Cuba: Return of fallen internationalists commemorated

Source: Granma

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland

Author: Pedro Ríoseco | internet@granma.cu

december 7, 2021 11:12:53

All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities. Photo: Liborio Noval

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland, in an effort entitled Operation Tribute.
All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities.
General Antonio Maceo’s mausoleum, in El Cacahual, hosted the symbolic national ceremony with the remains of 16 internationalists, one from each provinces and the Isle of Youth special municipality, on the date when the Titan and his faithful assistant Panchito Gomez Toro fell in battle against the Spanish colonialists.
“These men and women, to whom we give an honorable burial today, in the warm land where they were born, died for the most sacred values, they died fighting against colonialism and neocolonialism, racism and apartheid, plundering and exploitation of the peoples of the Third World, for independence and sovereignty, for the right to wellbeing and development of all peoples, for socialism, for internationalism, for the revolutionary and dignified homeland that Cuba is today,” said Fidel at that time, reaffirming the commitment follow their example.
Of these internationalists, 2,085 were participating in military missions in the defense of the nascent independence of the People’s Republic of Angola, and 204 took on civilian tasks, as part of the 377,033 Cuban volunteers who fought in that country during the 15 and a half years of Operation Carlota.
The Cuban government always informed families of the death of each internationalist (in combat, due to accidents or illness), but it was impossible, in the middle of the war, to repatriate their corpses and bury them in their hometowns. But the Revolution did not forget any of its sons and daughters, and to fulfill that humanitarian commitment, Operation Tribute was organized.
As Army General Raul Castro Ruz said on December 12, 1976, “From Angola we will take with us only the intimate friendship that unites us to that heroic nation, the gratitude of its people and the mortal remains of our dear brothers and sisters who fell in the line of duty.” And so it was.

2 thoughts on “Cuba: Return of fallen internationalists commemorated

  1. The phrases “proletarian internationalism” and “internationalist solidarity” may mean just that namely, phrases for imperialists, the global oligarchy and their apologists inside and outside the academy around the globe. However, these phrases are literally the life blood of the global revolution and anti-imperialist movement of which the Cuban Revolution plays a central role not only to fortify successful revolutions but importantly to weaken imperialism globally so as to foster more political spaces for liberation movements to strive and take root.

    Further, these phrases “proletarian internationalism” and “internationalist solidarity” literally mean the extension of scholarships in engineering, medicine, architecture, agronomy, literature, economics, mathematics, sports and a range of other fields to developing countries globally to assist them to develop their technical and productive capacities so that they not only grow their economies but also achieve development which is the medium to long term structural assault on underdevelopment and all its manifestations such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, economic, cultural and technological dependency, lack of access to education, clean water, clean air among others. In other words, internationalism is intended to provide the necessary assistance and solidarity to enable sovereign governments to dismantle the structural and institutional barriers that are put in place by capitalist and imperialist oppressors to maintain the dependency of countries on foods, clothing, medicines, machinery, finance, tools, books etc instead of developing the industries that can fortify their self-sufficiency.

    Finally, “proletarian internationalism” and “ international solidarity” are not simply phrases for revolutionaries like the Cuban people because ultimately its cost is not simply measured in the resources for scholarships, subsidies and the time taken to extend the cited expressions of solidarity to defeat imperialism globally but also the costs are frequently expressed in thousands of murdered and injuried and maimed internationalist fighters like the over 2,000 Cuban fighters who after 32 years of fighting for Angola’s sovereign path to development and independence from Portuguese and US imperialism are finally getting their deserved burial in their Cuban homeland!

    Thus, internationalism is a real and practical expression of technical, material, economic and military support for all peoples fighting imperialism whether they live in developing countries like the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America or Asia or in North America, Japan or Europe. Indeed, Cuba’s assistance of Afro-Americans and other marginalized Americans with scholarships to study medicine in Cuba is an example of Cuba’s internationalism towards the American people who are served by these Cuban trained doctors. Likewise, last year in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, a medical brigade of doctors and nurses were sent to Italy by the Cuban government to assist the Italian people to combat the pandemic. The latter is also a form of internationalist solidarity with Italy and by extension Europe!

    Long live internationalism!

    Long live Fidel Castro!

    Long live the Cuban Revolution!

    Down with imperialism!

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