Pan African solidarity with the Cuban people

Source:  Pambazuka News

A Statement by the North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress on the passing of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruiz

PanAfrican Wire

The Pan African Congress – North America

His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

November 30, 2016

 

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The North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress would like to express its solidarity with the Cuban people at the moment when Comrade Fidel Castro joined the ancestors. For over 60 years Comrade Castro gave leadership to first a rebellion and then a revolution after which he was appointed as Prime Minister and later as President and Commander-in-Chief of Cuba, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Secretary General of the Non Aligned Movement. His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

Leadership 

Noted for many of the internal social policies which addressed the quality of life for Cuban people such as increasing the literacy rate to 98% and decreasing the infant mortality rate to 1.1%, Comrade Castro and the Communist party of Cuba gave leadership to the peoples of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Castro was an undying opponent of all forms of colonialism and provided moral and political support to the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

Unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles

Among the African descendants, Fidel will be remembered for his unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles.  Soon after the decisive victory of the revolution, in the early 1960s Comrade Castro and the revolutionary leadership introduced a call for a “Marshall Plan” type program for Latin America. To counter this, the John F. Kennedy administration launched the Alliance for Progress to stifle the progressive initiatives of Cuba to support the oppressed of the American hemisphere.

Fidel y malcolm 5.jpgIt was among African Americans in the USA where the solidarity was manifest in numerous ways. Castro encouraged African Americans to visit Cuba, as a non-discriminatory country, and provided refuge for Pan African revolutionaries such as Robert Williams. Up to today, Assata Shakur is being protected in Cuba by the Cuban state. His visit to Harlem in 1960, talks with Malcolm X and other African-American leaders reaffirmed the growing ties between the two communities.

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A decade later he was one of the first to support President Salvador Allende against the right-wing elements of the Chilean military. In many ways it was the solidarity of the African progressive forces that cautioned the USA against an open invasion after the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961. After that it was reported that there were over 600 attempts at the life of Comrade Castro by the US intelligence services.

Deep and abiding ties to Africa

Comrade Castro had deep and abiding ties to Africa, beginning with his connections to the African descendent community in Cuba. After visits in the 1970s to Guinea and Algeria, he led Cuba to become a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and encouraged revolutionary movements everywhere, including Vietnam and Palestine. Comrade Castro actively supported the liberation forces of Africa and sent military advisers to assist Angolan President Agostinho Neto in 1975. Cuba then strengthened its support of the revolutionary forces in Mozambique and Southern Africa. In 1977 Comrade Castro was able to tour Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola and in each country was warmly greeted as a true friend of African liberation.

fidel-y-neto-2During the period of the Reagan and Thatcher counter-revolution, the CIA and apartheid intensified their efforts to crush the freedom fighters in South Africa and Namibia. When the United States and South Africa increased their support for the forces of UNITA in Angola and the MNR in Mozambique, the Cuban government dispatched over 25,000 troops to Angola which led to a major victory at Cuito Cuanavale. Fidel Castro personally worked with the commanders on the ground, and his military clarity during the battles at Cuito Cuanavale led to the decisive victory. This was the battle that changed the history of Africa and ended white minority rule in Namibia and South Africa. Afterwards Castro rightly stated that, “The history of Africa will be divided into before and after Cuito Cuanavale.”

Support for Reparations

Comrade Castro supported the Global Reparations campaign and his support for the position of the Caribbean position at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001 shifted the position of most of the progressive forces in Latin America to support the reparative claims of African descendants in the Americas. Pan Africanists remember Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries for their strong support for the health programs in Africa at a moment when the IMF and the World Bank called on governments to cut health expenditures. It was this tradition which was manifest in 2014 when Cuba dispatched thousands of doctors to West Africa to assist Africans in containing the Ebola virus.

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The North American delegation of the Global Pan African movement salutes the bravery and focus of Comrade Fidel as we pledge to continue the fight against capitalism and racism.

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Hasta la Victoria Siempre!  Patria o Muerte!  Venceremos!

Martinique and Algeria’s Franz Fanon Remembered

Source:  TeleSUR
December 6 2016

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”

RELATED:  5 Anti-Colonial Caribbean Leaders That You’ve Never Heard Of

franz fanon.jpgFrantz Omar Fanon was born July 20, 1925, in the Caribbean nation of Martinique and died on Dec. 6, 1961. He was a revolutionary philosopher, writer and psychiatrist who participated and influenced political processes for liberation across the world. His work has marked decolonial thought and anti-colonial struggles for the globally oppressed, especially African nations and people of the African diaspora.

 

Th Wretched of the Earth

Fanon supported the Algerian War of Independence from France and was actively involved in the Algerian National Liberation Front. Although he lived a comparatively short life, Fanon produced emblematic texts and theories that have proliferated anti-colonial revolutionary thought such as “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952) and “The Wretched of the Earth”(1961).

Fanon’s political thought encompassed the implications and consequences of colonization. He focused considerably on anti-colonial struggles of the time and people’s transforming consciousness. He focused on language, land and other factors that were utilized by the colonizer to oppress people’s of the world.

Ridding the people’s mind of the impact of imperialism

Fanon detailed the connections between the systematic colonization of people, land and language. For example, Fanon declared that “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.” As such, he defended that “For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”

In 1953, Fanon was named the Head of the Psychiatry Department of the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria. There, he spearheaded patient care reform and desegregated the wards. The war for Algerian independence began during this time and patients shared with Fanon stories of torture and brutality. Learning the realities first-hand of the Algerian cause, in 1956, Fanon resigned from his position with the French government to struggle for Algerian independence.

RELATED:  Algeria to Mourn Fidel Castro’s Internationalist Legacy

Algerian independence

Fanon went to Tunisia and began to work with the Algerian independence forces. He documented the independence movement writing articles in a number of publications. Several of his pieces were published after his death. He also served as the Ambassador to Ghana for the Provisional Algerian Government.

After returning from a trip to the Sahara to build another front for the Algerian independence movement, Fanon was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite the burden of his illness, Fanon continued to give lectures to the National Liberation Army along the Algero-Tunisian border.

His final text, “The Wretched of the Earth” was written in 10 months as he fought his cancer. Jean Paul Sartre published the text the year of his death. He sought treatment for his cancer but died in Bethesda, Maryland Dec. 6, 1961. Fanon’s body was buried with honors by the ALN and his body currently rests at the martyrs’ graveyard in Ain Kerma, Algeria.

Exhibition in tribute to Fidel Castro inaugurated in Algiers

Source:  Algeria Press Service

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ALGIERS- An exhibition of photographs and archives shedding light on the life and career of the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro opened Thursday in Algiers.

Organized by the National Archives, the exhibition, devoted to the memory of Fidel Castro, who died on 25 November 2016, includes photos, newspaper cuttings and official correspondences exchanged between Algiers and Havana.

The exhibition comprises photos on Fidel Castro’s official visits to Algeria and meetings with foreign leaders and Algerian Presidents namely Houari Boumediene, Ahmed Ben Bella, Chadli Bendjedid and Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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The visitors will also be able to see newspaper cuttings and photos of Fidel Castro’s official visit to Algeria in 1972 where he returned, one year later, on the occasion of the Non-Aligned Movement Conference held in Algiers.

Other photos showing the Cuban leader receiving Algerian presidents in Cuba, including Ahmed Ben Bella (1962), Houari Boumediene (1974), Chadli Ben Djedid (1985) and the recent visit of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal (2016) are also part of this exhibition.

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This exhibition also includes the written speech of President Bouteflika on the occasion of Fidel Castro’s visit to Algeria in 2001.

Attending the inauguration, Director General of the National Archives Abdelmadjid Chikhi said that the exhibition is meant to be “a tribute to a great man who managed to lead his people according to the principles of the Algerian Revolution.”

See also:  Fidel Castro’s death: President Bouteflika declares 8 days of national mourning

November 26 2016

ALGIERS- President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday has declared eight days of national mourning as from Sunday following the death of Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro, said the Presidency of the Republic in a statement.

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In a statement issued by the presidency, Bouteflika said Castro’s “death is a great loss for the Algerian people,” and declared a national mourning period that is to start on Sunday.

The Algerian president also sent his condolences to his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, in which he said that he has lost a friend that has accompanied him for half a century.

I lose personally, a friend

“With his passing, I lose personally, a friend and companion of more than half a century. This is also a great loss for the people of Algeria who have a special relationship with El Comandante, made of respect, admiration and mutual affection,” Bouteflika said.

Algeria and Cuba established diplomatic relations right after Algerian independence in 1962, and the Caribbean island state supported the North African nation’s reconstruction efforts, especially in the medical field.

Fidel Castro visited Algeria in 1972 and 1976 where he was welcomed with great pomp and ceremony. Castro’s last official visit to Algeria was in May 2001.

Castro died on Friday at the age of 90 in Havana.

“The commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening,” President Raul Castro announced on national television just after midnight Friday local time.

Living by the slogan “socialism or death”, he kept the faith to the end, even as the Cold War came and went.

His rule endured numerous assassination attempts and the disastrous US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion attempt in 1961.

“If I am considered a myth, the United States deserves the credit,” he said in 1988.

Thousands pay tribute to Fidel in Namibia

Source:  Prensa Latina/ Granma
December 9 2016

The posthumous tribute, held in the gardens of Namibia’s Parliament building, was broadcast live by channel NBC and saw the participation of the all senior members of government, the SWAPO Party and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

thousands pay tribute to fidel in namibia.jpgNamibian professionals, who graduated from the island’s universities, as well as Cuban collaborators and nationals living in the African nation, also participated in the act. Photo: Cuban Embassy in Namibia

Windhoek.—Thousands of people attended a solemn ceremony in the capital – led by Namibian President Hage Geingob – in honor of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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According to the Cuban Embassy in that country, the posthumous tribute, held in the gardens of Namibia’s Parliament building, was broadcast live by channel NBC and saw the participation of the all senior members of government, the SWAPO Party and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

Eternal gratitude owed to Fidel and Cuba

Namibian professionals, who graduated from the island’s universities, as well as Cuban collaborators and nationals living in the African nation, also participated in the act.
Gein­gob described the leader of the Cuban Revolution as a hero and reiterated that Namibia “owes its eternal gratitude to Cuba and Fidel.”
He went on to recall the great sacrifice made by Cubans who fought to defend the people of Africa.

Namibia supports the call to end the US blockade against Cuba

The leader also reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support to the island in its struggle against the economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed by successive U.S. administrations for over 50 years.

On behalf of all Namibians educated under the Cuban Revolution, National Police Chief, Lieutenant General Sebastián Ndeitunga, gave a moving speech, in which he recalled Fidel’s frequent visits to the Isle of Youth where many Namibians studied, and his constant support and encouragement.

Namibian revolutionaries Sam Nujoma and Andimba Toivo; secretary general of the Swapo Party, Nangolo Mbumba, and Cuban Ambassador to Namibia, Giraldo Mazola, also spoke during the event.

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Fidel: What is revolution?

Source:  ICAP, Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples

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“Revolution is having a sense of the historic moment; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is being treated and treating others like human beings; it is emancipating ourselves on our own and through our own efforts; it is challenging powerful dominant forces in and beyond the social and national arena; it is defending the values in which we believe at the price of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity, and heroism; it is fighting with courage, intelligence and realism; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas. Revolution is unity; it is independence, it is struggling for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism, and our internationalism.”  Fidel Castro

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Angola

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May Day 2015 in Cuba

 

Kenya: Homage to Comrade Fidel Castro, Lessons for Humanity

by Benedict Wachira, Social Democratic Party of Kenya
December 4 2016

fidel laid to rest 1.jpgAs Comandante Fidel Castro’s ashes are interred today (4th December 2016) in Santiago de Cuba, the place where the July 26th rebel movement began its journey to overthrow dictatorship and capitalism, there are many lessons that Kenyans and the whole of humanity can learn from the life of this great legend.

A great inspiration

He remains a great inspiration to the young people of this country who are disturbed by the ever rising levels of poverty, greed and corruption. In his twenties, Fidel’s conviction for a just society led him into organising two attempts to overthrow the then military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and he was eventually successful at the young age of thirty-two.

Fidel disembarked from the Granma boat with a rebel army of 87 men and got to the Sierra Maestra mountains with less than twenty guerrillas. Through such actions, he continues to inspire those working for a better society but are few in numbers. He was never discouraged by the loss of combatants or the greater fire-power of Batista’s army, he understood that what he needed on his side was the support of the masses and not bigger guns.

To be prepared

fidel during the bay of pigs invasion.pngFidel teaches us to always be prepared. It was through preparation and working with the masses that Fidel Castro was able to defeat the U.S trained soldiers who invaded Cuba from the U.S in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs. It is this preparedness that has deterred the U.S from militarily invading Cuba since then.

Unlike the primitive accumulation tendencies that we see with our African leaders, Fidel Castro and his leadership never sought material riches for themselves. They worked hard to ensure that every Cuban had equal and unlimited opportunities to achieve what they humanly could. That is how Cuba was able to achieve unparalleled successes in the fields of education, preventive and curative health, sciences, gender and racial equality, housing and employment among other aspects of human development. All this was achieved in spite of the existence of the most brutal economic, commercial and financial blockade from the U.S that has been in place for over 50 years.

Resilience

Through Fidel, a lesson on resilience and being true to self is learnt. Not many countries can survive a blockade such as the one that has been imposed on Cuba. through resilience, Cuba has not only survived that blockade, but has managed to mobilize the whole world into condemning this U.S aggression on Cuba. Every year at the UN General Assembly, virtually all countries except the U.S and Israel vote against the blockade. Fifty-four years into the blockade, the U.S President Barack Obama admitted that its policy had failed and he began the process of normalization of relationships between the two countries. However, the blockade still remains in force.

After the fall of the USSR, Cuba lost its closest trading partner and the Cuban economy was brought to its knees. Many countries abandoned Socialism, many Socialist Political Parties across the world dropped Marxism-Leninism as their ideology, and many Marxists intellectuals and politicians no longer wished to be identified with Socialism.

Socialism

However, Cuba’s Socialism did not fall with the fall of the wall. The country instead diversified and realigned its Socialist economy by moving towards green energy, popular organic farming, pharmaceutical and biomedical technology and other niches that are today the envy of many. Out of this resilience and inspiration, Socialist countries began to rise a decade later in Latin America, from Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua to Ecuador. Leftist governments also came into power in Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Throughout Africa, the old ‘Marxist’ intellectuals were replaced by young Marxist revolutionaries who’s understanding was/is not pegged on mother Russia but on the principles of equality and prosperity of humanity, just like Fidel Castro did.

Solidarity

Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, Cuba taught the world the most important lessons on giving and solidarity. Cuban Universities have awarded thousands of full scholarships to youth from developing countries who are now serving their countries as doctors and other professionals. Cuba does not award these scholarships because it is a rich country. In fact, Cuba’s GDP is smaller than that of many developing countries, including Kenya. Cuba gives because sharing is a human responsibility. This poses a challenge to countries like Kenya that are surrounded by worse off countries. How many scholarships does Kenya give to young people from Somalia, South Sudan or the DR Congo?

Colonialism and imperialism

Cuban combatants have fought alongside their African compatriots in their struggles against colonialism and imperialism. Cubans assisted Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia and South Africa either in their struggle for independence, or in their wars against external aggression, and as Raul Castro once said while in Angola, Cuba fought alongside Africans and left not with coffee or minerals, but with the body bags of their heroic soldiers. Cuba’s internationalist policy is unlike the U.S globalization policy; Cuba did not sacrifice its children so that they could exploit and dominate others, but it did so to fulfil its internationalist duty to humanity.

Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony continues to be up to this day. Are African countries waiting for Cubans to come and fight for the decolonization of the Saharawi? Do we think petitions and African Union commission reports will convince Morocco to leave Western Sahara? Haven’t we learnt anything from the sacrifices of the Cuban people?

Internationalist practice

Today, Cuba continues with this internationalist practice, but now by sending humanitarian ‘combatants’ wherever humanity needs them. From hurricane crises in Asia and the Americas, to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Cuban doctors have always been on the frontlines of fighting and containing these disasters. While commenting on the Haitian earthquake, one Haitian expressed his gratitude to the Cuban doctors by stating that “After God, Fidel.”

The Cuban Five

cuban five are free.pngFidel gave us lessons on how to fight today’s emerging crimes like terrorism. In the 80s and the 90’s, terrorists from Miami (supported by the CIA) tried to destroy Cuba’s tourism industry by bombing hotels, Cuban airplanes and other economic interests, even going to the extent of using bio-terrorism on innocent civilians. Rather than terrorise and alienate innocent civilians like the Kenyan government is doing today, Fidel sent his security personnel to infiltrate the enemy and unearth terror plans before they happened. That is how the world famous Cuban anti-terrorism heroes, popularly known as the Cuban 5 came to be (They were arrested in the U.S and given harsh/life sentences for espionage, but were freed by President Obama in December 2014).

Do what is right, ignore the liars

Throughout his life, Fidel has survived assassination attempts on his life and worst still on his character, but this never dampened his resolve. They lied about his wealth but he continued living a simple life. They lied about human rights violations but he continued to provide the highest attainable human rights for his people. Even at his death, reactionary media continues to desecrate his name by publishing lies about this great revolutionary. Fidel has taught us to ignore the liars and detractors and instead soldier on and do what is right.

I therefore reiterate the homage that Carlos Aznárez paid to Fidel Castro where he wrote;

A communist

“So, when difficulties seem too much, and we believe we’re running out of strength, when we lack answers and when confusion makes us doubt about who the enemy is, when times are dark and without hope, let’s go back to Fidel, to his ideas, to his ethic, to his audacity, to his courage, to his revolutionary power, and let’s rise again to continue this wonderful adventure to take the skies.
A little heartbroken but never defeated, we salute you, dear Commander. We will turn back to you every now and then and ask you: “Are we doing well, Fidel?”

An avid reader, a sportsman, an arts enthusiast, a teacher, a great leader, a prolific writer, an environmentalist, an orator, a thinker, a fighter, and above all, a Communist.

Hasta Siempre Comandante,
Long Live Fidel Castro!
Long Live Socialism!
We shall be Victorious!
Benedict WACHIRA
Secretary General
Social Democratic Party of Kenya

December 4th 2016
6:41am