Address by Stefanos Stefanou, AKEL Political Bureau member, at a meeting on the anniversary of the death of comrade Fidel Castro
Deftera Local Club of the People’s Movement of the Left, Nicosia
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 24th November 2017, Nicosia
Alejandro Castro Fidel Rous passed away on November 25th, 2016, just one year ago at the age of 90. I don’t know if he chose the day to leave us. If he had the possibility to choose it, I’m sure he would have chosen this very day – November 25th.
This is so because the 25th November is a very important day in Fidel’s history, the history of Cuba, the history of the international Communist and anti-imperialist movement, in the history of the whole world.
The 25th November 1956 was the day when Fidel, together with his 81 comrades, embarked on a rusty old boat, “Granma”, for the journey from Mexico to Cuba.
He sought to change Cuba. He wanted to make its people the masters because Cuba was ruled by others, not by Cubans. The US was ruling Cuba and stealing its life, looting its wealth and beauty.
So Fidel, with his friend and comrade Che Guevara, who met him while in exile in Mexico 1955, reached Cuba to begin his revolution; a revolution Fidel which when he began it he never stopped.
This revolution didn’t spark and restrict itself just to Cuba.
- It set the hearts of the Latin American peoples alight who wanted to get rid of the deadly suffocating embrace of the Yankee.
- It captured the hearts and minds of the peoples of the African continent who were struggling to liberate themselves from the chains of colonialism and to manage themselves the wealth and resources of their countries.
- It also triggered it in the hearts of the peoples of the Far East – and throughout Asia in general – who were fighting to achieve genuine national independence.
- It fired it into the hearts of progressive people all over the world who envisioned a world of true freedom, peace, justice and dignity.
Che, when he met Fidel, had written about him in his diary that he was “a brave and clever man, very sure about himself and with great courage”. Che was absolutely right.
Fidel showed and proved this determination, cleverness and boldness countless times. Besides, one needs determination and boldness to be 160 miles away from the US, challenging its supremacy, policies, and exposing its aggression and crimes.
You need courage and determination – and a lot of love for the people and its happiness – to abandon the warmth of a family mansion, to sleep on the wet soil with a rifle as your comrade, to be thrown in jail and exile, for them to be planning your assassination and you to be waging the struggle, defiant and unforgiving to continue “Be realistic, demand the impossible!” This is what Che said to him when they arrived in Cuba in 1956. He agreed and made it into a guide for action and a beacon of life.
Realism and the impossible! Dialectics stemming from the eternal struggle of contradictions that generates progress. It results in progress, when you never lose the patience and courage to continue your struggle when everything seems lost. And when you feel you are triumphant, you must have the courage to make your compromises and tactical moves – without, of course, losing sight of your goal – in order to be able to continue your victorious and creative path. That’s actually how Fidel marched on his path under the very nose of the big superpower of imperialism.
That was Fidel – the son of a wealthy landowner who, as a humanist, decided to change the world, and in the course of his adventure he became a communist. In a speech he made in 1961 he stressed the close relationship between humanism and communism. “Who said – he asked – that Marxism denies human feelings…whilst its precisely the love for people, humanity, the desire to combat deprivation, injustice, the misery of the exploitation the proletariat is suffering, that has made Marxism spring from Karl Marx’s mind”.
- This countryside boy, the landlord’s son through his struggles, became a world leader because he inspired his people and many other peoples too.
- He became an international symbol because other countries and peoples were moved into action and marched on Fidel’s example.
- He became become a legend all over the world, because all those envisioning a better world that will lead human civilization out of the devastating path that it is on, draw strength from his life and struggles to move forward.
Shortly before his death, Fidel said:
“I’ll be 90 years old soon. Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of communist Cuba will remain as proof that, if we work with passion and dignity, we can produce the material and the cultural values that people need
The Cuban people, marching on the path that Fidel charted, continues to produce material and cultural values for people, resisting imperialism’s threats and the mockery of humanity’s values that world capitalism imposes daily.
The Cuban people continue to have Fidel the leader, the symbol and legend next to it, on its side, and inspiring it in the Cuban people’s struggle to move Cuba forward, despite the unimaginable burden of the blockade which the northern neighbor has been imposing for decades.
A year after Fidel’s death, “Hasta la Victoria siempre!” continues to fire the hearts of the Cuban people.
That’s how Fidel taught the people and that’s how the people of Cuba are continuing.
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