After the hard years of the pandemic that plunged us into ostracism and personal survival, a group of thinkers with character, if we recognize it as “the courage to act according to virtue”, met in Havana to talk about a great human challenge: balance on a broad social scale.
The V International Conference for the Balance of the World took place on the 170th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban hero José Martí and brought together some 1,100 representatives from more than 80 countries.
From a diverse approach, intellectuals, artists, members of international organizations that promote solidarity participated. Politicians, parliamentarians, union leaders and young people from different latitudes were also summoned by the World Council of the José Martí International Solidarity Project, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
José Martí, the great myth
The history of Cuba has a great myth: José Martí, according to Armando Hart Dávalos (1930-2017), a prominent Cuban intellectual and politician, who was Minister of Culture and later director of the Office of the Martí Program.
“It is because it synthesizes in an exemplary way a long legion of heroes, heroes and thinkers of a century of facts and ideas that reveals the unique character of the Cuban process and places it as the historical continuity, at the end of the 19th century, of the independence epic of our America started at the beginning of the same century”.
It is that Marti’s ethics is established from an intimate relationship between intelligence, goodness and happiness.
“For him there is no greater happiness than doing good to others. Similarly, wickedness inevitably leads to unhappiness. Both in La Edad de Oro and in other documents by Martí, this link tends to be established”. We would say -reflected Hart Dávalos- that man’s potential can be used more if it is possible to link intelligence with love.
Association is the unique secret of men and peoples and the guarantee of their freedom, the Apostle stressed.
Currently, Cuban intellectuals assume the ethical and cultural legacy of the teacher Félix Varela, as well as the commitment to study, starting with Martí, how the scientific foundations of spirituality are confirmed in the performance of men in history -in such a real way and concrete – just as in the economic field, described the intellectual with an extensive work dedicated to the study of the thought of José Martí.
Without the spirituality of men, the greatest creations in universal history and their role in social life would not have been conceivable. The National Hero of Cuba expressed it when he spoke to us about the “science of the spirit”.
“All schools and no school, behold the school”, and that “justice is the sun of the moral world”. With the purpose of Martí to throw luck with the poor of the earth and his ideas in relation to “balance”, we will have a central nucleus of Cuban philosophical thinking, stated Hart Dávalos, distinguished as Doctor Honoris Causa by prestigious Cuban and foreign universities.
It is the utopia that helps us to walk, honest because it constitutes a need of the peoples.
“The balance to which the Apostle aspired required the “necessary, humanitarian and brief war”, which would guarantee the independence of Cuba with respect to Spain and the United States and the full sovereignty of the peoples of the Antilles. This is why our ties and relationships, increasingly strengthened, with the Caribbean world are so important”.
This same purpose of balance is specified on a more profoundly human and individual scale, as the balance between the emotional and intellectual faculties, and to develop the creative will from this.
This has deep psychological roots that should serve our pedagogy and our political work, continued Armando Hart Dávalos, who had extensive work dedicated to the study of the historical figure of José Martí.
“Emotion and reason, understanding and imagining, constitute the poles of a contradiction that occurs in the human soul and that -José- Martí, with the teachings of -Félix- Varela and -José- De la Luz, exalts in his ideas about the science of the spirit.
The big challenge
Let’s say that the problem is when it is raised on a broad social scale. How to find a solution to the drama of this time, with the contradictions between the identity of human communities and the right to the universalization of wealth, to reach a superior civilization.
“When man feels associated with others and works for the common good, he becomes happier,” said José Martí. Even when we recognize that evil has its roots in the conscience and in the human subconscious, generated from selfish instincts.
To free ourselves from the exploitation of man by another man, we would have to achieve it in a radical way, freeing the beast that we all have inside, as José Martí reflected.
He pointed out that “man is the educated beast.” Character is achieved with individual harmony between intelligence, associated with the way that guides and stimulates the will. With the moral ascent of man, the full victory of justice is possible. Character “is the courage to act according to virtue,” explained Martí.
Cuba has to face that world and it does so by strengthening and enriching the spiritual and moral tradition, because it has been capable of making the great social Revolution that has taken place in the 20th century, as well as resisting a powerful empire and its allies. The same one that insists on the old slogan of “divide and conquer”.
It is the message that the history of Martí’s homeland transmits to the world, it is the revolutionary principle of “uniting to win”, specified the text “José Martí and the balance of the world”, by the Cuban intellectual Armando Hart Dávalos.
Acting together is key
“For yet another year, they meet at this Conference to commemorate the birth of José Martí, presenting his figure as an incentive to awaken the consciences of all those in the world who are called to create a climate of dialogue and fraternity that can promote significant changes in the current social and political circumstances”, said Pope Francis in a message to the delegates of the V International Conference for the balance of the world.
The Supreme Pontiff considers it important that our gaze is not so much fixed on each one of us, but rather on the absolute need to sit down and listen to others. “It is urgent to build bridges that can help us find viable solutions together that do not exclude anyone. Everything from dialogue and with the broad horizon of universal brotherhood” (cf. Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 142).
Rereading some words by José Martí before the tomb of the venerable Félix Varela, the holy father said how Martí admires Varela’s love for his land and his gallantry in denouncing what he considers incompatible with social good —”he said without fear what he saw »—, but, at the same time, it highlights his meekness, an essential virtue of the ruler, who must guide the social and political dialogue: «without going crazy or rushing», having «just respect» for our interlocutor in order to reach an agreed solution (cf. Before the tomb of Father Varela, in Patria, August 6, 1892).
“From those roots, Martí affirms how the figure of Father Varela is capable of arousing wills for a common effort.” While he was explaining, he deepened that “it would do us all good to also reflect on whether these models are actually used as an example of values or rather a banner of interests.”
In his letter written from the Vatican, on January 20, 2023, he said “dear delegates, in the message for this year’s World Day of Peace, take up this crucial idea: during the pandemic, many heroes have shown their faith , of hope, of the generous dedication that is born of the love of God imprinted in the nature of each man (cf. Gn 1,26.27). They call on us, like the heroes who summon them today, «to put the word “together” back in the center; Indeed, it is together, in fraternity and solidarity, that we can build peace, guarantee justice and overcome the most painful events» (n. 3). This is the key to recovering the balance that gives your meeting its name, because only together can we face the various moral, social, political and economic crises that we are suffering and that are all interconnected (cf. n. 5)”.
“May these wishes help you in the work you undertake for the good of all men.”
Martí has the light
Cuba is once again located in the vortex of major international events.
Martí has the light, through his example and his intellectual work, said the Brazilian Dominican friar, liberation theologian, Frei Betto, at the Martí event.
The prominent intellectual in his keynote address Is religion the opium of the people?, assured that politics and religion serve to liberate or oppress the people, depending on how they are used. He formulated an analysis about the “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” published in 1844 in the Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbücher periodical.
In his remarks, Frei Betto explained the misinterpretation of the German philosopher’s ideas about religion.
In the book “Fidel and religion”, written from an interview with Frei Betto, the leader of the Cuban Revolution analyzes. He there he referred to how Fidel Castro overcame the prejudice that there was no possibility of reconciling religion and revolution.
“From a strictly political point of view, you can be a Marxist without ceasing to be a Christian and work together with the Marxist communists to transform the world, the important thing is that in both cases they are sincere revolutionaries, willing to eradicate the exploitation of man by the man and to fight for the fair distribution of social wealth, for equality, for fraternity, for the dignity of all human beings, that is, they are carriers of the most advanced political, economic and social conscience, although in the case of Christians are based on a religious conception,” he said.
Before finishing the conference He explained that “the religious phenomenon not only permeates the culture of the people, but today it is expanding, calling attention to how the forces of the right have clung to religion because they recognize its popular reach that facilitates the manipulation of consciences to naturalize social inequalities, exalt individuality and feed self-sacrifice in situations of oppression. In this sense, the religion spread by the right is the opium that seeks to demobilize potentially revolutionary popular forces to postpone until eternity the right to a happy and dignified life.”
of love and hope
The Cuban historian, Eduardo Torres Cuevas, director of the Martí Program Office and president of the José Martí Cultural Society, made clear the concept of patriotism in the Apostle: “homeland is humanity, it is a sweet and consoling fusion of love and hope.” Each of these words is a concept, the scholar specified.
“Nothing is going to be easy and he said so, but we always have to think and work for the future,” said historian Torres Cuevas.
As part of the event, the French intellectual Paul Estrade was awarded the Unesco International José Martí Prize for his contributions to the defense and integration, preservation of identity, cultural traditions and historical values of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. , in coherence with the values bequeathed by the National Hero of Cuba.
The award exists to distinguish men and women who have made contributions to the organization, but also accompany and promote the development of countries, while promoting the application of Marti’s ideals to current times to try to build bridges and defend rights. values of solidarity, equality, respect, peaceful coexistence, among others, explained Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO’s deputy director general for Social and Human Sciences.
Health conditions prevented Estrade from traveling to the Caribbean island, but from Paris he expressed his joy at deserving such a distinction, greeted those gathered at the V International Conference for World Balance electronically and evoked the Cuban intellectual Roberto Fernández Retamar , who preceded him in this tribute.