The man who was the leader of a revolution that provided Cuba with universal healthcare and education has died.
The Cuban Revolution lifted countless people out of poverty and now has a higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate than the United States.
Those who idealize some fantasy about “freedom of speech” or “freedom of the press” might use this opportunity to attack the gains of the Cuban Revolution, but anyone who is concerned about an honest assessment of the the achievements under the leadership of Castro needs to take a look at the real balance sheet.
And while we pretend that democracy only takes place in the capitalist West, consider the fact that the new president-elect of the US wasn’t elected by the majority of Americans.
Where does Cuba rank in relation to other Caribbean nations?
Inside of Cuba, the gains were enormous. Economically, Cuba advanced well beyond other countries in Latin America. With regards to social gains, literacy rates in Cuba are now some of the highest in the world. And that’s not to speak of the other gains of the peasants and working class under Castro after the revolution.
Outside of Cuba, the foreign policy under Fidel was heroic. Cuba fought against imperialist oppression in Angola and South Africa. He embraced Nelson Mandela and the ANC against apartheid, while the West was calling Mandela a terrorist. He spoke out firmly against oppression and defended Hugo Chavez when he was kidnapped during a US-backed coup attempt in 2002.
When ebola broke out in West Africa, Cuba sent more doctors than any other country.
This heroism is not in spite of Fidel Castro. This is because of Fidel Castro.
That’s a bitter pill to swallow for those who have tried to undermine his leadership since he overthrew the mafioso military dictator Batista and his American-backed death squads.
And despite the supposed overtures from the Obama administration, the United States has maintained its brutal sanctions and remains at a low-level state of war with Cuba.
This war began and has continued because Fidel Castro’s successes, not because of his failures.
That isn’t to say that their weren’t failures, but Castro was also willing to admit and accept these failures.
In the 60s and 70s, there was terrible persecution of the LGBTQ community (as there was in the US, the UK, and across Europe). However, unlike many of those countries, Cuba reversed its position. In an interview, Castro personally took responsibility and apologized. I’d challenge you to find another world leader who has done something like that.
Since 1959, Cuba has improved by every measurable standard. Today, 48% of Cuba’s Parliament is made up of women. The total GDP has increased since 1970 from $5.6 billion to $77.15 billion today.
Cuba leads the world in most doctors per capita.
Cuba is by no means a paradise. But it would be a grave mistake to attack Cuba when it is time to defend Cuba.
Today is a day when we must all stand in solidarity with the Cuban people against imperialism and capitalism.
Today is a day when we must all say, “¡Viva Fidel!”