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Vol. 80/No. 46      December 12, 2016

(front page)

Millions turn out in Cuba for Freedom Caravan

Millions of working people and youth across Cuba, organized by the leadership of their government and Communist Party, are mobilizing to support and defend the socialist revolution there. Massive outpourings are saluting the life and decisive political contributions of the Cuban revolutionary movement’s founding leader, Fidel Castro, who died Nov. 25.

“Fidel dedicated his life to solidarity. He led a socialist revolution ‘of the humble, by the humble, for the humble’ — a revolution that became a symbol of the anti-colonial, anti-apartheid and anti-imperialist struggle, for the emancipation and dignity of the people,” said Raúl Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and president of Cuba, at a rally of hundreds of thousands at the Plaza of the Revolution in Havana Nov. 29. (Printed in full in this issue.)

Millions of Cubans — from all generations that have participated in the revolution for six decades — have turned out for rallies and lined roads in rural areas, towns and cities to cheer the contingent carrying Fidel’s ashes on a four-day journey to Santiago de Cuba at the eastern end of island. The itinerary follows in reverse the route taken by the Freedom Caravan of January 1959.

After a two-year revolutionary war culminating in the triumph of the Rebel Army and flight of U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista Jan. 1, 1959, Castro led the victorious forces in a weeklong caravan of jeeps, tanks, trucks and other vehicles to Havana, stopping in every town along the way to explain the goals of the revolution and mobilize broader participation by workers and farmers.

Among the millions who’ve come into the streets since Castro’s death are internationalist volunteers of all ages who have served as combatants, teachers, medical personnel, and in other ways at the request of leaders of national liberation struggles and governments in the Americas, Africa, Asia and beyond.

Cuban leaders are encouraging those who wish to, to sign a pledge to uphold Cuba’s revolutionary course as expressed by Fidel Castro in a well-known May Day speech in 2000. (See below.) Amid widespread discussions about the significance of the Cuban Revolution, its history and future, and the revolutionary guidance and leadership that Fidel Castro provided, the Cuban masses have come out to schools, hospitals and public buildings to make that affirmation.

In face of a relentless campaign to vilify Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution by the propertied rulers in Washington and their media, Socialist Workers Party members in the U.S. find interest in the revolution and the political actions of its leaders. To aid these political discussions while introducing the party to workers on their doorsteps, socialist workers make use of the Militant and dozens of books by leaders of the Cuban Revolution and of the SWP telling the truth about Cuba and the world.

“Despite those who celebrated Castro’s death — which is disgusting — his legacy and achievements in Cuba and the world can’t be erased,” Jairo Rodriguez, a Cuban-born office worker in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, told SWP member Anthony Dutrow Nov. 29.

Another sign of the Cuban Revolution’s intransigent working-class course was the refusal of Washington or its imperialist allies to send any high level representative to events in Cuba marking Castro’s death.

In December 2014 President Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced talks to restore diplomatic relations, which Washington had broken off in 1961. This move reflected that Obama and a substantial majority of the ruling class he represents had decided it was necessary to try different means to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

Decades of attempts to assassinate Fidel, to back violent assaults on the island by paramilitary bands organized from inside the U.S., to punish the Cuban people through a brutal economic embargo had left Washington isolated in Latin America and the Caribbean with diminishing capacity to influence class relations in Cuba.

The actions by the Cuban leadership and response of Cuban working people in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death have increased the capacity of Cuban workers and farmers to advance and strengthen the revolution that Fidel devoted his life to — to deepen and spread its working-class internationalism and its moral values of human solidarity, to continue to show the way forward for the oppressed and exploited the world over.
Related articles:
Cubans mobilize to back their socialist revolution
Remarks by Raúl Castro at massive tribute to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro
Cuban leaders speak at Chicago ‘Solidarity Evening’
Fidel’s life work: ‘Cuba’s socialist revolution, its example & ongoing march’
Workers, youth affirm commitment to revolution
Sign the petition to free Oscar López!
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