This August 13, the Commandante en Jefe would have turned 93. The validity of his thought and action remains clear and serves to guide progressive, social justice efforts around the world.
The profound point of view that characterized the leader of the Cuban Revolution’s analysis of the United States was noted by Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Gabriel García Márquez, when he stated: “The country about which he knows the most, besides Cuba, is the United States. He understands in depth the nature of its people, its power structures, the ulterior motives of its governments, and this has helped him deal with the never-ending storm of the blockade.” This is part of the answer to a frequent question asked by millions of people about how Fidel was able to resist and overcome the aggressive policies of more than ten U.S. administrations.
Based on a deep understanding and assimilation of the lessons provided by Cuban and world history, as well as the thought of José Martí, one of Fidel's great obsessions, since he began his revolutionary struggle in the Sierra Maestra, consisted of avoiding by all possible means any scenario that would facilitate or lead to a U. S. intervention in Cuba, that would frustrate the rebel’s victory over the Batista dictatorship, and thus ensure that the history of 1898 was not repeated, when the victory of the Cuban Mambises was cut short by a Yankee intervention.In the final months of 1958, this danger became even greater when several incidents occurred, evidently fabricated by the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the U.S. ambassador, with the intention of generating a situation that would justify the Marines landing in Cuba. There were several provocations developed on this order, but the Commandante never fell into the trap, with great tactical ability he managed to evade these pitfalls and dangers.After the revolutionary triumph of 1959, the leader of the Cuban Revolution’s mastery in avoiding any circumstance that could serve as a pretext for the United States to intervene militarily was critical, especially at times when significant crises occurred in bilateral relations.Cuba’s great disadvantage facing the power of the United States never led Fidel to a position of entrenchment, avoiding any contact with U.S. society. On the contrary, in addition to encouraging people-to-people exchanges, he himself devoted much time to interaction, with the goal of enhancing our ability to influence U.S. society, to disseminate Cuba’s reality, debunking all kinds of stereotypes, and carefully constructed fallacies, repeated tirelessly by the hegemonic media.
After diplomatic relations were broken in January of 1961, the leader of the Revolution did not miss any opportunity to build bridges with U.S. society and politicians in that country, to encourage sectors in favor of changing U.S. policy toward Cuba. For years Fidel dedicated long hours of his busy schedule to receive and attend figures in U.S. politics, the media and culture. The vast majority of these visitors returned to their country with a different vision of Cuba and the leader of the Revolution and, in many cases, became leaders in the fight against the blockade and for the normalization of relations between the two nations.IIIThe leader of the Revolution’s remarkable ability to foresee his adversary’s next move allowed him to defeat the most diverse variants of U.S. policy toward Cuba. It is impressive how, many years before the historic announcements of December 17, 2014, Fidel had predicted in several public comments and interviews that the United States government could adopt a policy of seduction toward Cuba, to achieve the goals they had not been able to accomplish with force. An example of this - not the only one - was his speech on December 5, 1988, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, when he stated: “Even if one day relations between socialist Cuba and the empire formally improve, this will not mean that the empire has foregone the idea of crushing the Cuban Revolution. And they do not hide this; their theorists explain this, the defenders of the empire's philosophy explain it… Thus, there is something that must be part of the essence of Cuban revolutionary thought, something that must be totally clear in the conscience of our people, who have had the privilege of being the first to take this path. And this is the awareness that, as long as the empire exists, we cannot lower our guard, or neglect our defense.”IVAssuming and enriching the ideas of Simón Bolívar, Martí and Fidel prioritized the necessary unity of Latin America and the Caribbean, as part of their revolutionary strategies.In his conception, Fidel always saw the Cuban process as part of a larger Revolution, which was to occur throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence his constant solidarity and support for liberation movements in the region, denouncing every act of Yankee interference. This position was, in the first place, a reflection of his identity and an inescapable historical duty, but also as a strategic necessity for the preservation and consolidation of the Cuban Revolution.The colossal effort made by Fidel in pursuit of the region’s unity and integration began to bear fruit with the arrival of Hugo Chavez to the Presidency of Venezuela in 1998, and real change in Latin America was on the agenda. In 2004, Chávez and Fidel would create what is now known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Peoples trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) and the following year, in Mar del Plata, U.S. imperialism was dealt a major defeat, when the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA), an initiative promoted by the U.S. government, was rejected. 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, of Bolívar and other heroes of Our America. This unity is more essential now than ever, as White House hawks are increasing efforts to divide and devour us.Fidel's thought and political practice in the face of U.S. imperialism constitute an obligatory reference not only for the Cuban people, but for all Latin American peoples, today resisting the neo-colonizing offensive of the “turbulent and brutal North that despises us.”