Fidel–Life and Struggle

Farooque Chowdhury

Fidel Castro embodied humanity's struggle for a free, dignified life, a life free from exploitation, a life full of love and with flowering of humane living.

Castro is alive in people's struggle—around the world. Castro is alive in humanity's struggle against all forms of exploitation, against all forms of bondage, all forms of indignity.

Castro wrote in April, 1954 : "I am sure that all the people could be happy, and for them I would be ready to incur the hatred and ill-will of a few thousand few individuals, including some of my relatives, half of my acquaintances, two-third of my professional colleagues, and four-fifths of my former school-mates." [Fidel Castro, "Letters from prison, 19533-1955", My Early Years, ed. Deborah Shnookal and Pedro Alvarez Tabio, Ocean Press, Melbourne, New York, 2005]. A US intelligence report in the later part of the 1940s said about Castro : "[A] typical example of a young Cuban of a good background who, because of lack of parental education or real education, may soon become a full-fledged gangster". [Cited in Herbert Matthews, The Cuban Story]. The imperialists considered Fidel their arch enemy, a gangster. And to the oppressed, Fidel Castro is the hero, a bright star.

Castro's stand made him enemy of the enemies of humanity—the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the forces that plot to pull back the planet to a position hostile to humanity. But they hatch plot after plot in futility as humanity never moves backward, as the planet never revolves in a path opposite to its forward moving journey, as history never repeats.

Fidel, embodied hopes and dreams of all of humanity. With his resolute stand and struggle for decades Fidel Castro held high all popular dreams, aspirations and struggles.

The red flag of struggle Castro unfurled was stained with blood of martyrs—lives laid for the cause of humanity, for  the downtrodden, for the exploited, for the deprived. In July 1953, at the age of 26, Castro led revolutionaries in an assault on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba. It was a heroic journey. The journey continued for years, for decades.

The journey began in the 20th century. Castro  carried it in the 21st century. It was a new millennium. Castro's struggle thus transpired centuries, from one century to the next.

It turned out humanity's ceaseless struggle. It turned out part of the struggle the working people began in Lyon, in Paris, in Chicago, in Petrograd, in Sholapur.

Castro's struggle showed the working people's commitment to humanity, its commitment to organize a humane life. Castro's struggle thus made the oppressed and poor proud and honored everywhere.

Cuban Revolution was unprecedented in human history in many aspects. None imagined that geographically a small island-state would face the longest ever economic blockade in world history imposed by the strongest ever imperialist power. With Castro at the helm, Cuba successfully faced the blockade without surrendering a grain of dignity. It was the Cuban people's struggle under Castro's leadership. And Castro wrote in April, 1954 : "how pleased I would be to revolutionize this country from top to bottom!" [Fidel Castro, "Letters from prison, 1953-1955"]

The world knows all the conspiracies and interventions the imperialist forces organized, and at the end, they had to retreat in indignity, in disgraceful way, in shameful way, experience humiliating blows. Castro led in facing and foiling all those conspiracies. Castro showed : ‘People everywhere can successfully face and defeat imperialists’.

Fidel's approach was the approach of fraternity. Countries around the globe experienced this approach by Cuba, Castro's approach teaches never to surrender to the imperialists. Castro's approach teaches people are to be mobilized, are to be made aware.

What Castro  said in 1956 still reverberates : "I can tell you that in 1956 we shall obtain freedom or become martyrs". Castro made this courageous utterance in New York at a meeting held against Batista. [I Lavretsky, Ernesto Che Guevara, Progress Publishers, Moscow, erstwhile USSR, 1976] The world saw the way Castro implemented his words.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about Castro : "A man of austere ways and insatiable dreams, with an old-fashioned formal education, of cautious words and simple manners, and incapable of conceiving any idea which is not out of the ordinary." ["A personal portrait of Fidel"]

Marquez depicted Castro in the following words : "He dreams that his scientists will find the cure for cancers, and has created a world power foreign policy on an island without fresh water, 84 times smaller than its main enemy". [ibid]

People have not forgotten the hard days that began with the rising of white flag of much-touted Perestroika in Moscow. That act was outright betrayal by the enemies of the working people. Castro along with his brother Raul, took a  steadfast stand in those hostile days. Those were lone days of courage. And the people in Cuba denied taking a vanquished position, the position taken by the group of turncoats. Castro brightened the star on the sky of Havana. Castro reiterated his friend Hemingway's world-famous saying : "And man is born not for defeat. A man can be destroyed, but not defeated".

People have not forgotten the Cuban diplomats were the last diplomats to leave Baghdad during the US-led invasion of Iraq. Cuba under Castro showed the way of fraternity among peoples in countries. The medical mission Cuba sent to countries, from Haiti to Pakistan, bears his teaching the people in Cuba uphold. The successes in the areas of health care, medical research, education, ecological agriculture Cuba attained was under Castro's guidance. The world learned the possibilities in the struggle for a dignified life in the face of hostile forces.

Fidel, with his life and struggle, has dignified the entire human society as he has never  accepted indignity and dishonor, as he has never relinquished the struggle of the exploited, of the poor masses, a struggle for a free life. Thus human society shall never forget Castro. Rather Castro will remain with a bold presence in people's struggles throughout the world.

Vol. 49, No.23, Dec 11 - 17, 2016