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News > Cuba

Fidel Castro: 96 Years of a Symbol of Dignity and Emancipation

  • Revolutionaries around the world celebrate this Saturday the 96th anniversary of the birth of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Aug. 13, 2022.

    Revolutionaries around the world celebrate this Saturday the 96th anniversary of the birth of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Aug. 13, 2022. | Photo: Prensa Latina

Published 13 August 2022

In the face of the interventionist policy that sends soldiers to any corner of the world, Fidel Castro sent doctors to the neediest places.

Revolutionaries around the world celebrate this Saturday the 96th anniversary of the birth of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, a universal symbol of emancipation ideas and of the anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist struggle.


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Fidel is a reference of Marxist thought and its creative application in Cuba, a nation that, despite being small and poor, became a torch in the dark shadow of the empire.

Much is known about the man who in 1959 led to the triumph of the mass movement that he later defined as "a Revolution of workers, peasants and students". However, less known are other facets of his life that brought his transforming capacity closer to the people.

Happy birthday, dear #Fidel . We feel you among us in the challenging hours of the last days and in the inalienable dreams of always. We follow your footsteps, we will win! #FidelPorSiempre

Restless and inquisitive student

Fidel Castro was a restless and inquisitive student. His passion for reading and knowledge shaped his ability to delve deeper and form an integral idea of social and historical processes.

In the album of graduates of the Belen School in Havana, where Fidel studied between 1942 and 1945, it is stated that "he always distinguished himself in all subjects related to literature".

A passion for sports

His passion for sports also accompanied him throughout his life. In the graduation book of Belen we can read that "he was a true athlete, always defending with courage and pride the flag of the school. He has earned the admiration and affection of all".

He was attracted to basketball, baseball and swimming. He is also remembered playing chess. He believed that physical exercise strengthened health and character.

Faithful to his premise of sport as a right, he created a system of sports facilities and a synergy between sport and education that helps to understand that a nation subjected to a fierce blockade by the United States has 84 Olympic titles, far ahead of countries like Spain and Brazil.

Solidarity and humanism

Nicolás Maduro once called it "the shared solidarity that today embraces the peoples of the world".  And to understand the phrase it would be enough to see Fidel among hundreds of Vietnam fighters whom he visited in September 1973, in the midst of the liberation war against the US invader.

No other ruler and statesman ran the risk of traveling to that place. The fall of Saigon was still two years away and Fidel already foresaw that the Vietnamese people would break the back of the "most industrially powerful, militarily powerful and economically powerful imperialist country", in his words.

Internationalist footprint

In the face of interventionist and interventionist policies that send soldiers and cannons to any corner of the world, Fidel sent doctors to the most needy. Since the early 1960s, some 420,000 Cuban health professionals have provided assistance in more than 120 countries.

The care provided between 1990 and 2011 to more than 26,000 children from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine suffering from severe ailments after the Chernobyl nuclear accident (April 1986) was singular and unique.

Fidel took a personal interest in them, in displays of affection that he multiplied among Cuban children and young people, to whom he entrusted from an early date the future of the Revolution and the most important tasks.

The world remembers the tragedy of #Chernobyl that occurred 35 years ago in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. #Cuba made that pain his own by offering treatment and cures to thousands of children affected by the nuclear accident. #CubaSalvaVidas

Between 2015 and 2018 alone, Cuba came to deploy more than 50,000 doctors, nurses and other technicians in 68 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Evocations from the Patria Grande

As the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa said after Fidel's death, with him Cuba built not the walls that empires erect, but bastions of dignity, respect and internationalism.

Evo Morales said that Fidel put Cuba on the map of the world fighting against the politics of the empire, while the world recognizes Fidel as an unattainable epic in times of loneliness for all humanity.

Hugo Chávez, with whom he had a great friendship, called him "Caesar of dignity and socialism" and called him "a father, a companion, a master of perfect strategy".

Source: Twitter @OmarValinoCedre

Another close friend, Gabriel García Márquez, once said that Fidel found in José Martí his bedside author and had the talent to incorporate his ideology into the bloodstream of a Marxist revolution.

Maradona called him the greatest in history and tattooed his face on his left leg, while on his right arm he had an image of Che Guevara tattooed. Diego confessed to him one day: "Fidel, if I have learned anything from you over the years of our sincere and beautiful friendship, it is that loyalty is priceless".

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