Condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the bearded, cigar-smoking Communist revolutionary who infuriated the United States, inspired both loyalty and loathing from his countrymen and maintained an iron grip on Cuban politics for almost 50 years, died Friday at the age of 90.
Castro, who was the only leader most of his countrymen ever knew, outlasted 11 US presidents since he first took power in 1959. All of these presidents have made him out to be the boogie man and a villain. With America’s record on foreign policy, it is nothing short of a shame to starve an entire nation economically because he did not submit to their will and that of white supremacy. For the record most of the Cuban population is black not what they show you of these living in Florida!
The lawyer, revolutionary and political leader who was viewed as a scoundrel triggered such visceral reactions from America, and its allies was born August 13, 1926, to a Cuban sugar plantation owner and a servant. He was not formally recognized by his father until he was seventeen when his surname was changed to Castro from Ruz, his mother’s name. Though he spent the better part of his life railing against capitalism and the rich, Castro enjoyed a wealthy and privileged childhood.
After his graduation and now becoming a revolutionary, he took up arms against the puppet government of President Batista, leading a failed 1953 attack on a military barracks in hopes of triggering a popular revolt. After spending time in prison, Castro went into exile in Mexico, where he met Che Guevara, who became his confidante. Castro established another guerrilla force and after several years of fighting, eventually defeated Batista in 1959, taking control of Cuba at the age of 32. His first official act was to throw out the white capitalist and mafia.
I wrote this piece because whatever America has told us about him; he gives everyone in Cuba free medical care and a free college education among other things. But more importantly, he was a friend many of the black and brown nation of the world. He also offered refuge for the hunted and many black revolutionaries; like members of the Black Panthers and Assata Shakur to this very day.
At the same time, Castro’s government began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. In April 1961 Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state just days before the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion that saw 1,400 Cuban exiles trained by the CIA unsuccessfully attempt to invade and topple his government. In spite of this and the many attempts by America on his life, he stood the test of time against American imperialism.
Rumors of his death ran rampant in Cuban communities many times over the decades. And once said: “I think I hold the dubious record of having been the target of more assassination attempts than any politician, in any country, in any era.” Castro stood against Apartheid when Reagan did not which is good enough for me!
Castro served as prime minister until 1976, when he became president, serving in that position until 2008 when an ailing Fidel handed over power to his younger brother Raul. He remained as First Secretary of the Communist Party until April 2011. And even when officially out of office, he remained the best-known figure in Cuba. He was also noted as saying “Men do not shape destiny… Destiny produces the man for the hour.”
Although, Castro’s personal life was complicated and private. He was believed to have one son by a first marriage, an illegitimate daughter from another relationship, five sons from a second marriage and another son by an unnamed mother.
There is no doubt that his death will prompted celebrations among the country’s exiles in Miami but there are also expressions of sorrow from some leaders worldwide. Rest in power! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…