The article below is based on a talk by Felipe Stuart Courneyeur to the Canada-wide convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba, in Toronto in June.
Courneyeur has dual Nicaraguan-Canadian nationality; he divides his time between the two countries. He is an active member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). The article is abridged from johnriddell.wordpress.com.
Fifty-eight years ago, January 1, 1959, registered the definitive victory, on the level of the nation state, of the Cuban workers, farmers and student youth. Those three social forces of men and women constituted a broad national class of oppressed and exploited people, mostly poor.
Imperialism oppressed them as a nation through a world system centred in and controlled by the United States ruling class. Added to that was their exploitation by their own ruling class of cronies, parasites and pimps — sell-out servants and agents of Uncle Sam.
For the first time in the Americas, the workers and farmers took state power, arms in hand, and initiated an uninterrupted revolutionary process heading towards socialism.
In April 1961, the revolutionary democratic government, led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, declared the socialist character of the revolution and the class character of the new state — a state resting on the toilers and committed to their social and economic interests. This was a new state dedicated to the advance of anti-imperialist struggle at home and abroad.
That is how the Cuban people answered the insult and injury of the Playa Giron/Bay of Pigs invasion. It was a disaster, to be sure, but for Washington and its hired gusanos (worms). The Cubans defeated that mercenary assault within hours — an historic victory for us and a humiliating defeat for parasites everywhere.
The rest, as they say, is history.
How should we assess this nearly six decades of the wielding of class power by the majority class of toilers in Cuba? I think this question can be answered summarily in six points:
- The Cuban revolution was and has continued to be a victory for the Caribbean island country’s national sovereignty.
- It was a victory for popular grassroots democracy.
- A victory for the toilers of all continents.
- A victory for socialism.
- A victory for the peoples of the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- And a victory for peace and economic, social and cultural development both in Cuba and in culturally akin countries. I suggest you look into the phenomenal work of the Cuban Casas de las Americas Institute or the Cuban health teams’ work in the Americas and around the globe.
The Cuban Revolution was a blow against and defeat for imperialism and its structures of minority rule.
That means it was a victory for majority rule; one that, over the decades, has rippled through other countries like Bolivia. This new century saw the victory of indigenous majority rule in that landlocked Andean country, of indigenous democracy for the first time since the European conquest and genocide.
Above all, the socialist revolution, still waged even today by the Cuban people, was and is a victory for the yearnings of peoples everywhere to live in a new worldwide society based on internationalism and solidarity, fairness and respect among people.
Finally, Cuba has shown that anti-imperialist nationalism and anti-capitalist internationalism go hand in hand, ever in solidarity.
Cuba continues to defy a system rooted in the simultaneous pillage of the product of the toilers and of the earth. They are challenging a system shot through with permanent wars and unnecessary plagues and diseases.
The rulers cling to a system geared to produce obscene concentrations of wealth for a tiny cohort of parasites; an economic system driven by the need for unhampered growth, entailing the production of waste, instruments of mass destruction, and permanent wars — all for greater profit for the few.
That is why the Empire must and will continue to fight back against the majority. That is why they must keep trying to destroy the Cuban Revolution and smash those that followed it — like the Nicaraguan, Venezuelan and Bolivian revolutions.
Imperialism cannot co-exist with Cuba’s socialist internationalism any more than the capitalist-motivated European settler colonies and states could co-exist with the communalist indigenous societies of the Americas and of other lands like Australia and New Zealand.
That, too, is why the Cuban Revolution belongs to the global human family.
If we want to win, to form a government of the toilers, to defend our victories from imperialist-driven counterrevolution, then we say, “Let us be like the Cubans, let us learn from their experiences.”
Above all, let us never abandon our Cuban brothers and sisters.
Cuban President Raul Castro has reminded us that now is the hour of defence of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution; and of Bolivia’s newly achieved system of Indigenous majority rule — both under vicious attack by Washington-inspired forces.
It is true that the Cuban people cannot, and have never tried, to solve all the problems of the world. They do what they can, at great sacrifice, and thereby provide us with an unprecedented, incessant, ongoing example of human solidarity.
The big problems facing humanity will be solved, above all, in the most powerful imperialist countries where industrial, financial and military strength and capacity are concentrated. They will be solved there or not at all.
We will dare — like our Cuban brothers and sisters — to solve them. We have to!