The Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, presided over the central ceremony for the 53rd Anniversary of the Assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cèspedes barracks in the Province of Granma (photo Jorge Luis Gonzàlez) 26-7-06
In his analysis of the United States, Gabriel García Márquez, a Nobel laureate in literature, said of the profound vision that characterized the leader of the Cuban Revolution: “The country he knows more about, after Cuba, is the United States. He knows in depth the nature of its people, its power structures, the ulterior motives of its governments, and this has helped him overcome the incessant storm of the blockade. It is one of the answers to the frequent question asked by millions of people as to how Fidel managed to circumvent and defeat the aggressive policies of more than ten U.S. administrations.
On the basis of a deep understanding and assumption of the teachings of both Cuban and Universal history, as well as the thoughts of José Martí, one of Fidel’s great obsessions, since he began his revolutionary struggle in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, consisted of avoiding by all possible means a scenario that would facilitate or stimulate an intervention by the United States in Cuba, that would frustrate the victory of the rebels against Batista’s tyranny, and thus prevent a repetition of the history of 1898, when the victory of the Cuban mambises was hijacked by Yankee intervention.
In the final months of 1958, that danger became greater when several incidents occurred, evidently fabricated by the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the Yankee ambassador, with the intention of generating a situation that would facilitate the intervention of the Marines in Cuba. There were several provocations developed in that sense, but the Commander never fell into the trap, with great tactical ability he managed to avoid those pitfalls and dangers.
After the revolutionary triumph of 1959, the mastery of the leader of the Cuban Revolution would become even more notorious in order to avoid any circumstance that could serve as an excuse for the United States to intervene militarily on the island, especially at times when there were significant crises in bilateral relations.
Cuba’s disadvantage vis-à-vis the power of the United States never led Fidel to a position of entrenchment such that he avoided any contact with American society. On the contrary, in addition to encouraging people-to-people exchanges, he himself devoted a great deal of time to this interaction, with the aim of strengthening the capacity to influence American society in order to present the truth about Cuba, destroying all kinds of stereotypes, as well as fallacies constructed and repeated to the point of exhaustion by the hegemonic media. This was one of Fidel’s greatest successes since he was in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, where he received numerous U.S. journalists and through them, in addition to delivering strong media blows to the dictatorship, he managed to convey important messages to the United States.
Conciliatory messages to the people and government of the United States would later be transferred by the Commander when he traveled to that country in April 1959. He also refuted all kinds of calumnies about the Revolution that had been reproduced in the Western media and in statements by representatives of the Eisenhower administration.
After the rupture of diplomatic relations in January 1961, the leader of the Revolution did not lose any opportunity to build the necessary bridges with U.S. society and the political class of that country, which could foster favorable tendencies for change in U.S. policy toward Cuba.
For years, the Commander in Chief devoted long hours of his busy schedule to receiving and attending to personalities of U.S. politics, media and culture. The great majority of those visitors returned to their country with a different vision of Cuba and of the leader of the Revolution and, in many cases, they became standard-bearers in the fight against the blockade and for the normalization of relations between the two nations.
The leader of the Revolution also stood out for his ability to always anticipate the movements of the contrary, which allowed him to defeat the most diverse variants of anti-Cuba policy from the north. It is impressive the way in which, many years before the historic announcements of December 17, 2014, Fidel had already predicted in several of his public statements and in interviews that the U.S. government could adopt a policy of seduction to achieve the same goals that the policy of force had not achieved in relation to Cuba. An example of this, and not the only one, was his speech of December 5, 1988, in the Plaza de la Revolución, when he proclaimed: “Even if one day they formally improved relations between socialist Cuba and the empire, the empire would not cease in its idea of crushing the Cuban Revolution, and it does not conceal it, its theorists explain it, the defenders of the philosophy of the empire explain it. (…) Thus, the essence of Cuban revolutionary thought must be totally clear in the conscience of our people, who have had the privilege of being the first in these paths, and this is the awareness that we will never be able, while the empire exists, to lower our guard, to neglect the defense.
In January 1894, when there was very little left for the new independence struggle, Martí defined the “cautious and virile” position as the guiding line of Cuban policy towards the United States. Faced with the disparity of power, it was necessary to establish the respect of the adversary for the capacity to create, stand up, resist and win.
This virile position recommended by Martí was the one that distinguished the Commander in the face of every threat and attempt to curtail Cuba’s sovereignty by the different U.S. administrations. This was the case during the mercenary invasion of Playa Girón, as well as during the October Crisis, where only with his courageous and intransigent position -supported overwhelmingly by the Cuban people- by refusing any type of inspection of Cuban territory, by raising the Five Points and by preventing pressure at all times, The moral and political prestige of the Revolution could be preserved at a time when the United States had made its own decisions without the Cuban side, which resulted in the island being the most disadvantaged as a result of the solution to the crisis.
Assuming and enriching the ideas of Simón Bolívar, Martí and Fidel granted as part of their revolutionary strategy a privileged place to the necessary unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his revolutionary conception, Fidel always saw the Cuban process as part of a major Revolution, the one that was to take place throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence his constant solidarity and support for the liberation movements in the region and his denunciation of every act of Yankee interference. This position originated in the first instance from a feeling of identity and an inescapable historical duty, but also as a strategic necessity for the preservation and consolidation of the Cuban Revolution. Above all, bearing in mind that from the nineteenth century onwards, the main common enemy of the true emancipation of the peoples south of the Rio Bravo was – and continued to be – the United States, which on not a few occasions successfully used for its purposes the maxim of “divide and conquer”, a strategy that it has maintained up to the present day. This understanding had been expressed by the Cuban leader before 1959 and he stated it on numerous occasions. However, after the triumph of January 1959, Fidel’s integrationist vocation became more explicit in numerous public pronouncements. His ideas and broad accumulation of experience over the years, as well as the continuous changes in the international context, shaped his thinking.
The colossal efforts made by Fidel towards the unity and integration of the region began to bear fruit with the arrival of Hugo Chávez to the presidency of Venezuela in 1998, at a time when a real change of era began in Latin America. In 2004 Chávez and Fidel created the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) and the following year, in Mar del Plata, U.S. imperialism suffered a major defeat when the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA) was buried, an initiative that had been promoted by the U.S. government. In 2011 the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) would be born in Caracas and with it the most precious dream of Fidel and Martí, Bolívar and other heroes of our America. That unity is more essential today than ever when the hawks of the White House are preparing to divide and devour us.
Fidel’s thought and political practice in the face of U.S. imperialism constitute an inevitable reference not only for the Cuban people, but for all Latin American peoples who today resist the neo-colonial offensive of the brutal and violent north that despises us.