Fidel Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016) was the inspirer and leader of the popular Cuban revolution against the corrupt US puppet-regime of the comprador kleptocrat Batista.
Harpal Brar pays tribute to Fidel, opening this CPGB-ML meeting, held on 10 December 2016, with comrades of the JVP UK committee and other friends, in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, to honour his memory and celebrate his life, and the positive legacy of the Cuban revolution that he helped to lead and shape.
Fidel was a man of great insight, intelligence, energy, courage and steadfast determination. Incensed with the suffering and meagre lot of the masses of the Cuban people, Fidel rose in indignation with 200 of his fellow students against he Batista regime on 26 July 1953, making his entry onto the national and world political stage by launching an armed raid on the Moncada barracks; military centre of Batista’s unpopular rule.
Captured, he was placed on trial by the Batista Regime, but the young student of law was able to turn the proceedings into a trial of the Batista regime, highlighting the abusive practices of the regime towards the population and the accused, and pointing out that the regime disrespected and disregarded its own laws and judicial process and even the judges in that very trial. His famous speech, culminating in the conclusion that “History will absolve me” for the attack on Moncada, was a landmark in the struggle, and was proven profoundly true by Fidel’s ensuing life and struggle.
The The guilty verdict Fidel and his comrades received was a foregone conclusion, but as a result of their courageous stand, he roused a movement in his defence that forced his release, and Castro went on to organise, from his exile in Mexico, a guerrilla movement – the July 26th movement – that was able to repatriate the struggle to Cuba, and despite setbacks and reverses came to spearhead the mass resistance of the workers and peasants, eventually toppling the Batista regime on new year’s day 1959.
Harpal’s speech draws out anecdotes and examples of the courage, steadfastness, and tactical brilliance of Fidel and the Cuban revolution, that have allowed this tiny island to build a bright and secure socialist future in the jaws of the bitter hostility of the mighty and tyrannical US imperialist regime, braving 50 years of blockade and countless attempts at military, economic, diplomatic and political intrigue and sabotage, including more than 600 attempts on Fidel’s life.
But Fidel has undoubtedly had the last laugh. Living to the ripe old age of 90, he has outlasted 10 US presidential administrations – all of whom, we should note, have exercised the dictatorship of the US imperialist capitalist class; all of whom have tried to put down the Cuban people and revolution, and all of whom have failed.
Cuba has not simply been content to survive. The revolutionary Cuban people have build a standard of life that is better than that enjoyed by ordinary US citizens, with low cost, high quality, health, housing and education, and basic social statistics that rival any in the world.
Nor has Cuba been content to look inward and simply lay low; the fraternal assistance it has rendered to the struggling oppressed people all over the world is legendary – from its anti-apartheid and anti-colonial military interventions in Southern and Eastern Africa, to the generous medical and humanitarian aid it has offered to people across Latin America, Africa and Asia – notably recently in Indonesia, Pakistan and Haiti; but also in Venezuela, Nicaragua and even poor neighbourhoods of the US itself.
Fidel, and the Cuban people and revolution, have extended and kept alive the bright light cast by the October Revolution, and prove today, as the Russians and Soviet peoples did in 1917 and after, what powerful creative force still slumbers in the lap of truly organised, harmonised collective willpower and labour of the working masses of mankind.
Fidel and the Cuban people showed that we are truly the masters of our own destiny, and that all problems created by mankind’s exploitative legacy can be solved by the united working class in power, if only we have the courage to embrace the struggle.
The future is bright – the future is communism.
Glory to Fidel! Long live the Cuban revolution! Join us!
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