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Thread: Damn, Fidel is dead!

  1. #241
    Quote Originally Posted by chlams View Post
    You are a professional liar.
    Take it up with TA asshole. I only know what he mentioned you gaslighting prick.

  2. #242
    Quote Originally Posted by SteelPirate View Post
    Take it up with TA asshole. I only know what he mentioned you gaslighting prick.
    Geez Chlams, the things we find out about ya on the internets...

    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  3. #243
    Fidel, You Are The People

    by TITO MEZA

    Fidel, who came down from the Sierra Maestra
    accompanied by the song of the goldfinches
    with your warrior’s gun on your shoulder.

    To plant the seeds of love was always your day’s work.
    You light up every corner of
    your island, surrounded by palm trees,
    like a star.

    You came down from the Sierra,
    and were each of your warriors.
    You were the discriminated black man,
    you were the exploited worker,
    you were the hard pressed student,
    you were the people.

    You came down from the Sierra victorious
    The flag of the revolution
    blazed in Latin America.

    You came down from the Sierra
    with your warriors erect with courage
    planting seeds of love in every one of your people.

    You were Lumumba in Africa,
    you were Farabundo in El Salvador,
    you were Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.

    Fidel you were the people,
    you lived so that they could live
    The excluded poor of America.

    You were the excluded blacks of Harlem,
    the exploited miners of Appalachia,
    you were love and revolution.

    Fidel, who came down from the Sierra,
    commander, a blacksmith forging the new man.
    You light up like a star
    The path of liberty of our Latin America!

    http://rayolightnewsletter.blogspot....t-october.html
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  4. #244
    To honour Fidel Castro means to continue his work of fighting imperialism and building socialism



    Posted by Carlos Martinez on Saturday, January 21, 2017

    Fidel Castro Alejandro Ruz will be forever remembered as the pre-eminent leader of the Cuban Revolution; its chief strategist and charismatic comandante; a deeply principled, courageous, compassionate and intelligent human being; a guerrilla and a statesman; a relentless fighter against exploitation, oppression and injustice.

    But we should be careful not to treat him as some kind of museum relic or historical curiosity. One can study the life of Genghis Khan for the sake of general interest, without expecting to harvest lessons with direct application to modern political life; however, Fidel operated in the current political era: the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism. Cuba was the first country in the western hemisphere to have a socialist revolution and to construct a new type of society. Cuba is the only country outside Southeast Asia to have kept its socialist system intact through the reverses of 1989-91. It has been, and remains, steadfast; a beacon of hope for progressive people worldwide; an example of how an oppressed people can break their chains and build a dignified life, even in the face of blockade and destabilisation orchestrated by the world’s foremost imperialist power – just the other side of the Straits of Florida.

    The purpose of this article is to explore Fidel’s political legacy and highlight the aspects that are most relevant to continuing the project that he dedicated himself to: defeating capitalism and imperialism, and constructing in its place a new, socialist world based on the principles of solidarity, respect, equality and peace.

    An unswerving revolutionary
    In Highgate Cemetery, London, around 134 years ago, Frederick Engels described Karl Marx as being “before all else a revolutionist”, whose “real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat … Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival.”

    One could say something very similar about Fidel Castro: that he was an unswerving revolutionary; that he dedicated his long life to the pursuit of socialist revolution, to the overthrow of capitalism and imperialism, to the cause of freedom and national self-determination. He too fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival.

    Capturing power in Cuba



    The very existence of the Cuban socialism provides ample proof as to Fidel’s persistence, courage, imagination and strategic vision in pursuit of revolution. Nineteen-fifties Cuba was by no means an obvious place for socialism to blossom, given its geographic and cultural proximity to the US, the McCarthyite anti-communism that was prevalent at the time, and the enormous volumes of water separating it from any other socialist country. There was no revolutionary ‘model’ to follow: the Cuban Revolution didn’t develop directly out of the industrial centres like the October Revolution did; it didn’t grow out of a protracted people’s war like the Chinese Revolution; it didn’t take advantage of a post-war power vacuum such as had existed in Vietnam, Korea and Eastern/Central Europe. To even see an opening for revolution in Cuba at that time required great originality.

    A theme that runs through Fidel’s political life is that he had the knowledge and creativity to identify opportunities that few others would see, and the strength, courage, vision and skill to sieze those opportunities. Cuba’s Communist Party (then called the Popular Socialist Party) also saw the revolutionary potential of the moment, but it had no tangible plan for the capture of power. Fidel and his small group of guerrillas were unique in understanding that, in order to take advantage of the objective element (economic and political crisis, along with widespread popular discontent), it was necessary to apply the subjective element (in this case: conducting armed struggle in order to weaken the Batista regime to breaking point, whilst simultaneously providing a rallying point for the masses). Blas Roca, who was head of the PSP (and who would later become one of Fidel’s most trusted comrades), reflects on this question:

    “We [the PSP] rightly foresaw, and greatly looked forward to, the prospect that in response to conditions created by the tyranny, the masses would organise and eventually engage in armed struggle or popular insurrection. But for a long time we failed to take any practical steps to hasten that prospect, because we believed that these struggles, including a prolonged general strike, would culminate in armed insurrection quite spontaneously. Hence, we did not prepare, did not organise or train armed detachments… That was our mistake. Fidel Castro’s historical merit is that he prepared, trained, and assembled the fighting elements needed to begin and carry on armed struggle as a means of destroying the tyranny.” (KS Karol, Guerrillas in Power)

    Bay of Pigs

    Fidel’s relentless pursuit of revolution was further evidenced during the Bay of Pigs invasion. In April 1961, only two years after the establishment of the revolutionary state, the CIA coordinated a large-scale military invasion of Cuba by exiles and mercenaries, backed by US Air Force bombers and transported by US Navy ships, with the objective of overthrowing Castro’s government. It is almost unimaginable that a small, isolated, newly-established state would be able to defend itself against the world’s most powerful military entity, but the Cuban government under Fidel’s leadership had anticipated this attack and was prepared for it.

    The entire population was mobilised and trained; millions of people were under arms. The Cuban Air Force, although small, had been drilled in preparation for just this kind of invasion. Fidel personally coordinated the defence, which within 48 hours was able to capture the leaders of the invasion, sink a supply ship and achieve air superiority. Faced with defeat on the ground, embarrassment at the United Nations, and the threat of Soviet involvement on the side of Cuba (“The Soviet Union will render the Cuban people and their government all necessary help to repel an armed attack”), US President John F Kennedy was forced to withdraw support for the invasion, which promptly crumbled.

    Survival in a post-Soviet world

    The survival of Cuban socialism beyond the ‘end of history‘ era of the early 1990s is another extraordinary achievement that few people anticipated; another testament to the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people and leadership. Cuba’s economy had been deeply integrated into the socialist world, with over 85% of its foreign trade being conducted through the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, also known as Comecon, comprising the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Mongolia, Poland and Hungary). The CMEA was disbanded in 1991. Of its member states, only Cuba and Vietnam resisted counter-revolution. Both faced major economic crises.

    At this moment, Fidel and the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party could quite easily (and even understandably) have converted themselves into social democrats. They could have followed the path laid down by Gorbachev and abandoned their commitment to working class rule, to social justice, to political independence, to internationalism. They could have availed themselves of an IMF ‘bailout’, and before long they would have been accepted into the imperialist fold. Perhaps a few European heads of government might even have attended Fidel’s funeral (in the event, Alexis Tsipras of Greece was the only one). In the absence of a Cuban Yeltsin, the US would have been more than happy to work with a Cuban Gorbachev.

    But Fidel understood from fairly early on that Gorbachev’s path was the road to ruin, commenting that “Perestroika is another man’s wife; I don’t want to get involved.” In his well-known and exceptionally powerful speech on 7 December 1989 in honour of the Cubans that gave their lives in the struggle to save Angola, Fidel made a clear denunciation of the Soviet Union’s programme of dismantling working class power, and made it plain that a parallel process would not be taking place in Cuba.

    “In Cuba, we are engaged in a process of rectification. No revolution or truly socialist rectification is possible without a strong, disciplined, respected party. Such a process cannot be advanced by slandering socialism, destroying its values, casting slurs on the party, demoralising its vanguard, abandoning the party’s guiding role, eliminating social discipline and sowing chaos and anarchy everywhere. This may foster a counterrevolution, but not revolutionary changes.”

    Continuing, he firmly re-stated Cuba’s commitment to socialism and willingness to be the global standard-bearer of the communist cause if necessary:

    “We owe everything we are today to the revolution and to socialism. If Cuba were ever to return to capitalism, our independence and sovereignty would be lost forever; we would be an extension of Miami, a mere appendage of US imperialism; and the repugnant prediction that a US president made in the 19th century — when that country was considering the annexation of Cuba — that our island would fall into its hands like a ripe fruit, would prove true…

    “We Cuban Communists and the millions of our people’s revolutionary soldiers will carry out the role assigned to us in history, not only as the first socialist state in the western hemisphere but also as staunch front-line defenders of the noble cause of all the destitute, exploited people in the world. We have never aspired to having custody of the banners and principles which the revolutionary movement has defended throughout its heroic and inspiring history. However, if fate were to decree that, one day, we would be among the last defenders of socialism in a world in which US imperialism had realised Hitler’s dreams of world domination, we would defend this bulwark to the last drop of our blood.”

    When it became clear that Cuba wasn’t going to ride the wave of counter-revolution, the US decided to make things even more difficult by ramping up the economic blockade of the island. With the clouds of destitution and collapse looming ominously, the survival of Cuban socialism required incredible sacrifices and a creative overhaul of the national economy. Eighty percent of imports disappeared pretty much overnight, and many important goods were simply no longer available; the loss of fuel imports in particular meant that industry and transport were paralysed. Belts had to be tightened significantly in terms of food consumption and housing distribution; there was a renewed emphasis on tourism as a means of generating foreign exchange; small agricultural cooperatives and urban gardens sprang up with the government’s encouragement; car use was massively reduced (partly through the purchase of 1.2 million low-cost bicycles from China).

    People had to get used to getting by with less, and the increase in foreign tourism brought complex new economic and social problems; however, the revolution survived. Socialism was preserved, Cuban independence was not put on the market, and nobody starved – even if many felt hunger pains for the first time. This survival would clearly not have been possible were it not for the level of revolutionary mobilisation of the Cuban people; if they did not feel passionately about defending the gains of the preceding three decades; if they weren’t willing to engage their energy and creative ingenuity for the sake of overcoming obstacles that must have appeared close to insurmountable. In this, they again had Fidel as their example and leader.

    Yes, it is possible

    Speaking at Fidel’s funeral, Raúl Castro gave an insightful and moving summary of his brother’s unique qualities; his blend of courage, creativity, foresight, knowledge, military/political acumen, energy, and ability to inspire.

    “Fidel showed us that yes, it was possible to reach the coast of Cuba in the Granma yacht; that yes, it was possible to resist the enemy, hunger, rain and cold, and organise a revolutionary army in the Sierra Maestra; … that yes, it was possible to defeat, with the support of the entire people, the tyranny of Batista, backed by US imperialism… that yes, it was possible to defeat in 72 hours the mercenary invasion of Playa Girón and at the same time, continue the campaign to eradicate illiteracy in one year…

    “That yes, it was possible to proclaim the socialist character of the Revolution 90 miles from the empire, and when its warships advanced toward Cuba, following the brigade of mercenary troops; that yes, it was possible to resolutely uphold the inalienable principles of our sovereignty, without fear of the threat of nuclear aggression by the United States in those days of the October 1962 missile crisis.

    “That yes, it was possible to offer solidarity assistance to other sister peoples struggling against colonial oppression, external aggression and racism. That yes, it was possible to defeat the racist South Africans, saving Angola’s territorial integrity, forcing Namibia’s independence and delivering a harsh blow to the apartheid regime.

    “That yes, it was possible to turn Cuba into a medical power, reduce infant mortality first, to the lowest rate in the Third World, then as compared with other rich countries; because at least on this continent our rate of infant mortality of children under one year of age is lower than Canada’s and the United States’, and at the same time, significantly increase the life expectancy of our population.

    “That yes, it was possible to transform Cuba into a great scientific hub, advance in the modern and decisive fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology; insert ourselves within the fortress of international pharmaceuticals; develop tourism, despite the U.S. blockade; build causeways in the sea to make Cuba increasingly more attractive, obtaining greater monetary income from our natural charms.

    “That yes, it is possible to resist, survive, and develop without renouncing our principles or the achievements won by socialism in a unipolar world dominated by the transnationals which emerged after the fall of the socialist camp in Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

    “Fidel’s enduring lesson is that yes it is possible, that humans are able to overcome the harshest conditions as long as their willingness to triumph does not falter, they accurately assess every situation, and do not renounce their just and noble principles.”

    An outstanding Marxist-Leninist
    “Marxism taught me what society was. I was like a blindfolded man in a forest, who doesn’t even know where north or south is. If you don’t eventually come to truly understand the history of the class struggle, or at least have a clear idea that society is divided between the rich and the poor, and that some people subjugate and exploit other people, you’re lost in a forest, not knowing anything.” (Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet: My Life – A Spoken Autobiography)

    At a time when it’s not particularly fashionable to be a Marxist, a communist, it’s worth remembering that Fidel was exactly that. Some have tried to cast him as more of a Cuban nationalist or a stereotypical Latin American caudillo, but Fidel was of the consistent belief that “The future of mankind is the future of socialism and communism”; that “Marx was the greatest economic and political thinker of all times”.

    The Cuban Revolution was, from the beginning, a socialist revolution; a process aimed at expropriating the capitalist class, foreign monopolies and landlords, and establishing working class rule. Fidel had become convinced of the correctness of Marxism-Leninism while at university in the late 1940s. “Toward the end of my university studies, I was no longer a utopian communist but rather an atypical communist who was acting independently. I based myself on a realistic analysis of our country’s situation… We were convinced Marxists and socialists… we had already read almost a whole library of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and other theoreticians.” (Speech at the inauguration of President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, cited in the Fidel Castro Reader)

    However, due to the widespread acceptance of McCarthyite propaganda, the terms ‘socialism’ and ‘Marxism’ weren’t often used until 1961. Fidel explains:

    “Those were times of brutal anticommunism, the final years of McCarthyism, when by every possible means our powerful and imperial neighbour had tried to sow in the minds of our noble people all kinds of lies and prejudices. I would often meet an ordinary citizen and ask them a number of questions: whether they believed we should undertake land reform; whether it would be fair for families to own the homes for which at times they paid almost half their salaries. Also, if they believed that the people should own all the banks in order to use those resources to finance the development of the country. Whether those big factories – most of them foreign-owned – should belong to, and produce for, the people… things like that. I would ask 10, 15 similar questions and they would agree absolutely: ‘Yes, that would be great.’ In essence, if all those big stores and all those profitable businesses that now only enrich their privileged owners belonged to the people, and were used to enrich the people, would you agree? ‘Yes, yes,’ they would answer immediately. So, then I asked them: ‘Would you agree with socialism?’ Answer: ‘Socialism? No, no, no, not with socialism.’ Let alone communism… There was so much prejudice that this was an even more frightening word.” (ibid)

    After three years of intense revolutionary activity following the capture of power – ending illiteracy, implementing land reform, setting up popular democratic structures, defending the revolution from invasion and destabilisation – the leadership decided to declare its ideological stance. By this point, the revolution had proven itself through actual socialist construction, and US ideological propaganda had lost much of its impact on the Cuban people. In a speech on 2 December 1961, broadcast on TV and radio, Fidel announced: “I am a Marxist-Leninist, and I shall be a Marxist-Leninist to the end of my life.”

    Reflecting a few years later on McCarthyism and the saturation of anti-communism throughout the capitalist world, Fidel pointed out:

    “The reactionary classes have always used every method to condemn and slander new ideas. Thus, all the paper and all the resources at their disposal are not sufficient to slander communist ideas; to slander the desire for a society in which human beings no longer exploit one another, but become real brothers and sisters; the dream of a society in which all human beings are truly equal in fact and in law – not simply in a constitutional clause as in some bourgeois constitutions which say that all men are born free and equal. Can all individuals be considered to be born free and equal in a society of exploiters and exploited, a society of rich and poor – where one child is born in a slum, in a humble cradle, and another child is born in a cradle of gold? How can it be said that these people have the same opportunities in life? The ancient dream of humankind – a dream that is possible today – of a society without exploiters or exploited, has aroused the hatred and rancor of all exploiters…

    “The word ‘communist’ is not an insult but rather an honor for us… Within 100 years, there will be no greater glory, nothing more natural and rational, than to be called a communist. We are on the road toward a communist society. And if the imperialists don’t like it, they can lump it. From now on, gentlemen of UPI and AP, understand that when you call us ‘communists,’ you are giving us the greatest compliment you can give.” (Speech at the first central committee meeting of the newly-formed Communist Party of Cuba, 3 October 1965, cited in the Fidel Castro Reader)

    Against dogmatism and revisionism

    The twin curses of revisionism and dogmatism have clung to the left-wing movement with impressive tenacity over the years. ‘Revisionism’ means, essentially, stripping Marxism of its revolutionary objectives; reducing it to a slow reformism that doesn’t recognise the need to defeat the capitalist class. ‘Dogmatism’ means treating the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin (plus, variously, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao or whoever) as biblical sources of timeless and absolute truth, with universal application in all times and places; favouring the application of formulas and learned phrases over serious analysis of concrete conditions; and rejecting all forms of strategic compromise.

    The Cuban Revolution came about at a time when the Soviet Union was elaborating an increasingly revisionist theory around its particular strategic needs (to peacefully rebuild and avoid further war), and the People’s Republic of China was reacting to this with an anti-revisionism which before long morphed into a rather dogmatic and unrealistic assessment of the global balance of forces. These differences fed into the Sino-Soviet split, which was to prove painfully destructive to the communist cause.

    Fidel understood the potential danger that the Sino-Soviet split posed to the socialist camp and to progressive forces around the world; meanwhile he saw the impact of both revisionism and dogmatism within the Latin American left, and wanted to show that there was a different path.

    “Due to the heterogeneity of this contemporary world, with different countries confronting dissimilar situations and most unequal levels of material, technical and cultural development, Marxism cannot be like a church, like a religious doctrine, with its Pope and ecumenical council. It is a revolutionary and dialectical doctrine, not a religious doctrine. It is a guide for revolutionary action, not a dogma. It is anti-Marxist to try to encapsulate Marxism in a sort of catechism. This diversity will inevitably lead to different interpretations… Marxism is a doctrine of revolutionaries, written by revolutionaries, developed by other revolutionaries, for revolutionaries. We will demonstrate our confidence in ourselves and our confidence in our ability to continue to develop our revolutionary path…

    “We believe that revolutionary thought must take a new course; that we must leave behind old vices and sectarian positions of all kinds, including the positions of those who believe they have a monopoly on the revolution or on revolutionary theory. Poor theory! How it has suffered in these processes. Poor theory! How it has been abused, and is still being abused! All these years have taught us to meditate more and analyse better. We no longer accept any truths as ‘self-evident’. ‘Self-evident’ truths are a part of bourgeois philosophy. A whole series of old clichés should be abolished. Marxist, revolutionary political literature itself should be renewed, because if you simply repeat clichés, phraseology and verbiage that have been repeated for 35 years, you don’t win anyone over.” (Speech on 3 October 1965, op cit)

    As discussed above, the Cubans didn’t try to model their revolution on anything that had come before. They didn’t attempt to apply some sort of Marxist template for building socialism; rather they combined their wide-ranging political and historical understanding with a deep analysis of prevailing conditions. The ideas with which they inspired the Cuban people were grounded in Marxism-Leninism but were also specifically Cuban. Fidel more than anyone understood the need to give Cuban socialism its own national flavour, which he successfully did by connecting the revolution with the Cuban (and wider Latin American) struggle for independence – tapping into an existing reverence for independence heroes such as José Martí and Antonio Maceo – and also the Cuban resistance movements against dictatorship and injustice in the 1930s and 40s.

    In the first decade or so of the Cuban Revolution, it could perhaps be argued that, within the Latin American left, Cuba wanted to replace dogmatic adherence to the Soviet or Chinese models with dogmatic adherence to the Cuban model. The means by which the 26th of July movement captured power were promoted, and Cuba gave its support to rural guerrilla groups across the continent (“The only place where we didn’t try to promote revolution was Mexico”, Fidel noted), heavily criticising those leftist organisations that didn’t embrace guerrilla struggle.

    The defeat of these attempts at revolution forced the Cubans to re-evaluate. In Cuba, Fidel and his comrades had benefitted from the element of surprise. By the time guerrilla struggles were launched elsewhere in Latin America, this element of surprise was gone, and the insurgents found that the CIA and its local allies were able to gain the upper hand through the use of advanced surveillance technology, air reconnaissance, psyops, propaganda, fostering disunity, and so on.



    The victory of Salvador Allende in the Chilean presidential election of September 1970 represented the first time that an openly socialist government had come to power by constitutional means. Fidel was sufficiently inspired by, and curious about, Allende’s project that he toured Chile over the course of 25 days in late 1971 (a highly unusual amount of time for a head of state to spend visiting another country, especially given it was Fidel’s first trip to the South American mainland since 1959). As a result, he was able to make a serious study of the forces operating for and against the process. Speaking a couple of years later, in the wake of the Pinochet coup that brought the Popular Unity project to a tragic end, he sums up the Cuban leadership’s open mind regarding Allende’s Chilean path to socialism:

    “President Allende and the Chilean revolutionary process awakened great interest and solidarity throughout the world. For the first time in history, a new experience was developed in Chile: the attempt to bring about the revolution by peaceful means, by legal means. And he was given the understanding and support of all the world in his effort – not only of the international Communist movement, but of very different political inclinations as well. We may say that that effort was appreciated even by those who weren’t Marxist-Leninists.

    “And our party and people – in spite of the fact that we had made the revolution by other means – and all the other revolutionary peoples in the world supported him. We didn’t hesitate a minute, because we understood that there was a possibility in Chile of winning an electoral victory, in spite of all the resources of imperialism and the ruling classes, in spite of all the adverse circumstances. We didn’t hesitate in 1970 to publicly state our understanding and our support of the efforts which the Chilean left was making to win the elections that year.”



    The end of the 1970s brought socialist forces to power in both Grenada and Nicaragua. The Grenadian revolutionaries, led by the brilliant and charismatic Maurice Bishop, came to power in a bloodless coup; meanwhile the Sandinistas in Nicaragua came to power on the basis of a guerrilla struggle that would have looked relatively familiar to their Cuban comrades. By now recognising the immense variety and specificity of revolutionary processes, Cuba gave an extraordinary level of fraternal support to Chile, Grenada and Nicaragua, whilst also giving some pertinent advice: that, in a regional context of near-total US domination, no revolutionary process can survive unless it protects itself with firm unity and militant self-defence (one can find a haunting tribute to this message in the last photo of Allende, facing Pinochet’s fascist CIA-backed coup on 11 September 1973, holding the AK-47 given to him personally by Fidel).

    These experiences, in addition to the degeneration and demise of the Soviet Union, the unprecedented technological/military changes that have taken place in recent decades, plus the emergence of a raft of progressive governments in Latin America, have led the Cubans to a continually more advanced understanding of revolution and the different means of pursuing it. Ricardo Alarcón, President of the National Assembly of People’s Power from 1993 to 2013, sums up this learning well:

    “What characterises Latin America at the present moment is the fact that a number of countries, each in its own way, are constructing their own versions of socialism. For a long while now, one of the fundamental errors of socialist and revolutionary movements has been the belief that a socialist model exists. In reality, we should not be talking about socialism, but rather about socialisms in the plural. There is no socialism that is similar to another. As Mariátegui said, socialism is a ‘heroic creation'”.

    The link between 20th and 21st century socialism

    The history of “actually existing socialism” thus far is sometimes considered in terms of two more-or-less distinct phases. The more recent one was famously labelled by its chief protagonist, Hugo Chávez, as “socialism of the 21st century” or “21st century socialism” (these constructions are the same in Spanish: socialismo del siglo 21); for the sake of a simple demarcation, the period starting with the October Revolution (1917) and ending with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) is generally called “20th century socialism”.

    Other than the incremental difference in the number of full centuries since the birth of Jesus, the conceptual contrast between the two phases is not entirely well-defined. However, if we define 21st century socialism on the basis of its history thus far, its characteristics seem to include: capturing (some) power via parliamentary elections; empowering workers and oppressed groups through social programmes, education, local democratic structures; moving towards a redistributive economic model whilst avoiding an all-out attack on capitalist economic power. Socialism of the 21st century has a clear, urgent focus on tackling neoliberalism, environmental destruction, and justice for indigenous, African and LBGTQ+ communities – problems that are more pressing and better understood than they were a few decades ago. In summary, it constitutes a pragmatic and creative approach to defending the needs of the oppressed in the modern era, in a context where more thorough revolutionary transformations (dismantling the capitalist state, expropriating the capitalist class, establishing a monopoly on power by the poor) aren’t realistically possible for the time being.

    The status of Cuba – along with China, Vietnam, DPR Korea and Laos – in this distinction of “20th century socialism” and “21st century socialism” is a subject that deserves more attention. In terms of Fidel’s legacy as a Marxist-Leninist thinker and revolutionary, it’s worth noting that his influence spans both phases, and is a key link between them.

    Fidel Castro at no point disavowed 20th century socialism. Not once did he imply that building a workers’ state (a “dictatorship of the proletariat”, to use Marx’s phrase for it) had been the wrong thing to do. He strongly believed that the European socialist countries had made a terrible, historic mistake in abandoning the socialist path and embracing capitalism. In a forceful speech given in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in 1996, he said:

    “There are many people in [the USSR and the former socialist countries in Europe] who vacillated, but who now are thinking, meditating. They see the disorder, lack of discipline and chaos, and they are perceiving that capitalism has no future. Only the countries which are persisting in socialism – in spite of the enormous difficulties resulting from us being left almost alone – using our intelligence, using our hearts, using our creative spirit, are capable of introducing innovations which will not only save socialism, but will improve it, and one day will bring it to a definitive triumph.

    “Because of this, today, in these times, we can say: the future – and this can be said with more conviction than ever before – is one of socialism. Capitalism is in crisis, it does not have solutions to any of the world’s problems; only peoples such as those of Vietnam, Cuba and other countries, who did not abandon the principles of Marxism-Leninism, or of popular democratic government, or of the leadership of the Communist Party, are now forging ahead and achieving results not experienced by any other country in the world.”



    Nonetheless, when a radical wave hit Latin America – with the election of, among others, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1999), Lula in Brazil (2002), Evo Morales in Bolivia (2005), Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua (2006) and Rafael Correa in Ecuador (2006) – Fidel embraced it with open arms, understanding that it represented an unprecedented step forward for the peoples of the continent and towards the Latin/Caribbean integration that Cuba had long pushed for. He understood that, with the US focus directed towards the Middle East, and with a certain strength in numbers, it was possible for this kind of project to succeed where Allende’s government had been defeated.

    Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Hugo Chávez (to whom he was a longstanding friend and mentor), Fidel highlighted the immense significance of the election of a socialist in Venezuela: “Opportunities have often been lost, but you could not be forgiven if you lose this one.”

    All the left-wing governments that have emerged in Latin America over the last 17 years have had enormous respect for Cuba and have sought the wisdom and guidance of its leadership. Like millions of people across the continent, they understand the extraordinary efforts Cuba has made to build and defend its revolution; to create the best education and healthcare systems in the Americas; to wipe out malnutrition and illiteracy; to make huge strides in eliminating racism, sexism and homophobia; to meaningfully tackle inequality; to send internationalist missions around the world; to establish Cuba as a centre of scientific innovation and environmental protection; and to achieve all this in the face of permanent hostility, threats and destabilisation coming from the US. No other country in Latin America can claim anywhere near such a level of success.

    Not one of the left-wing governments in Latin America has sought to distance itself from Cuba on account of it not being ‘democratic'; they understand very well that it is far more democratic than the countries that slander it as a dictatorship (in terms of a government representing the will of its people, Cuba might well be the most democratic country in the world).

    Through the strong bonds progressive Latin America has formed with Cuba – as well asnwith China – a clear thread of continuity has been established between 20th and 21st century socialism. The key differences are not ideological as such; rather they represent strategic differences corresponding to changed circumstances. Socialism of the 21st century will have a brighter future if, rather than rejecting the experiences of the socialist world so far, it considers itself the continuation of that project and leverages its vast experience. The most advanced contingents of 21st century socialism – specifically the PSUV (Socialist Unity Party of Venezuela), MAS (the Movement to Socialism in Bolivia), the FSLN (Sandinista Liberation Front of Nicaragua) and FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador) – clearly do this. This is a valuable aspect of Fidel Castro’s legacy: understanding that the transition from capitalism to socialism is a single, global, multi-generational project with diverse problems, phases and strategies.

    The consummate internationalist
    “For the Cuban people internationalism is not merely a word but something that we have seen practised to the benefit of large sections of humankind.” (Nelson Mandela, Cuba, 26 July 1991)

    “Being internationalists is paying our debt to humanity. Those who are incapable of fighting for others will never be capable of fighting for themselves. And the heroism shown by our forces, by our people in other lands, faraway lands, must also serve to let the imperialists know what awaits them if one day they force us to fight on this land here.” (Fidel Castro, 1989, cited in Cuba and Angola: Fighting for Africa’s Freedom and Our Own)

    Fidel Castro thought and operated on a global scale. He understood from the beginning that unity is strength; that socialist and anti-colonial states could not survive except through coordination and mutual support. He therefore pushed the Cuban Revolution to become the extraordinary example of revolutionary internationalism that it is.



    His thinking was shaped early on by the extensive support given to Cuba by the Soviet Union, without which the Cuban Revolution simply would not have been able to hold out against the military, economic and political attacks of its neighbour to the north. Raúl Castro emphasises this point: “We must not forget another deep motivation [for our internationalism]. Cuba itself had already lived through the beautiful experience of the solidarity of other peoples, especially the people of the Soviet Union, who extended a friendly hand at crucial moments for the survival of the Cuban Revolution. The solidarity, support, and fraternal collaboration that the consistent practice of internationalism brought us at decisive moments created a sincere feeling, a consciousness of our debt to other peoples who might find themselves in similar circumstances.”

    Cuban internationalism has become legendary, and has converted a small Caribbean island of 11 million people into one of the most respected countries on the planet. Speaking in relation to Cuba’s decisive contribution to the defeat of South African apartheid, the liberation of Namibia and the survival of Angola, Nelson Mandela commented: “The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character… We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defence of one of us.”

    Aside from its support for Angola, Cuba also sent troops, advisers and health workers to support the liberation movements and revolutionary states in Guinea Bissau, Algeria, Guinea, Congo, Ethiopia, Western Sahara and South Yemen. Training and supplies were given to the heroic liberation movements in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and elsewhere. Hundreds of Cuban tank commanders came to Syria’s aid during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Cuba gave abundant support to the revolutionary governments in Grenada (1979-83), Nicaragua (1979-90), Chile (1970-73) and to numerous liberation struggles around the South American continent.



    It should be mentioned that Fidel didn’t delegate internationalism to others – he led by example. Indeed, he was the only foreign leader to visit the liberated zones of South Vietnam during the war. There were periods during the height of the struggle for Angola (1987-88) when Fidel devoted most of his time to giving strategic and tactical leadership to that fight; such was his dedication to the cause of ending colonialism and apartheid in Africa.

    Havana has provided a home to many revolutionary exiles from the US, including Assata Shakur and Robert F Williams. Cuba has given unprecedented levels of medical support to West Africa, Haiti, Pakistan and many other places. At its Latin American School of Medicine it provides free or subsidised medical training for hundreds of African, Caribbean and Latin American students every year – even a handful of US students from poor families attend the school, on the condition that, on returning to the US, they use their training in the service of their communities. Fidel has been a consistent friend to the cause of Irish unity and self-determination.

    As noted above, Cuba has been an inspiration for the wave of progressive governments in Latin America and has been central to the project of developing regional unity. The Second Declaration of Havana, 1962 captured the spirit of Latin American collective struggle long before it became an actual possibility: “No nation in Latin America is weak – because each forms part of a family of 200 million brothers and sisters, who suffer the same miseries, who harbour the same sentiments, who have the same enemy, who dream about the same better future and who count on the solidarity of all honest men and women throughout the world.”

    Cuba has been, and remains, a vocal supporter of small countries struggling to maintain their independence and freedom in the face of imperialist pressure. That has included siding with several countries that have been more-or-less abandoned by the fashion-conscious western left, such as Syria, Libya, DPR Korea, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Belarus.

    Fidel also recognised the importance of multipolarity as an important emerging trend in world politics, writing in one of his last essays that “the deep alliance of the peoples of the Russian Federation and China based on advanced science, strong army and the brave soldiers is capable of ensuring the survival of mankind”. He understood that, in a context where the US is desperately trying to maintain the uncontested hegemony it won after the fall of the Soviet Union, the establishment of alternative, non-imperialist world powers is a very promising development, creating a much more favourable space for other countries to follow a political and economic path that suits their own needs.

    Man of the people
    “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” (Mao Zedong)

    Fidel had an extraordinary level of faith in the people, an insistence on people-centred government, and a profound understanding that the masses are the true makers of history. The revolution he led remains unsurpassed in its construction of a socialist morality that privileges social justice, fairness, equality, solidarity and participation.

    Cuba is often maligned as a dictatorship, but such a label is hard to square with its record in practice of building socialist democracy. One of the first acts of the revolutionary government was to establish brigades of students willing to go out into the countryside in order to teach literacy to peasants who had been deprived even a basic education. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September 1960, Fidel described some of the first actions of his government:

    “The revolution discovered over 10,000 teachers without a classroom, without work, and it immediately gave them jobs, because there were also half a million children who needed schools… What was yesterday a land without hope, a land of misery, a land of illiteracy, is gradually becoming one of the most enlightened, advanced and developed nations of this continent. The revolutionary government, in just 20 months, has created 10,000 new schools. In this brief period of time, we have doubled the number of rural schools that had been established in 50 years, and Cuba today is the first country of the Americas that has met all its educational needs, having teachers in even the most remote corners of the mountains. In this brief period of time, the revolutionary government has built 25,000 houses in the countryside and the urban areas… Cuba will be the first country in the Americas that, after a few months, will be able to say it does not have a single illiterate person in the country.”

    A ruthless, exploitative dictatorship has no need to provide education to people that have never had education. Growing sugar cane for export does not demand a familiarity with the works of José Martí, Cervantes and so on. The only motivation of the Cuban government in setting up such a programme was to improve the lives of ordinary people, and to empower them to participate more actively in running their society, in making history. Cuba continues to have an education system that is the envy of the world – and which is free at every level.

    A ruthless, exploitative dictatorship will exacerbate and leverage racial and gender divisions in order to keep people divided and ruled. And yet the Cuban government has made remarkable progress in tackling discrimination and inequality, and promoting unity. As Isaac Saney writes in his excellent book ‘Cuba – A Revolution in Motion': “It can be argued that Cuba has done more than any other country to dismantle institutionalised racism and generate racial harmony.”



    From the beginning, Fidel saw racism as a major obstacle to the revolution; he considered that a better society could only built with “a united revolutionary people, whose consciousness is constantly developing and whose unity is indestructible” (speech given on the centenary of Cuba’s first declaration of independence, 10 October 1968). Racism was systemic in pre-revolutionary Cuba, with a system of racial segregation in place that would have brought a contented smile to the faces of the architects of South African apartheid. Fidel appreciated that, even with the defeat of the reactionary classes that benefited from racism, it wouldn’t simply die out of its own accord. In a speech on 21 March 1959 – just a couple of months after the capture of power – he made a profound point:

    “In all fairness, I must say that it is not only the aristocracy who practise discrimination. There are very humble people who also discriminate. There are workers who hold the same prejudices as any wealthy person, and this is what is most absurd and sad and should compel people to meditate on the problem. Why do we not tackle this problem radically and with love, not in a spirit of division and hate? Why not educate and destroy the prejudice of centuries, the prejudice handed down to us from such an odious institution as slavery?”

    Displaying an outstanding humanity and depth of historical understanding, Fidel also connected the struggle against racism in Cuba with the centuries-old colonial domination of Africa, and in turn with the global struggle against colonialism, imperialism and apartheid. At a mass rally of over a million people in Havana in December 1975, where he explains the reasons for Cuba’s solidarity with Angola, he affirmed:

    “African blood flows freely through our veins. Many of our ancestors came from Africa to this land. As slaves they struggled a great deal. They fought as members of the Liberating Army of Cuba. We’re brothers and sisters of the people of Africa and we’re ready to fight on their behalf.

    “Racial discrimination existed in our country. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this, who doesn’t remember it? Many public parks had separate walks for blacks and for whites. Is there anyone who doesn’t recall that African descendants were barred from many places, from recreation centres and schools? Is there anyone who has forgotten that racial discrimination was prevalent in all aspects of work and study?

    “And today, who are the representatives, the symbols of the most hateful and inhuman form of racial discrimination? The South African fascists and racists. And Yankee imperialism, without scruples of any kind, has launched South African mercenary troops in an attempt to crush Angola’s independence and is now outraged by our help to Angola, our support for Africa and our defence of Africa.

    “In keeping with the duties rooted in our principles, our ideology, our convictions and our very own blood, we shall defend Angola and Africa! And when we say defend, we mean it in the strict sense of the word. And when we say struggle, we mean it also in the strict sense of the word. Let the South African racists and the Yankee imperialists be warned. We are part of the world revolutionary movement, and in Africa’s struggle against racists and imperialists, we’ll stand, without any hesitation, side by side with the peoples of Africa.”



    What has been built in Cuba – through education, through struggle against discrimination, through the establishment of political structures such as the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution – is a genuine people’s democracy; a government that relies on mass participation and that derives its legitimacy entirely through its efforts to represent the interests of the people.

    Cuba doesn’t conform to the western liberal concept of democracy, for the simple reason that it has developed a political structure that is better suited to the people’s needs; which is in fact more democratic. In western parliamentary democracy, the masses have the right to say what they think (a right that is usually respected), and the government has the right to completely ignore them (a right that is almost always respected). For example, the recent constitutional changes and associated economic reforms in Cuba were shaped through a process of debate and consultation lasting four years and involving practically the entire population. This was a huge exercise in democracy that stands in stark contrast to the way in which austerity has been rolled out in Europe.

    In Cuba there is only one political party – the Cuban Communist Party – but this reflects the fact that this party represents the needs of the ruling classes in Cuban society: the working class and peasantry. And within that party there is a massive variety of opinions on every matter under the sun. The only political question on which unanimity is expected is that of moving forward with socialism, rather than capitulating to imperialist pressure and returning to capitalism. What reasonable person would argue with that? Cuba returning to capitalism would be like France returning to feudalism, South Africa returning to apartheid, the US returning to slavery. As ever, Fidel puts it well:

    “Within the revolution, everything; against the revolution, nothing. Against the revolution, nothing, because the revolution also has its rights, and the first right of the revolution is the right to exist, and no one can oppose the revolution’s right to exist. Inasmuch as the revolution embodies the interests of the people, inasmuch as the revolution symbolises the interests of the whole nation, no one can justly claim a right to oppose it.”

    Living up to Fidel’s legacy
    As Nicaraguan revolutionary Tomás Borge said about his comrade Carlos Fonseca, Fidel is “among the dead that never die.” His life as a revolutionary, a Marxist-Leninist, an internationalist, an outstanding and compassionate builder of a new society, now becomes the collective property of the progressive millions of the world: the anti-imperialists, the socialists, the communists. The only condition of ownership is that we use it to help us move humankind further along the path towards a world without war, oppression, discrimination, exploitation, domination and prejudice; a world that protects the earth, which restores community, and which creates conditions for every single human being – of this and future generations – to be able to enjoy a dignified, fulfilling, healthy, interesting and happy life.

    http://www.invent-the-future.org/201...ing-socialism/


    Perhaps the best testimonial to Fidel I've seen.
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  5. #245
    Viva Fidel! His was one of the greatest voices for human reason, human dignity, and common equality the world has ever known.
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  6. #246
    José Martí and Fidel Castro: Two Lifetimes Connected by the Same Revolution
    By: Luis Toledo Sande on February 10, 2017


    Photo: Roberto Chile
    Had both Cuban leaders not followed that rule, they would have fallen into a vacuum that sterilizes thought and action; they would have waited and seen if the metropolis of the world provided them with the necessary answers to interpret and confront the grave challenges they faced instead of solving them with creativity. These challenges were not only from Cuba—they also pertained to the rest of Latin America, from North American and even the rest of the planet. Both leaders created a guide against cultural colonialism—no matter where it came from.A voracious reader like José Martí, Fidel Castro could very well have written the words the former wrote about himself: ‘Napoleon was born on a carpet that depicted the European war. I must have been born on a pile of books’. In another manuscript, Martí made another confession that’s equally applicable to Fidel, ‘the book that interests me the most is the book of life, which is the hardest one to read, and the one that must be consulted the most in politics—which is nothing more than the art of guaranteeing humankind the full exercise of its faculties in a pleasing existence”.

    The way to accurately assess the importance Martí had for Fidel—who called him ‘the most brilliant and universal Cuban politician’ and the ‘eternal guide of our people’— is not to seek similarities in their personalities, and even less to merely compare their written word. Because, as they knew, ideas are important, but their most important aspect is how they inform and change reality.

    This explains why, when he was prosecuted for leading the revolution, Fidel declared Martí the intellectual author of the liberation of Cuba he carried out on July 26, 1953, and therefore, of all the revolutionary stage that exists until today. This was more than just quoting, it was a continuation of the purposes of the national hero.

    Inherited goals

    Fidel’s revolution sought to accomplish Martí’s project for the country. Fidel avidly read Martí’s writings during his time in jail, underlining and annotating them profusely.

    The regime that Fidel attempted to overthrew in 1953 was a tool of the US imperial power, one that Martí had already stopped in its plans to take control over Cuba and Puerto Rico to dominate the entire American continent.

    Twenty years later, in 1973, Fidel said: “Martí gave us his ardent patriotism, his passionate love for freedom, dignity and decency, his rejection for despotism and his unlimited faith in the people. In his revolutionary preaching was the moral basis and historic legitimacy of our armed action. That’s why we say he was the intellectual author of July 26 [1953].” And on the path that Martí had signaled the Cuban Socialist Republic followed, guided by Fidel and by a Constitution presided by Martí’s will: ‘May the first law of the Republic be the respect of Cubans to the unconditional dignity of man’.

    Words, ideas, action

    Martí had a conviction he expressed until the very day before he fell in combat, in a letter to his Mexican friend Manuel Mercado: it was urgent to prevent the expansionist plans of the United States, and he was going to act against them, as he told Mercado: ‘Everything I did to this day, and everything I will do, is to that end,’ although in practice he was fighting the Spanish army.

    This global strategy was also followed by Fidel, who, in Sierra Maestra, reacted to the destruction of a peasant’s house by a US bomb dropped from a plane. Then, the rebel leader made a confession to a comrade, Celia Sánchez, and it wasn’t just an emotional outlet but a political program: once the tyrant was defeated, he would fight against imperialism.

    He eradicated the misery that most of the Cuban people lived in, and created the conditions for educational development and cultural flourishing that Martí enshrined: ‘To be educated is the only way to be free’. This notion of education was inseparable from reading, but also required independent thought.

    The famous phrase Fidel pronounced in his defense, ‘history will absolve me’, references the speech Martí pronounced on February 17, 1982, known as the Tampa and Cayo Hueso Prayer. With conviction, he referred to the work towards unity that would lead him to create the Cuban Revolutionary Party: ‘history won’t declare us guilty!’.

    The memory of the heart

    That’s how organically Fidel embraced Martí. In Spanish, the etymology of the verb ‘to remember’ (recordar) comes from ‘what’s brought back to the heart’, and in other languages, ‘to memorize’ is ‘to know by heart’. That’s how Fidel embraced Martí’s ideas.

    Both had the humbleness that characterizes the great. Martí used to say: ‘A man in and of himself is nothing, and what he is, he is thanks to his people. The privileged gifts that Nature gives to some of its children are worth nothing if they aren’t shared with the people, but if they are, they will be exalted by it, like the flowers on the top of a mountain.’

    The people can only deposit its energy and trust on those who have the strength to carry it. This relationship between the individual and the masses, between leader and people, explains why Martí remained alive in the memory of Cubans and why Fidel will remain there as well.

    Both were living examples of that which Martí wrote to Henríquez and Caravajal, ‘one must give respect and a human and kind nature to sacrifice’.

    http://bohemia.cu/opinion/2017/01/jo...-fidel-castro/

    Source: Bohemia, English translation by The Dawn

    http://resumen-english.org/2017/02/j...me-revolution/
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  7. #247
    Fidel, Political Power and the New Culture of Communication
    Posted by ALEXANDRA VALIENTE on FEBRUARY 23, 2017
    By Arnold August



    Cuban revolutionary leader and former President Fidel Castro died in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 25, 2016.
    Among his many other achievements, Fidel Castro’s accomplishments as the constructor of the new Cuban society include: overthrowing capitalism in favour of socialism and its related principles of equality and solidarity; defeating U.S. neo-colonialist domination to attain sovereignty, independence and dignity; upholding human rights in the areas of health, education, culture and sport; respecting racial equality, gender equality, food and housing for all; and defending freedom of speech and the press, the latter being one of the domains in which Fidel’s example still has much to teach us, and creating a civilized social/political atmosphere without violence. The basis of these exploits, which did not exist before 1959, is the political power of the people resulting from the Revolution that quashed the U.S.-backed state.
    As early as 1953, the conquest of a new revolutionary people’s power was at the forefront of Fidel’s mind. This unshakeable goal was combined with the spirit of self-sacrifice that characterized his entire political life. Through defeats and victories from 1953 to 1956 until 1959, his every thought and action were inspired by this overriding guiding objective. It was indelibly combined with key creative tactics that were designed to convert the aspiration to conquer people’s power through armed revolution into a reality. This was the focus of Fidel’s passion.
    The current new society bequeathed to the Cuban people finds its origins in the liberated areas during the wars of 1868 and 1895, the latter reaching new levels of organization under the leadership of the Revolutionary Party of Cuba and José Martí. Thus, the seeds of new political power were sowed in the second half of the 19th century, to be resuscitated and updated by Fidel in compliance with the new conditions. Local political power forged in the Sierra Maestra’s liberated areas in 1957–58 was embedded as a virtual state within the neo-colonial dominated state. The July 26 Movement and the Rebel Army were founded and developed by Fidel and his comrades. They grew as the seeds of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Armed Forces respectively. These institutions constitute two ramparts in the maintenance and development of the people’s power, in combination with Cuba’s socialist culture as the shield.
    In the course of this epic victorious march and in the ensuing decades, Fidel contributed toward a new feature of the culture of enacting politics within the Cuban Revolution. He was a communicator par excellence, a key component to conquer and improve political power. Thus, his thought and action, among other aspects of his legacy, constitute a new culture of communication between the leader and his people. Let’s look at five examples of how Fidel’s culture of enacting politics was fuelled by the new culture of communication, both of which mutually propelled each other.
    First, there was the 1953 writing and distribution of “History Will Absolve Me.” One may ask how it is possible to speak of the communication talents of a leader representing the people’s quest for political power, when he was imprisoned in solitary confinement, far from the masses. However, despite these extreme restrictions, he managed to communicate secretly with other jailed combatants, with some inmates serving time for common crimes and even with guards and prison employees. Before and after his defence, this was his extremely limited world.
    Despite being limited to this underground communication system only and combined with the few books he was able to muster, he prepared his defence by memory. It was reported that he wrote and edited in his cell day and night, committing every word to memory until the moment he was brought to court. Only a person entirely devoted to solving Cuba’s problems through a revolution to open the path for people’s power could have maximized such scant communication tools at his disposal.
    After delivering his defence from memory, he returned to his cell to find that his written statement had vanished. He set about rewriting it from memory. With close clandestine connections inside and outside the prison walls, he further expanded his communication with the people. Fidel smuggled out his defence piece by piece, using ingenious methods, such as using lemon juice for invisible ink to write on tiny bits of paper. By the time they reached their destination in Havana, the papers inscribed with invisible ink passed through prison security, but, as planned, they then dried up and could be read in Havana.
    In Havana, Melba Hernández and Haydee Santamaria, the two women who had participated in the Moncada attack, were among a handful of people in charge of assembling the pieces of paper like a jigsaw puzzle and then printing the text in pamphlet form. Fidel initially instructed his limited world, consisting mainly of these two women, to produce 100,000 copies of his defence. He wrote to Melba and Haydee on June 18, 1954: “Without propaganda there is no mass movement, and without a mass movement, no revolution is possible.” Fidel was no doubt inspired by this interaction with his two comrades, who once again, like in Moncada, were putting their lives on the line under the Batista dictatorship. They themselves, in turn, were galvanized by Fidel’s thinking and heroic resistance in prison. And thus the lemons growing from Cuba’s fertile soil returned to fertilize the revolutionary movement through Fidel’s makeshift pen.
    A second illustration is Fidel’s unique communication skill in defending people’s power. On January 8, 1959, this time in front of an immense crowd in Havana, in contrast to the extreme limitations of his solitary cell, Fidel said, “There is immense joy. However, there is still much to be done. Let us not fool ourselves into believing that the future will be easy; perhaps everything will be more difficult in the future.” No doubt the leader was inspired by the jubilant people. However, he was also making use of his unparalleled perspicacity in front of overjoyed supporters, realizing that he had to convey to them, and the national TV audience, caution and vigilance for the coming months and years. Fidel and the people converged into one political and ideological entity by means of his dexterity to communicate. It is difficult to say whether that classic statement spontaneously emerged out of the Havana political atmosphere of the time, given his extraordinary gift to feel the pulse of his people, or whether Fidel had already thought it through. In any case, he said what had to be said.
    Either way, there are many other memorable moments in which his communication was indeed spontaneous, leaving in its wake a permanent imprint on the Cuban political landscape. This brings us to our third illustration, which occurred on September 28, 1960, where Fidel spoke in Havana in front of a mass gathering. The transcript reads the way many Cubans still remember it today, either through their own participation or by that unequalled Cuban revolutionary collective memory, through family and friends. I quote from the transcript this first portion in parentheses:
    “(Sounds of the explosion of a firecracker) Fidel says, ‘A bomb?’ (People shouting: ‘Block them! We will win!’) (People sing the national anthem and shout, ‘¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva la Revolución!’)”
    The transcript continues:
    (Someone from the public speaks with Dr. Castro) (Sounds of a second explosion)
    Fidel goes on:
    “Do not underestimate the imperialist enemy.”
    Out of this dramatic U.S.-backed threat in the heart of Havana, the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDRs) spontaneously emerged in the neighbourhoods and then further developed with the assistance of the Cuban revolutionary leadership. The need for this new type of mass organization was one of life and death for the Cuban Revolution. At the time, in 1961, their formation proved to be indispensable in defending Cuba against U.S.-supported and financed incursions and terrorist acts designed to subvert revolutionary political power. The CDRs, a fruit of the Fidel-and-the-people dynamic, also contributed substantially to governing at the national and local levels, especially from 1959 to 1976, when the political system was institutionalized and the new Constitution approved. The CDRs continued its work after 1976 in many other ways.
    In sum, Che captured the essence of this unsurpassed leader-and-people communication. The guerrilla wrote, “At the big public mass meetings, one can observe something like the dialogue of two tuning forks whose vibrations interact, producing new ones in the speaker.”
    The fourth illustration draws on a presentation by Fidel on November 25, 2005 to students and professors at the University of Havana on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his entry there as student. While a student at the University, Fidel dealt in detail with problems confronting Cuba, such as the need to save electricity and oppose corruption. The talk was punctuated with applause and laughter, depending on the point being made. Reading through the transcript again, it provides an almost visual record, such is the vivid interaction of the leader with students and professors. About two-thirds of the way into the talk, he concluded with what was likely an instinctive statement based on perhaps the look on the concerned faces of the students:
    “This country can self-destruct; this Revolution can destroy itself, but they can never destroy us; we can destroy ourselves, and it would be our fault.”
    Once again, the defence and the further development of people’s power were at the centre of Fidel’s message. After this statement, the interaction between the audience and Fidel accelerated. Che also summarized Fidel’s relationship with the people in this way:
    “Fidel and the mass begin to vibrate together in a dialogue of growing intensity until they reach the climax in an abrupt conclusion.”
    More than 11 years after the University of Havana talk, corruption is still a problem. However, despite this and other problems, the Revolution based on the people in power is undefeated. The maturity and steadfast nature of the vast majority of Cuban youth may be one of the reasons for its enduring nature.
    There are innumerable similar examples. One that comes to mind is February 4, 1962, when more than 1 million Cubans gathered in Plaza de la Revolución following the call of the Revolutionary Government to constitute the Second People’s National General Assembly. Last week was the 55th anniversary of this occasion when Fidel Castro had read the declaration and galvanized the people by both its content and his extraordinary flair for communication to consciously vote in favour of it. In fact, this historical moment inspired me to use a photo of this show-of-hands vote as the cover of my 1999 book on democracy in Cuba.
    The fifth example is Fidel’s March 27, 2016 article “Brother Obama.” At first glance, as in the initial example of the 1953 Moncada defence, one may ask how an article written by the retired President in relatively fragile health can be illustrative of the leader–people dynamic by means of active communication between the two to defend the Revolution? While it was no longer possible for him to address and exchange with large crowds, aside from a few exceptions since 2008, he found a way through journalism, to which he had been attracted for many decades. During and right after the Obama visit, a lively debate erupted in the Cuban press and among the people regarding the approach taken to some of Obama’s speeches. It was far from unanimous. “Brother Obama” was written in the context of these controversies. Fidel knew, despite the condition of his health, what was happening in Cuba, and thus his most auspicious article struck a chord with society. It rippled like a wave through the political conversations taking place in Cuba and indeed internationally.
    He began his “Brother Obama” address with the following:
    “The kings of Spain brought us the conquistadores and masters.” It impacted many inside and outside Cuba, as Obama could not be naively appraised. There is a history of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism from which Obama cannot be detached. However, one of the best and focused of Fidel’s charges was yet to come. He referred to Obama’s startling assertion, quoted by Fidel: “It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind, let us look to the future together, a future of hope.” Fidel felt obliged to answer:
    “I suppose all of us were at risk of a heart attack upon hearing these words from the President of the United States.”
    Fidel, the revolutionary journalist, courageously wrote what many Cubans, and friends of Cuba, were thinking and writing in their respective ways. It was as if Fidel had somehow inhabited our minds. His timely intervention served as an enormous stimulus and fortification of the Cuban socialist cultural shield. This is held aloft by the vast majority of Cubans to protect people’s political power, independence and dignity and, with this, all the economic, social and cultural achievements of the Revolution.
    This is but one of many examples that epitomizes Fidel’s uncanny ability to maintain his dialogue with Cubans through the pen. From the use of lemon juice as indelible ink in 1953 to employing appropriate instruments of writing in 2016, there existed one common thread: Fidel’s concern for the people’s needs of the time expressed by synthesizing them into his ever evolving Marxist-Leninist and Martiano thought to guide action with the goal of safeguarding political power as the foundation of the Cuban Revolution. Thus, in the course of history, Melba and Haydee became millions.
    Throughout Fidel’s political life, he contributed to this new culture of communication without historical parallel, given its unique style and long duration, from 1953 to 2016. It is now part of the Cuban Revolution’s patrimony available to every Cuban to exercise on his or her own. But Fidel set the bar very high. Thus, it is not possible to replicate his example, because Fidel is Fidel. However, his legacy as a communicator is the model for leaders at all levels and for revolutionaries in general.
    Fidel’s legacy is also part of the world heritage to guide writers and journalists in our countries, such as Canada, to maintain intimate dialectical communication with the needs and concerns of the peoples we are writing about and for.



    This article is the English version of the Spanish-language presentation given as part of the panel titled “Fidel, Builder of the New Society” at the “Fidel, Politics, and Culture Symposium” held Feb. 10–11, 2017 during the Havana International Book Fair

    https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/...communication/
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  8. #248
    Fidel Castro and the apologists of capitalism

    By Nikos Mottas:
    Translated abstract of a speech given in honor of Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz; Greece, 28.4.2017*.


    The death of Fidel Castro last November unfolded, both in Greece as well as internationally, an orchestrated attack against the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution and socialist Cuba. A patchwork of anticommunism, from the far-right to the edge of social democracy, didn't lose the opportunity to slander the cuban revolutionary, either by attributing to him various characterizations (e.g dictator, controversial personality, etc) or by reproducing proven lies about his supposed fabulous wealth and personal life.

    They tried to vilify Fidel with numerous slanders.... That he was a dictator who installed a repressing establishment, that socialism was proved- as some claimed- a 'chimera' which gave birth to authoritarianism, lack of democracy and freedom.

    Of course, the slanderers of Fidel got their response from the people of Cuba who, by hundreds of thousands filled the squares and the streets throughout the country, from Havana to Santiago, with tears in their eyes in order to pay their respects to the revolutionary and communist leader.

    However, a question arises: What was the reason behind this attack against Castro and why did they consume so much ink in order to vilify Cuba?

    The answer is simple. What disturbs the slanderers of Fidel Castro- and thats why they attack so fiercely- is what the Cuban Revolution herself symbolizes: This is the capability of the people, of the working class, to fight for a society free from the capitalist shackles and man's exploitation by man.

    Behind any slander against “dictator Castro” hides the agonizing effort of the bourgeoisie and her praetorians to obscure and distort the achievements of Socialism in Cuba, so that no conclusions can be drawn from the struggle of the Cuban people.

    The example of the Cuban Revolution shows that the people who will walk towards Socialism, even beginning from a very low level of productive forces development, can achieve great things regarding the working people-popular needs.



    It is evident that the great achievements of the Cuban Revolution in a series of social life's sectors annoy the apologists of capitalist barbarity. It annoys them, for example, the fact that Fidel's revolutionary government took over a country- colony of the USA- with a very low level of productive forces and steadily transformed her, with the invaluable and crucial economic contribution of the Soviet Union, in a state with very high quality, accessible to all people, public services of Healthcare, Social Welfare, Education, Culture, Sports.

    They (apologists of capitalism) are annoyed by the fact that the socialist construction in this small island of the Caribbean, managed in a very short time to almost completely eradicate illiteracy which was dominant in pre-revolutionary Cuba. They are annoyed, of course, because the small Cuba of 11 million inhabitants became a protagonist in internationalist aid and solidarity towards people who were fighting and fight against imperialist barbarity- from south America to Angola.

    Exactly because the example of Cuba disturbs them, they decided to turn white into black, to vilify Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.

    However, they silence the truth.

    They deliberately silence the fact that in Cuba the right to Social Security is for all the people, for the entire population, while on the same time, in the neighboring superpower- the capitalist “paradise” of the USA- dozens of millions of people have no Social Security coverage.

    They deliberately silence the fact that in Cuba there is not even one homeless man or woman, while on the same time the large cities of the European Union and the United States have been transformed into “camps” of homeless people.

    They deliberately silence the fact that the Cuban National Health System- free and accessible for the entire population- has been characterized by UNESCO as an “example” for the whole world. You see, contrary to the capitalist world where Healthcare has become a commodity and issue to speculation, in small Cuba it remains public good.

    They deliberately silence the fact that Fidel's Cuba managed to decrease child mortality from 42% to 4%, while it is the only Latin American country without child malnutrition.

    They deliberately silence that Cuba has one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the world, with the 13% of the annual state budget allocated for the improvement of the public Education System; a number which is double and triple from the respective of the governments in the USA and the EU.


    While they silence all the above, Fidel's slanderers and the anticommunists of every nature have the audacity to speak about “lack of democracy in Cuba”. Of course, we know very well about the kind of “democracy” and “freedom” the apologists of capitalism care.

    It is the “freedom” in exploitation, the “freedom” of a minority to exploit the work of the majority, the “freedom” in the frantic race of capitalist profit and competitiveness that flattens lives, rights and needs for the majority of the people. It is the “freedom” that limits in capitalist ownership in the means of production which is the regarded as “sacred” and the bourgeois states protect in every possible way. The same “freedom” which leads the struggle for the share of markets and territories that creates military conflicts and imperialist interventions. It is the “freedom” and “democracy” which stop before the entrance of industries and corporations.

    Indeed, this kind of “freedom” was trampled by Fidel's socialist Cuba- like in the other socialist countries of the 20th century- because that consists a prerequisite for the working people, for those who produce the wealth, to take the power in their hands and to free themselves from the shackes of exploitation.

    One thing is therefore evident: The fact that just a few kilometres south of the shores of the imperialist superpower, with a genocidal, criminal blockade that lasts for 55 years, the small island of socialist Cuba has managed not only to stand upright but to progress and achieve great conquests for the workers-people's needs. These are conquests which in capitalism are unthinkable.

    The apologists of capitalism will never forgive Comandante Fidel Castro and Cuba the fact that they didn't bend, they didn't make a step backwards, even when the counterrevolutionary overthrows in the beginning of the 1990s in the USSR and the socialist countries of eastern Europe were dramatically changing the correlation of forces worldwide.

    In spite of the various apologists of the capitalist system, Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries have been vindicated by History.

    Comandante Fidel's historic legacy, the capability of the people to assert their liberation from the shackles of the exploitative system haunts - and will haunt forever- the praetorians of bourgeois ideology.

    [...]

    Indeed, being a Revolutionary in practice and not in words, Fidel, alongside his comrades, along with the Cuban people, proved that the only superpower are the people who resist, who fight against capitalist barbarity, who pave the way to socialist perspective, for a society without exploitation of man by man.



    * Political event in honor of Fidel Castro Ruz in Thessaloniki, Greece, organised by the Greek-Cuban Association of Friendship and Solidarity and the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace.

    https://communismgr.blogspot.com/201...ogists-of.html
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  9. #249
    Excellent piece!
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  10. #250
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhalgren View Post
    Excellent piece!
    Ya ever wonder if Mr Mottas is the 'Nikos' of our acquaintance? Of course there's more 'Nikos' in Greece than there is 'Bobs' around here.
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  11. #251
    Quote Originally Posted by blindpig View Post
    Ya ever wonder if Mr Mottas is the 'Nikos' of our acquaintance? Of course there's more 'Nikos' in Greece than there is 'Bobs' around here.
    I have thought the same thing. I read in one of his pieces (I think) that he worked at a university - and Nikos came to mind. But you're right, you can't throw a dead cat in Greece without hitting a Nikos...
    "America was never great"

    "Anyone who analyzes the state of affairs in the world will find that it is the imperialists and capitalists, who subject the world to the worst poverty, the worst backwardness, and they are simply the scourge of mankind." - Fidel

    "Privilege begets psychopathy" - blindpig

  12. #252
    Fidel Castro’s Enduring Environmental Legacy


    Fidel Castro was one of the first world leaders to talk about the importance of the environment | Photo: Reuters

    Published 5 June 2017 (5 hours 32 minutes ago)

    "Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago,” said Fidel.

    Fidel’s commitment to education and health care stand out as monumental achievements for Cuba under his decades of rule. While he emerged as a stalwart of anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, his commitment to environmentalism and Cuba's achievements in the area gets less attention.

    Cuba is one of the few developing countries that has shown a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability, despite a number of obstacles such as the ongoing U.S. blockade.

    Before the dangers of climate change were well established within scientific and indeed popular knowledge, Fidel spoke of the need to radically change the way societies interact with their environments.

    “Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago,” Fidel said in a typically roaring speech while at the 1992 U.N. Rio Earth Summit. “Let human life become more rational. Let us implement a just international economic order. Let us use all the science necessary for pollution-free, sustained development. Let us pay the ecological debt, and not the foreign debt. Let hunger disappear, and not mankind.”

    In the famous address, Fidel highlighted that consumer societies, which “arose from the old colonial powers and from imperialist policies ... are fundamentally responsible for the destruction of the environment.”

    In a 2003 address to U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, he expanded on the destructive impact of capitalism:

    “Such an economic order and such models of consumption are incompatible with the planet’s limited and non-renewable essential resources and with the laws that rule nature and life. They are also in conflict with the most basic ethical principles, with culture and with the moral values created by humankind,”

    Reforestation

    Because of a reforestation program which started in 1998, forests make up 30.6 percent of the island nation’s land area, and the country has been able to maintain sustained forest growth, according to Cuba’s National Officer of Statistics and Information.

    Cuba has the highest proportion of its forest designated for protective functions in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

    The province of Pinar del Rio is covered by 47 percent forests, and Guantanamo with 46.7 percent. When Fidel claimed victory in the Cuban Revolution in 1959, only 14 percent of Cuba was thought to be covered in forest.

    Spanish colonization and foreign-owned timber and sugarcane industries played significant roles destroying significant amount of forest, which was estimated at around 90 percent before the Spanish landed on the island.

    ANALYSIS:
    Fidel's Commitment to Women's Emancipation Unparalleled

    Solar Technology

    In a country blessed with year-long sunshine, Cuba has begun to invest more in solar technology and has planned to expand its program across the island which not only helps reduce pollution but save money.

    The Pinar 220 A1 solar park near Pinar del Rio in western Cuba uses 12,080 solar panels to generate an average of 13 megawatts per day to national electricity grid. In its first year of operation, it produced almost 6 gigawatts of electricity, which would have otherwise cost over half a million dollars to produce in a thermoelectric plant.

    Solar plants are planned for another 28 areas within Pinar del Rio to generate 105.9 megawatts of power. Another close park in Tronsco is currently in construction and will provide 2.7 megawatts to the electricity grid.


    Agricultural Revolution

    Already under the pressure of import restriction from the U.S. embargo, the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, was a blow to Cuba’s economy and agriculture industry. Cuba then took the initiative to radically transform the way food was produced and distributed. In the years that followed, Cuba was able to shift to an organic or semi-organic type of agriculture.

    A key part of Cuba’s agriculture introduced under Fidel has been agroecology: a model whereby ecological principles are applied to farming to help sustainability and lessen the reliance on chemicals. The model can not only help to produce a wide range of crops compared to industrial models built for exporting to other countries but helps to increase food sovereignty and self-dependency and reduce Cuba’s carbon footprint

    “Scientists are directly accountable to farmers, where farmers are treated—not as idiots—but as partners in the field who experiment and innovate, and the real genius of the Cuban experiment has been the democratization of expertise, knowledge and power,” Professor Raj Patel, a food security expert, said while speaking to teleSUR in October.

    Fidel helped implement a number of measures that helped to create jobs in the industry as well as increase local production and have more power to Campesinos to collectively manage farmland. Cuba’s agricultural revolution has been cited as an example for other countries, particularly developing countries to follow.

    Under Fidel, Cuba has also become a world leader in urban farming. In Havana alone, more than 87,000 acres have been dedicated to urban agriculture, including food production, animal husbandry and forestry. In 2005, Havana’s urban gardens produced 272 metric tons of vegetables.

    Environmental Protection

    Kicked off by the 1992 Rio speech, the Cuban government has aimed to protect its natural environments -- some of the most pristine in the world, through tight environmental management.

    The Cuban government has set the goal of protecting 104 marine protected areas and so far as been able to protect 25 percent of its marine habitats from being developed, according to Daniel Whittle from the Cuba program at the Environmental Defense Fund. New developments must undergo a stringent environmental review process.

    Cuba has also signed a number of important international conservation treaties and under Fidel went about changing the country’s laws for the better of the environment. Cuba’s constitution was amended to include protections for the environment and its resources and a number of institutions were created under Fidel to monitor, research and preserve the environment.

    "I think the Cuban government can take a substantial amount of credit for landscape, flora, and fauna preservation," Jennifer Gebelein from Florida International University told National Geographic.

    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/new...1203-0012.html
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

  13. #253
    Socialism makes the difference as Cuba confronts climate change
    June 17, 2017 | 9:24 pm
    By W. T. Whitney Jr.

    B. Fidel Castro’s speech at the Rio Earth Summit June 12, 1992 appears below

    Cuba’s Council on Ministers on April 25 approved “Life Task (“Tarea Vida”): the State’s Plan for Confronting Climate Change.” Life task will be submitted to Cuba’s National Assembly for approval. Implementation will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA). The ministry’s head, Elba Rosa Pérez, indicated the Plan will require “progressive investments executed over short (the year 2020), medium (2030), long (2050), and very long (2100) terms.”

    The unveiling of Life Task comes as the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavor to contain the impact of climate change. Over the course of many years the Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project. Policy makers have relied on facts, data, and ongoing research. The process has been orderly and thorough, and yet accepting of modifications to fit new realities. Crucially, the nation has responded to climate change on behalf of all Cubans.

    Climate change, of course, affects the United States, in particular Virginia’s Tangier Island, now being engulfed by Chesapeake Bay waters. “[A]t some point it will be too late to save Tangier,” announced Virginia official John Bull on June 2. That was one day after President Donald Trump indicated the United States would be withdrawing from the non-binding Paris Climate Change agreement of 2015.

    Cuba’s approach is different. In June 1992, Cuban President Fidel Castro was in Rio de Janeiro attending the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – the “Rio Earth Summit.” There, nations of the world arranged for future UN – sponsored meetings at which scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would be reviewed. Those recurring meetings, each a so-called “Conference of the Parties,” have led to agreements for reducing carbon emissions, such as the Paris agreement of 2015.

    Castro could well have stayed home in 1992; Cubans were facing catastrophe, both humanitarian and economic, following the Soviet collapse. He was in Brazil because revolutionary Cuba speaks for solidarity with all people. In remarks to the delegates, he gave voice to Jose Marti who said: “the homeland is humanity.” Castro warned of danger to humankind “due to the accelerated and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions.”

    Afterwards, the government he led took steps on behalf of its own people. It created the Institute of Meteorology, the Institute of Hydraulic Resources, and networks of environmental agencies. It produced maps: a “Climate Atlas,” a national atlas, and soil and geological maps. In 1993 it created “The National Program for the Environment and Development.” The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment took shape in 1994. In 1997, Law 81 defined the structure and functioning of centers specializing in environmental work.

    Cuba’s Academy of Sciences initiated studies in 1991. The Institute of Meteorology issued two major reports in 1998 and in 2000. After Hurricanes Charley and Ivan in 2004, research efforts intensified. Collective scientific work culminated in a summarizing report released by the Institute of Meteorology in 2014 after three years of work. Titled “Impacts of Climate Change and Measures for Adaptation in Cuba,” the 430-page document contained articles by dozens of authors from 26 Cuban research institutes.

    The report surveys climate – change manifestations in Cuba, presents likely climate scenarios “for 2050 and 2100,” evaluates potential effects on various socio-economic sectors, identifies knowledge gaps, and establishes priorities in protecting natural resources. It calls upon the government to develop new capacities and to apply remedial and protective measures in an integrated fashion.



    Findings of the report found their way into Cuba’s contribution to the “Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” Commenting on the report, Myrta Kaulard, a United Nations representative assigned to Cuba, observed that, “The team of Cuban experts was capable of achieving equilibrium between the scientific rigor imposed by an investigation of such magnitude and the necessity to explain the anticipated impacts in clear language.”



    CITMA head Elba Rosa Pérez on April 25 explained that the “Life Task” endeavor was the fruit of research, experimentation, agricultural innovations, and previous experience with protecting natural systems. She identified three priorities: “preserving lives in the most vulnerable areas,” food security, and tourism.



    The plan calls for “strategic actions,” among them: a ban on new home construction in vulnerable coastal areas, adaptation of infrastructure to coastal flooding, adjustment of land use to drought and salt water contamination, and new farming methods.



    Projects under Life Task will include : crop diversification; development of heat-resistant plant varieties; protection of urban infrastructure and dwellings; rebuilding of urban sea fronts; relocation of homes; restoration of protective eco-systems such as beaches, coral reefs, and mangrove swamps; improved engineering and hydraulic infrastructure for coastal regions; enhanced water availability; and reforestation to protect soil and water sources.

    All in all, Cuba’s preparations for meeting threats on the way from climate change have been persistent and comprehensive; planners relied on ample human resources and full government support.

    In the United States, the Obama administration did issue executive orders in 2013 relating to carbon pollution, adverse climate – change effects, and U. S. international leadership. The Trump administration brushed them away. Despite popular mobilizations and despite former Vice President Al Gore’s educational efforts – after he left office – the U. S. approach to climate has no overarching strategy or plan, and includes no significant legislation. Discussion in the United States centers on placating special interests.

    Fidel Castro’s remarks in 1992 in Brazil foreshadowed the tension that would come later between two opposed ways of dealing with climate change. People in wealthy nations, he said, enjoy “lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment; … consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction.”

    Castro was referring to the flow of wealth from poor to rich nations. He suggested implicitly that that acquisitiveness and production hikes go together in those societies. Industrialized nations, he emphasized, “have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.” Today we realize that production expands in tandem with unlimited energy sources, until now fossil fuels. So carbon emissions increase, and global warming accentuates.

    “Make human life more rational,” Castro insisted. “Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity.” He was saying, in effect, that privilege in the industrialized countries depends on subjugation of the world’s majority population to poverty and suffering.

    The entire line of reasoning, from Castro in 1992 to what we know now, reveals the imperialist and exploitative underpinnings of the prevailing approach to climate change. The link between climate change and capitalist modes of living and producing is also readily apparent.

    Socialist Cuba has long resisted big – power pretentions and long defended working people against capitalist exploitation. In responding to climate change, aggravated by capitalism, Cuba had the right tools at hand, those well – used ones that are essential for moving toward a socialist society. Cuba elaborated a plan, and did so collectively. Planners looked at realities, subjecting them to scientific study. Plans for which a socialist state is responsible serve the good of all. They don’t allow for accumulation or profiteering. These devices aren’t complicated.

    Maybe, as suggested by Karl Marx, peoples imbued with socialist values are, on that account, respectful of nature. If so, perhaps they are uniquely qualified to defend against climate change. In his German Ideology, Marx wrote that, “The restricted attitude of men to nature determines their restricted relation to one another, and their restricted attitude to one another determines men’s restricted relation to nature.”

    Cuban President Fidel Castro’s speech at the Rio Earth Summit on June 12, 1992

    An important biological species — humankind — is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be said that consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction.

    They were spawned by the former colonial metropolis. They are the offspring of imperial policies which, in turn, brought forth the backwardness and poverty that have become the scourge for the great majority of humankind.

    With only 20% of the world’s population, they consume two-thirds of all metals and three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide. They have poisoned the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air. They have weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.

    The forests are disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are becoming extinct. Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations exploited and plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed for all this.

    The solution cannot be to prevent the development of those who need it the most. Because today, everything that contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is a flagrant rape of the environment.

    As a result, tens of millions of men, women and children die every year in the Third World, more than in each of the two world wars.

    Unequal trade, protectionism and the foreign debt assault the ecological balance and promote the destruction of the environment. If we want to save humanity from this self-destruction, wealth and available technologies must be distributed better throughout the planet. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries would mean less poverty and hunger in much of the world.

    Stop transferring to the Third World lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity.

    Now that the supposed threat of communism has disappeared and there is no more pretext to wage cold wars or continue the arms race and military spending, what then is preventing these resources from going immediately to promote Third World development and fight the ecological destruction threatening the planet?

    Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.

    https://www.greenleft.org.au/content...o-earth-summit

    http://houstoncommunistparty.com/soc...limate-change/
    "We say to the workers: 'You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."'

    MARX (On the Communist Trial at Cologne, 1851).

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