Jan. 1 marked the 47th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. It was on this date, in 1959, that Fidel Castro and his July 26th Movement overthrew the Batista dictatorship, making possible the beginning of Cuba’s transition to socialism.

In the years that followed, the Cuban people, under the leadership of their Communist Party, struggled to take ownership of their country for themselves, away from U.S.-based mobsters and corporations.

According to UNICEF, socialist Cuba’s infant mortality rate in 2004 was lower than that of the United States. Cuba is 100 percent literate, again surpassing the U.S. Cuba has eliminated homelessness, and not a single person goes without health care. In the “wealthy” U.S., nearly one in six Americans has no health insurance and we see homeless people on the streets of American cities.

Cubans’ per capita income is around $1,170, compared to the U.S. average of $41,400. But, in contrast to the vast private wealth owned by a tiny percentage in the capitalist U.S., in socialist Cuba the wealth is shared by all the people in the form of economic, social and cultural benefits that are an inspiration for all. Socialist Cuba has devoted great resources to eliminating racism and developing Cuba’s rich multiethnic culture.

Cuba has accomplished all this despite a cruel economic blockade, illegal under international law, imposed on it for decades by the U.S.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba faced great economic hardship. But its people demonstrated their commitment to the socialist ideal through those dark times, and showed their system’s vitality. While capitalist ideologues were crowing that socialism was dead, Cuba was busy proving them wrong.

Cuba’s foreign policy has always been one of peace, justice and international solidarity. It has consistently opposed terrorism and has been an outspoken defender of international law.

Today, Cuba has been vindicated. The ideals of socialism are sweeping through Latin America. Solidarity with the Cuban people means redoubling our efforts to end the illegal, U.S. blockade and to free the five Cuban anti-terrorists. Normal relations with our neighbor is in both the U.S.’s and Cuba’s interests.

Cuba demonstrates that a better world is really possible.

End the U.S. blockade!