Among his many other achievements, Fidel Castro’s accomplishments as the constructor of the new Cuban society include: overthrowing capitalism in favour of socialism and its related principles of equality and solidarity; defeating U.S. neo-colonialist domination to attain sovereignty, independence and dignity; upholding human rights in the areas of health, education, culture and sport; respecting racial equality, gender equality, food and housing for all; and defending freedom of speech and the press, the latter being one of the domains in which Fidel’s example still has much to teach us, and creating a civilized social/political atmosphere without violence. The basis of these exploits, which did not exist before 1959, is the political power of the people resulting from the Revolution that quashed the U.S.-backed state.
As early as 1953, the conquest of a new revolutionary people’s power was at the forefront of Fidel’s mind. This unshakeable goal was combined with the spirit of self-sacrifice that characterized his entire political life. Through defeats and victories from 1953 to 1956 until 1959, his every thought and action were inspired by this overriding guiding objective. It was indelibly combined with key creative tactics that were designed to convert the aspiration to conquer people’s power through armed revolution into a reality. This was the focus of Fidel’s passion.
The current new society bequeathed to the Cuban people finds its origins in the liberated areas during the wars of 1868 and 1895, the latter reaching new levels of organization under the leadership of the Revolutionary Party of Cuba and José Martí. Thus, the seeds of new political power were sowed in the second half of the 19th century, to be resuscitated and updated by Fidel in compliance with the new conditions. Local political power forged in the Sierra Maestra’s liberated areas in 1957–58 was embedded as a virtual state within the neo-colonial dominated state. The July 26 Movement and the Rebel Army were founded and developed by Fidel and his comrades. They grew as the seeds of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Armed Forces respectively. These institutions constitute two ramparts in the maintenance and development of the people’s power, in combination with Cuba’s socialist culture as the shield.
In the course of this epic victorious march and in the ensuing decades, Fidel contributed toward a new feature of the culture of enacting politics within the Cuban Revolution. He was a communicator par excellence, a key component to conquer and improve political power. Thus, his thought and action, among other aspects of his legacy, constitute a new culture of communication between the leader and his people. Let’s look at five examples of how Fidel’s culture of enacting politics was fuelled by the new culture of communication, both of which mutually propelled each other.
First, there was the 1953 writing and distribution of “History Will Absolve Me.” One may ask how it is possible to speak of the communication talents of a leader representing the people’s quest for political power, when he was imprisoned in solitary confinement, far from the masses. However, despite these extreme restrictions, he managed to communicate secretly with other jailed combatants, with some inmates serving time for common crimes and even with guards and prison employees. Before and after his defence, this was his extremely limited world.
Despite being limited to this underground communication system only and combined with the few books he was able to muster, he prepared his defence by memory. It was reported that he wrote and edited in his cell day and night, committing every word to memory until the moment he was brought to court. Only a person entirely devoted to solving Cuba’s problems through a revolution to open the path for people’s power could have maximized such scant communication tools at his disposal.
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