Sunday, March 22, 2015

Intransigence at Any Cost

Intransigence at Any Cost / Fernando Damazo
Posted on March 21, 2015

Fernando Damaso, 16 March 2015 — When a phenomenon is analyzed, or a
historical occurrence or any important matter, this analysis should be
done objectively evaluating all its components, be they internal or
external, without a priori positions, keeping in mind their positive or
negative aspects.

Yesterday marked another anniversary of the events which occurred at
Mangos de Baraguá on March 15, 1878.

The Baraguá Protest, mounted by General Antonio Maceo and other generals
and officials of the Cuban Army of Independence [in the 19th Century
against Spain], as a response to the Pact of Zanjón, has been included
by history as a symbol of intransigence for Cubans. The virile gesture
by Maceo and his comrades deserves the greatest respect — even though it
did not correspond to the actual status of the struggle which, except
for within the jurisdictions of Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, had
waned, primarily because of the exhaustion of the Mambí forces, the
internal divisions within the Army of Independence, and the rupture
between it and the Cuban Government-in-Arms.

Besides, the Camagüey and Las Villas forces, as well as those of Bayamo,
plus General Máximo Gómez and other important military leaders, had
accepted the Pact and, since February, there were no longer an
insurrectionist Executive Power nor Chamber. As a result of the Protest,
General Vicente García remained at the helm of the district composed of
Las Tunas and Holguín, while Maceo headed the zones of Santiago de Cuba
and Guantánamo.

Once the hostilities were broken off on March 23, they failed and
Antonio Maceo had to lay down arms and, with his family, depart for
Jamaica on May 9 (55 days after Baraguá), aboard the gunboat Fernando el
Católico ["Ferdinand the Catholic"], which the Spanish Chief
General Arsenio Martínez Campos had placed at Maceo's disposal. On May
28, 74 days after Baraguá, the veterans of that skirmish were laying
down arms and acceptingthe Pact of Zanjón. Only Limbano Sánchez in
Oriente, and the brigadier Ramón Leocadio Bonachea in the zones
of Camagüey and Las Villas — the latter for 11 months — prolonged the
resistance, but their efforts proved futile: the Ten Years' War had ended.

These adverse results do not detract from the protesters of Baraguá, but
the days and months that followed demonstrated that they had erred in
their assessment of the situation and what needed to be done: they put
their libertarian desires ahead of good judgement. In this matter, the
perjoratively-named "zanjonerians" (so called for having accepted the
Pact) — among them General Máximo Gómez and other important military
leaders — proved to have had the greater capacity for analysis.

Unfortunately, this is not what is said and written when
recalling Baraguá. Were it to be recognized, however, would perhaps help
us to more intelligently confront the various situations we face today,
in a complex and changing world. Intransigence at any cost, as history
shows, is not always the best option. It behooves us to remember that
"Neverland" only exists in children's stories.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Intransigence at Any Cost / Fernando Damazo | Translating Cuba -

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