Editor’s Note: Statement by the SPUSA National Action Committee, passed 11/27/16
On November 25th, 1956, Fidel Castro and eighty-one revolutionaries set sail from Mexico to Cuba; a voyage whose implications would change the course of human history.
After the successful overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Castro governed the Caribbean island for nearly fifty years. During that time, Cuba became an international leader in education and health care and stood against U.S. imperialism with strength and courage that continues to inspire liberation movements worldwide.
We do not view Fidel Castro and the government he led uncritically. At the same time, we do not subscribe to the broad-brush denouncements of the U.S. government and media that are based in capitalist self-interest instead of support for the Cuban people. The shortcomings of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution should be understood, not to endlessly criticize, but to learn and develop ourselves and our politics.
Our thoughts now are not only with the revolutionary leader who has passed on, but with everything that he achieved. The successful struggle to end apartheid in South Africa was made possible in large part due to Cuban intervention. While the United States and Western Europe ignored the Ebola crisis until it had reached their countries, Cuba was on the front lines in Africa with doctors and medical supplies. The Cuban Literacy Campaign in 1961, which mobilized over three hundred thousand Cubans to become volunteer teachers, brought the national literacy rate from as low as 60% to 96% and set the stage for future, international work by Cuba to improve literacy in other counties.
Countless people are alive and have a better quality of life as a result of Fidel Castro committing the Republic of Cuba to a focus on international solidarity.
The Socialist Party sends its condolences to the Castro family and the people of Cuba. Fidel Castro is gone, but his revolutionary fire lives on in the resilience of the Cuban people and in anti-capitalist struggles across the world. Our solidarity remains with the Cuban people, both in this time of mourning and in the challenging days ahead.