Sunday 27th November
The news has come as a sort of quiet shock. And we have had a lot of deaths this year, though few from the Political World, or actually from a World a world away from Politics; Fidel Castro was a real Revolutionary, possibly the last we will see for a long time. He had been ill for some time and had handed over the reins of power to his brother Raoul a few years ago. There has been a slow rapprochement with America and the West in the last few years; a long way away from the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs and all of that.
But let us not forget Fidel Castro and that other Revolutionary Che Geuvara, who was killed fighting a few years later in Bolivia. In the Sixties we looked up to these guys, and they were young too back then. We saw them as freedom fighters, fighting corrupt and rich rulers of their countries. The shine had already rubbed off the Russian Revolution, and their leaders, and the apparatchniks of the Communist Party were seen as out of touch with the ideals of Communism which some of us still espoused. But Fidel and Che were different, they didn’t live in Palaces, they weren’t interested in World Domination, although Cuba did send troops and assistance to a few movements in Africa. If the stories are to be believed, everyone used to help with the sugar harvest, and there was real equality.
Looking back now, Cuba seems like a dream we might once have had. The dominance of Neo-Liberalism and Corporate Big Business and Globalisation in our times makes it seem quite unfeasible that anything like fairness and equality, let alone brought about by a real Revolution, could ever happen again. We are in a world where the Rich get richer and the poor remain poor; all Politicians seem able to do is to manage the wretched thing as well as possible. The pendulum has swung way over to the Right; we need an army of Fidels to push it back the other way.