Fidel is always present, with his example, with his ideas and actions, in the country’s every heartbeat. In times of adversity and of times of victory.
Now, on his 95th birthday, in a 2021 full of challenges, a pandemic and a criminal blockade, the Comandante en jefe returns “on battle footing,” in this great struggle for life, guiding the generation of continuity, correcting the course of the work we are constructing.
From the sacred boulder, where his physical remains rest, he accompanies his brothers and sisters in combat, in the Sierra and on the plains, and his younger followers, who apply his teachings, offering, first and foremost, his example of always being close to the people, listening to them, convoking them, sharing the truth, building confidence in victory.
Interrupting the solemnity of the moment, like a wave gaining strength, the clamor rose and little by little the Plaza de la Revolución became a single voice chanting: I am Fidel. It was Tuesday, November 29, 2016 and the people of Havana, representing all of Cuba, had gathered there to pay tribute to our undefeated Comandante who had departed to immortality.
As we joined the collective affirmation, one after another, the emotion grew, expressing our urgent need to make clear that the man, who so many times had raised his voice in this same spot, would never leave us. His legacy would endure forever. It was only right and opportune to make the statement there, and repeat from one end of the island to the other, that we would be like him, that we would stand in his place. But have we fully understood what this means?
The name shouted August 5, 27 years ago on the corner of Prado and Malecón emerged anew last July 11, with the same power, when I saw a group, that had just failed in its attempt to take the Capitol, back away when confronted with the image of the Comandante
In Cuba in the summer of 1994, Cuba’s economic panorama was dire, following the disappearance of trade with the Soviet Union, which eliminated the source of more than 70% of the country’s foreign currency income: power outages lasted more than 12 hours, a dwindling food supply turned a phrase from a popular soap opera, “Hey girl, say hello to your boyfriend,” into a synonym for rice and beans, the most frequently available dish, along with other Creole inventions such as soy meat and goose paste, while access to the few cafes that sold hamburgers was organized by neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, with priority given pregnant women and the elderly. Public transportation practically disappeared, to be replaced by the massive use of bicycles, despite caloric intake that was decreasing day by day. Solitary cans of clams in shop windows were the last evidence of a state market in Cuban pesos, which had once satisfactorily complemented food made available to all via the basic supply booklet.
The volume, dedicated to Commander Manuel Piñeiro Losada and José M. Miyar Barruecos (Chomy), addresses, among other topics, international economic relations, socialism as a condition for development, the struggle for democracy, and the historical roots of a culture of solidarity.
The book “The Strategic Thought of Fidel Castro Ruz: Value and Effectiveness” is today a tribute to the historical leader of the Revolution from the specialized analysis of his experience in the construction of socialism in Cuba.
Spoken: 1953 Publisher: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana, Cuba. 1975 Translated: Pedro Álvarez Tabío & Andrew Paul Booth (who rechecked the translation with the Spanish La historia me absolverá, same publisher, in 1981) Transcription/Markup: Andrew Paul Booth/Brian Baggins Online Version: 1997, Castro Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2001
Never has a lawyer had to practice his profession under such difficult conditions; never has such a number of overwhelming irregularities been committed against an accused man. In this case, counsel and defendant are one and the same. As attorney he has not even been able to take a look at the indictment. As accused, for the past seventy-six days he has been locked away in solitary confinement, held totally and absolutely incommunicado, in violation of every human and legal right.
He who speaks to you hates vanity with all his being, nor are his temperament or frame of mind inclined towards courtroom poses or sensationalism of any kind. If I have had to assume my own defense before this Court it is for two reasons. First: because I have been denied legal aid almost entirely, and second: only one who has been so deeply wounded, who has seen his country so forsaken and its justice trampled so, can speak at a moment like this with words that spring from the blood of his heart and the truth of his very gut.
“We do not tell the people: believe. We say: read,” a statement not made casually, but rather a public expression of a very deep conviction, spoken by Fidel on April 9, 1961 during a television appearance that ended the sixth cycle of the People’s University, Education and Revolution.
The National Literacy Campaign was underway across the country. A few days later, the mercenary Bay of Pigs invasion, organized and financed by the United States took place and was defeated in less than 72 hours. The aggression did not interrupt the enormous pedagogical effort. With a vast audience listening, recorded was Fidel’s message that summarized in good measure the core of the cultural and educational policy of the new times: “The Revolution tells the people: learn to read and write, study, get information, meditate, observe, think. Why? Because this is the path of truth…” Comandante en Jefe said, at the time.Read More »
Many came to meet Fidel again on the University of Havana’s grand stairway, the scene of so many rebellious, revolutionary events, bringing him to the present, giving his work continuity, in the voices of children, in songs of commitment and celebration, in verse…Read More »
When the adversity gets worse, at a bad moment, when all our effort is not enough, and we must find another way; when a hopeful project is cut short, given the countless difficulties caused by the blockade, that anyone with any common sense can see, we ask ourselves: What would Fidel do? As if, in him, all answers can be found
The world is living hard times; Cuba, for its part, is, too. After a year of arduous battles, with our neighbor to the North holding our neck, attempting to force us to surrender and accept the imperialist yoke, in mid-March the pandemic reached our shores.
Horrendous images from all parts of the world of a desperate battle with death; a British cruise ship in trouble, with infected passengers aboard, which Cuba allowed to dock, to facilitate their safe return home; rich countries with health systems overwhelmed by the rapidly spreading disease; Cuban medical brigades preparing to save lives around the world, and the empire maliciously attempting to discredit what can only be described as glorious: a small island nation challenging Goliath, protecting its own, while making whatever it has available to all, without a single soul turning away from the task.
Fidel visited one hospital room after another during the hemorrhagic dengue epidemic. Photo:Granma Archives
Over the years, many have wondered about the source of the leader of the Cuban Revolution’s inexhaustible energy. How was this exceptional man able to function without rest, with his thoughts perennially directed toward the wellbeing of his people, toward the possibility of a better world with a place for everyone, with rights and opportunities for all?
The answer to this question does not lie in his physical stature or athletic passion, not even in his ability to train his thinking and devour every chapter of the homeland’s history. There was something much more powerful, something that led him to devote himself entirely to humanity, that gave him a vocation he could not renounce, of doing everything he could to transform and create, as the most sacred duty of a man. What made Fidel a natural leader, with exemplary humility and disinterest, the architect of this enduring work, was the greatest gift Martí left him and his generation: human sensibility.Read More »