In the passing of #FidelCastro, the “El Commandante,” ends an era of politics of Revolution in the world.
Over the last six years, I have been deeply observant and associated with Cuba for various projects.
Through my private foundation, I have supported Cuban ballet (Ballet Nacional de Cuba) for the renovation of two dance studios in the famous Havana building of the Ballet Nacional De Cuba. I served as the Chair for the 90th birth anniversary celebration of the legendary Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso. I had a chance meeting with President Raul Castro at the exclusive birthday celebration of Alicia at her house in Havana. I have also helped the eldest son of Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Ballart (National Science Advisor to Government of Cuba), connect with Canadian University research. I have also associated with Fidel’s youngest son Alexandro Castro, his grand-daughter Lydia Castro & her partner Camilo and two of the Cuban Ambassadors (Ms. Teresita Sotolongo & Mr. Julio Gardemndia Pena) and three Consul General on various projects as well as meeting with scores of Cubans from all walks of life.
I have been intrigued by Cuba in many ways and am fascinated with this unique country.
We have the tendency to broad-brush & opine about a leader and his politics and, brand them Good or Bad. As I have matured and done some serious readings, visited worldly countries and met interesting people, I am overcome by the greatness, uniqueness and what these leaders could/should have done differently. My opinion has changed significantly and I have come to realize that it is not fair to judge the past in contemporary context.
Fidel became the bright symbol of revolution in the world. The World has not been fair to Fidel and Company. Fidel built one of the best healthcare systems in the world and free education system (highest literacy rate in the world) despite the choke-hold of the United States. Stood tall against United States’ imperialistic designs and support of dictator Batista. He survived dozens and dozens of failed assassination plots of CIA and humiliated America during Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis. It was the classic David & Goliath story. Its biggest allies Russia and Venezuela imploded and Cuba stood intact. Cuba as
Fidel built one of the best healthcare systems in the world and free education system (highest literacy rate in the world) despite the choke-hold of the United States. Stood tall against United States’ imperialistic designs and support of dictator Batista. He survived dozens and dozens of failed assassination plots of CIA and humiliated America during Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis. It was the classic David & Goliath story. Its biggest allies Russia and Venezuela imploded and Cuba stood intact. Cuba as a matter of principal supported using its army against the apartheid regime of South Africa in Angola and it’s involvement led to the freedom of Namibia. Tens of thousands of Cuban doctors have saved lives in many countries in Latin America and Africa. Cuba’s track record in environmental protection is peerless in the world. All this was led by the leadership of Fidel Castro. Cuba’s record on PERSONAL FREEDOM is highly questionable and rightfully so. It is remarkable that Nelson Mandela upon his freedom in 1990 repeatedly thanked Fidel Castro. Rarely anyone has accused Castro and his team of any personal financial gains. My personal experience in interacting with the immediate family members of Fidel leaves no doubt that this is “one of the most powerful families of the political world” is beyond the all-pervasive political corruption around the world.
Even Bobby Kennedy (younger brother of JF Kennedy), while passionately leading the charge of palace coup mission in Cuba and for removal of Castro team had all admiration for the revolutionary zeal of Fidel Castro & Che Guevara (Book titled “Inconvenient Truth” ) and was envious.
In the 50s and 60s, the entire world was suffering from tyranny of dictators and exploitation and humiliation caused by Western Imperialists- no wonder “revolution” was the only refuse in that era- different leaders chose different paths: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and likes but they were the heroes. It is unbelievable that in a make-shift boat a team of 82 revolutionaries left Mexico shores and only 12 survived and landed in Cuba and toppled a regime supported by America and ruled by a dictator Batista.
Destiny produces a man for the historic moments and Fidel Castro was that ONE … Every time I am in Cuba and driving through its long coastal lines … one question keeps coming to me again and again — why it is that Socialist societies can not create wealth and prosperity for its people. The very people who started their revolution in the name of poor, could not get poverty out of their society … In fact the entire society becomes poorer on wealth index. Why the common person in their society have to be that fearful of those revolutionaries who have brought otherwise so many welcome changes.
That is a pity and that is the mystery for me…