Fidel Castro: The Man Who Marked His Era

Fidel Castro: The Man Who Marked His Era
Fecha de publicación: 
6 August 2023
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The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution´s 97th birth anniversary calls for a tribute both domestically and internationally to one of the most important politicians of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Born on August 13th, 1926, Biran, Holguin province, Fidel Castro led in the 1950s one of the most influential insurgent movements in Latin America and, with his triumph, commanded one of the most influential leftist governments.

He graduated with a law degree in 1950 and, during his work as a lawyer, represented the poor before leading the insurrectional movement.

In 1953, Fidel commanded a group of young people who attacked both the Moncada (in Santiago de Cuba) and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (Granma) Barracks.

Heavily outnumbered, the M-26-7 movement members failed to take either of the two barracks; yet the heroic deed marked the dawn of subsequent period that included the exile of main leaders, clandestine combat, landing of the Granma yacht in 1956, armed struggle, as well as the seizure of power in 1959.

In his plea for self-defense, after the July 26 actions, Fidel Castro put forward his new national project that included the transformation of Cuban society in contrast to Cuba´s unstable situation back then.

“The problems of the Republic can only be solved if we dedicate ourselves to fight for it with energy, honesty and patriotism that our liberators´,” Fidel assured at the court.

His speech, which bore the name La Historia me Absolverá (The History will Absorb me), not only established a pseudo-republic but also set forth a plan to retake the destiny of a free nation.

“As for me, I know prison will be hard as it has ever been for anyone, with dastardly and cowardly cruelty. But I do not fear it, as I do not fear the fury of the miserable tyrant who took the lives of seventy of my brothers. Condemn me, I do not care! History will absolve me,” Fidel stated.

After the 1959 triumph, the Revolution challenged the United States as a model of resistance in Latin America.

According to some historians, the Cuban process transformed the dependence established in the Monroe Doctrine with a far greater impact on the continent than any other Latin American insurrection.

Plus, Cuba came up with exemplary models of free education and health, with valuable results for the world, to which was added international collaborations.

Fidel Castro also promoted the Third World’s battle against current world economic order, particularly the foreign debt, the squandering of resources for military expenditures and neoliberal globalization.

He urged for a solidarity policy among the oppressed and also respect for sovereignty within the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (MNOAL), an organization Cuba was a founder in 1961.

“Only a close alliance among all progressive forces around the globe will provide us with necessary strength to overcome the powerful forces of imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism and racism, and successfully fight for aspirations of justice and peace of all the peoples,” Fidel said at the 4th MNOAL Summit held in 1973, Algiers.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the then Cuban president headed, alongside his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez, the efforts for the unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Back in April 2004, both led the way to a united America by establishing the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP).

Subsequently, other entities emerged such as Petrocaribe, with a broad activity in the energy field, which was complemented by the positive restructuring of entities including MERCOSUR and the creation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The most conclusive step was undoubtedly the founding of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, as a mechanism of true regional representativeness, capable of prioritizing talks and transcendence over other considerations.

On July 31st, 2006, Fidel Castro announced provisional cessation of his services as head of the Government, the Communist Party (PCC) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

After a complicated surgical operation, he informed that he would have to rest for several weeks and entrusted some of his functions to Party and State leaders.

In his proclamation to the nation, he stated he was leaving in the hands of Army General Raúl Castro, his tasks at the head of the PCC and the State, and at the same time he called on the people to continue along the path he had set out.

“I do not harbor the slightest doubt that our people and Revolution will fight to the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas and measures necessary to safeguard this historic process,” he wrote in his message.

He overcame his illness, although he did not take up his duties due to other health complications.

On November 25th, 2016, Raúl Castro announced the death of a man who was recognized as Commander in Chief, at the age of 90.

In compliance with his will, his remains were cremated.

During his lifetime, he kept friendly relations with personalities from all over the world such as leaders Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Indira Ghandhi, writer Gabriel García Márquez and soccer player Diego Armando Maradona.

He also created close ties with regional leaders including Hugo Chávez (1999-2013); Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Cristina Fernández; Evo Morales; Rafael Correa; and Daniel Ortega.

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