always be.”
In another, also interesting quote, Castro talks about Hose Marti, former Cuban hero, who strived for Cuban and Puerto Rican independency already in the 19th century. Castro connects the whole conversation with religion:
“The base of his party was workers, people above everything. Although in that time it wasn’t possible to talk about socialistic republic, his program was the most human and advanced in that time. If you follow the line of the thought, it ends with a socialistic program. The same I say for the New Testament and the Christian sermon. It is possible to elaborate a radical socialistic program from the Christ's sermons, either you believe in God or not. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ's sermons, parabola and thoughts had been collected by the fishermen who couldn't read nor write. Sometimes I say: Jesus converted water to wine and multiplied fish and bread; it is the same thing that we want to do, to multiply fish and bread”. A rich guy, Epulion, paid the same amount to the people who worked four or eight hours. That was a communistic distribution of wealth, not socialistic. OK, even Jesus Christ used power at one moment when he scourged the traders and exiled them from the temple. But, some streams appeared that didn’t have to do so much Christian features, because they made a pact with rich people.”
From these quotes, religious leaders’ visits and other, also relevant, data, it’s easy to point out that in the Cuban case religion and socialism are not in conflict. As Fidel Castro proves it, in the same way Hugo Chavez speaks about his religion and beliefs. Without sanctions to this small country, Cuba would probably be “heaven on Earth”, among so many capitalistic, quasi – democratic, exploitative and colonizing societies. Of course, there are also some societies that function good, but socialists and religious people gravitate to a perfect order, without injustice, with much social justice and much goodness between the people. That is, free medical and dental services, cheap drugs and remedies, cheap food which is not genetically modified, beautiful coasts, nice temperatures during the whole year, tourism on a very high level, freedom of religion, regularized payment system where everyone works as they can, as well as all the other benefits that this island could offer, but entirely without American sanctions.
Some of these things Cuba already has, but constant shortage of some products led them to the edge of poverty during the Soviet Union collapse, which was their biggest partner. Except rice, sugar cane, some animals’ husbandry and fruits, Cuba doesn’t have conditions to produce everything that they need for a normal life. According to statistics, this long – term isolation made a damage of 79 billion $ to Cuba. George W. Bush has added some other sanctions, so his administration brought in some other repressive measures. For example, it is strictly forbidden to visit Cuba, without permission. Every American who does it, will pay a high fine. One couple who visited Cuba four times and wrote a book about it, paid 55.000$ fine. American Ministry of Finance also punished one biotechnological company with 168.000$, because their European branch delivered two sorts of children’s vaccines. The ships and boats owners who try to visit Cuba risk paying 25.000$ of fine and loosing their vessels. Cuban Americans can send money only to their direct relatives and they can go to Cuba only once a year, instead of previous three times a year. In addition to various other aspects of embargo, American authorities installed a sport embargo and refused to issue visas for the Cuban national baseball team in 2005. American explanation was that they don’t want the prize money to finish in Cuba, as Cuba was the world champion in this sport few times. In the United Nations report, Cuban government says that American authorities violate basic human rights to the Cubans who live in the USA and in Cuba, but also to the American citizens. Pope John Paul II strongly criticized American embargo to Cuba, mentioning that it’s in conflict with all religious and human principles. Ideology of Cuban people doesn’t match the Americans from 1960, because “the terrible communistic authorities are in the lobby of their country”. This idea of socialism still lives, after decades, in spite of all restrictions imposed by the United States of America.