By Jomo Sanga Thomas*
(“Plain Talk”, Nov. 29, 2019)
Fidel Castro, one of the greatest revolutionaries of the last century, died three years ago on Nov. 25, 2016.
The parliament of SVG held a special session to commemorate his life and triumphs. We said then that Fidel was about to die a second death, suffocated on a mountain of nice words.
What’s the last time did someone in SVG raise their voice to tell Fidel’s truth? We offer some of his thoughts, if only to show that death is not real, once one has done his life work well.
“Now we really are telling the world what Cubans are. For a long time they slandered us. They said we were not even independent. They said we were a satellite of the USSR. Today they can verify very clearly that we are satellites of principles. We are satellites of ideas. We are satellites of an ideal, which is like a sun of justice we revolve around and will always revolve around. History has given us the opportunity to show how independent we are. History has given us the right to proclaim that today we are the most independent country on earth.
‘’But we are a revolutionary people. We have consistently applied revolutionary ideas. Because how would we have done everything we have done without socialism and revolutionary ideas? It would not have been possible. Capitalism would not have been able to achieve this, by no means. Our revolution was inspired by Marti’s ideas and Marxist-Leninist ideas, in a synthesis of them. It continues to be a synthesis, and it must become more perfect, more complete, fuller. Above all, we must put a lot of emphasis now on our own ideas, Cuban ideas, Marti’s ideas, without forgetting Marxism and Leninism for a minute.
“It is clear that today we are involved in a battle for survival. Well, we did not do things as others did, because there may even be peoples who live through a revolutionary process and then may make so many mistakes that they bring a revolution down. A revolution is not guaranteed by the mere fact that it is genuine. Rather, under the conditions in which a revolution as advanced as the socialist revolution has to develop in today’s world, it really has to act with great wisdom to be able to move forward.
“Now, we have been forced to have even greater wisdom, and make a much greater effort, since the moment the European socialist bloc disappeared. Before that happened, our revolution was moving forward, defended by ourselves and nobody but ourselves, close to the United States. We cannot forget that in those East European socialist countries, they had Soviet tanks there more than once to save the revolution for them.
“Perhaps many of those revolutionaries- because I think there were sincere revolutionaries and sincere socialists in all those countries-expected that someone would always come to save the revolution for them.
‘But we could not count on anything similar. The only tanks that would land here were Yankee tanks. If the revolution became weak, if the revolution committed serious mistakes, if the revolution lost the ideological battle, if the revolution broke with its principles, no one would come to save the Cuban revolution, and we were well aware of that from the beginning.
“So perhaps the very fact that we are close to the United States and have had more than 100 years of history in our relations with this giant, which is so expansionist, so greedy, and so aggressive, perhaps this has helped this contradiction, this phenomenon: Knowing that the defence of the revolution depended on us and no one else, that we could not make enormous mistakes here.
“This may be one of the factors which explains why our revolution is stronger, why our revolution is more authentic, because it was made under more difficult conditions, confronted with a very powerful enemy which has been constantly on the lookout in order to take advantage of any weaknesses, any mistakes, to take advantage and destroy the revolution.
“This geographic phenomenon, this historical phenomenon, can help to explain why our revolution has been different. Marxist-Leninist interpretation cannot be taught by anyone, but rather those very same Cuban revolutionaries made their own interpretations of Marxism-Leninism. It is not free from errors, certainly not.
“Of course, if our revolution has grown even more, in a political sense and in an authentic way, it is because, logically, it was logical and inevitable that the USSR and the socialist bloc would exert an enormous influence on us. We were obligated to be grateful, and we are still obligated to be grateful because they helped us. We cannot be ungrateful. We cannot deny the importance of the solidarity and collaboration from those countries, mainly the USSR. We can never forget it. It was very important. Of course, it had a great influence on us.
“Revolutions in great countries fell or collapsed precisely because of corruption, bureaucracy, lack of consciousness, bad methods of working with the masses and other [internal] failures.
“None of you paid a single cent to become members of our National Assembly.
“None of you ever aspired to become members or spoke in behalf of being named or elected member of the National Assembly. That is because none of you are seeking glory and you do not come here as demagogues or to politic or defend spurious interests.
“I have heard sceptics say that enthusiasts are passengers and I have heard many state theories that it is not the same after the first years of the revolution when the revolution is 10 years old, 20 years old, or 30 years old. Spirits fall. The happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and expectations are not the same.
“After decades of revolutionary experience, we can say with absolute certainty, if enthusiasm disappears, it is because something is wrong.
“If enthusiasm disappears, it is because at a certain point the process has stopped being revolutionary. And we can say that when there is loyalty to principles, when there is dedication to the people, when the people feel part of the process and assume all the responsibilities inherent in their participation, if the process never deviates from its principles, enthusiasm will never disappear in a revolutionary process.”
*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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