Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"What would you people have done with Frank Pais?"

Raul Castro gave an interesting speech in the National Assembly yesterday. As usual, it was not long. He pointed out all the other speeches made in the legislature and other venues in recent days, and the topics they covered. Rather than put his own twist on what everyone else had said, he was content to be brief and not to repeat.

Most interesting to me was his discussion of a “painful incident” suffered by a woman who lost her job last February and took a 40 percent reduction in her income because she had not disclosed to her employer and her local Communist Party unit that she “professed religious beliefs and attended religious services some Sundays.”

The woman appealed the decision to the Council of State. An investigation ensued. Raul described her as a “victim” of a “flagrant violation” of rights guaranteed by the constitution, which he quoted. The party’s Central Committee took up her case July 30 and called upon the local government to ensure that she could return to her job if she so desires. Raul said he hopes his words serve “as an act of moral vindication” for her.

He went on to use the incident to instruct: “More than once I have said that our worst enemy is not imperialism, much less its salaried employees on our soil, but rather our own errors, and these, if they are analyzed deeply and honestly, will turn into lessons on how not to repeat them.”

He recalled a Communist Party decision in 1991 that opened its membership to religious believers and more recent statements, including that of this year’s Congress. He then moved beyond religion to tell officials at all levels that the greatest obstacle to change lies in “the psychological barrier formed by inertia, immobility, simulation or doble moral, indifference and insensitivity.”

Then this, referring to the recent Communist Party Congress that approved the economic reform blueprint: “We will be patient and persevering in the face of all resistance to change, conscious or not. I warn that all bureaucratic resistance to the accords of the Congress, massively supported by the people, will be futile.”

Making reference to the attack that started the socialist revolution and then to a hero of the anti-Batista movement in Santiago, he concluded:

“Let’s clear our heads of all kinds of stupidity, don’t forget that the first decade of the 20th century has ended, it’s time.

“In concluding remarks the day before yesterday to the Central Committee and guests, when I broached this topic and suggested that I say these words here, in this way, I recalled that this compaƱera was born in January 1953. Then I recalled that that was the year of the attack on Moncada and I told the members of the Central Committee, ‘I didn’t go to Moncada for that.’

“Also, we recalled that on July 30, the day of that meeting, it was 54 years that Frank Pais and his loyal aide Raul Pujol were assassinated. I met Frank in Mexico, I saw him again in the Sierra, I don’t recall having met such a pure soul as he, so brave, so revolutionary, so noble and modest. And addressing one of those responsible for that injustice committed [against the woman who was fired from her job], I told him: ‘Frank believed in God and practiced his religion, as best I know he never stopped practicing it. What would you people have done with Frank Pais?’”


Antonio said...

I have 2 schools of thought on Frank Pais, had he lived to see the revolution.

First, there is the possibility that Fidel might have thrown him in jail, like he did with other major figures like Huber Matos and Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo. I think this was highly unlikely, as Castro’s ties with Pais were much deeper and Frank Pais had a base of support that Fidel could not afford to lose.
The second scenario, which I think would have been more likely, is that Frank Pais would have been a moderating influence on the excesses of the early years of the revolution. He definitely would have clashed with Che, and I venture to guess that Fidel would have sided with Frank Pais over Che. As far as religion, he just might have had the influence on Cuba’s leadership that liberation theology inspired movements from across Latin America would later have in Cuba, including the Sandinistas.

There is at least one book written about Frank Pais. It is Frank Pais: Architect of Cuba's Betrayed Revolution (Pub.2009) by Jose Alvarez. I have not read it, but perhaps someone who has can chime in.

Anonymous said...

Que sabio es el liderazgo Cubano. Ojala que tuveriamos gente como ese aqui in usa.