March of the torches across all of Cuba

Source: Granma
January 16 2017

by María Elena Álvarez Ponce | internet@granma.cu

The people united will march the night of January 28, on the eve of the anniversary of José Martí’s birth, from San Antonio to Maisí, with Fidel as always

march of the torches in cuba.jpg

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

The night of January 28

Havana.–From San Antonio to Maisí, for Cuba and Martí, and as always with Fidel, the people united will march the night of January 28, in a tribute to José Martí, on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.

In 168 municipalities 

Confirming the news was Susely Morfa González, member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee and the Council of State, first secretary of the Young Communists League (UJC). She reported to the press that marches will take place in 168 municipalities across the country, in which men, women, youth, children, workers, older adults, retirees, homemakers, veteran combatants, and students will fill the nation’s streets to honor the national hero.

The demonstrations of patriotism will begin in unison shortly after 10pm on the night of the 27th, in an unequivocal show of support for the Revolution by a people which is true to its roots, proud of its history, conscious of all that has been accomplished, and confident in the future being constructed, she said.

World Festival of Youth

Together we will raise torches, the flame of life and liberty, as Fidel and his generation did on the first such march held in 1953, Morfa explained, departing from the University of Havana’s Grand Staircase and culminating at the Fragua where the youthful José Martí was imprisoned.

The Young Communist League leader additionally noted that the march will take place after a meeting of the national committee making preparations for Cuba’s participation in the upcoming World Festival of Youth, set to take place this coming October in the Russian city of Sochi. (ACN)

Russian Institute grants 2016 Man of the Year award to Fidel

Source: Granma
December 23 2016

by: Prensa Latina(PL) | internet@granma.cu

During a ceremony in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, the Russian Biographical Institute grants award to the leader of the Cuban Revolution  in memoriam.

fidel-2

Brilliant contributions

The Russian Biographical Institute granted its Man of the Year award to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro in memoriam, in the category of international relations, for his brilliant contributions of international significance, diplomatic sources reported yesterday, December 22.

The ceremony took place in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, according to Prensa Latina.

Fidel’s role

Cuba’s ambassador in Russia, Emilio Lozada García, received the recognition from the institution’s president, Sviatoslav Rybas, who emphasized Fidel’s role in revolutionary processes around the world, and in strengthening relations between Russia and Cuba.

He noted that the Biographical Institute’s expert council, which selects prizewinners, was planning to make the award in recognition of Fidel’s 90th birthday, when his lamentable death occurred.

Vladimir Putin

The Cuban diplomat expressed gratitude for the award in the name of his people and government, and described Fidel’s November 25 death as a loss for Cuba, Latin America, and all of humanity.

For the last 24 years, the Man of the Year award has been granted to important figures in politics, culture, and science by this prestigious institution.

In the category of international relations, also recognized this year were Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation; Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China; and Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan.

UN General Assembly honors Fidel

Source:  Granma
December 21 2016

by: TELESUR | internet@granma.cu

Organized by Cuba’s permanent commission to the UN, the special tribute was requested by a group of countries from several continents.

fidelat the un 1979.jpgFidel speaking at the UN in 1979. Photo: Jorge Oller

On December 20, the United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who died last November 25.
The special tribute was organized by Cuba’s permanent commission to the UN, following a request by a group of countries from several continents.

Representatives speaking on behalf of global and regional organizations recalled Fidel and his legacy, according to reports by Telesur.
Venezuela’s permanent representative to the UN, Rafael Ramírez, noted that his country is eternally grateful to Fidel for his support of the Bolivarian Revolution. “I had the privilege of hearing him speak, of meeting and working closely with this globally renowned politician,” he stated.

A wise, modest man, loyal to his people and his socialism

Ramírez described Fidel as a wise, modest man, loyal to his people and his socialism. “On behalf of Venezuela we pay heartfelt tribute to a giant of Latin America and the Caribbean, as Nicolás Maduro said, Fidel has fulfilled his task, history has absolved him, and now it’s our turn to uphold his name.”

Likewise, Dominican Ambassador, Francisco Cortorreal, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), highlighted the importance of Fidel’s legacy for regional integration, based on the principles of sovereignty, peace, and solidarity among peoples, reported Prensa Latina.

Meanwhile, the Group of 77+China described the leader of the Cuban Revolution as an extraordinary statesman.

The UN’s solemn tribute to Fidel Castro began with a minute’s silence, after which Assembly President, Peter Thomson, highlighted the vision of the revolutionary leader, with his call to save the world from war, underdevelopment, hunger, poverty, and the destruction of natural resources vital to the survival of the human species

Cuban university students committed to continuing Fidel’s legacy

Source:  Granma
December 21 2016

by: Julio Martínez Molina | informacion@granma.cu

Federation of University Students (FEU) hold national celebration of the organization’s 94th anniversary, reaffirming their commitment to Fidel.

cuban students feu.jpgPhoto: Glenda Boza

CIENFUEGOS.—There was no other word, figure, or set of ideas of greater emphasis than those of Fidel, during the national commemoration of the Federation of University Students’ 94th anniversary, held in Cienfuegos, yesterday December 20.

To uphold the banner of socialism

The firm decision of students in attendance to uphold the banner of socialism and the ideas of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution was reiterated in speeches, chants, and signs.

jennifer bello feu cuba 2.jpgThe reliable rearguard

FEU President and member of the Council of State, Jennifer Bello Martínez, commented, “This 94th anniversary has a special connotation as the first without the presence of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, and we decided to dedicate it to this eternal youth, of whose legacy we will be continuators. He always placed his confidence in university students, always debated any idea he had with university students, because he knew that this is where the reliable rearguard was, in revolutionary processes.”

She noted that Cienfuegos had earned the honor of being the site of the celebration with the pace of its efforts to implement plans made during the organization’s 8th Congress. The student leader concluded saying that 2017 would be a busy year for the FEU, as chapters mobilize members to contribute to all the tasks the country is undertaking

When Afghanistan Called Fidel and Cuba Answered

Source:  TeleSUR
November 27 2016

By: Fraidoon Amel

One of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978.

afghanistan 1.jpgU.S. intervention in Afghanistan has stunted the growth of the country.

One of the most striking world historical beacons in the 20th century is revolutionary Cuba’s meaningful, spartan, and heroic internationalism. While Cuba’s internationalist solidarity still exists in many forms, its military component is what stands out.

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Cuban internationalism

Cuban military aid in Ghana, Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Congo and Bolivia under Che Guevara, Grenada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Iraq, Syria during the October War of 1973, Western Sahara, Yemen, and South Africa — the latter Cuba helped liberate from apartheid — shaped the history of Africa and Latin America. It is an exceptional and unprecedented record for a small Caribbean island making it almost too surreal to be true.

Is it bewildering then, that Cuba proudly amassed the rage of the “Empire” in the form of the decades-long genocidal blockade?

However, one of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978. Cuba was among a small number of countries who voted against a resolution by the Non-Aligned Movement at the United Nations General Assembly which condemned the Soviet union’s intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

Fighting against Western imperialism on the Afghan front

Cuba was engaged in the fight against Western imperialism on the Afghan front from 1980 to 1986. These years were decisive for the Afghan Revolution. It was during this time span that the Afghan army inflicted decisive blows against imperialism’s foot soldiers — Afghans and some 50,000 non-Afghans.

The successes achieved at this time were largely due to the presence in Afghanistan of over 5,000 Cuban military personnel who shared their expertise in guerrilla warfare with the Afghan and Soviet armies that were built for conventional warfare. The Cubans also served in combat roles. It is incredibly ironic that years later some of the United States’ “freedom fighters” whom the Cubans fought in the 1980s would be imprisoned as terrorists on south eastern Cuban territory — Guantanamo Bay — occupied by the U.S.

Cuba helped to defeat the counter revolution in Afghanistan

The Cuban help turned the tide of war in Afghanistan. For all strategic purposes, the counter-revolution was defeated. The revolutionary government was able to consolidate power. The revolution became sustainable from a strategic point of view. It had gained the momentum and the upper hand. Western propaganda perniciously labeled the situation a “strategic stalemate.” The West, suffering a humiliating defeat on the battlefield, was now desperately looking to other options to sustain its ultimate agenda — regime change in Afghanistan.

The West resorted to complementing its war efforts with pursuing war by other means. Using the United Nations, the so-called Geneva Talks which had been initiated by Afghanistan in 1984 from a position of strength, was now used to serve the imperialist agenda. It culminated in the Geneva Accords of April 14, 1988, and were meant to facilitate an “honorable” exit for the Soviets.

UN’s plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism

Immediately afterward the U.N. launched its so-called Five-Point Peace Plan which was a plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism. The latter, in the meantime, never gave up on the military option to effect regime change in Afghanistan, break up state institutions, and destroy the all-powerful Afghan army. It was, of course, the military option that finally materialized.

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Gorbachev’s historic mistake

One significant strategic shift occurred to the West’s advantage. By 1985, Gorbachev came to power and initiated what would become the end of the Soviet Union and its revolutionary legacy, which would also ultimately decide the fate of the ill-fated Saur Revolution. Gorbachev decided to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan to the dismay of his Afghan and Cuban counterparts and against the advice of his generals who believed they needed one more year to completely eliminate the counterrevolution.

Fidel Castro and Afghan President Babrak Karmal, who was forced by the Soviets in 1986 to relinquish power, firmly opposed Gorbachev’s policies. The Soviets chose to leave. Afghanistan which had sacrificed so much in blood to defend itself — and the Soviet Union — against imperialism’s encroaching on Soviet borders was left to fight a hugely asymmetric war on its own.

It was bound to break up into pieces. The U.S. “freedom fighters” did not stop in Afghanistan. The Soviets were made to pay for their historic mistake — and the Russians to this day — in the form of the wars in Tajikistan, the North Caucasus republics of Chechenya, Dagestan, etc.

Afghanistan never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments

And Afghanistan? Well, it never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments.

Western imperialism which was engaged in a dangerous geopolitical competition with the Soviet Union for control of Afghanistan, which it saw as geostrategically, finally succeeded in establishing its outposts in the country — military bases included. It officially took charge of the country in 2001 and has since been preparing to project power over Iran, China, and gradually but firmly pushing its way towards Central Asia with Russia being the main target. That geopolitical competition never ceased to exist.

Recent developments in the strategically-located Kunduz province to the north of Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan is an ironic reminder that Russia might be forced to enter into the Afghan war theater, now more complex, to fight a war it left unfinished. But this time, it probably needs a million soldiers as Karmal had warned Gorbachev in the spring of 1985. And without Cuba and Fidel.

Fraidoon Amel is an Afghan writer and activist.

Fidel Castro: Those who lead are human not gods

Source:  Granma

December 16 2016

by  Enrique Ojito | internet@granma.cu

Fidel’s request that his name or likeness never be used to name any institution or public site, nor any monuments erected, came as no surprise to those who know his ideas.

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Photo: Juventud Rebelde

January 1959: Fidel ordered his bust removed

Sculptor Enzo Gallo Chiapardi hurriedly crafted a bust of Fidel on the night before the Caravan of Liberty reached Havana, January 8, 1959, after triumphantly crossing the island following the Rebel Army’s victory. With the same speed, upon hearing the news of the sculpture erected near the Colombia military base, Fidel ordered that it be immediately removed, to the Italian artist’s dismay.

Given such evidence, it should not have surprised us to hear the leader of the Cuban Revolution’s last wishes – announced by Raúl in Santiago de Cuba’s Antonio Maceo Plaza – that after his death, neither his name or likeness should ever be used to name any institution or public site, nor should monuments, busts, or statues in his memory ever be erected.

One of the laws adopted after the revolution

Even prior to this announcement, certain media had been perplexed when President Raúl Castro Ruz communicated Fidel’s death this past November 25, and reported the Comandante en Jefe’s request that his remains be cremated.

More than one international journalist asked if plazas and other public spaces would soon bear the name Fidel Castro. Speculation fueled expectations. Some even recalled that Fidel had previously opposed honoring leaders with statues and avenues bearing their names, while they were alive.

The man who resisted the hostility of eleven U.S. administrations understood the dangers and consequences of personality cults. That is why one of the first laws adopted after the triumph of the Revolution, January 1, 1959, was an absolutely unprecedented prohibition on erecting statues of living leaders or using their names for any street, city, town, or factory… likewise ruling out official photographs of authorities in government offices.

A lack of confidence in the people

Fidel, the statesman, talked about this law in a speech on March 13, 1966, saying, “It is not necessary to be seeing a statue on every corner, or the name of some leader on every town, all over the place. No! Because this would reveal a lack of confidence in the people on the part of leaders; this would reveal a very poor conception of the people, of the masses, as incapable of believing because of a lack of consciousness, or having confidence because of a lack of consciousness – artificially fabricating consciousness or confidence, using reflex responses.”

Marx, Engels,Lenin 

He referred to Karl Marx, Frederic Engels, and Vladimir I. Lenin in his remarks, saying that they never “made gods of themselves,” but rather “were humble their entire lives, until death, loath to cults,” he added.

Fidel knew the history of humanity and was clear on the role played by personality cults, without distinguishing between countries based on capitalism or socialism, ranging from Mao Tse Tung to Rafael Léonidas Trujillo, statues of whom proliferated across the Dominican Republic, where even churches were told to popularize the slogan, “Trujillo on earth, God in heaven.”

Personality cult

Reference texts indicate than the term “personality cult” was first used in 1956 by Nikita Khrushchev, secretary general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in a speech denouncing Stalin, during the 20th Congress of the organization.

In Rosental and Ludin’s Dictionary of Philosophy, it is defined as “blind deference to the authority of a figure, excessive consideration of real merits, the conversion of a historical figure’s name into a fetish.”

The determining factor in making history

Maintaining a philosophical lens, it is not difficult to see that underlying such cults is an idealistic conception of history – as Thomas Carlyle would say – which considers the will of individuals, as opposed to the action of the masses, as the determining factor in making history, precisely as Francisco Franco would have his compatriots believe his self-proclaimed status as god’s messenger and ruler of Spain by the grace of god.

As Fidel stated in 1966, events have confirmed the Marxist precept, “It is not men, but rather peoples who write history,” while at the same time recognizing, “The revolutionary leader is necessary as an instrument of the people, necessary as an instrument of the Revolution.”

In more than one international forum, Cuban researcher and journalist Luis Toledo Sande has spared no words denouncing the allegations of a personality cult of Fidel in Cuba, noting that such accusations are coming, in fact, from countries where university degrees are granted in the name of monarchies.

Attempts to discredit Fidel and the  Cuban revolution

Toledo, who has also studied José Martí, noted that in Cuba, for example, the names of leaders’ family members are not attached to public institutions either, no matter how charming they may be, although it is here, some allege, where a personality cult exists.

Toledo recalled, years later, that his comments were not included in the summary of the event during which they were made, due, he was told, to space limitations. Nevertheless, he has said he would have liked them to have been published, so no one might think they were excluded because he used the metaphor, “the noose in the house of the hanged man.”

The supposed personality cult of Fidel and the media campaign against Cuba are two sides of the same coin; that is both seek to discredit the leader as well as his most important work: the Revolution, in which the people play the leading role.

Plato

When Nicaraguan Tomás Borge was asked about the issue, he responded, “In a country like this one, it is very difficult for some form of absolute power to exist, because Cubans, with their idiosyncrasies, their mentality, argue everything, analyze everything; it could just as well be baseball, agriculture, politics, anything; Cubans discuss it all, they have character, a special idiosyncrasy.”

These virtues, verified in the people by Fidel, are far removed from the perspective of Plato, the first to address the elements associated with the charisma of leaders, who described the masses as ignorant and malleable, at the whim of charismatic individuals.

Leadership and political charisma, are terms which have inspired many to think:

Aristotle, Machiavelli, Weber, Freud and Bourdieu, and have been epitomized in the person who headed the Cuban state for more than 50 years and survived

638 attempts on his life, emanating basically from the entrails of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, looking to eliminate his example that inspired the world.

Despite such real – not mythical – greatness, his body was reduced to ashes, which have been resting, since December 4, inside a massive rock in Santiago de Cuba’s Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. The site dedicated to his memory, could well have been placed on top of Mt. Turquino, exemplifying modesty and austerity, contrary to the forecasts of detractors of the man who did not seek glory, but encountered it along his way.”

(From Escambray newspaper)