Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Antiimperialismo y noviolencia": a new book by Padre Miguel d'Escoto

La Ventana
September 4, 2009

In moving words, almost like a farewell to his mandate — which he expressly wished to give in Cuba — Miguel d'Escoto, president of the 63rd UN General Assembly, presented his book Antiimperialismo y noviolencia ("Anti-Imperialism and Nonviolence", Ocean Sur, 2009), a compendium of lectures, articles, talks and reflections that the priest gave or wrote from 1974 to 2006, on Friday, September 4 in Havana.

"Cuba is a place of spiritual refreshment. When Roberto Regalado [Cuban political scientist and a friend of Miguel d'Escoto] invited me to Cuba, for the presentation of the book, I thought it was fair that my last visit as president of the UN General Assembly be here to make a kind of accounting of this whole year", said the priest and Nicaraguan revolutionary in the Havana House of Friendship.

In this highly anticipated volume, a kind of treatise on theology is woven: a theology of nonviolence, evangelical insurrection, political praxis, Christian ecumenism, globalization, anti-imperialism and latinamericanismo. According to Miguel d'Escoto's introduction, the book "aims to help raise awareness about the nonviolence of Jesus and militant anti-imperialism. We want to help you understand that every follower of Jesus must be nonviolent and, therefore, also anti-imperialist, and that imperialism is always violent, criminal and terrorist."

Along with the presence of Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of Cuba, Abel Prieto, Minister of Culture, Armando Hart, director of the Office of Programa Martiano, Caridad Diego, head of the Religious Affairs Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Kenya Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, the large audience was invited to learn more about anti-imperialism and nonviolence, which Eusebio Leal, director of the Office of the City Historian, Roberto Regalado, director of the Area of the Americas Analysis Section in the International Relations Department of the CPC Central Committee and the author of the volume, Miguel d'Escoto spoke about.

The prominent Cuban intellectual Eusebio Leal defined the book as "an interpretation of the world through a man of faith, which raises for us revolutionaries and Christians one of the most important arguments: the fight for justice." He said that "it is a book of faith, a book of combat, an anti-imperialist book" where a vocation for the hurt and suffering is present.

"How good it is that a priest is presiding over this Assembly," said Leal, "an Assembly that without men like him seem like a futile little group." And he summed up his view of a transcendental essence of the volume: "Only love saves and only love can fight for a social revolution. That is the reason that the priest in the book confronts the currents that only produce hatred and bitterness."

For his part, Roberto Regalado thanked "dear Father Miguel once more for joining us, with that great ideological, ethical and human force that characterizes him, for putting his trust in Ocean Sur to publish this valuable selection of talks and articles."

Regalo, who is also the coordinator of the Contexto Latinoamericano series for Ocean Sur, announced that in the coming months this series "will publish a selection of speeches and documents produced by Miguel as chancellor of the revolutionary government of Nicaragua during the years of the Sandinista Popular Revolution" and also an anthology on liberation theology.

Regalado described Miguel d'Escoto as "a main protagonist and witness to the birth of this new age in which we live. He knows that there can be a bright future and how to make it happen, but he also knows the dangers that humanity carries over from the old era, and how to exorcise them."

His words recalled the many steps, actions and interventions of the Nicaraguan diplomat after the coup in Honduras, an ongoing struggle that dates back to the days when, as Sandinista foreign minister (1979-1990) he played a leading role in the trial that led to the conviction of the United States by the Court in The Hague, in the peace process sponsored by the Contadora Group, and in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Esquipulas Accords.

"Bolivar's dream stopped being a dream and became a real work," is how d'Escoto would seem to sum it up this afternoon, while presenting his book, taking advantage of the moment to draw a picture of his life and his struggle for justice.

He spoke about his experiences as President Pro Tempore of the UN General Assembly, from his nomination to his conclusions at the end of his mandate: "I say that the United Nations can not be reformed, it is not about patches or reforms: the UN has to be reinvented, and to reinvent it, we must begin with a vision of what kind of world we want."

"Here in Cuba is where I have seen the greatest faith," continued the historian and theologian, "because they believe that another world is possible and commit everything, their life, their thought, all to turn their dream into reality." He added that "what we most owe each other is to give each other an example so that we can always stay in the struggle. Cuba is the paradigm of that."

After receiving the Order of Solidarity granted by the State Council of Cuba, d'Escoto welcomed the opportunity to present his book Antiimperialismo y noviolencia in Cuba. "Hopefully it be useful," he concluded before the ovation.

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