Less than four months after January 1, 1959, a day like today, 28 April, La Casa de Las Americas was created.
In the midst of defamatory media campaigns, threats from the president Eisenhower, airplane hijackings and terrorist attacks, the Revolution defended itself and took the first steps in its emancipation project. They converted the fortress of Columbia into a school city, gave the property of its land to more than three hundred peasants, and founded the ICAIC and the National Press Office.
The United States would soon use its power in the region to isolate Cuba and its «bad example» of sovereignty and social justice. They managed to exclude her from certain forums and broke diplomatic ties, agreements, documents; but not it was possible for them to break other ties associated with the instinct and roots of the people, their memory, their dreams. La Casa guided by a personality as bright as Haydee Santamaria, along with a committed and loyal team, contributed decisively so that Cuba was not spiritually detached from Our America.
Inspired by Bolívar, Martí and Fidel, nourished daily by the Roberto Fernández Retamar’s anti-colonial thinking and the cutting-edge vision of Mariano Rodriguez, the institution found allies in the best creators in the region. Martínez Estrada, Galich, Benedetti and many other relevant intellectuals and artists inhabited La Casa, made it their own, and enriched their concepts and strategies.
Over the years, La Casa has broadened its scope. To the examination and promotion of letters, music, theatre, visual arts and Caribbean culture, studies were added on women, indigenous peoples, Latinos in the United States and the presence of Africa in America.
We are celebrating this anniversary in an emergency situation for the region and for the entire planet. A double pandemic is raging among the poorest: the coronavirus and neoliberalism.
Blacks and Latinos stand out in the statistics of infected and dead in the United States. The indigenous people of the North and South of the Americas, traditionally deprived of their rights, are extremely vulnerable. Informal workers, homeless people, slum dwellers in the suburbs of cities, immigrants without documents or destination and a long etcetera seem predestined to certain death, even if they don’t appear in the official figures later.
Many artists, victims of the dismantling of cultural policies and their own circumstances, are today in total distress.
The most sensitive and judicious personalities in the world have been calling for a collaborative approach to the crisis, in the coordinated effort, in solidarity.
La Casa, on the anniversary of its birth, wants to insist on that word: solidarity. Martí said: «Homeland is humanity» -and Fidel converted this definition into the heritage of all Cubans and a guide and a sense of the island’s international projection.
Cuban doctors are battling the pandemic today in more than twenty countries. They risk their lives, as they have done on so many occasions, to save others, and leave an intolerable moral example for politicians and neoliberal ideologues. Hence they relentlessly use their powerful machinery to produce and circulate lies to attack the generosity of the Cuban Revolution and its children.
La Casa de las Americas endorses the open letter «Simply, Enough!» of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity, which, among other crucial issues, denounces the cynicism of those who promote the campaign against the solidarity and internationalist vocation of Cuba and do not say a word about the blockade that even prevents the purchase of any kind of inputs to stop the pandemic.
The coronavirus has also exacerbated the barbarity: the culture of hate, violent, fascist, xenophobic, and racist. In the face of these tendencies La Casa, as well as the worthy representatives of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, is committed to the culture of peace, of brotherhood among human beings. A culture, moreover, that respectfully co-exists with Mother Earth.
A valuable contribution to these debates is the 298th issue of the magazine *Casa*, which includes the dossier «Crossroads of Latin America» and which will be available to readers today at www.casadelasamericas.org. We are using the Web and social networks to disseminate publications, works of art and research texts, as part of the institution’s raison d’être since April 28, 1959.
As in those difficult times of its foundation, La Casa has been working day-by-day to maintain its links with those who defend, in the midst of the current crisis the authentic culture of emancipation in Latin America, in the Caribbean and within the United States itself.