January 5, 1989
2 mins read






On the First of January, 1959, then thirty-two years old Fidel Castro, at the head of the Cuban Rebel Army, rode triumphantly into Havana, the Cuban Capital. It was the culmination of what, today in Cuba, is called the Second War of Liberation. Millions of people thronged the streets to catch a glimpse of the bearded revolutionaries, who defeated in battle, the troops of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, that was well supplied by the United States of America.

When Fidel Castro began the revolt a few years earlier, at the head of the 26th July Movement, Cuba and its people had been suffering from the very corrupt and authoritarian rule of Batista. The country was an underdeveloped, monoculture economy with a very high level of illiteracy, rural decay, high infant mortality, and racial discrimination against the Black population.

Cuba was a dependent part of the American economy, and was used much more as a gambling and prostitution centre, by American tourists and the mafia. This type of relationship was facilitated by a succession of puppet administrations, which ruled Cuba, after the defeat of its first Revolution under the national hero, Jose Marti, in the 19th Century; plus the geographical fact of its being located just ninety miles away from the United States of America.

As a neo-colony of the USA, pre-revolutionary Cuban economy was dominated totally by American companies. It was said that any form of spare parts, Cubans needed to get to Miami, while the advertisement bill boards carried American titles throughout the Island. Th words of the American Ambassador, was often the law.

So, when the Revolution triumphed, thirty years ago, Fidel Castro and his comrades, set out consciously to overturn these paralysing legacies, influenced partly by the patriotic tradition flowing from Jose Marti, and the liberating ideology of Marxism-Leninism. They went on to carry out a genuine revolution in the economy, culture, social and political infrastructure of Cuban society.

The Cuban Revolution expropriated imperialist transnational corporations and turned them over to the people. Land was given to the tillers for the first time in Cuban history. The literacy program embarked upon, after the Revolution, was the most thorough-going, that Latin America had ever witnessed, while its health care delivery system has become recognised, as one of the best in the whole world. Cubans enjoy a standard of living, that stands far ahead of other underdeveloped nations. Today, it has technicians and doctors, assisting other peoples in such places as Kampuchea, Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique, Yemen and Ethiopia.

Cuba’s achievements must be understood, against the backdrop of the blockade imposed by the USA, which made it a crime to sell even medicines, to Cuba. The United States even sponsored mercenaries to invade the Island, in the infamous Bay of Pigs landing, which was to trigger the Cuban Missiles Crisis of the 1960s, when America amd the Soviet Union came close to the brinks of a nuclear war.

Apart from being a source of inspiration to peoples in different parts of the world, the Cuban Revolution has also extended internationalist assistance to other peoples fighting to achieve or preserve, their independence. It was, therefore, within the ambit of its revolutionary principles, when Cuba extended solidarity with Algeria in 1962, Congo in 1966, Angola in the early 1960s, in 1975, and at Cuito Cuanavale in 1988, or Ethiopia in 1977 and 1978.

In its thirtieth year, the Cuban Revolution is waging a new war for the rectification of mistakes in economic development, bureaucratic distortions, and reaching higher levels of the development of the socialist state. Like other developing countries, Cuba is also a victim of the manipulation of the pries of the primary commodities that we export, the debt crisis, and its own peculiar relationship with American Imperialism. But the difference, is that in Cuba, there are no slums, there is no prostitution nor unemployment; while Cuban children don’t go bare-footed as their counterparts in other underdeveloped countries. In its thirtieth year, we join the world’s peoples to salute the heroic Cuban Revolution.

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