Saying Farewell to Fidel

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

It was with great sadness that I, along with so many others, learned of the transition of Cuban President Fidel Castro into the realm of Ancestor/Angel on Friday, November 25, 2016.  Lionhearted Leo to the end, Castro never sold out - he was unbossed and unbought - though we all know that both the Russians and the US tried to do so on various levels.  This brother was virtually bullet proof, much to the chagrin of his enemies.  He was highly educated - a lawyer - and stood for his people regardless of all that was thrown against him.  Goliath came after him, and like David, he not only withstood the battle, he made Goliath back down.

What a hero!! What a fabulous leader, man, example.

I remember the first time I heard about Castro was in my Social Science class - but then Cuba was only seen in the context of Ricky Ricardo (husband to Lucille Ball).  We were a lot more sophisticated by the time he and Che` Guevara began their guerilla warfare against Batista - but that was because we had the best teachers in the world - Mr. Buford and Sam ______ (my Oklahoma Homie Classmates will have to fill in that blank).  It was they who tied in Lumumba's disappearance and assassination with the unrest in Cuba and the rest of Africa - when they said Black people the world over are finally waking up.  At that time I was knee deep in the Civil Rights Movement up to my eyebrows.  We were sitting in, kneeling in, being sprayed and everything else in Oklahoma City, OK.  And, while what was happening in Cuba was definitely of interest, we had much more pressing issues right under our noses.

When Castro finally overthrew Batista, our teachers made sure we realized that this was a positive thing for Cuba.  We did, however, as kids, question the fact that he had aligned with Russia - since the Cold War was a big deal and Russia was the enemy and our direct competition.  The fact that the US immediately determined to boycott all Cuban products - sugar, their beloved cigars (my dad loved Cuban Cigars), and whatever else they made  in an attempt to break them, sort of psychologically put Cuba on the outs with us as well - at least for a while. As far as we were concerned, Communism was the scourge of the world.  

The Sixties was a period of liberation for Black people the world over - Civil Rights gave way to Black Power - which saw us re-united with our brothers and sisters from Africa in ways the US and Europe never imagined, and definitely did not want.  It was also an era of awakening for us in terms of who we were and who our friends and enemies truly were.  Folks who were supposed to be our friends and supporters turned out to be our enemies; and those we were told were our enemies, turned out to be in our corner.   And Fidel Castro  was most definitely a friend and an ally.  He stepped in on the side of Angola in Africa during an attempt to topple their regime, providing them with weapons, food, training, and medicine.  If he was so horrible, why was he helping Africa? 

It became patently clear to us that the treatment of Cuba at the hands of the US was unorthodox and unfair - and most of all, racist.  Their concept was to break Castro - and this predominantly Black and Latin island down, and grind them under their heels for having the temerity and the gall to stand up against them.  A movie came out in the 60s entitled "The Mouse That Roared" that was lightly based on this.  It's still hilarious to this day.  Cuba kind of showed other Caribbean countries that it could be done.  Britain suddenly faced the loss of all of its holdings in the Caribbean - Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana.  Africa had already begun to throw off the shackles - starting with Ghana in 1957 under Kwame Nkrumah - but the dominoes were really beginning to fall.  And many of us think it was for this reason the US and Russia moved their hostilities to African soil - to thwart the unification of African countries by enlisting them in battles that had absolutely nothing to do with Africa itself.  

Battles that would eventually derail Africa's own trajectory towards independence and unity.  And when the countries began to fall apart, and need assistance, Cuba, under Fidel Castro, was the only helping hand they could depend on - with no strings attached.   President Mandela always spoke highly of how President Castro was with them through thick and thin.  

Someone asked the question of what would have happened if the US had supported Fidel. My response is this:
Not much, since racist white American regimes are what kept former Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in place!!  He was as corrupt as Trump!!   People in Cuba were dying. When Fidel overthrew Batista,  women and children were being forced into prostitution, drugs, all kinds of dibauchery. Whites would fly down to Cuba on the week end to do what they couldn't do in legally in the US. They had made Cuba their official toilet.(check out the old movie musicals that took place in Cuba - some of everything was going on there - not to the benefit of the people).

When Castro stopped it, those who were making money off of it - Batista's followers - were furious. American racists didn't like the fact that a predominantly Black country had the affrontery to stand up to them - 90 miles off the coast of Florida, they had overthrown a dictator and wrested themselves from the grips of leviathan. 
There were so many who jumped into boats and headed for Florida in hopes of overthrowing Castro - thank goodness they failed.

However, Castro was just as surprised as anyone else at the US's attitude. As a result, he looked initially to Russia for help, because America was actually trying to re-establish the Batista regime. This then was the biggest scandal of all, and a major thorn in America's side:   A "communist" country in the US's backyard - not just a "communist" country, but a predominantly Black and Latin "communist" country. Not that Russia did that much for Cuba. They were as racist as the US. But having the alliance maintained a stalemate so that the US did not dare touch Cuba.  When the Russian empire died in the 90's,  she was essentially on her own.  But it only made them stronger, more resilient and more determined than ever to continue moving forward - under Castro's steadfast leadership and vision.
I was a freshman at Hampton Institute in Virginia when America was at the height of its anti-Cuban mania in 1963.    Because Hampton, VA was a hub of military bases - Langley AFB, Ft. Eustice, Ft. Monroe, and others, it was deemed a prime target if anything should jump off.  They were going to shut down the school and send us all home.  Those were very tense times.  President Kennedy was able to avert the disaster.  And many of us erroneously saw Castro as the bad guy - at least in that instance.  But as things began to evolve, and the crises in Africa escalated - we saw who Fidel really was, and began to realize that his victory was our victory as well.  (Sadly, November 22, 1963 was when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX).

Like it or not, all the great progress made in Cuba was because of Castro's love and vision; courage and integrity, discipline and intelligence; imagination and focus - which he shared with his people. Those who left like the rats they were - and thank goodness they did - would have been a pain in the butt anyway. So they ran like rats to the US and flooded Florida. For those who were looking at the "economic" failure of Cuba, are looking at the wrong end of the situation.  The fact that Cuba has not been relegated to the level of a banana republic as so many other countries have that kowtowed to the US, is more than a victory - it's a symbol of what you can do when you stay true to who you are and what you stand for. 

And while the US continued to throw invectives at Castro, blockade trade, etc, Cuban people began to use their own strength and creativity, and began to thrive and grow. Without the influence of the big brother imperialistic, overbearing dictatorship of the western empire - and then to excell. And now surpass the US, and the rest of the world. That tiny little Island made everyone else sit up and take notice. Even with the so-called US boycotts, many African American brothers and sisters would go and work in the sugar cane fields and do whatever else they could to help.

While it was wonderful that President Obama visited Cuba, and threw out an olive branch; I hope that Cuba will not allow itself to be sucked in, and flooded with America's crap again. You are too far ahead of the rest of the world. Stay that way. 

And for those who claim he caused a lot of pain; the wonderful things he did for his people far outweigh any so-called pain you felt. If you had really loved your country and your people, you would have stayed. The fact that you ran to the US shows where you were coming from.

Black people in American all know the wonderful things Castro did. The only other time you have ever seen such a turn out for a man visiting Harlem was Marcus Garvey, and President Mandela. We so flooded the streets of Harlem to just be in the same vicinity of Fidel, that the police finally gave up trying to direct traffic or deal with crowd control. 
I am including a post from brother Julio Pabon, who orchestrated Castro's visit to the Bronx in the 90s.  It sums up the magnitude of this magnificent leader in so many wonderful ways:
For all those who have their doubts about how to feel about Prez. Fidel Castro's passing. Check these facts:
Not many can bring down a dictatorship with 20 men defying the American Empire.
Not many can eliminate illiteracy in a year.
Not many can decrease child mortality from 42% to 4%.
Not many can develop a health system that provides more than 130 thousand doctors, guaranteeing 1 doctor per 130 people, with the highest index of doctors per capita in the world.
Not everyone creates the largest Medical Faculty in the World, graduating 1500 foreign physicians per year (including many African Americans & Latinos from here), with 25,000 medical graduates from 84 nations.
Not everyone sends more than 30 thousand doctors to collaborate in more than 68 countries of the world summing near 600,000 missions.
Not everyone manages to build a country to be the only Latin American nation without child malnutrition.
Not everyone manages to be the only Latin American country with no drug problem.
Not everyone achieves 100% of schooling.
Not everyone can travel in their country without seeing a single child sleeping in the street.
Not everyone manages to be the only country in the world that fulfills ecological sustainability.
Not everyone achieves that their population has 79 years of life expectancy at birth.
Not anyone creates cancer vaccines.
Not everyone manages to be the only country to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
No one manages to have the most Olympic medals in Latin America.
Not many can survive more than 600 attempts on his life and 11 American presidents trying to overthrow him.
Not anyone survives 50 years of blockade and economic war.
Not many help accelerate the end of Apartheid in So. Africa & liberate Namibia.
Not many could have helped save the lives of so many poor folks in LA during Katrina when they volunteered to parachute their top medical units in less than 1 hr from Havana, but rejected by Pres Bush who let many of those people die cause did not want to be embarrassed by Cubans helping to save Americans.
Not everyone reaches 90 years, with so much protagonism in world history.
Fidel is respected and loved by millions & Misunderstood by others. What no one can do is ignore these facts.
R.I.P Fidel Castro!

Fidel Castro is one of me most wonderful shining examples of leadership and manhood in modern times. He let nothing stop him from saving his people, Africa, Cuba -


You are up there with the other ancestor angels - Che Guevara, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Senghor, Fanon, Diop, Kwame Toure, Sekou Toure, and a whole pantheon who welcome you with open hearts and arms.

Stay Blessed - we are eternally grateful for all you have done. And truly hope that you have had the wisdom to groom many others to carry what you've done forward, and follow in your illustrious footsteps.




No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank YOU For Visiting Gloria Dulan-Wilson Eclectic Black People VIP Blog. We Would Like Your Views, Interests And Perspectives. Please Leave A Comment Below.