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Fidel at 87

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at 11:44 PM


Fidel at 87

Stephen Lendman

Last August 13, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz turned 87. He's a legend in his own time. He led Cuba's revolution. He did so for half a century.

Freedom replaced police state rule. US imperial dominance ended. So did mafia boss control. Cuba was transformed into a casino and brothel. No longer since 1959.

Cubans won't tolerate recolonization. They survived America's viciousness. So did Fidel.

He remains committed for world peace. He champions social justice. He deplores imperial lawlessness. He survived against long odds.

Washington wanted him dead. He survived hundreds of attempts to kill him. In July 2006, he underwent major gastrointestinal surgery. Misreporting pronounced him dead or dying.

Following his recovery, George Bush said: "One day the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away."

In response, Fidel said: "Now I understand why I survived Bush's plans and the plans of other presidents who ordered my assassination. The good Lord protected me."

On February 18, 2008, he stepped down as Cuba's leader. He transferred power to his brother Raul.

He cited health as his main reason, saying:

"It would betray my conscience to take up a responsibility that requires mobility and total devotion, that I am not in a physical condition to offer."

On February 24, 2008, Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power unanimously voted Raul as president.

A second motion unanimously approved consulting Fidel on great matters of state. He remains Cuba's spiritual and emotional leader.

In retirement, he continued meeting foreign leaders and dignitaries. He urged Cubans not to worry about his health or eventual death.

In July 2010, he made his first public appearance after falling ill. He greeted science center workers. He discussed US tensions with Iran and North Korea. He did so on television.

His intellect remains acute. His perceptiveness is keen. His knowledge of vital issues is impressive.

His honesty and integrity are impeccable. His forthrightness is noteworthy. So is his fear of a nuclear holocaust.

On August 7, 2010, he gave his first National Assembly speech in four years. He spoke out against US militarism. He warned of a potential nuclear disaster. Reflections of Fidel appeared.

In March 2012, he headlined "The roads leading to disaster." "As far as I am concerned," he said, "I do not harbor the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit, and lead the world toward, the greatest error in its history."

He feared nuclear destruction. Perhaps annihilation. He believes Washington and Israel will eventually strike Iran.

"When they launch war," he said, "they're going to launch it there. It cannot help but be nuclear. I believe the danger of war is growing a lot. They are playing with fire."

On August 24, 2010, he headlined, "The nuclear winter." He expressed surprise about learning that "we do not need a nuclear world war for our species to perish."

A nuclear conflict between any two nations can do it. "A nuclear war is inevitable," he added.

It could happen "when the first Iranian vessel is inspected" or by any other trigger. Washington wants regime change. So does Israel. All means will be employed to achieve it. Perhaps the unthinkable will follow.

He calls America "a nation so powerful technologically bereft of both ideas and moral values." It's addicted to war. So is Israel.

It "openly declared its intention to attack the enriched uranium production plant in Iran," said Fidel. America "invested hundreds of millions of dollars in manufacturing a bomb for that purpose."

Imagine America and/or Israel conducting monstrous attacks. Imagine them risking humanity's survival. Imagine the lunacy behind this thinking.

Fidel's fears remain. He calls possible nuclear war the greatest threat since Cuba's October 1962 missile crisis. The unthinkable was possible. Cooler heads prevented it.

Hawks dominate Washington today. They rule Israel. The rage for war in both countries makes the unthinkable possible.

The specter of potential nuclear war remains. It's real. It's menacing. It gives pause to what potentially could happen.

Fidel remains bigger than life. Wayne Smith once headed the US Interests Section in Havana.

"Castro first and foremost is and always had been a committed egalitarian," he said. "He wanted a system that provided the basic needs to all - enough to eat, health care, adequate housing and education."

He provided benefits ordinary Americans can't imagine. He transformed Cuba from police state to egalitarian freedom. He gave Cubans what they never had before.

He believes revolutionary ideas more than ever are needed. Otherwise world history won't change.

Crisis conditions exist. Monied interests run things. Imperial lawlessness threatens humanity. Media misinformation deceives. It hides vital truths. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Waging peace, not war, is essential. Humanity's survival depends on it. Preserving it demands stopping Washington's imperial madness.

Fidel is aging. In time he'll pass. On January 8, he made his first public appearance in nine months. He attended the inauguration of Kcho's Romerillo Art Laboratory Studio.

It's a non-profit cultural center. It's dedicated to experimentation, development and promotion of the arts and human understanding.

January 8 was the 55th anniversary of Fidel's triumphant Havana arrival. Crowds greeted him joyfully. In July 1953, his liberating struggle began.

On January 1, 1959, he ousted Fulgencio Batista. Despotic rule ended. Egalitarian socialism replaced it. Jack Kennedy called Batista's regime a "complete police state."

Fidel last appeared publicly in April. He attended a Havana school's inauguration. In December, he met privately with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

It marked the 19th anniversary of Hugo Chavez's first trip. Maduro and Castro praised his ideals. They commemorated what he stood for.

In 1994, Chavez first visited Cuba. It was five years before he was elected Venezuela's president. He spoke publicly. He addressed Bolivarianism. He began a close friendship with Fidel. It lasted until his March 5, 2013 death.

Last August, on the occasion of his 87th birthday, Fidel wrote about "Objective truths and dreams."

He didn't expect to reach age 87. His 2006 illness was nearly fatal. "As soon as I understood that it would be definitive," he said, "I did not hesitate to cease my charges as president..."

"I proposed that the person designated to exercise that task proceed immediately to take it up." He referred to his younger brother Raul.

He felt compelled to complete "the promised revision of One Hundred Hours with Fidel." He was "prone." He "feared losing consciousness while" dictating.

Sometimes he fell asleep. He continued "day by day." He addressed "devilish questions which seemed...interminably long." He "persisted" until completing his task.

"I was far from imagining that my life would be prolonged seven more years," he explained. He did it in his first essay in four months.

He stopped publishing Reflections. He did so "because surely it is not my role to occupy the pages of our press, dedicated to other work the country requires," he explained.

He spends his time productively. "I like to write, and I write," he said. "I like to study, and I study."

In his August Reflection, he asked "(h)ow to honorably confront the growing number of obstacles suffered by the inhabitants of the planet?"

He addressed Cuba's liberation, saying:

"From January 1, 1959, our country took charge of its own destiny after 402 years of Spanish colonialism and 59 as a neo-colony."

Cuba was liberated from imperial rule. "It is essential not to overlook the history of the 'Ripe Fruit,' " he said, "dominant in the colonialist mentality of the powerful neighboring nation, which made its power prevail and not only refused the country the right to be free today, tomorrow and for ever, but attempted to annex our island as part of the territory of that powerful country."

He quoted Noam Chomsky saying "US policy is designed to increase terror."

America "is conducting the most impressive international terrorist campaign ever seen. (D)rone planes and the special forces campaign" reflect it.

On the one hand, Washington pursues "a massive terror campaign." It creates terrorists by doing so.

On the other, it claims a divine right mass mass-surveille everyone. At the same time, it wages global wars. Can humanity survive its onslaught?

He discussed his departed friend and comrade Hugo Chavez. "Those who knew him well know the priority he gave to... ideological challenges" he addressed.

He was a "man of action and ideas." An aggressive illness "caused him great suffering." He "confronted it with great dignity, and with profound pain for his family and close friends who loved him so much."

"Bolivar was his teacher and the guide who directed his steps through life. Both of them brought together sufficient grandeur to occupy a place of honor in human history."

"All of us are now awaiting Hugo Chavez, Mi Segunda Vida (Hugo Chavez: My Second Life) Without him, nobody could write the most authentic of histories better."

Fidel one day will be immortalized more than already. Supporters hope he has many more good years. Age takes its toll on everyone.

Fidel survived so far. He overcame his life-threatening illness. His determination to live perhaps saved him.

Hopefully he'll have many more happy birthdays. His ideas and spirit are too important to lose. Viva Fidel!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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