The Communist Party of Ireland expresses it great sadness at the death of Fidel Castro. The Communist Party of Ireland sends its sincere condolences to his family. We pledge our ongoing solidarity with the Cuban people and the Cuban Revolution.
Fidel Castro “the commander in chief of the Cuban revolution” was an outstanding revolutionary leader who not alone led his people to victory in Cuba, but became a symbol of resistance for millions of oppressed peoples and nations. Born in 1926 to a prominent landowner in Holguín Province, Cuba, Fidel went on to lead Cuba’s revolutionary independence movement,defeating the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959, leading to the building of a socialist society.
The revolutionary government and people led by Fidel began the long and difficult process of transforming a a backward and underdeveloped country which had been occupied and dominated for centuries into a beacon of hope, a society that ended illiteracy, provided free medical care to all its citizens and work for all its people. Cuba is now a country with one of the most advanced bio-tech industries in the world, leading in the way in the development of new drugs in the treatment of cancer, meningitis and other areas.
In a true international spirit Cuba is willing to share its achievements. It’s literacy program, so successful at home, is credited with having taught millions to read outside of Cuba. Cuban doctors and educational specialists now work in volunteer brigades providing badly needed medical and educational services to millions across the world, especially in those facing medical emergencies. They were the first on the ground in response to the earthquake in Haití, and again in the cholera epidemic and after Hurricane “Matthew”. They have been lauded for their “heroic” contribution to combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The success of the Cuban revolution and the threat of “a good example” that it posed to western imperialist domination has resulted in 50 years of a hostile blockade imposed by successive US governments. Cuba defeated the “Bay of Pigs” invasion and survived fifty years of an unremitting blockade imposed by the US, thanks initially to the support of the Soviet Union. Fidel himself has survived hundreds of assassination attempts organised and planned by the CIA.
When the South African apartheid regime invaded Angola in 1987 the Cuban revolutionary armed forces played a decisive role in defeating the invading army at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale. This marked the turning point of the war and the beginning of the end of the apartheid regime. As Fidel said “Cuba is not only a Latin American country. It is a Latin African country.”
In their struggle against North American domination the peoples of Latin America could see in Cuba an example of courage and resistance. Their struggle has won many notable victories, notably the election of Hugo Chavez as President of Venezuela in 1998. This provided much relief to the Cuban people who had suffered severely from the blockade in the years following the defeat of Socialism in the Soviet Union. Further advances throughout the continent led to the establishment of CELAC, unifying the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
He has left and indelible mark on the struggle for social justice and for freedom. He was an outstanding revolutionary leader and intellectual thinker. A man of great culture and a deep love for humanity. History has absolved him.
The struggle of the Cuban people and all peoples for independence, progress and socialism will be forever associated with the name of Fidel Castro