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Fidel-ity to the cause

The latest edition of CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy is devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

Published: January 7, 2009 12:24:46 am

The latest edition of CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy is devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The lead editorial by Sitaram Yechury says the fact that the Cuban Socialist Revolution has not merely survived,despite the undeclared war by the US to overthrow Fidel Castro,but consolidated for half a century must be recorded in the history of human civilisation as an epic saga of human labour and endeavour. “As a true communist he has not allowed any personal glorification,something that lesser human beings amongst communists need to follow,if not emulate. There is no statue,no portrait,no stamp,no coin or currency note with his image. Yet his life breathes the Cuban revolution and throbs with its dynamism,” he says. The article refers to a book titled My Life – Fidel Castro,in which the normally reticent Fidel discusses almost everything: his parents,early influences,the failed revolution of 1953,his exile to Mexico,the Guerrilla war and the triumph of the revolution on January 1,1959.

Talking about Castro’s meticulous attention to the detail,Yechury says he experienced it personally in 1993 when he accompanied Jyoti Basu to Cuba. “One evening,after both Jyoti Basu and I retired,we were informed around 11 pm that the Commandante was waiting to receive us. In a discussion that lasted well over two hours and covered many issues, including the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union on Cuba,Fidel suddenly started asking detailed information regarding India on issues like the quantity of steel produced,the amount of arable and irrigated agricultural land etc etc. Jyoti Basu least expected such questions and that too in the early hours of the morning. Fidel,then,turned to me and said,given Jyoti’s age,one can pardon him but I had no business not to have this information ready. Since then,I met Fidel twice on different occasions,always with the latest handbook of statistics in my pocket!,” he says.

US blockade

Another article by CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat says that for the progressive and democratic sections in India,Cuba has been a constant source of inspiration after the epochal struggle for liberation in Vietnam. “Though separated by thousands of miles,the revolutionary transformation of this tiny country has found a powerful resonance in India,” he says. “In December 1959,US president Eisenhower approved a CIA proposed plan for toppling Castro in one year and replacing him by a junta friendly to the United States”. Since then,Fidel Castro and Cuba have thwarted the efforts of ten American presidents to overthrow the socialist government of Cuba”.

“Cuba has been subjected to an economic blockade for all these 50 years. The embargo got tightened during the Reagan presidency and new restrictions were placed by the Bush regime. No effort has been spared to disrupt the economy and starve the people of Cuba. Even medicines are not exempt from the blockade,” he says. “Healthcare in Cuba is badly affected by the blockade. Patients including children requiring dialysis are not able to access the latest Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) since leading international companies including Baxter from the United States are prevented from supplying such equipment to Cuba.

Determined Cubans

An article by economist Prabhat Patnaik says “no amount of economic hardships,no amount of foreign exchange shortages,no amount of material scarcity,has made the Cuban Revolution budge even for a moment from its absolute commitment to providing what it considers the basic welfare state facilities to its people”. “Policies of income deflation imposed on the people in the name of ‘austerity’ which generate mass unemployment,policies of enforcing ‘user charges’ for public healthcare and education,policies of privatising public enterprises to attract foreign capital,and policies of reversing land reforms to set up Golf Courses and Five-Star hotels for attracting tourists that bring in foreign exchange,all of which constitute the basic ingredients of the Fund-Bank package and are glibly advocated by bureaucrats from Washington DC to New Delhi to Pretoria,have been shunned by the Cuban Revolution. Cuba’s socialism had begun with the rejection of the IMF package fifty years ago; Cuba continues to reject this package even to this day.”

Compiled by Manoj C.G.

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