On Saturday, August 13, Fidel Castro began his 10th decade. Remarkable by any standard, he survived hundreds of US attempts to kill him, along with serious illness at nearly age 80.
Following his recovery, GW Bush deplorably said “(o)ne day the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away.”
Fidel replied “(n)ow I understand why I survived Bush’s plans and the plans of other (US) presidents who ordered my assassination. The good Lord protected me.”
In his book “Fidel Castro: My Life,” he asked “(a)re we supposed to get down on our knees and have diplomatic discussions?”
“Those who don’t respond, those who don’t fight, those who don’t combat, those people are lost from the beginning, and in us, you’ll never find that kind of person.”
Cubans celebrated Fidel’s 90th. In Havana at midnight, a band played “Happy Birthday.” A fireworks display accompanied floats, dancers and salsa bands, stretching for miles down the coastal Malecon roadway.
One celebrant spoke for others, saying “Fidel is the best thing that happened to our country.” In retirement from official duties, he retains the title “Historic Leader.”
Not expected to appear for Saturday festivities in his honor, he’ll meet with Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.
Ahead of his arrival in Havana, Venezuelan Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz said “(w)e are experiencing a time of threats, attempts at re-colonization, in which the people of the continent must have their morals and a strong spirit of resistance at the ready, for which we must look to the example of Fidel.”
He survived 12 US presidents, all wanting him eliminated – including Obama. His “new course on Cuba” is old wine in new bottles.
His so-called thaw in bilateral relations conceals dirty business as usual by other means – the end goal the same as earlier, US dominance replacing sovereign Cuban independence.
Tributes to Fidel poured in from scores of countries. Millions worldwide honor him. He’s the UN’s only acknowledged “World Hero of Solidarity.”
Cuban tobacconist Jose Castelar and his team spent days rolling a 90-meter cigar in his honor, saying it’s “to commemorate 90 years of our comandante…He hasn’t smoked for years, but the gift we are offering him is the hard work that we have done to commemorate his birthday.”
Biographer Ignacio Ramonet called him “the last ‘sacred giant’ of international politics. He belongs to the generation of mythical insurgents.”
They include “Mandela, Ho Chi Minh, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Che Guevara, Carlos Marighela, Camilo Torres, Mehdi ben Barka (among others) who pursuing an ideal of justice, threw themselves into political action.”
“Like thousands of progressives and intellectuals around the world, among them the most brilliant of men and women, that generation honestly thought that Communism promised a bright and shining future, and that injustice, racism and poverty could be wiped off the face of the face of the earth in a matter of decades.”
Fidel represents redoubtable resistance against imperial repression, exploitation and ruthlessness – today’s America its principal exponent.
A new generation of Fidelistas continue his half-century-long struggle. He “refused to relinquish (Cuban) sovereignty to the greatest superpower on the planet,” said Ramonet.
On Saturday, August 13, Cuba will become “one giant concert,” reported the Havana Times. At age 90, Fidel remains committed to world peace and social justice.
His honesty and integrity are impeccable, his forthrightness expressed in concern about possible nuclear annihilation – America “bereft of…moral values” the leading threat.
Legendary in his own time, one day he’ll be immortalized more than already.
May he have many more birthdays in good health and vibrant spirit. Viva Fidel!