The following letter was sent by Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes to Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, on Nov. 27, 2016, after the death two days earlier of Fidel Castro, his brother and central leader of Cuba’s socialist revolution.
There were two great socialist revolutions in the twentieth century, one in Russia, the other in Cuba. Neither was the product of a single individual. Both were the result of the operations of capitalism itself. But without the presence and political leadership of Vladimir Lenin and of Fidel Castro Ruz at decisive moments in those historic battles by working people, there is no reason to believe either revolution would have been victorious.
Apart from Lenin and Fidel, the history of the twentieth century — and the twenty-first — is unthinkable. Both of them, Marxist students of science and history, gave their lives to uprooting the dog-eat-dog exploitation, oppression and compulsion on which the capitalist world order depends and replacing it with a workers state, with new social and economic relations based on the liberating capacities of working people and the youth they inspire.
Fidel belongs to Cuba first and foremost, to the men and women of José Martí and Antonio Maceo. His highest achievement was forging in struggle a revolutionary cadre, a communist cadre, capable of leading the workers and farmers of Cuba to establish the first free territory of the Americas and successfully defend it for more than five and a half decades against the determination to destroy it by the mightiest and most brutal empire the world has known.
But Fidel belongs to the working people of the world as well. From Latin America and the Caribbean, to Africa and Asia, to North America and Europe, he showed us in action what proletarian internationalism means. During Cuba’s historic sixteen-year mission aiding the people of Angola and Namibia against apartheid South Africa and its promoters in Washington, Fidel demonstrated his unmatched political leadership on a world scale. He also proved, as the Rebel Army combatants of the Sierra knew well, that he was one of the toilers greatest military commanders ever.
All this is why Fidel became the most loved as well as the most hated, the most slandered man of our lifetimes.
As Fidel said in his farewell words to the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in April, “We all reach our turn.” He cannot be replaced, but his life work, Cuba’s socialist revolution — its example, and above all its ongoing march — stand as his monument. He needs no other.
For our part, members of the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists will continue to do everything in our power to publish and spread the truth about the Cuban Revolution and Fidel’s leadership, to make it known to working people in the United States and throughout the world. With unshakable confidence in the working class and its allies, we will continue to organize and act on the course Fidel uncompromisingly presented to the world in 1961, a month before the victorious battle of Playa Girón: “There will be a victorious revolution in the United States before a victorious counterrevolution in Cuba.”