Viva Fidel’ Reverberates through the Condolence Meeting in New Delhi

“FIDEL continues to live among all us Cubans and we will continue to carry forward the legacy of Fidel Castro by staying true to the revolution”, pledged the Cuban Ambassador Oscar Martinez. He was speaking at the memorial meeting organised by both the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI(M) and the Communist Party of India, CPI to pay homage to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution in New Delhi.

Recalling the legacy of Fidel Castro, the ambassador stated that Fidel will always be an example who strove for the construction of socialist society in Cuba, where the people did not have to suffer from hunger, illiteracy, ill-health and unemployment. He said that Fidel was not only concerned about the problems of the Cubans, but was also concerned about the increasing inequalities and poverty in other countries as well. He shared some of the anecdotes from Fidel's last visit to India in 1983, when he had come to attend the Non-Aligned Movement's Summit. The ambassador thanked the Left parties and all the people of India for their messages of solidarity in these hard times. He remarked that he was overwhelmed by the love and affection the people of India have shown towards Fidel and this in itself is a reflection of the legacy of Fidel.

Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), who had presided over the meeting along with D Raja, Secretariat member of the CPI, stated that Fidel was a great internationalist who always stood for the rights of the third world countries. He said that Fidel is one of the tallest leaders of the international communist movement and his legacy will endure for all times to come.

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M) paying rich tributes to Fidel Castro said that he was a visionary who had correctly analysed the developing situation and had the foresight to predict the future on that basis. Fidel, he pointed, was a true practitioner of Marxism-Leninism, with his penchant for 'concrete analysis of concrete conditions' and the dialectical application of theory to practice. Yechury stated that at every crucial period of Cuban history, whenever the country was faced with a crisis, it was Fidel who stood in the forefront and had led the country with great courage and conviction. Here he mentioned the incidents of Bay of Pigs in 1961 and the Special Period of the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yechury also recalled how Fidel had warned about the revisionist character of the theory of 'perestroika' pursued by Gorbachev and prepared the country to face any hardship that would arise from these policies pursued in the Soviet Union.

Yechury said that though Cuba and India are separated by thousands of kilometres, the response of Indian people to the call given for solidarity with Cuba (when they donated 10,000 tonnes of wheat) had showed how much they valued the Cuban Revolution and the people of Cuba. Fidel, along with Che, have an everlasting impact on the memories of Indians, he stated.

Yechury lauded the leadership of Fidel for successfully coming out of this Special Period and isolation. The advances made by Cuba in education, healthcare and biotechnology, to mention a few, in spite of all these difficulties is a testimony to Fidel's vision for Cuba. It is for this reason that Cuba stands first among the comity of nations, even the advanced countries included, in the field of medicine and healthcare. He saluted the phenomenal role played by Fidel in leading the tiny country on the path of socialism, withstanding all the pressures exerted by the imperialist behemoth, which is hardly 90 miles away from it. He stated that Cuba successfully resisted the economic embargo and all other such attempts to strangulate it, and Fidel had played an important role in leading the people of Cuba in this resistance. Paying tributes and true homage to Fidel is staying true to his ideals of socialism and carrying forward the struggle against imperialism, he concluded.

Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary of the CPI stated that Fidel is an inspiration not only to the people of Cuba, but to all the people of the world. Fidel is an internationalist who was ready to respond to any call for help and played a great role in building the unity of third world countries, he stated. The formation of Left and progressive governments in Latin America is also influenced by the Cuban Revolution, which had inspired people of those countries to rise in struggle against the imperialist domination of their countries, Sudhakar Reddy stated. Sharing the grief of Cubans, he said the demise of Fidel Castro is a great loss to the Left and progressive forces throughout the world.

D Raja, in his concluding address recalled the two occasions when he had the fortune to listen to Fidel Castro and said it was Fidel's leadership that led to the construction of a society free of any sort of racial and gender distinctions and discrimination in Cuba. He said that people of India will always remember and cherish the memory of Fidel Castro, by continuing their struggle against all forms of exploitation.

Sitaram Yechury and D Raja were part of the official Indian delegation that went to Havana, Cuba to pay homage to Fidel Castro during the massive rally that was organised on November 29.

Pran Nath Sharma from SUCI(C) also spoke on the occasion.

The condolence meeting started with the song Guantanamera played by various Cuban artists across the world and concluded with the rendering of the Internationale, with a video playing in which both Fidel and Raul were seen singing, along with the delegates who attended the Party Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Leaders of both the Communist parties and various mass organisations along with people from all walks of life participated in the condolence meeting.