December 2016        

Fidel Castro Ruz (1926–2016)

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its great sadness at the announcement of the death of Fidel Castro. We send our sincere condolences to his family, and we pledge our continuing solidarity with the Cuban people and the Cuban Revolution.
     Fidel Castro, “commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution,” was an outstanding revolutionary leader who not alone led his people to victory but became a symbol of resistance for colonised nations and millions of oppressed people. The Cuban Revolution inspired national liberation movements around the world.
     Born in 1926 to a prominent landowner in Holguín province, Fidel went on to lead Cuba’s revolutionary independence movement, defeating the US-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959 and leading to the building of a socialist society.
     The revolutionary government and people, led by Fidel, began the long and difficult process of transforming a backward and underdeveloped country, occupied and dominated for centuries, into a beacon of hope for the world, a society that ended illiteracy, provided free medical care to all its citizens and work for all its people. Cuba is now a country with one of the most advanced bio-tech industries in the world and leads the way in the development of new drugs for the treatment of cancer, meningitis, and other serious illnesses.
     In a true internationalist spirit, Cuba is willing to share its achievements. Its literacy campaign, so successful at home, is credited with having taught millions outside Cuba to read. Cuban doctors and educational specialists now work in volunteer brigades around the world, providing badly needed medical and educational services to millions of people, especially those facing medical emergencies. Cuba’s literacy campaign is credited with having taught millions outside Cuba to read, while Cuban medical brigades were the first on the ground in response to the earthquake in Haïti and again in the cholera epidemic and after Hurricane Matthew. They have been lauded for their heroic contribution to combating the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.
     The success of the Cuban Revolution, and the threat of the “good example” it posed to western domination, have resulted in fifty years of a hostile and illegal blockade imposed by successive US governments. Cuba defeated the “Bay of Pigs” invasion and survived fifty years of an unremitting blockade imposed by the United States, thanks initially to the support of the Soviet Union. Fidel himself survived dozens of assassination attempts organised and planned by the CIA.
     When the South African apartheid regime invaded Angola in 1987 the Cuban revolutionary armed forces played a decisive role in defeating the apartheid army at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which became the turning-point and the beginning of the end of the apartheid regime. As Fidel said, “Cuba is not only a Latin American country. It is a Latin African country.”
     In their struggle against North American domination the peoples of Latin America could see in Cuba an example of courage and resistance. Their struggle has won many victories, notably the election of Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela in 1998. This provided much relief to the Cuban people, who had suffered severely from the blockade in the years following the defeat of socialism in the Soviet Union. Further advances throughout the continent led to the establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
     Fidel Castro has left an indelible mark on the struggle for social justice and for freedom. He was an outstanding revolutionary leader and intellectual thinker, a man of great culture and with a deep love for humanity. History has indeed absolved him.
     The struggle of the Cuban people and all peoples for independence, progress and socialism will be for ever associated with the name of Fidel Castro.

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