EDITORIAL: Cuba stands tall

On July 26, 1953, small bands of militants attacked two Cuban Army installations in eastern Cuba. Most of the young revolutionaries were tortured and killed. The survivors went on to oust the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship.

July 26 is celebrated today as the anniversary of the onset of the Cuban Revolution, a revolution that has brought independence, dignity, free health care and education to the Cuban people.

Batista’s regime was overthrown despite its big military battalions and weapons. The rebels had one major advantage. They had a simple idea, against which tyrants are no match: they believed that all people — the workers, the poorest, those bereft of hope, the racially oppressed and women — should be able to survive and live in dignity. The Cubans believe that these rights belong to everyone, everywhere.

Today Cuba has 11 percent of Latin America’s scientists, an infant mortality rate bested only by Canada in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the world’s lowest rates of HIV infection. Washington sees these achievements as a “threat” to the order of things.

As Cuba has gone worldwide — sending out 30,000 medical workers to far corners of the planet; bringing in tens of thousands of students from Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, Asia, and even the U.S., for college training; exporting literacy programs to 16 countries — Washington’s hostility has only multiplied. The cruel blockade has been tightened, anti-Cuba terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles have been coddled, and those who fight terrorism, like the Cuban Five, have been persecuted.

New, monstrous schemes for returning Cuba to the status of a U.S. colony have been hatched under the Bush administration. The exploiters want to re-privatize Cuba, to reopen it to plunder.

But Cuba remains strong — a beacon for all fighters for a better world.

In a recent speech, Cuban President Fidel Castro predicted imperialism’s demise in 50 years. He also said, “The battle will not be fought with weapons, it will be fought with ideas.”

Socialist Cuba stands tall. We join those who salute its achievements, and say end the blockade, extradite Luis Posada Carriles, and free the Cuban Five!