Fidel Castro, the Comandante is no more.The leader of the Cuban revolution and former president of Cuba who led the island nation through a half-century blockade imposed by US, died on the night of 25th November, 2016 in Havana, Cuba, aged 90.
Born in 1926 to a prominent landowner in Holguín Province, Cuba, Castro went on to lead Cuba’s revolutionary independence movement, becoming president of the island nation in 1959 after defeating the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship.
Soon after taking power Castro adopted an explicitly Marxist-Leninist model of development and in so doing faced the wrath of the U.S. For the next 48 years, until resigning in 2008, Castro led the tiny island nation to historic levels of development, leading the world in literacy and public health rates.
The success of Castro’s revolution also meant facing down more than 50 years of a hostile and destructive U.S. blockade, while also surviving multiple CIA assassination attempts. Castro and Cuba’s success inspired a growing decolonization movement throughout the world, one which Castro actively supported by creating networks of mutual aid throughout Latin America, Africa, and the rest of the Global South.
The leader of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people, was one of the most important international figures of the world, whose very existence challenged the US supremacy and imperialist onslaught. The solution to Communism in Cuba was believed to be a “biological” one by US, that led CIA and CIA backed assassinsto more than hundred failed assassination attempts on Castro. The mainstream media is no doubt, caught in a frenzy of suppressed celebrations on his death!
The charismatic leader, who was famous for long hours of fiery speeches, exceptional wisdom and farsightedness, will remain one of the most successful effective practitioners of Communist philosophy in history. His fight left Cuba a legacy of free health care and education, making it a champion among Latin American nations and a role model for many other. Cuba prospered even in the face of the longest embargo in human history, producing excellent doctors who crossed borders to help humanity, leading in medicine and cancer research and constantly keeping the light of revolution alive across the whole Latin America.
A communist who preached his philosophy with prophetic zeal, a leader who could see far into the future, a strategist who baffled and ‘bedeviled’ 11 American presidents, a revolutionary whose life was a relentless fight for humanity, a philosopher who introduced new dimensions in the international communist struggle, Fidel Castro will be remembered and remain as an icon whose significance is no less than Lenin, Stalin or Mao in the history of communism.
“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Castro said at an April 2016 communist party congress where he made his most extensive public appearance in years. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if one works with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need and that need to be fought for without ever giving up.”
Fidel Castro had been, and will be depicted, laureated in titles, words good and bad, but there is only one word that can best surmise and embody him and his life: Fight. Fidel fought with body and brain. After relinquishing the rifle, he took up the pen and carried on the ideological fight with newer dimensions that unified Latin America and kindled a fire of hope across the world. Fidel continued the fight and ensured that the fight against oppression, hunger, inequality, war, the fight for light against darkness, the fight for the dignity of humanity shall continue. And it will continue.
(Omar Rashid Chowdhury is a Civil Engineer hailing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He completed his graduation from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology)