Travelling with Fidel Castro

E P Menon

Frontier | Vol 55, No. 10, Sep 4 – 10, 2022

Way back in 1966 when I received an invitation to join the Indian Delegation to Cuba for participating in the first ever Tri-Continental Conference involving only those countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia, I was delighted and agreed immediately. It was a 14-member group under the leadership of Aruna Asaf Ali and endorsed by the Government of India.

More than 1500 delegates were accommodated in the majestic Hotel Havana Libre for two weeks and after the 10-day events we were all given a country-wide tour for two weeks which was indeed very educative and forward-looking for building better human solidarity and world peace. Two specific events can never be erased from my mind.

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Two giants twinned by history

Two giants who share a birth date and common ideals. Two men who both, in different times, dignified our country’s past to illuminate our present and future. Two heroes of the Revolution who are June children, Antonio Maceo Granjales and Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna

Mailenys Oliva Ferrales

Granma | June 14, 2022

Photocomposition: Carlos M. Perdomo

Distances matter little – in time and kilometers – if two names remain eternal in the memory of a country, fused as the same reference of integrity and courage. Two giants that history has twinned beyond a shared birth date and common ideals. Two men who both, in different times, dignified our country’s past to illuminate our present and future. Two heroes of the Revolution who are June children, Antonio Maceo Granjales and Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna.
In Santiago de Cuba the first was born. It was 1845 when the Maceo family baptized the boy who would become a renowned Mambí leader in Cuba’s wars of independence.

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63rd Anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

Nikos Mottas

In Defense of Communism | January 02, 2022

The Cuban Revolution inspired and continues to inspire the workers-people’s struggles in all over the world, proving the vitality of the Marxist-Leninist worldview and the significance of proletarian internationalism. Figures such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, Vilma Espin, Fran Pais and others became eternal symbols of the revolutionary working class movement throughout the world.

Under the leadership of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz and with the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union and other socialist states, Cuba achieved a number of extraordinary – unprecedented in Latin America – achievements in sectors such as Health, Education, Womens’ Rights, Culture, Sports, etc. 

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Voluntary work, of our own free will, with conviction

The first day voluntary work, organized by Che on November 22, 1959, commemorated in Granma

Mailenys Oliva Ferrales

Granma | November 22, 2021

Photo: Granma Archives

Granma.- It was Sunday, November 22, 1959 and, with a “tremendous outpouring” of volunteers coming from everywhere in trucks, carts, on horseback, no telling how many, arrived in El Caney de las Mercedes (now in the municipality of Bartolomé Masó) to help build the Camilo Cienfuegos Center, the first great educational work of the Revolution.
From the bed of a truck, Ché explained to the thousands present the importance of the project that would become “a permanent symbol of the alliance between workers and farmers on which our revolutionary power is based,” and an instrument to transform consciousness.
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Socialism and man in Cuba

Che Guevara

Dear compañero ,[29]

Though belatedly, I am completing these notes in the course of my trip through Africa,[30] hoping in this way to keep my promise. I would like to do so by dealing with the theme set forth in the title above. I think it may be of interest to Uruguayan readers.

A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokespeople, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the abolition of the individual for the sake of the state. I will not try to refute this argument solely on theoretical grounds but rather to establish the facts as they exist in Cuba and then add comments of a general nature. Let me begin by broadly sketching the history of our revolutionary struggle before and after the taking of power.

As is well known, the exact date of the beginning of the revolutionary struggle — which would culminate in January 1959 — was July 26, 1953. A group led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada barracks in Oriente Province on the morning of that day. The attack was a failure; the failure became a disaster; and the survivors ended up in prison, beginning the revolutionary struggle again after they were freed by an amnesty. In this process, in which there was only the germ of socialism, the individual was a fundamental factor. We put our trust in him — individual, specific, with a first and last name — and the triumph or failure of the mission entrusted to him depended on that individual’s capacity for action. Then came the stage of guerrilla struggle. It developed in two distinct environments: the people, the still sleeping mass that had to be mobilized; and its vanguard, the guerrillas, the motor force of the mobilization, the generator of revolutionary consciousness and militant enthusiasm. This vanguard was the catalyzing agent that created the subjective conditions necessary for victory.

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Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro

Fidel:

At this moment I remember many things: when I met you in Maria Antonia’s house, when you proposed I come along, all the tensions involved in the preparations. One day they came by and asked who should be notified in case of death, and the real possibility of it struck us all. Later we knew it was true, that in a revolution one wins or dies (if it is a real one). Many comrades fell along the way to victory.

Today everything has a less dramatic tone, because we are more mature, but the event repeats itself. I feel that I have fulfilled the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban revolution in its territory, and I say farewell to you, to the comrades, to your people, who now are mine.

I formally resign my positions in the leadership of the party, my post as minister, my rank of commander, and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me to Cuba. The only ties are of another nature — those that cannot be broken as can appointments to posts.

Reviewing my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient integrity and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only serious failing was not having had more confidence in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra, and not having understood quickly enough your qualities as a leader and a revolutionary.

I have lived magnificent days, and at your side I felt the pride of belonging to our people in the brilliant yet sad days of the Caribbean [Missile] crisis. Seldom has a statesman been more brilliant as you were in those days. I am also proud of having followed you without hesitation, of having identified with your way of thinking and of seeing and appraising dangers and principles.

Other nations of the world summon my modest efforts of assistance. I can do that which is denied you due to your responsibility as the head of Cuba, and the time has come for us to part.

You should know that I do so with a mixture of joy and sorrow. I leave here the purest of my hopes as a builder and the dearest of those I hold dear. And I leave a people who received me as a son. That wounds a part of my spirit. I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be. This is a source of strength, and more than heals the deepest of wounds.

I state once more that I free Cuba from all responsibility, except that which stems from its example. If my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you. I am grateful for your teaching and your example, to which I shall try to be faithful up to the final consequences of my acts.

I have always been identified with the foreign policy of our revolution, and I continue to be. Wherever I am, I will feel the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary, and I shall behave as such. I am not sorry that I leave nothing material to my wife and children; I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and receive an education.

I would have many things to say to you and to our people, but I feel they are unnecessary. Words cannot express what I would like them to, and there is no point in scribbling pages.

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History Will Absolve Me

Fidel Castro

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

Soviet Poster celebrating Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution

HONORABLE JUDGES:

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.

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che-pic-1

Verses from “Che Comandante” by Nicolás Guillén

Though you have fallen your light burns no less bright.

A fire horse

sustains your guerrilla sculpture

among the wind and the clouds of the Sierra.

Though still you are not silence.

And even though they burn you,

they conceal you underground,

they hide you

in a cemetery, woods, paramos,

they are not going to prevent us from finding you

Che Comandante, friend.

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IN MEMORY OF CHE GUEVARA

Che is Here, Alive

Fifty-three years since the Heroic Guerilla’s death in Bolivia

 

Granma | October 09, 2020


El tiempo hablará. (Time will tell.) by Francis Fernández.

Powerful forces move men like Che. Superior souls are capable of giving their all for others, even if this means life itself.

Che himself affirms, “The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love,” leaving us another creed to steer us along the road of just causes.Read More »