Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Revisiting Cuba at 50

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
January 08, 2009

On 1st January 1959, a successful armed revolution took place in the Caribbean. This revolution destroyed Euro-Spanish-American colonial oppression in Cuba. It was led by Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The Euro-Spanish-American dictatorship regime was led by Fulgencio Batista.

Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and "Che" Guevara held their ground in the Sierra Maestra mountains accompanied by a mere hundred fellow revolutionaries. What is vital, however, is that the "26th of July movement" had the ultimate support of the oppressed Cuban peasants.

Fidel Castro's victory march into Havana forced Batista to flee to Miami, United States with his family--never to return.

As a revolutionary master-mind, the first two things Fidel Castro did to lay the pillars/foundation of the Cuban revolution were to expel all the Roman Catholic priests and to burn/destroy books written about Cuba by non-Cubans.

In other words, Fidel Castro sought to destroy the two most potent weapons Europeans have used since the 15th century to colonize and enslave the colonized, namely, religion and Euro-centric education.

In this specific regard, Fide Castro has been nothing but a colossal genius.

Fidel Castro then sought to eradicate Cuba from a value system of gambling, prostitution and licentious living.

Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) were established as the watch-dog of the revolution.

It was at this crucial juncture that Fidel Castro was able to introduce the ideology of communism to the now mentally free Cuban people. He embarked on a programme to focus on education for liberation as opposed to education for development.

Indeed, one of the hidden and unspoken elements of the Cuban revolution is that Fidel Castro not only outmaneuvered the US State Department by pretending and promising to hold "free and fair elections" but he also totally refused any quid pro quo economic assistance from the United States. This was Fidel Castro's finest revolutionary hour.

When US economic assistance was not forthcoming, Fidel Castro turned to America's staunch Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union.

President Dwight Eisenhower's immediate response was to sever all diplomatic ties with Cuba on 3 January 1961.

This new Cuban-Soviet Union relationship ignited retaliation from the United States that resulted in America's unsuccessful and embarrassing Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on 17 April 1961.

Fidel Castro's response to the United States came on 1 May 1961 when Fidel Castro declared Cuba a "Socialist State."

As Cuban-American tensions escalated, the United States imposed a trade embargo against Cuba on the 7th February 1962. However, American hostility toward the Cuban revolution did not stop there. On 22 October 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a unilateral "quarantine" and "blockade" against Cuba.

The fact of the matter is that these afore-mentioned American actions did not and still have not yet, destroyed the Cuban revolution.

As the 1970s were ushered in, Fidel Castro then proceeded to spread his geo-political amoebic tentacles.

He embarked on a policy titled "Proletarian Internationalism" whereby he not only stationed over 75,000 military personnel in southern Africa to assist revolutionary movements who were fighting against European colonialism but Fidel Castro also assisted fellow socialist/Marxist regimes in this hemisphere, including Michael Manley's Democratic Socialism in Jamaica, Maurice Bishop's Marxist revolution in Grenada, Daniel Ortega's Sandinistas in Nicaragua, etc.

It was Fidel Castro's Isms Triangle that he established in this region that confronted in-coming President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Indeed, the record shows that it was under Fidel Castro's policy of "Proletarian Internationalism" that Africans in Angola were able to successfully defeat and expel the Euro-Portuguese from Angola in September 1975.

The fact of the matter is that the United States will have a new president on 20 January 2009. President-elect Barack Obama has stated that he "will be willing to engage in direct talks with Cuba" and as "a show of good faith", he "would loosen restrictions on remittances from Cubans living in the United States to relatives on the island and on their travel between the United States and Cuba."

It is to be hoped that during his second term in office, President Obama will not only restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba but will also lift the trade/economic embargo.

In this instance, it should be noted that on 21 June 2008, the European Union (EU) agreed "to lift its diplomatic sanctions against Cuba."

Truth Be Told: The Cuban government has constantly reiterated that for the next fifty years, its policy will be "Socialismo o Muerte."

In this specific regard, history will absolve Fidel Castro.

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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