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From anti-imperialist fighter to vassal of the Soviet Union

Rote Fahne Magazin No. 25/2016, 9 December 2016 corrected version

Fidel Castro Ruz passed away on 25 November at the age of 90; he had been state president for 47 years and chairman of the Communist Party of Cuba for a long time.

 He was born on 13 August 1926 as son of a big landowner in the eastern part of Cuba. He went to school together with the children of the farm workers and learned about the bitter poverty most of the Cubans used to live in. He studied law in Havana, founded a law firm and took part in the struggle against the dictator Batista, who was in the service of US imperialism. Before the fall of Batista Fidel Castro dissociated from communism unlike his brother Raul and his companion in arms Che Guevara. Thus, among other things, he could conduct a donation campaign in the USA for the Cuban guerrilla. This was even supported by the US secret service CIA when the US government itself had come into conflict with Batista. Castro was never a communist.

After the successful anti-imperialist-democratic revolution of 1959 under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Cuba initially set out on a socialist path of national liberation. The country began an industrialization to overcome the neocolonial economic structure, implemented an agrarian reform and nationalized essential means of production. For the first time there was free education and health care, kindergartens, promotion of women and further social achievements. Therefore Fidel Castro still is kindly regarded in Cuba.

After the expropriation of American companies the US intensified their aggression against Cuba. They supported the failed military invasion of Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and imposed an economic, commercial and financial blockade. In this situation Cuba approached the Soviet Union and requested economic and military assistance. When Castro joined the Communist Party at that point and put himself at the service of the Soviet Union, socialism had already been betrayed there. At that time a new bourgeoisie had seized power in the Soviet Union starting from the 20th Party Congress of the CPSU in 1956 and transformed the country into a social-imperialist superpower. Instead of promoting an independent economy, the Soviet Union enforced a sugar cane monoculture in Cuba and brought it into new neocolonial dependency through unequal trade relations. This brought about Cuba's societal decline. As Cuba's industry minister, Che Guevara criticized the “immoral character” of the unequal trade relations in 1965.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union Fidel Castro and from 1996 his brother Raul as state president have continued the capitalist path with the so-called “opening of Cuba” through the collaboration with western imperialism.

It is up to the Cuban people to draw the lessons from the betrayal of the socialist path of national liberation. By building a Marxist-Leninist party the battle-proved Cubans are able to initiate a new upswing of the struggle for genuine socialism.