Exactly six months after the liberation cry by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in the Demajagua sugar mill, the patriots raised in arms against Spanish colonialism gave Cuba and the world a new and relevant lesson in unity and civility.
Held by the Mambi forces almost from the very beginning of the independence war, the small town of Guáimaro was the scene of a transcendental political event that marked the course of the 1868 Revolution.
The representatives of the three belligerent zones (Oriente, Camagüey and Las Villas) gathered in assembly from April 10 to 12, 1869, in the main jurisdiction, to present a single combat front to the Spanish metropolis.
José Martí, for whom the historical event had become a symbol and passion, wrote 23 years later in Patria newspaper: ” Free Guáimaro was never more beautiful than in the days when it was going to enter into glory and sacrifice”.
With little time to get to know each other and armed with divergent, even antagonistic, criteria on the matters to be deliberated, the delegates settled their conceptual disagreements by putting patriotic love and the will to serve the Cuban cause first.
After bitter debates they approved a peculiar and autochthonous form of State -the Republic of Cuba in Arms-, their democratic institutions and a constitution that would serve as a programmatic base in the national liberation struggle.
Despite the recognized limitations negatively reflected in the course of the war, it is undeniable the relevance of the Assembly of Guáimaro as a first step towards achieving the unity of the Cuban independence movement.
“Whatever the inconveniences, the difficulties and the results, the effort was admirable,” said the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, a century later, offering his assessment of those events.
In the town of Camagüey also began a new way, made a tradition, of building consensus for the national welfare: open debate and collective reflection as the support of unity and cohesion among all patriotic forces.
This presupposes a degree of political maturity such that, in the discussion of the country’s strategic issues, the sacred interests of the Homeland always prevail over personal, group or sector projects or ambitions.
In the year in which the 150th anniversary of Cuba’s first Magna Carta, approved in Guáimaro, will be commemorated, this principle acquires renewed value as a guarantee of the consolidation of the revolutionary project and its continuity over time.
This is what has happened up to now, and it will happen, when on February 24 the people support with their vote the Constitution that will mark the present and the promising future of the Homeland, in a gesture of eternal gratitude to those who gave everything, including life, for the sake of freedom.
(With information from Granma in Spanish)