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Statements on the death of Comrade Fidel Castro
Sunday November 27, 2016 18:30 by 1 of Indymedia
Indymedia Ireland wish to pay tribute to the late leader Comrade Fidel Castro who died on Fri 25th Nov 2016, aged 90. He was an iconic figure of the 20th century and perhaps most famous for leading Cuba away from the clutches of a dictator and the mafia which ran the country on behalf of the US prior to that and then to events of the CIA backed failed invasion to overthrow him referred to as the Bay of Pigs and then later to the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink. This came about because the US had placed nuclear missiles in Turkey which were 15 minutes flight time to Moscow and Castro allowed the Soviet Union to respond in kind by placing Soviet missile in Cuba which were 15 minutes flight time to Washington.
Not only that he and Cuba defied the US for many decades simply by existing despite the US openly being hostile including imposing economic and financial sanctions against Cuba since the revolution and an estimated 600 assassination attempts against him and for daring to give the example that there is another way to exist than naked capitalism. A successful example on their doorstep of a state that provided benefits such as education, health and general well-being for their citizens is what the US most feared. Even to this day, the health system and life expectancy exceeds anything in Latin American and including huge swaths of the USA itself and this lesson is surely being brought home to many not just in the US but elsewhere where many are mired in puntative debt and are prey to vulture capitalists and increasing unstable and uncertain existence in their daily lives.
Fidel Castro in his later years stood back and became a well respected figure and was much sought after. Through him Cuba over the decades has provided much needed humanitarian aid and technical help to many countries that badly needed it and in most cases these would be places that had fallen out of favour with the US empire. It is still incredible that such a tiny country that survived very restrictive US imposed sanctions for so long achieved so much.
In contrast to the rest of Latin American where poverty is endemic and widespread and drug mafia and gangs rule and make life both violent and short for many, Cuba is a beacon of hope and a beacon which the US has fought relentlessly to destroy so that they can pillage it and hand it over to corporations and criminals to extract any wealth and to hell with the people.
With the passing of Castro it truly represents the passing of an important era and hopefully he will be of inspiration to new revolutionaries to challenge our suffocating creeping global corporate capitalist system whose tentacles extend today to almost every country.
We include below a statement from the Workers Party on the death of Castro that fills in further many of the details of his life and work.
Workers’ Party statement on the death of Comrade Fidel Castro
t is with a sense of deep sadness that the Workers’ Party of Ireland has learned of the death of Comrade Fidel Castro, former President of Cuba and Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was President of Cuba for forty nine years. After commanding the revolution which overthrew the dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1959, he held the title of Prime Minister until 1976 when he became President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. He became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in 1965 and led the transformation of Cuba into a revolutionary socialist republic. As President, Comrade Fidel held the position of Commandante of the Cuban military. After a period of ill health he resigned as President in February 2008.
Prior to the revolution Cuba was effectively a U.S. colony, one of the many countries in Central America and the Caribbean where defiance of the US was unthinkable. Then, on 1st January 1959 the Cuban revolutionary forces, led by Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and others entered Havana and Santiago.
The Cuban transition to socialism was rapid and extraordinary, establishing the sovereignty of the people over the land and its resources.By the end of the 1960s the new government had overhauled Cuban society in the interests of its people. Large industries and services were nationalised. Agrarian reform was introduced in which land was no longer a commodity and land speculation was abolished. These measures dealt an immense blow to imperialism and the capitalist class. The Cuban government introduced an exceptionally effective literacy campaign and the introduction of free public education at all levels. Free universal health care was introduced.
At a time when U.S. hegemony predominated in the region and when progressive movements in Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala had been crushed, the Cuban Revolution became a beacon of hope throughout the continent and the world. When Fidel Castro visited Venezuela in January 1959 he was greet by overjoyed masses of people and Salvadore Allende, then a Chilean Senator, stated: “The Cuban Revolution does not belong only to you … we are dealing with the most significant movement ever to have occurred in the Americas.”
Within months of the revolution the CIA began to arm terrorists and saboteurs inside Cuba. There was CIA-supervised bombing and incendiary raids piloted by Cubans based in the U.S. who were hostile to progress. In March 1960 Eisenhower called for the overthrow of Fidel Castro in favour of a regime “more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S.“, supporting “military operation on the island” and “development of an adequate paramilitary force outside of Cuba.” U.S. Intelligence reported that popular support for Castro was high, but the U.S. would determine the “true interests of the Cuban people.”
In 1961,in addition to overt and covert terrorist attacks, Kennedy implemented a crushing embargo that effectively barred even food and medicine. The U.S. blockade against Cuba was strengthened over the decades and is the most enduring blockade in history. The punitive U.S. economic, commercial and financial sanctions against Cuba remain in place.
The Cuban people, under the revolutionary leadership of Comrade Fidel Castro, resisted through the decades, all counter-revolutionary measures, paramilitary operations, clandestine subversion, attacks on agriculture, economic warfare involving the use of every possible device to weaken the economic life of Cuba, sabotage,assassination attempts against Fidel and the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. The U.S. and its allies had underestimated the strength of the Cuban Revolution and the resolve of the Cuban people, through their Communist Party, popular militia and revolutionary mass organisations, to defend their revolution.
The Cuban Revolution defied all imperialist attempts at intervention and continued to construct a socialist society under the leadership of Fidel and the Communist Party of Cuba. We have witnessed the many achievements of the Cuban Revolution and the great social benefits to the Cuban people.
Fidel also understood the true nature of socialist internationalism, a solidarity based not on mere words or self-interest but on a genuine ideological commitment to the international communist movement, to the anti-imperialist struggles of all those working to transform the world. From its sustained practical assistance and support for liberation struggles which included the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the provision of vital military assistance in Angola which involved real sacrifices and which dealt a decisive defeat on the military forces of the apartheid regime in South Africa, socialist Cuba, despite being a small country faced with an economic blockade, has, as part of its extraordinary achievements,constructed a global programme of extensive development aid and humanitarian assistance and has sent thousands of teachers, doctors and medical staff across the world.
The death of Fidel Castro is a great loss to the Cuban people and to all humanity struggling for a better future.
The Workers’ Party of Ireland, its membership and leadership, sends sincere condolences to the President and the people of Cuba and to the Communist Party of Cuba at this sad time. Fidel’s name will live on. His inspiration remains with us. We shall renew and strengthen our longstanding solidarity with the Cuban people and the Communist Party of Cuba. We shall redouble our efforts to end the unjust and criminal embargo/blockade.The Cuban Revolution has triumphed over many obstacles and will prevail.
Long live the Cuban Revolution!
Hasta la victoria siempre!
We stand in sympathy and solidarity.
Central Executive Committee
Workers Party of Ireland
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Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet”, so said the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in an official press statement released in response to the announcement Fidel’s demise.
Cuba Support Group Ireland is grateful to our President for his courage to release such a statement, but then, our president is a man of courage. And learning. And experience, especially when it comes to the affairs of Latin America. He has walked in solidarity with the victims of US imperialist aggression in many parts of the world, not least in Latin America. His words are balanced, measured, informed and appropriate. They are also in stark contrast to the ignorant utterances of other world leaders, not least the president-elect of the United States of America.
For Cuba Support Group Ireland, Fidel was more than a great leader, Fidel was our guide to a better world. He has pointed the way ahead and explained the reasoning which informed his vision. It is now for us, his followers, to pick up his flag, the flag of justice, humanity and truth, and march on.
Thank you, Fidel, for sharing with us a life of service, dedication, discipline and humanity.
Patria o Muerte,
Cuba Support Group Ireland,
25 Nov 2016
Some interesting photos here
Fidel Castro’s Soviet Adventures in Rare Photos from His First Visit to USSR