Cuba hosted its First Itinerant Poetry Festival of Our Americas, culminating this weekend with participants reciting poems that condemned the unprovoked U.S. aggression against the Cuban people and the U.S. imposed blockade which has lasted well over half a century.
Poets from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Portugal, and the United States joined the message of Cuban writers and artists who poetically slammed the retrograde nature of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration toward Cuba and, essentially, the world.
Unwilling to succumb to an entirely fatalist perspective, the poets also conveyed poetic messages of cultural unity between the people’s of Cuba and the United States. Indeed, Fidel Castro and other Cuban revolutionaries forged close ties and showed solidarity with anti-imperialist activists residing in the behemoth to the north. Among those illustrious figures were Malcolm X, Mabel Williams and Robert Williams, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Leonard Peltier, Randall Robinson and others.
The president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, Alex Pausides, thanked all participating poets and translators from the United States. He emphasized the need to express messages of peace, justice, and beauty in a time when some are absorbed by illogical compulsions to promote political policies detrimental to the survival of the human species.
Also present at the event were Dr. Armando Hart, former Cuban Minister of Culture and organizer of the 1961 National Literacy Campaign, and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, one of the Cuban Five, anti-terrorist activists, unjustly imprisoned in the United States for 16 years. Though imprisoned, Guerrero continued to pursue his poetic explorations.
The festival’s penultimate session featured Cuban poet Nancy Morejon reading a special welcoming note to the poets from the United States. She emphasized that the ties between the two neighboring countries, despite Washington’s overbearing temperament, dates back to Jose Marti’s admiration for Walt Whitman’s literary work and the friendship cultivated between Cuban poet Nicholas Guillen and African-American poet Langston Hughes.
The festival ended to the Troubadour lyrics of Alberto Faya, who recited a collection of songs based on Afro-Cuban, Venezuelan folklore and insular campesino traditions.