The Spirit of Struggle
Fidel Castro sent a message to the Federation of University Students on the occasion of an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of his admission to the University of Havana, CounterPunch wrote.
In 2006, as a result of health issues which were incompatible with the time and effort required to fulfill my duties – which I myself assumed when I entered this University September 4, 1945, 70 years ago – I resigned from my official positions.
I was not the son of a worker, or lacking in material or social resources for a relatively comfortable existence; I could say I miraculously escaped wealth. Many years later, a richer and undoubtedly very capable US citizen, with almost $100 billion, stated – according to a news agency article published this past Thursday, January 22 – that the predominant system of production and distribution of wealth would, from generation to generation, make the poor rich.
Observe carefully the realities of this well-known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don’t know what to do with it. Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants. Can this population increment be accommodated, in this way, over the next 100 years, and food, health, water and housing needs met, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made?
Story of a Conflict
A personal greeting between the presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the distinguished, exemplary combatant against apartheid who had become friendly with Obama.
It is enough to indicate that, at that time, several years had passed since Cuban troops had decisively defeated the South African army, directed by the wealthy bourgeoisie, which had vast economic resources. This is a story of a conflict which has yet to be written. South Africa, the government with the most financial resources on the continent, had nuclear weapons supplied by the racist state of Israel, as the result of an agreement between this party and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized the delivery of devices for the use of such weapons to attack Cuban and Angolan forces defending the Popular Republic of Angola against racist troops attempting to occupy the country.
Thus peace negotiations were excluded while Angola was attacked by apartheid forces, with the best trained and equipped army on the African continent.
In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution. Continual efforts to liquidate the Popular Republic of Angola, to bleed the country systematically with the power of that well equipped and trained army, was what led to the Cuban decision to deliver a resounding blow to the racists at Cuito Cuanavale, the former NATO base which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs.
That powerful country was obliged to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola, and an end to apartheid in South Africa.
The African continent was left free of nuclear weapons. Cuba was forced to face, for a second time, the threat of a nuclear attack. Cuban internationalist troops withdrew from Africa with honor.
No White Flag
Then Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do.
Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people’s exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.
I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war. Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.
We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s peoples, and with those of our political adversaries. This is what we are demanding for all.
The president of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded by the national assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.
The grave dangers that today threaten humanity must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied such a right.
In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle, to my last breath.