Fidel is dead, the symbol of the Cuban revolution, headed by him, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and other fighters of the 26th of July Movement.
Cuba, an island 90 miles away from the most powerful capitalist country in the world was a centre for corruption, a brothel for the Yankees, a nest for the mafia. That is the Cuba that many of those who have fled to Yankeeland yearn for.
In the era of the dictator Batista and before, workers were crushed. In the country, by landowners. In the city, by capital, like in the rest of Latin America. The abuse was aided by the governments, the courts, the police, the army and the media. Misery and analphabetism were widespread.
Like Carlos Puebla sings: ‘And then came Fidel’ ‘El Comandante came to make it stop’.
He expropriated the foreign sugar and petrol companies, as well as the businesses and lands of other capitalists and landowners. The empire organised the Bay of Pigs invasion, which was crushed by the Cuban people.
Amongst other things, Cuba is a role model for its healthcare and the generous and unselfish way in which it supports those in the world who need that healthcare. This was exemplified during the Ebola outbreak in parts of Africa. One Cuban doctor got the illness himself, but returned to the field to continue the struggle as soon as he was cured.
The Cuban revolution inspired revolutionaries across the world, particularly in Latin America. It is not their fault that others who were inspired mechanically copied the idea of the foco guerrillero, a vanguard group to act as an inspiration for a general insurrection, which failed in many countries. Revolutions are not copied. With that experience, the Zapatista revolutionaries in Mexico say: ‘Please, don’t copy us’. Each one in their respective time and place will have to see how to do it.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to have socialism in one country. Cuba was forced to connect to the Soviet Bloc, which demanded the exit of Che Guevara, as well as leading to the appearance and development of bureaucratic tendencies that deformed the revolution.
The Russian revolution headed by Lenin was deformed by Stalin and later returned to capitalism.
That Cuba does not return to capitalism is not only down to the Cubans, but to all of us.
To continue the work and the struggle of Fidel Castro, across the world we ought to struggle to topple the capitalist government and replace it with a government for all of society. The name we put on that revolution is not important. We can call it socialist, communist, anarchist, libertarian or whatever.