Fidel Castro, father of the Cuban Revolution and one of the great figures of the twentieth century, has died at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, president of Cuba, made the announcement just before midnight last night.
Read the full story in Spanish in the Mexican daily, La Jornada.
Or in English, from the BBC.
There is so much to say about one of the men who shaped the course of the last century, with his charisma and unflappable confidence in the face of the longest of odds. He was long despised by the power elites of the world and beloved by generations of the poor and oppressed around the world.
Despite unceasing provocation from the United States government, he showed care and solidarity with this country’s most vulnerable. In 1960, he led the Cuban delegation to the United Nations in New York. After witnessing racist treatment at their Manhattan hotel, Castro packed his bags, saying he would rather sleep in Central Park. In 2005, he offered to send 1,600 Cuban doctors and 83 tons of medical supplies to the U.S. Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
Hasta siempre, Comandante.
Here we share an excerpt from Eduardo Galeano’s 2009 book, “Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone.”
His enemies say he was a king without a crown and that he confused unity with unanimity.
In that, his enemies are right.
His enemies say that if Napoleon had had a newspaper like Granma, no Frenchman would have found out about the disaster at Waterloo.
In that, his enemies are right.
His enemies say that he exercised power talking a lot and listening not very much, as he was more accustomed to echoes than voices.
And in that, his enemies are right.
But his enemies don’t say that it wasn’t to pose for History that he faced bullets when the invasion came, that he fought hurricanes like an equal, one hurricane against another, that he survived six hundred and thirty-seven attempts on his life, that his contagious energy was decisive in turning a colony into a homeland and that it wasn’t because of Mandinga curses or God’s miracles that this new homeland could survive ten [now eleven] United States presidents, all who had the table set, ready to eat it for lunch with knife and fork.
His enemies don’t say that Cuba is one of the rare countries that don’t compete at the World Doormat Championships.
And they don’t say that this revolution, grown under punishment, is what it could be, not what it wanted to be. They don’t say that in large part, the wall between desire and reality became higher and thicker thanks to the imperial blockade, which choked the development of this Cuban-style democracy, necessitated the militarization of society and required a bureaucracy, for which every solution there is a problem, the excuses required to justify and perpetuate itself.
And they don’t say that despite all of the despites, despite the external aggressions and the internal arbitrariness, this long-suffering but doggedly happy island has created the least unjust Latin American society.
And his enemies don’t say that this achievement was because of the sacrifice of his people, yet it was also because of the stubborn will and antiquated sense of honor of a certain gentleman who always took the side of the underdog.
Compiled by Tim Shenk, CUSLAR Coordinator