Academicians of the United States request “essential change” in the United States policy towards Latin America

By: Armando Hart Dávalos

(Versión en español)

One week before his election as president of the United States, nearly four-hundred academicians from that country addressed a letter to Barak Obama demanding a substantial change in the U.S. policy towards Latin America. It is undoubtedly a very important act that such numerous group of academicians pronounce itself so decidedly in favor of a U.S. support to a more equitable development in all the region, of an active endorsement of human rights, of a commitment with the compliance with the constitutional rights in the United States, including both academic and intellectual freedom, which the Bush administration did not respect when it restricted the academic exchange with Cuba.

We Cubans, Latin Americans and Caribbeans must take such statement into consideration, since it contains very valuable and interesting formulations to tighten the links we can and must establish with the intellectual circles of Lincoln’s fatherland. It should be underlihed that these standpoints agree with the aspiration to strengthen the links between what Martí in his day called “the two hostile sections” of our hemisphere.

This message, addressed a few days ago to the presidential candidate and today recently elected president of the United States Barak Obama, confirms the need of a dialogue for both Americas and also for the world, because it is in our hemisphere where a road may be opened today for the salvation of our species, threatened with extinction in the present century.

To promote such a dialogue we may start from the teachings of José Martí about the United States, where he lived from 1881 through 1895 and which he got to know deeply at the time when the imperialist phenomenon was appearing in that country. However, in no way is Martí’s anti-imperialism a synonym of anti-North Americanism, since Martí also expressed admiration for the scientific progress and the main cultural figures of that country. On the basis of that legacy, Latin America and the Caribbean may send a message to the people of the United States.

Martí represents a spiritual tradition and an integrationist thought commited with the definitive redemption of our species, which, with its utopian accent is an alternative to the vulgar and coarse materialism that predominates in a civilization based unilaterally on technological and scientific progress.

It is essential to link the Latin American and Caribbean ideas with those of the sensible men and women from the North to reach the modernity required in the twenty-first century. To achieve this it is indispensable to count on the ideas of those who in the fatherland of Lincoln and Hemingway are also worried about the future of their country and of the human species and wish to open the way to the solutions required by the United States themselves, the western hemisphere and the present world.

And always with the banners of ethics, a key issue to which Martí refers over and over again. Let us recall that he stated that God is in the idea of goodness. In the idea of goodness is the key to the understanding among us, human beings, both with one or the other religion, and even with those who have no religion. Martí thus becomes the universal synthesis required by human thought to save us from the crisis we are going through in today’s world.

For these reasons I invite all those who read this text to send us their opinions in order to establish that constructive dialogue we need and very particularly with the almost 400 academicians that signed the above-mentioned letter.

Finally we propose as research target of the new roads needed by Cuba, the United States, Latin America and the world, five work lines that aim at reordering José Martí’s thoughts, particularly his concept on the idea of goodness:

– To study theoretically the idea of goodness in the way that today’s mankind may conceive it.
– To prove that culture is the main motor of the economy.
– To analyze profoundly the cultural potential of Latin America and the Caribbean and its possibilities of relations with North America.
– To analyze the potentiality of a solution to the conflicts between both Americas.
– To analyze the potential of the western hemisphere with regard to Spain and the rest of Europe.

On these bases we can perform a work in the perspective that groups us all in order to save mankind from the disaster that approaches us.

We thank all men and women that in Lincoln’s fatherland are interested in a constructive dialogue and favor a change in the U.S. policy toward our region, and we underline the essential importance of culture, whose main category is justice, as a means for the necesary dialogue between the academicians from the United Status and Latin America.

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