The Death and Meaning of Fidel Castro (1926-2016)
The Postcolonial nation-state of Cuba, an heir of the Haitian Revolution and a dear friend of Haiti, has graced the oppressed world and people with the birth of the revolutionary leader and freedom and anti-colonial fighter Fidel Castro (1926-2016); revolutionary Cuba is and has been one of the most faithful and consistent nations in the world in the struggle against American empire and hegemony, and Western colonization and oppression in the world.
In The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, Caribbean Marxist intellectual C. L. R. James, in the Appendix entitled “From Toussaint L’Ouverture to Fidel Castro,” wrote meaningfully about the historic significance of the Cuban revolution and paramount importance of its protagonist Fidel Castor, as well as the connections between the Haitian Revolution and Cuban Revolution:
Toussaint L’Ouverture is not here linked to Fidel Castro because both led revolutions in the West Indies. Nor is the link a convenient or journalistic demarcation of historical time. What took place in French San Domingo in 1792-1804 reappeared in Cuba in 1958. The slave revolution of French San Domingo managed to emerge from
… The pass and fell incensed points of might opposites.
Five years later the people of Cuba are still struggling in the same toils.
Castro’s revolution is of the twentieth century as much as Toussaint’s was of the eighteenth. But despite the distance of over a century and a half, both are West Indian. The people who made them, the problems and the attempts to solve them, are peculiarly West Indian, the product of a peculiar origin and a peculiar history. West Indians first became aware of themselves as a people in the Haitian Revolution marks the ultimate state of a Caribbean quest for national identity. In a scattered series of disparate islands the process consists of a series of unco-ordinated periods of drift, punctuated by spurts, leaps and catastrophes. But the inherent movement is clear and strong.
The history of the West Indies is governed by two factors, the sugar plantation and Negro slavery. That the majority of the population in Cuba was never slave does not affect the underlying social identity. Wherever the sugar plantation and slavery existed, they imposed a pattern. It is an original pattern, not European, not African, not a part of the American main, not native in any conceivable sense of that word, but West Indian, sui generis, with no parallel anywhere else. (pp. 391-2).
By any means, I’m defending Castro’s leadership in Cuba. Castro was an ambivalent figure. He is a hero to many people; for others, he was the devil in the flesh. However, we need to balance our assessment and take into consideration his accomplishments and contributions in modern history. Many people in the Third World regard him as the hero who had consistently fought American imperialism and Western oppression in the world. He decried American racism against African Americans and was an aspiration to many Americans in the era of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the United states. Fidel Castro is also revered in many countries in South Africa, and in most Latin American and Caribbean countries because of his uncompromised liberative beliefs and ideologies against the Empire and oppressive American-European economic capitalism and strategic globalism in the Region and in the world. He was also an inspiration to many Latin American theologians and freedom fighters in various Regions in the Americas. It is important that we articulate a fair narrative about the Man.
Furthermore, in addition to Castro’s brutal leadership, American foreign policy and years of embargo in Cuba have contributed to the mass exodus of Cubans out of Cuba. Imperial America gave Cuba Castro! Just like Imperial America gave the Haitian people Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc). It is also good to study US foreign policy in the world, which most American don’t care to know. Fidel Castro (1926-2016) was and will remain the Devil to many people; for others, he was the Savior.
If we want peace in our land and live peacefully as a people, we must be agents of peace here and elsewhere and must not support war and tyranny, and protagonists of human terror and oppression in other countries. To bring this brief refection to a close, allow me to say this: Capitalism is not a better alternative. I am not a communist or a socialist. I’m a follower of Jesus, and my allegiance is not to a system, country, or a person–but to Christ alone!
*To read an alternative perspective about Fidel Castro, click on the link below
“Fidel is Dead” by Dr. Miguel de la Torre