A salute to Fidel Castro on his 87th birthday

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Tuesday, we celebrated the 87th birthday of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro Ruz. It is very hard to think of a more important world leader than Fidel. The contribution he has made to the world socialist movement, to Third World liberation and to social justice has been monumental - especially when one considers that he has been the leader of a country with roughly the same population as New York City.

At the current time, the Colombian government and leftist guerillas are engaged in a peace process in Havana, in large part due to Fidel's efforts. As Nelson Mandela himself has acknowledged, South Africa is free from apartheid in no small measure due to Fidel's leadership in militarily aiding the liberation struggles in Southern Africa, especially in Angola and Namibia. The ELAM (Latin American Medical School) in Cuba, which trains doctors from all around the world, but particularly from poor countries, was Fidel's brainchild. Today, 70 countries from around the world benefit from Cuba's medical internationalism, including Haiti where Cuban doctors have been, according to The New York Times, at the forefront of the fight against cholera. Again, this type of internationalism is greatly attributable to the ideas and commitment of Fidel Castro.

According to Hugo Chavez, when he came to power in Venezuela in 1999, "the only light on the house at that time was Cuba," meaning that Cuba was the only country in the region free of U.S. imperial domination.Thanks to the perseverance of Fidel and the Cuban people, now much of Latin America has been freed from the bonds of the U.S. Empire.

That Cuba not only stands nearly 25 years after the collapse of the USSR, but indeed prospers and remains as a beacon to other countries, is a testament to Fidel's revolutionary fervor and fortitude. Indeed, Fidel's very life at this point - one that the U.S. has tried to extinguish on literally hundreds of occasions - itself constitutes an act of brave deviance against wealth, power and imperialist aggression. We therefore honor Fidel Castro Ruz on his birthday, and hope that he continues to live and to lead for many more years to come.

Dan Kovalik is a labor rights lawyer in Pittsburgh.

Photo: Fidel Castro. Wikimedia (CC)

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  • Fidal Castro is a "David" (but, not the only one) who successfully defied and stood up relentlessly to a "Goliath."

    A happy birthday to Fidel castro.

    Posted by revolution123, 08/16/2013 2:46pm (1 year ago)

  • Thanks to Dan Kovalik, not David.
    Sorry, Thanks

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/15/2013 11:14am (1 year ago)

  • Many thanks to David Kovalik for this fine article on the great Fidel Castro Ruz.
    Starting as a very young worker, and workers' rights advocate-as the great Jose Marti did, president Castro turned out to be one of the first and most vocal defenders of the great Mississippi labor leader and Communist, Henry Winston, during the "Second Red Scare", who was viciously persecuted and repressed for his selfless defense of all labor, as he stressed that African derived labor and the unemployed and underemployed must be supported and protected.
    The extremely humble Fidel Castro Ruz is the personification of all: hemispheric, North, Central, South American, past anti-colonial, present anti-imperialist, and socialist-all human scientific and peaceful efforts to combat forces that diminish humankind.
    This is why he is the number one enemy of the dastard C I A and imperialism.
    That is why he is embraced by ancient and socialist China.
    He is the embodiment of the best of the Atlantic Revolutions, labor, African centrality, unity with African Americans, Latino Americans on the two American continents, women, and the best Marxism-Leninism.
    He is known by growing millions, and will be honored by billions for years to come.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/15/2013 10:55am (1 year ago)

  • Whether you are a fan, or not, of Communist Cuba matters little.
    The fact remains, CUBA has survived every vicious attempt to destroy it, crush it, ruin it, over the past 5 decades plus.
    It seems Big-Bully brother to the north could not frighten Castro...
    even after witnessing the brutal invasion of Korea
    and the bloodletting and Agent Orange in the civil war of Vietnam.

    This is the true testimony to Fidel Castro....who started out with the spark of an innovator, became a revolutionary, and kept the power Socialism, alive for all these years. Viva Cuba, Viva Castro!

    Posted by jules, 08/14/2013 3:20pm (1 year ago)

  • Happy Birthday, Fidel!

    Posted by Keri, 08/14/2013 12:51pm (1 year ago)

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