On May 8, 2022, the President of the United Mexican States, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (better known as AMLO) delivered a historic speech during his visit to Havana, Cuba, before beginning which he conveyed his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the tragic accident at the Hotel Saratoga and congratulated all the Cuban mothers, «those who are on the island and those who are abroad«, with which, on the one hand, he highlighted the condition of Cuban identity as ONE NATION and the responsibility of all Cubans towards that nation, no matter where we live.
He began the speech by assuring «that Cuba was, for almost four centuries, the capital of America. Nobody who came from Europe to our continent could ignore visiting the largest island of the Antilles; and for many decades Cuba was the jewel of the Spanish Crown» which is an allusion to the role that Cuba continues to play today in Latin America, as a beacon of freedom and defense of national sovereignty.
He then highlighted the authentic brotherly relations and the closeness of Cuba and Mexico in terms of geography, migration, language, music, sports, culture, idiosyncrasy, and others since ancient times, which some analysts see as an apparent reference to the need to maintain and expand those relationships, not only economically, but also politically. «Our peoples are united, as in few cases, by political history,» AMLO asserted.
Later in the speech, he would highlight that «The list of Cubans who fought in the cause of Mexico during the US and French invasions is long and fruitful. Likewise, there were Mexicans who fought here for the liberation of Cuba. In the times of Juárez, Mexico was the first nation in the Americas to support the independence of Cuba and to recognize Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the president who took up arms and father of the Cuban homeland«.
And he even referred to the Cuban Pedro Santacilia, son-in-law of President Juárez and his main confidant, with which he seemed to be sealing a pact that transcends simple agreements and passes to the field of loyalty and honor. «Nobody like him shared the moments of greatest sadness and happiness of the Benemerito de las Américas«.
And, of course, he could not miss his reference to the National Hero of Cuba: «In the midst of so many gestures of political brotherhood, it is unthinkable that José Martí would not have been so intimately linked to our country«. In a very subtle way, perhaps referring to the diversity of systems and certain approaches between Cuba and Mexico, he emphasized that there can be unity and joint struggle even if there is no total coincidence: «Despite the differences, Martí showed a patriotic humility in his relationship with Generals Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo.”
The experts who read between the lines of the presidential speeches did not miss the reference to the exhibition of the head of the Father of the Mexican Nation, Miguel Hidalgo, in the main square of Guanajuato for ten years, which AMLO concluded by saying: «Militarism is barbaric and belligerent conservatism breeds hatred and savagery«. And although he was referring to his own history, any resemblance to the current situation in the powerful neighbor to the North is pure…coincidence?
That voracious empire above the Rio Grande that must continue to be confronted, although the mission is not easy, «but the idealism of the revolutionaries is an extraordinary source of inspiration and constitutes a compelling force«, as he assured referring to another passage with a clear anti-imperialist component in the potential confrontation of the hero of his historical anecdote with the American battleship Atlanta, in «the times when the Americans had decided to become owners of the continent and defined what they considered their vital physical space to then undertake the conquest of the world«.
In this context, Andrés Manuel’s statement that «the struggle for the dignity and freedom of peoples is a never-ending story» will not go unnoticed.
AMLO also spoke about the shelter and support that many Mexicans received in Cuba during the Mexican Revolution and recalled «the solidarity role of the people and governments of Mexico with the Cuban revolutionaries who fought against the Batista dictatorship.» And he ratified something he once wrote about the «giant» commander Fidel Castro:
“Over time, as we were in Mexican opposition, Fidel was the only one of the leftist leaders who knew what we represented and distinguished us with his support in reflections, in writings, and in political acts of solidarity. We never met, but I always considered him a great man because of his independence ideals. We can be for or against him and his leadership, but knowing the long history of invasions and colonial rule that Cuba suffered within the framework of the US policy of manifest destiny and under the slogan of «America for the Americans», we can value the feat that persistence represents, less than a hundred kilometers from the superpower, that there is an independent island inhabited by a simple and humble people, but happy, creative and, above all, dignified, very dignified.»
And then he resonated loudly in that room his rejection of the criminal US blockade:
“My position on the blockade of the United States government against Cuba is also well known: I have said quite frankly that it looks bad for the United States government to use the blockade to impede the well-being of the people of Cuba with the purpose that they, the people of Cuba forced by necessity, have to fight their own government. If this perverse strategy were to succeed –something that does not seem likely due to the dignity of the Cuban people I have referred to–, in any case, that great grievance would turn into a pyrrhic, vile and rogue triumph in one of those stains that they are not erased even with all the water in the oceans.”
At the same time, faithful to his humanist tradition, AMLO affirmed that «it is time for brotherhood and not for confrontation«, it’s time to express and explore another option to the dilemma of joining the United States or opposing defensively: «it’s time to dialogue with the US rulers and convince and persuade them that a new relationship between the countries of America, of all America, is possible.» And although he himself recognized that such a proposal could seem «utopian and even naive«, he called for «committed and frank dialogue, and to seek unity throughout the American continent«.
«I am aware that this is a complex issue that requires a new political and economic vision: the proposal is, neither more nor less, to build something like the European Union, but attached to our history, our reality, and our identities. In this spirit, the replacement of the OAS by a truly autonomous body, not a lackey of anyone but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict in matters of human rights and democracy should not be ruled out…”
«For our part, we believe that integration, with respect to sovereignties and forms of government and the proper application of a Treaty for economic and commercial development, suits us all and that no one loses. It would be, on the contrary, the most effective and responsible solution to the strong competition that exists, which will increase over time and if we do nothing to unite, strengthen ourselves and emerge victorious in a fair fight, it will inevitably lead to the decline of all the Americas.»
And he concluded with the promise to continue fighting so that the US lifts the blockade against Cuba and that no country is excluded from the Summit of the Americas to be held next June in Los Angeles, California. And with a statement that leaves no room for second reading:
«On a personal note, I maintain that I have never bet, I do not bet, nor will I bet on the failure of the Cuban Revolution, its legacy of justice and its lessons of independence and dignity. I will never participate with coup plotters who conspire against the ideals of equality and universal brotherhood. The setback is decadence and desolation, it is a matter of power and not of humanity, I prefer to keep hoping that the revolution will be reborn in the revolution, that the revolution will be able to renew itself to follow the example of the martyrs who fought for freedom, equality, justice, sovereignty. And I have the conviction, the faith that things are being done in Cuba with that purpose, that the new revolution within the revolution will be made. It is the second great lesson of Cuba for the world: this people will once again demonstrate that reason is more powerful than force. Hugs.»