EFF Mourns the Passing of Commandant Fidel Castro -May his revolutionary soul rest in perfect peace!

Here is a Full Statement from the party;

The EFF mourns the passing of the leader of the Cuban Revolution Commandant Fidel Castro who passed away at the age of 90 today. We send our revolutionary condolences to the family and close friends as well as the people of Cuba as a whole. We know too well that Commandant Fidel Castro’s 90 years of existence touched the lives of many in the world, particularly socialist militants who are still fighting capitalism and imperialism. We pass revolutionary condolences to them as well, hoping wishing revolutionary peace to their painful hearts.

The passing of Commandant Castro is a loss to us in the African continent as well for we benefited from his leadership and the revolution he led on behalf of his people. This revolution, the Cuban Revolution is the greatest human gift of the 20th Century because through it, and because of it, the people of the global South benefited from the example, the benevolence, selflessness and generosity of the Cuban people. After they inaugurated a socialist order, they did not focus only on their well being, but continued, and in many instances, to their own detriment, to contribute to the freedoms of others in the world.

This is encapsulated by his own words delivered in a speech at the Mass Rally called by the Cuban Youths, Students and Workers on the Occasion of the International Labor Day at the Revolution Square in Cuba, May Day, 2000, Commandant Castro argued that “Revolution means to have a sense of history; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is being treated and treating others like human beings; it is achieving emancipation by ourselves and through our own efforts; it is challenging powerful dominant forces from within and without the social and national milieu; it is defending the values in which we believe at the cost of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism; it is fighting with courage, intelligence and realism; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas. Revolution means unity; it is independence, it is fighting for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.”

The founding of the EFF relies on the memory and history of the July 26 Movement which laid foundation and guaranteed victory for the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Only at the age of 27, Comandate Castro led this movement from its first military activities in 1953 up to its revolutionary victory in 1959. We draw inspiration that revolution and militant struggle often requires the youth in its forefront as it manifested in Cuba itself.

After the Cuban colonial independence there rose a dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista who undermined the gains of independence, including changing what was seen as a progressive constitution. His regime saw him negotiating lucrative relationships with the American mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and the sex workers businesses in the Cuban capital, including also with US-based multinationals.

The 26 July Movement was therefore a fundamental objection to an oppressive regime that exploited the Cuban economy for the benefit of a president, the elite and their immediate families. Fidel Castro would therefore crush this regime and inaugurated the socialist government of Cuba which prioritised production for people and not for profit.

This is what informs the basis for the EFF Founding Manifesto when it says the “EFF is guided by revolutionary internationalism and solidarity that defined the politics of the July 26 Movement, which led the Cuban Revolutionary struggles. We will partake in international struggles that seek to emancipate the economically unliberated people of Africa and the world. We will form part of the progressive movements in the world that stand against continued imperialist domination.”

Because of the refusal to succumb to the capitalist model of development where profit and greed are the oder of the day, the USA imposed economic sanctions on Cuba that were to last for more than half a century. Despite these sanctions, the Cuban people led by Comandante Fidela Castro continued to contribute immensely to the liberation of the oppressed in the world.

We in South Africa know that our liberation from apartheid is unthinkable without the contribution of the Cuban people. Above all, it is the Cuban role in the Angolan Civil War, in particular at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale that humbled the arrogant apartheid armies. It is not a secret that here, the South African Apartheid troops suffered the worst losses in what is the second largest battle in the history of Africa after the Battle of El Alamein, and the largest in sub-Saharan Africa since World War II. After this war, apartheid South Africa knew that it is not indispensable and came out of this war with even larger financial loses.

The generosity of the Cuban people is made in the image of Commandant Fidel Castro’s heart. The medical contribution of the Cuban people to the oppressed of the world tops it all. The Cuban Medical Internationalism is known to contribute more medical personnel to the developing world than the G8 countries combined. Not only does Cuba send doctors to the world, it also brings thousands of foreign nationals to its universities for medical training.

We will forever be indebted to the Cubans and to Commandant Fidel Castro. His passing, though it brings pains to our hearts, it also brings hope in the fact that a life of revolutionary conviction and commitment to human freedom is possible. In his honour, we say long live the Cuban Revolution – “Hasta la Victoria Siempre”. May the spirit of Commandant Fidel Castro Ruz rest in perfect revolutionary peace.