September 1, 2023
From Internationalist 360

Ana Hurtado

We have recently seen Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel touring the African continent with his work team. He was received everywhere as a son, as a brother and even as a father. We should not be surprised that this is the case, we only need to look back a little way to see why.

When the African continent broke the chains of colonialism, Kwane Nkrumah wrote a manifesto: Africa Must Unite. This visionary Ghanaian politician and writer was aware that African countries alone were not in a position to compete with the modern, Westernized world. Only a united Africa could be strong enough to not be trampled upon.

However, in the words of Polish writer Ryszard Kapuściński,  the white colonialists in many of the countries  were to be replaced by a black elite but the independence did not change the white power structure.

“The struggle for power fueled rivalries between ethnic groups and different tribes so the administration was transformed into a battlefield for sharing national wealth and political power. Corruption became widespread and conflicts were inevitable”, he said.

Not to mention the coups d’état. The knew for example that Thomas Sankara, rest in peace,  was a light, a hope in the continent so they ended up assassinating him.

Africa has been completely forgotten by the rulers of the world. In fact, after the fall of the socialist bloc, Western Europe decided to “privilege” Eastern European citizens with no other purpose than to colonize them culturally.

But Cuba was there from the very beginning. Cuba gave knowledge, hearts, souls and lives for the freedom of an oppressed continent as its people had been many decades before.

Therefore, to be in solidarity with the people of Cuba is nothing more than to be reciprocal for all the examples of solidarity of which Cuba has shown the world, time and time again.

Fidel educated Cubans under the principle of extending a generous hand to needy peoples and placed solidarity and integration at the center of the country’s foreign policy.

Based on José Martí’s maxim “Homeland is humanity”, Fidel made internationalist solidarity a pillar of the Revolution by supporting movements fighting against imperial oppression in Latin America, Africa and wherever it was needed.

Algeria was the first to benefit from Cuban aid in December 1961 as it waged its war against French colonialism. Similarly, Cuba played a key role in the struggle against Apartheid and sent nearly 300,000 soldiers to Angola between 1975 and 1988 to confront the aggression of South Africa’s white supremacist army.

And without going any further, I must mention the decisive element that put an end to the racist regime supported by Western powers  was the resounding defeat of the South African army in Cuito Cuanavale against Cuban troops in January 1988.

What would have become of all the struggles of these people people without the help of Fidel’s people?

Cuba not only helped outside but also welcomed inside and was, is and will always be the sanctuary of revolutionaries from all over the world.  Those of us – and I include myself – are formed, learn and grow in the island with its values and by the steady hand of its humanism. This is also includes exporting solidarity by teaching.

Cuban doctors are known all over the world. We have mentioned them a thousand times and we will not get tired of doing so. Right now here are thousands of Cuban health professionals, men and women, working in more than sixty countries around the world.

Operation Milagro -Venezuelans
receive eye surgery in Cuba. photo: Bill Hackwell

Since the triumph of the Revolution, Cuba has carried out nearly 600,000 missions in 158 countries with all kinds of medical consultations such as deliveries, surgeries and vaccinations. For example, “Operation Miracle” is already emblematic. Following Fidel’s idea, it was decided to launch in July 2004 a broad humanitarian campaign under the same name with the help and collaboration of Venezuela, which consisted of operating free of charge on poor Latin Americans suffering from cataracts and other eye diseases who had no possibility of financing this type of procedure. This humanitarian mission was also extended to other latitudes such as Asia and Africa.

Since its inception, nearly three million people in thirty-five countries have recovered their sight. During this same period of time, other countries with many more resources have dedicated themselves to other less noble things, to put it politely.

Cuban “Si Se Puede” education model
to teach literacy in Latin America. photo: Bill Hackwell

Cuba has also been present in the world of education with the literacy program “Si se Puede” (Yes, I can) in 2003,  at the proposal of Fidel himself,  a program with wide success was applied to several Latin American countries in 2008, aimed at making illiterate adults literate. This program constituted the first regional effort against exclusion and poverty, bringing to fruition the proclamation of what Martí also called “The full dignity of man”.

There is no shortage of examples when it comes to Cuba’s altruism and solidarity with the peoples of the world.

And so Cuba continues on this same path today. Diaz Canel represents the purest continuity with the peoples of the world. There is no single life to be grateful to, rather all those whose freedom, education and health has depended strictly on the unconditional and voluntary help of a blockaded island that has never given away crumbs. It has given what it had for its own, to others.

Undoubtedly, the Revolution has awakened the moral sense of the people. It has awakened the human solidarity of the men and women of the people.

The Cuban Revolution has abolished selfishness and has made generosity the principal virtue of every citizen. The Revolution has gathered the best of the nation. The Revolution has swept away. The Revolution has purified. The Revolution has made decent. The Revolution has dignified. The Revolution has redeemed.

Thank you Fidel, for your people, for mine and for the others.

Source: Cubadebate translation Resumen Latino Americano – English