Cuba 60

An anniversary came and   passed off without being noticed by the Left. In truth much of the Left movement in India didn't comment on the important date : January 1, 1959, the day that Batista was overthrown in Havana. Surprisingly, communists in India never took Cuban Revolution seriously —for them the focus has been far too narrow. Maybe, Centro was not sufficiently Marxist as per their yardsticks. But Fidel's Cuba has always been a beacon to Latin American revolutionaries. The spirit of Castro's internationalism motivated more than one generation of revolutionaries and anti-imperialist fighters across Latin America. The way Cubans under Castro's leadership coped with the post-Soviet Union situation and relentlessly fought against American hegemonism in the region has no parallel. Cuba is a burning example of how a small nation can challenge the most powerful superpower and at the same time progress without fossil fuel. They showed the world that it was quite possible without foreign aid and doles to face the odds and develop self-reliant economy to the satisfaction of all sections of society. They showed the world how big ideas could born out of humble beginnings. When Soviet Russia during the Bruzhnev era stopped essential supplies to Cuba everbody thought Cuba would revert to the dictatorial age of Batista. No, nothing of that sort happened. Cuba remained Cuba and it is still Cuba despite some changes in goverance and economy.

With fossil fuel vanishing very fast many countries will have to implement Cuban idea of development not in the distant future, for sheer survival.

Cuban revolution didn't follow the Chinese path of protracted people's war. Nor did it initate the Russian model of insurrection. But the Cuban Revolution was a Great Divide for Latin America, particularly in it dealing a sharp blow to US hegemonism.

At the same time, it must not be forgotten that Fidel Castro, Guevara Che, and the Cuban masses carried out the revolution independent of, and in fact in opposition to, official "Communism", including the Cuban Communist Party that had cooperated with the Batista dictatorship. The colours of the revolution were battle green, not red; and the view was of humanism. Russia was nowhere around. Nor was there China. And Vietnam was out of question.

On this 60th anniversary, much of the Communist Left has not seriously grappled with the crucial question: "What Happens After 'the Revolution'?" Yes, the US has for some six decades sought to destroy and isolate the Revolution, and that imperialism must continue to be resisted. Cuba has fought valiantly to survive. The Cubans took important steps forward in their health system and in education. It's very much at par with America and the West. But is that the total answer to the question of what happens after?

What about the limitation of living in a one-party state? Isn't authentic socialism-as opposed to state-capitalism-built on participatory democracy from below? What about an economy dictated from on high, not decided collectively from below? Was it so necessary for Fidel and his followers to subscribe to Russia's state-capitalism, and thus become entrapped in the extreme dangers of the Cold War to survive (Cuban Missile Crisis, etc.)?

Today at 60, it is for the Cuban masses to decide from below, and without imperialist interference from outside, how they can recoup the spirit and revolutionary vision of their authentic Revolution and make it a reality for the present moment. New beginnings are never more needed.

Vol. 51, No.36, Mar 10 - 16, 2019