Celia Hart

On August 15 We Take the Winter Palace

A Contribution from Cuba

Written: 9 July 2004
Source: www.walterlippmann.com.
Translated: Ana Portela for CubaNews. Original Spanish version at: El Militante
Transcription/Markup/Editing: Initial markup and editing: Walter Lippmann. MIA markup by David Walters
Public Domain: You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the sources above as well as the Marxists Internet Archive.

Nothing happening today can compare to what may occur in Venezuela this month. The world that is falling around us seems determined to recover, in a few days, the lost years in a collective amnesia. History openly winks at us to prevent us from letting the moment pass once again.

The brutal strengthening of the blockade of my country, using the constitution of the United States, the insecurity in Iraq, with its photographs, even overshadowing Dante and his demons; Sharon, his walls and Satanic arrogance; Kosovo … Everything is turning Humanity into its own accomplice. The ethical decadence of imperialism is not giving this country time enough to recover the pillars of the first blessed republic of Lincoln. The Statue of Liberty will soon take on the colors of illegal French immigration.

But, I think it was Martí who said “that when there aren’t many decent men there are others that have the decency of many men. These men represent thousands of men, whole peoples, and human dignity”. Today, President Chavez does not have to defend the people of legendary corruption alone but he has had the chance to save human dignity that was floundering. Chavez and Venezuela must wash out the image of lies, atrocities and degradation imposed on the Earth by the darkest and most sinister frauds of the Planet, euphemistically called the “White House”.

Pitched against this, the social movements are becoming more radical and politicized in weeks. What will occur this August 15 will mark the era for the left of the XXI century, this left that is gradually awakening from the silence of the cheap European socialism and the evanescent cheers of neo-liberalism. Soon it will achieve its first attempt at unity. We are now aware that “La Era vuelve a parir un Corazón” [The era is giving birth to a Heart] as our Silvio entitled one of his songs.

“The time has come for our Spanish America to achieve its second and true independence”, Martí pointed out. In two short months, Venezuela is joining the past two centuries of naive submission. And, all of a sudden our Fathers come out to give advice and share experiences.

Chavez names them all as comrades in the fight. That’s what they are there for. That is the only way to keep them alive: To make their example useful.

Stupid imperialists! I repeat tirelessly “May God blind those willing to lose”. Win or lose, Venezuela is carrying out a true social and political revolution on the 15th marked in a simple electoral campaign. From a strict political point of view, they have awakened a Comandante Chavez who moves rapidly to the left of the President’s position. This revocation will not only allow the Venezuelan people to lead the destinies of America, decidedly reaffirming their intentions but also gives Chavez the possibility of organizing an urgent revolution while in power.

One of the indispensable intellectuals of my Homeland has said more than once “the roads of America move the civic constancy of President Allende and the revolutionary mark of Che Guevara”, All right then; Comandante Chavez is at the crossroads of these beautiful tendencies.

Let’s stop here for a moment:

Chavez has a marvelous quantum duality. On the one hand he has been the president of this blessed world that has been the cleanest in classical electoral terms. Seven times he has placed himself on the ballots with an almost exaggerated civic mindedness. Many comrades, including myself, are horrified when Chavez submits to revocation. “Of course it was a fraud! Why does he do it?…” Of course he had to offer himself. It was a sure offer that, even with imperialism against him, he proved he could win at the ballots. It was the civic constancy of Salvador Allende pulling on his conscience.

There stands the President who swore loyalty to the Republic complete with his tricolor presidential sash. “Isn’t that enough?” So now the Comandante wearing a red beret appears putting forward the sacred memories of Che Guevara. Ah, America! We have guards in every corner. It is the president who continues to be the Comandante.

On August 15, La Higuera will be victorious … and La Moneda, all at once and always planted in the heart of only one man.

With this victory, like that of April 2002, this Homeland starts to form from the Rio Grande to the golden Patagonia and so my children will learn the significance of the incomparable happiness of a world without borders.

Of course, as observed by many comrades in the scenario of combat, it is the organized population who can best defend the President in his battle. Civilian organizations take longer to discover the directions of change. The electoral patrols and Popular Squads made up of workers and people in general are the real shields of Comandante Chavez to win in Santa Inés. It’s obvious: Chavez has given power to the people, men of dignity, for whom the Revolution was made. In these two months, almost without realizing it, Chavez is passing all power to the soviets. The social and political movements of Venezuela mature by days. They are receiving the best lesson: these months will become a fertile period of revolutionary profundity.

I received a very serious diagnosis from Venezuela, from the colleague Sanabria, dated June 24 (El Militante). Aside from some differences of interpretation of the events, this study is an indispensable source of information and is a minute and unprejudiced observation of these actions. In the article he points out:

One difference with the current situation is that the electoral patrols, UBEs and squads that are now rising up - and organizing hundreds and thousands, perhaps millions already, of persons - have not yet completed their work, but are barely beginning. Perhaps a sectarian dogmatic could think that today’s movement is less important because it comes at the time of an electoral dispute and is born as a defensive action. If someone believes this it only demonstrates a great shortsightedness and limited knowledge of class struggle.


An impressive class struggle is unfolding in Venezuela without having to mention the word socialism.

Here I can make an aside: I don’t like to say nor hear that a country is “socialist”, I mentioned this in my work “Socialism in only one country and the Cuban revolution”. Socialism in only one country proved to be a complete theoretical failure. “Socialism” did not only break up in the USSR … the “country” broke up. Not even the word socialism was left in the phrase … or the name of the country. What does exist and remains are socialist revolutions.

Consequently comrades, don’t ask Chavez to build socialism in Venezuela in the name of I don’t know how many disfigured mummies. Let us save time and effort and set our sights for another second on the permanent revolution. Not only for the inhabitant of Coayacán. Before him, Bolivar did not only think of Venezuela. He could not think of Venezuela without looking over the rest of the humid and fiery land that marked his love and his audacity. He thought of Ecuador, thought of Peru. America was the Homeland. He only stopped to “oil the rifles”.

And Martí? Paradigm of patriotism. But understood as the necessary bridge for the world.

The Cuban Revolutionary Party, undoubtedly a new kind of party made up by an exiled working class, in the majority, searching for the freedom of the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Martá died trying to defend a “balance in the world” through our independence. It is mysterious and revealing. In America borders are ignored by our national heroes. In Europe they are set and braced. Even so, they moved with a single currency and speak in many languages. We could say that, in America, the desire for freedom was thought of even before other parts of the world. Permanent. Another detail: The dramatized poem, Abdala, by José Martá.

It goes as follows:

The mother love of Motherland
Is not a ridiculous love for land
Nor for the grass our feet crush
It is the invincible hatred for those who oppress her
It is the eternal rancor for those who attack her

I place this verse in block letters. The concept of Homeland for Martá is only related to a social and political purpose. The Homeland is a live commitment against its enemies. Anything else is ridiculous.

It is not passive contemplation and adoration. It is combat and action… Well, why waste more words … “Homeland is Humanity”.

Chavez looks on through the eyes of the American Homeland, to start: He was very criticized for his noble position over Bolivia and the sea. If Chavez pulls on the Liberator, How to remain impassive over the demands of a people who are called like Bolivar? They don’t understand us because they have gone through history stealing borders and lifting walls. Let these lands be! America will surprise us.

Then, as I see it, what Chavez can do in a revolutionary Venezuela is follow the course of Bolivar. Of course, in this century. A revolution pregnant with Projects and Missions for the people will triumph in Venezuela. A Revolution! This time Bolivar will plow in fertile land and in all of South America and here lies the many Vietnams called for by that great man who hated borders.

It is perhaps the right time to beat the drums of Revolution in Latin America and jump over the hurdles. Chavez belongs to America. At times I think that many colleagues want Chavez to show his passport of being a socialist, taking certain measures.

It is absurd! This passport is shown another way. Imperialism corners itself all alone. Chavez will triumph in the most radical process that we can imagine … but for America, for the oil export countries, for the world. Or are we going to fall again into the trap of Socialism in only one country? Of course, anything can happen. Cuba is not Venezuela and for 45 years Bush battled with math and sought ways to get out of military service. I don’t know if at that time he began to misunderstand the Bible. These are new times; there are more of us in the cart. I doubt they can blockade Venezuela. It would be funny to see New York with blackouts. Perhaps it would be a contribution to wake up the working class of the United States.

Chavez can become an Ernesto Guevara in power.

And the socialist revolutions, amen to the indispensable role of men who have an objective expression. I don’t know, it isn’t even important, if Chavez has a Marxist philosophy. The ideas of the old bearded man are objective. They are on the margin of our hotheads. I’ll give you a simple example: Although you may not know the law of universal gravity of Isaac Newton, don’t let the glass cup fall because you will undoubtedly lose it.

In social practice it is the same.

That is why I think that any transformation in Venezuela should only come from Chavez. I don’t like to flatter personalities but, I think that in this case, a few comments are necessary:

In America many attractions should be found in one person to push forward a task of popular character. It is not a cult of personality but that we have the battles for our independence deep rooted. That is not what happened in Europe. The military leader, the romantic poet and personal charisma are a subconscious part of acceptance of our leaders. The technocrats, no matter if they are honest and wise, don’t attract us. If you want I can give the most recent example at hand in my country … Chavez was imprisoned for dreaming of another Venezuela, because of his race, his religion, his patriotism framed, certainly, in an exemplary internationalism (America, the Group of the 77, etc.), it is a mirror of the best men of this part of the world and a constant evocation of our recent past of glory. Any social change in my lands should be accompanied by the dream of an American Homeland and national sovereignty. A revolution in these lands is not done without these sustaining forces.

To aspire for a radical revolution in Venezuela, even a socialist revolution will only be possible with the thoughts and popular spirit of its President or, simply, it cannot be done. I remember that something similar happened in the Chile of Allende. We must hurry to understand the social historical context of this part of the world or we will fall into the same mistakes of the past.

Sometimes I fear, in the face of so much rhetoric suffered and not understood, that many communist comrades are unaware of the responsibilities we face. The only options of all socialist parties, including those of Venezuela is to wholeheartedly back Chavez. Let’s not let the same happen again! That the ghost of the communist manifesto should come out shining this time and banish from memory the ghosts of Stalinism and his warped theories. Those, I confess … fill me with panic.

The European socialist practice silently set the same trap for us. They got us so used to the manual that we let events pass us by waiting for a phrase from the classics that would stimulate us to action. I think that something like this happened in my beloved Buenos Aires … on a December…

The Venezuelan people have the reins now of the course of progressive ideas. Whatever happens in Venezuela will give strength to the ideas of Socialism. And, not because Chavez is one but because there, in those ballot boxes, they will be counting Karl Marx among others. Because imperialism is forced to radicalize this process with its continued stupidities. Because, already, that country “has nothing to lose” only its chains to quote Marx and Engels, “they have the world to win” and we know which one.

I’ll list a few curious details that illustrate the mixture of Homeland and Revolution in my lands.

Fidel Castro was not a member of the Popular Socialist Party (the communist party). He did not say that his program was socialist. He was, however the most communist of them all, of absolutely all the revolutionaries of my country. He had the ideas of Marx and Lenin so ingrained that he did not have to stop and read or quote to explain that he was promoting a socialist revolution. When this young man attacked the Moncada he had read the socialist ideas, undoubtedly, but that didn’t make Fidel a socialist for reading the works of the classics. He was a socialist for understanding it was the specific course the Cuban people needed to achieve justice. An event that didn’t sit well with the PSP. The socialist revolution and communist ideas are a means to achieve happiness (the best means), but not the end.

The mention made by a colleague in reference to my previous article in reference to Che confirms this suspicion that tightens my heart. To say that Che was Stalinist because he said it in a certain context is like saying that our club won the football game because a specialist chose it as favorite. Che could say what he wanted about Papa Stalin! Che chose a communist life not by reading the difficult and revised texts of Stalin. Certainly not. He was called to this life by the illiterates, the poor, the disappeared children of America that he learned of in a unique manner, mounted on a motorcycle as a young man.

In Mexico, when Fidel and Che met, I don’t know if they talked much of Marxism and theory. What I do know is that at that very moment two of the most authentic communists of the Planet Earth, shook hands. Also, I don’t like to say that Che was a “Trotskyist” or any other “ist”. What does please me to repeat is that he tried to carry out the permanent revolution and, perhaps, without studying this theory he understood its importance and was quick to invite America to become many Viet Nams. I am angry then, when someone calls Monje a communist: Failing to understand the purpose of Che and the reach of his struggle reproves Monje from the most elemental course of Marxism. Lenin, Che, Fidel are authentic leaders because they know how to lay bridges between theory and actual social practice.

In the same vein, I think that without Chavez there is no revolution in Venezuela if it is not an authentic radical revolution, to avoid saying socialist … it will never be a revolution.

Let us look up. Venezuela is the legitimate Red Army. On August 15 the Winter Palace was taken.

No doubt, not a single argument, nor little phrase taken from the Capital could say the contrary. Yes. He is a mulatto, with a poetic language of the XIX century. Yes, he is a Christian. He believes profoundly in God. But continues to be now the creature most capable of changing the destinies of the Revolution in the world. History would not forgive us now for betraying Che in the name of communism!

The flag of the hammer and cycle was exiled from Europe. In a unique and symbolic act, Diego Rivera and Don Lázaro Cárdenas received it and buried it in that little house. There in the first border of my Greater Homeland. The ideas of Marxism-Leninism traveled with it. Left behind was the USSR, perhaps, nothing more is left, the October Revolution came here, appealed to by Venezuela…

Now we are called upon. For several years we have been invited to watch wars of conquest and anachronistic and incoherent speeches, towers that crumble, children torn to pieces, prisoners humiliated. Sparked by coca cola, cigarettes and flashy cars.

In August, Internet will turn happily to the left and we will witness of the taking of power by the people. Let us join our forces to this battle. Let us form international brigades to support the Red Army and its chief from our countries and our keyboards. Today, all the communists of the world should hold a Venezuelan passport. If I had the gracefulness of Cinderella and a fairy godmother came tome, that is what I would ask for, to live through this revolution where my most sacred dreams fuse into one. The possible outbreak of a true world revolution, sung in Spanish, taking up the side of the poor.

The ghost that runs over Europe has bought itself a pretty hat and is again going around the Caribbean: Let her be.

Something seems to be forgotten: If we lose?

It doesn’t matter, Chavez has already won. If we lose the President … we still have the Comandante Fidel who did not win in the Moncada. Six years later the most authentic revolution of the West triumphed. The Venezuelan people will not need the Sierra Maestra nor the Granma … There is one difference … Fidel did not have us.

Cuba walked alone in America. Unfortunately there seemed to be an unmovable wall. The fall of the ill named socialism finally allows us to unite devouring borders, languages and religious dogmas disguised with words from Lenin.

Now we can see them all: Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Che together with Bolivar and Martá, being the first to support Comandante Chavez … Let us sit down together, united, jubilantly singing the “International” in a thousand languages. That is what I propose for our August 15.

Workers of the world unite!

Translated for CubaNews by Ana Portela. Available in Spanish at: