“The survival of the Cuban Revolution depends on the impulse of Latin America”

[An interview with Celia Hart published in La Jornada, Wednesday, June 29, 2005. See also the original Spanish text]

Celia Hart is to hold two conferences on the perspectives for Latin America

- The EZLN or Bolivian insurgency strengthens this process, the intellectual explains.

- The Indigenous movement is going to play a main role in the region – she believes

By Ericka Montano Garfias

"Revolutions should become more radical, not stopping but advancing constantly," says Celia Hart, director of the Cuban Abel Santamaria Museum. Photo María Luisa Se

In Latin America, Leon Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution is unfolding literally as he expressed it: a movement that is not confined within frontiers but spreads to other countries, without collapsing. Celia Hart Santamaria, the Cuban intellectual, explains that the revolution first developed in Cuba, then it was followed by Venezuela and now it is beginning to unfold in other countries of the region. Today and on Thursday she will be giving conferences at the Workers’ University and at the Leon Trotsky Museum [Mexico].

The first is at 5pm on the subject: Cuba and the perspectives for the Latin American revolution. The second, on The Cuban Revolution and the permanent revolution: a new interpretation of the Cuban Revolution is at 7pm.

Two of the most important ideas put forward by Trotsky, that are still valid today, are the permanent revolution and internationalisation, the director of the Cuban Abel Santamaria Museum explains. “This means that revolutions must radicalise, not stop, but move forward constantly”.

This is happening both in Cuba and in Venezuela, where the Bolivarian revolution is moving ever more towards socialism, not just because of the declarations of its leader, President Hugo Chávez, but because of the mobilisations that are taking place in the factories and the universities.

The second factor, internationalisation, is also fundamental. Revolutions should not be confined within their borders: “What can triumph within borders are revolutions that need to expand in order to survive”.

Regarding the Cuban Revolution, it can survive by becoming part of the Latin American revolution: “The fact that the Bolivarian revolution exists, gives renewed strength to the Cuban revolution. I think that the future and the permanence of the Cuban revolution depends completely on the fate of the continental revolution”.

After Venezuela, there are other countries that have experienced important changes towards the left, such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and, to some extent, Bolivia. However, she adds, that all these popular upheavals, “need the organisation of a left wing party, without sectarianism or verticality, that is capable of transforming all this energy into a new force that can move the revolution. We need to rapidly organise continental organisations of the left, to channel all this energy towards a radical social revolution”.

The left, victims of sectarianism

Within this process of strengthening the Latin American left, Hart continues, there is also Mexico and the indigenous movements such as that of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) or that of Bolivia: “We all have great hopes in the PRD (Democratic Revolution Party) and let’s hope that Mexico joins the network of left-wing countries in Latin America”.

At the same time, the indigenous movements represent a new way of expressing protest, as is also the Landless Movement in Brazil that, in one way or another, “are expressions of left-wing movements within this new reality and which push the leaders, the presidents, for example, towards the left”.

This kind of indigenous organisation is needed to “reactivate the left, to make it stronger to the degree that they present their programme, and explain it clearly. The indigenous movement is going to play a fundamental role”, underlines Hart Santamaria.

The Latin American peoples, she adds, “are increasingly demanding that their leaders turn to the left. We see it in Brazil, where Lula da Silva (President Luiz Inacio) is not enough for them. However, I believe that many of us revolutionaries, who hope for a socialist revolution, waste so much, and sometimes we are stuck halfway: it is not about electing this or that president but about having a president that will give the people a more revolutionary programme. But the left is divided. It has not yet recovered from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sectarianism is killing them”.

Celia is the daughter of the Cuban revolutionaries Haydée Santamaría and Armando Hart, and that is why she admits she has great commitment to the Cuban, Bolivarian and continental revolution: “I am the daughter of revolutionaries and what I feel, more than anything else, is envy, because the desire of any revolutionary is to make a revolution that wins, like the Cuban revolution.

“Nevertheless, I feel myself as part of the Latin American revolution. I believe that the Cuban revolution is one of many that have to be carried out. On this point, I agree with Che, in that one revolution is not enough: therefore, the survival of the Cuban Revolution depends on the Latin American revolution. Everything I do to strengthen this revolution makes me feel that I am doing something along the lines of what my parents did”.