Following the Footsteps of a Revolutionary

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Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

THE Cuban National Assembly on Sunday elected Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, president of this free nation and the last bastion of communism.

The world, especially the world ruling elite led by the United States, has not only been waiting with bated breath for the retirement of this champion of the Cuban revolution but has been closely watching the succession hoping and praying a “reformer” whatever this means, would take over.

“Bush demands democracy as Fidel Castro quits,” read a headline in the London-based Telegraph. However, the US and allies’ democratic gimmicks cannot fool the progressive world. “Reforms” in the eyes of the Cuban people as indeed in the eyes of all progressive forces cannot mean one and the same thing.

In the eyes of Cuba, reform equals a revolution. As far as the Cuban people are concerned, the revolution is far from complete, while for the US “reforms” mean the very opposite of this revolution, in fact, the reversal thereof in the name of democracy, American democracy for that matter, or the extension of American or Western influence into Cuba so to speak. Thus, the call by the US president, George Bush, for elections in Cuba with the retirement of Castro is no more than a call for a change of guard ill-disposed towards the revolution. The ultimate aim was to arrest and reverse the gains of the revolution to the benefit of corporate America and its mafia. That this is the eventual objective of America is no secret and is borne out by history.

The US has never hidden its discomfort and unease with its apparent intransigent communist neighbour. So when the Cuban people led by the gallant Castro, and the internationalist Che Guevara, marched victoriously to unshackle the chains of Western hegemony of the Batista regime then, the US political ruling elite, cajoled by the corporate America and its mafia, never accepted the sweetness of this victory. These leaders had behind them the peace and freedom-loving people of Cuban motivated by the quest for social justice. Ever since they have opted for their own type of democracy, that is non-capitalist development, in which social justice has been the ultimate destination, the Cuban people have never been able to enjoy their freedom in peace. Literally the US, of course, with the backing of its Western hegemonic allies, some blatantly and others in blindly, unquestioning and tacitly so, have been holding the Cuban revolution and her development at ransom. The pretext has been liberty in Cuba, a euphemism for the non-Capitalist way of development the Cuban people have chosen.

Against all odds Cuba has survived more than 40 years of US-led sanctions intended to topple Castro’s government. Equally, the Cuban Revolution defied predictions that it would not survive the demise of its one-time supporter, the Soviet Union and the dissipation of Eastern Europe. Since Castro and Cuba has been cutting a lone figure on the communist path with one-time comrades only in word now but strange bedfellows of the very same hegemonic States. Until Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez appeared on the scene.

There can be no doubt that the Cuban revolution has gone some way to achieve social justice for its citizens if one only looks at the egalitarian society that Cuba is today, with free healthcare and education.

As Raul takes over the torch of the Cuban revolution to further solidify its gains any revolutionary-spirited and peace-loving person cannot but take this opportunity to pay special tribute to the retiring Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, in the assurance that another revolutionary with credence follows in his footsteps. This is to ensure that the gains of the revolution are not reversed and sacrificed on the altar of American hegemony. Yes, an icon of the oppressed that he was it is gratifying to know that Castro in his own words is not bidding us farewell but only shifting the battlefield to “fight as a soldier of ideas” to use his own words.

The shifting of battlefields by Castro, as expected, has been greeted by some euphoria in the so-called free world. “Struggle among Castro’s closest confidants will determine Cuba’s long-term future,” screamed yet another headline wishfully. “Chance for the US as Fidel fades,” read yet another headline. “The Communist Party guarantees the unity of the Cuban nation,” newly elected Cuban president provided an antidote, sending a clear message that the revolution is far from over and finish. But while most detractors of the Cuban revolution have been wishing for the end of the revolution, if not its reversal, with talks already of Castro’s legacy and the end of his glory, he had a word or two for them they better watch!

“I will continue to write under the title ‘Reflections of comrade Fidel’. It will be another weapon in the arsenal on which you will be able to count.”

But before I pen off, allow me to leave you with this quote from his retiring speech. “The path will always be difficult and will require the intelligent strength of all of us … Always prepare for the worst scenario. ‘Be as prudent in success as you stand firm in adversity’ is a principle that must not be forgotten.

“The adversary we must defeat is extremely strong, but we have kept him at bay for half a century.”

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