Monday, November 28, 2016

Remembering Fidel Castro

Statements from around the world are linked at (mainly government statements) and (statements from Jeremy Corbyn, Mikhail Gorbachev, Amnesty International and other political leaders and organizations).  Some tweets from leaders and organizations are aggregated at .  Below are statements from some governments and groups.  This isn't a full list, but some prominent Marxist groups in the US don't seem to have released statements or messages so far, and there is debate about Castro's ideas within the US left, though few endorse US imperialism's attempts to dominate Cuba, as it did before 1959.  

[I am distributing the December issue of the English-language edition of Cuba's Granma ( with this month's issue of USMLO's Voice of Revolution at libraries, etc., both focused on Castro's legacy and funeral.]


American Party of Labor

Comrade Fidel Castro Has Died

Todo el mundo tercero va
a enterrar su dolor.
Con granizo de plomo hará
su agujero de honor, su canción

Silvio Rodriguez.

A revolutionary star has fallen from the heavens. The BBC, citing Cuban television, has announced that Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz has passed away at age 90.

One of the giants of the world revolutionary, democratic, progressive, and anti-imperialist movements, Comrade Fidel led the Cuban people in over half a century of resistance to U.S. imperialism. His word, thought, and actions were an inspiration to millions around the world. The resolute, principled militancy and the generous internationalism of the Cuban Revolution were Comrade Fidel’s legacy. Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the working and oppressed peoples of the entire world are all in deepest grief today.

The American Party of Labor bows its head in solemn tribute to one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time. We join our pain to that of all progressive and democratic humanity in this tragic hour.

Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz – Presente!

Communist Party USA

Always in our hearts, Fidel Castro, presente!

Statement of the National Committee Communist Party USA on the death of Fidel Castro.

The Communist Party USA joins with millions of people around the world in mourning the passing of our dear comrade, Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, leader of the heroic Cuban people and inspiration to fighters for national liberation and socialism the world over.

Comrade Fidel not only led the Cuban government, he was twice elected head of the Non-Aligned Nations organization.

He fought U.S. imperialism in so many ways—political, military, economic and ideological. Transitioning the Cuban Revolution from a national democratic, anti-imperialist one into a socialist revolution was a world-shaking accomplishment.

Comrade Fidel’s example was a beacon for the cause of socialism, leading the armed rebellion against the corrupt U.S.-supported Batista dictatorship and building a victorious revolutionary movement. That movement included armed rebels, workers in the cities and campesinos in the countryside. The achievements of the Cuban Revolution demonstrate the accomplishments made possible by a determined, persistent, consistent revolutionary working class and people.

Revolutionary Cuba’s literacy campaign wiped out a 25 per cent illiteracy rate, a legacy of colonialism, in just one year. Cuba’s world-class health care system, developed against all odds in a country impoverished by centuries of colonial plunder, rivals or exceeds that of most industrialized nations. Even more, Cuba has trained tens of thousands of doctors to practice in their own underserved countries and regions around the world, including Africa, Latin America, Haiti. We are particularly grateful for the training of close to 200 U.S. doctors now practicing in  rural and urban areas across the U.S.

Comrade Fidel always displayed boundless confidence in the power of the Cuban people to overcome even the most daunting challenges. As Cuba faced decades of economic strangulation due to the illegal U.S. blockade and later the loss of its main trading partners in the socialist bloc, Fidel acknowledged the severity of the challenges but inspired the Cuban people that nevertheless they could prevail. When five Cuban patriots collecting information to protect their homeland from terrorists were unjustly imprisoned in the U.S., Fidel assured the Cuban people that the Five would return. It took the heroism of the Five and the unshakeable determination of the Cuban people, an unprecedented worldwide solidarity campaign and diplomatic breakthroughs with the Obama administration, but return they did.

U.S. imperialism’s unrelenting campaign against Comrade Fidel’s leadership and Cuba’s sovereignty, faltered in the face of the heroism of the Cuban people and its Communist Party. The shameful decades-long efforts of the U.S. government to subvert, condemn, and assassinate the Cuban people’s democratically elected leader were thankfully unsuccessful, but thousands died and untold damage was done through these cowardly acts of terrorism.

Fidel, in his last years, retired from the government and devoted himself to writings about world politics, giving special attention to the environmental crises facing the entire world. As in so many fields, Cuba leads the world in sustainable and organic agriculture, recycling, long-range planning. Cuba is showing the world that it is possible to master the challenges facing all humanity.

We pledge to continue the struggle to end the illegal blockade in the face of new challenges from Donald Trump, to build on the friendly relations between our two peoples and parties and to make Comrade Fidel’s vision of a just and humane world a reality. His flexible and consistent leadership will continue to provide a shining light on the direction ahead. The world and its people have lost a champion.

Always in our hearts, we remember Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, presente!

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

¡Fidel Castro presente!
A life dedicated to revolution, proletarian internationalism and Marxism-Leninism

On Nov. 25, 2016 workers and oppressed peoples of the entire world lost a giant with the passing of Fidel Castro Ruz. Fidel lived a life worth honoring, studying and emulating. He was a key leader in the 1959 Cuban revolution, in building socialism in Cuba for more than five decades to the present day, and in exemplary acts of international solidarity.

Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) extends our condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Fidel Castro, and to the Cuban people as a whole for this tremendous loss.

Fidel Castro was a revolutionary who fought against seemingly impossible odds and won. He led a guerrilla movement against the vicious U.S.-backed Batista regime which governed Cuba in the interests of U.S. imperialism while Cuban workers and peasants suffered harshly. Despite experiencing defeats in its early days, the revolutionary movement learned lessons, rebounded and won national liberation. Fidel played a key role in leading the revolutionary movement to victory.

The 1959 revolutionary victory in Cuba inspired people throughout the Americas and the world to fight for liberation in their own countries. The Cuban revolution created the conditions for incredible gains for the Cuban people, despite it being a poor country. The revolution swiftly solved problems that capitalism can’t solve. Illiteracy and starvation were wiped out in Cuba and the best education and health care systems in the Americas were created. This continues to this day in socialist Cuba and stands in stark contrast to Cuba’s neighboring countries which are dominated by imperialism.

The Cuban revolution, under the guidance of Fidel Castro and his comrades, also unleashed a boundless internationalism and sacrifice in support of revolutionary movements and attending to human needs throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The exemplary internationalism displayed by Cuba over decades - providing whatever they could and asking nothing in return - leads to the enthusiastic embrace of socialist Cuba and its leaders such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara throughout the world.

U.S. imperialism had no intention to stand by idly and let a revolution survive on the small island nation which the U.S. had held as a colony just 90 miles off its coast. Barely in its infancy, the Cuban revolution faced invasion from U.S. imperialism at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. Under Fidel’s leadership, the U.S.-led military invasion was repelled. The U.S. government lashed out, imposing a barbaric economic embargo which continues to this day. U.S. imperialism has engaged in countless acts of sabotage against the Cuban revolution and hundreds of assassination attempts against Fidel Castro personally. But they failed to stop the revolution.

They failed because of the collective leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, of which Fidel was a key leader. Fidel Castro became a communist and adopted the ideology of Marxism-Leninism through learning from experience in making revolution. As the Cuban revolution confronted concrete problems about how to move forward, Fidel saw that only socialism could solve the problems of the Cuban people, and that Marxism-Leninism provided the theory and practice that could guide the revolutionary process forward. Once he adopted Marxism-Leninism, Fidel never wavered.

The Cuban revolution faced its most trying period in the 1990s when it was left politically and economically isolated. Fidel Castro led the way in Cuba’s difficult decision to hold firm to Marxism-Leninism, anti-imperialism and proletarian internationalism despite the incredible difficulties they knew they would face. They confronted those difficulties and overcame them when very few thought it would be possible. At that time Cuba was isolated on the world stage and in the Americas. The U.S. government tightened the noose by making its blockade more severe, hoping to end the Cuban revolution once and for all. But through staying true to principle and continuing to struggle ahead with dignity, Cuba was able to turn isolation into its opposite.

By 2014 it was U.S. imperialism that was isolated in the Americas while Cuba had many friends, and in the U.N. General Assembly nearly the entire world had voted repeatedly for the U.S. to end the unjust blockade of Cuba. In the face of this isolation, the U.S. finally admitted its decades-long efforts to defeat the Cuban revolution had failed, and took initial steps to normalize relations with socialist Cuba. But the unjust U.S. blockade remains in place and the struggle continues to end it.

As the leader of the Chinese revolution Mao Zedong said, “All people must die, but death can vary in its may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather. To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”

It is clear that comrade Fidel Castro’s death is weightier than Mount Tai. He lived and died for the Cuban people and for the working class and oppressed peoples around the world. He was a revolutionary, a communist, a Marxist-Leninist.

Because of the example of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, we know another world - a socialist world - is possible. Fidel’s example inspires us to continue to support the socialist revolution in Cuba, and carry forward the struggle against imperialism and for socialism in our country.

Nation of Islam

Statement from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on the passing of 'El Comandante' Fidel Castro (also available in Spanish)

Audio Recorded: November 29, 2016 at 5AM
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught me that there is a law in nature that whenever a people are deprived of that which God intends for that people to have such as freedom, justice, equality of opportunity and equal membership in society; the longer the people are deprived the greater the manifestation of the one who is born out of that longing from a simple woman to answer that need, that cry, that prayer of those deprived who long.
In my last conversation with Commandante Fidel Castro we were to have 20-minutes it lasted for a little over three-hours.  And in the last 20-minutes I spoke to him about himself.  I gave him the aforementioned words saying that he has been an answer to the prayers and the longing of people not only in Cuba, in the Caribbean and Central and South America but people all over the world who have longed for these natural rights that God intends for his creatures but they have been denied under slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism.
In answering the prayer of all he becomes a messenger of Allah; he became a messenger to All from the God of All to answer the critical needs of All.  And like Jesus who said he came into the world that those who say they see may go blind and that those who are blind may see.  The revolution that Jesus was to bring about would take those that were up and sit them down and those that were down and deprived would be raised up.  Such a man was Fidel Castro.  No wonder people hated him.  They hated him because of their privileged position exercised over the Black and peasant class of Cuba, Central and South America—and the Black and peasant class of the world.
I said to him, dear brother we all have to leave this earth at some time, physically we all will taste of death.  I said, but you sir—there is no such thing as death for you that the ideas and the principles, universal principles, and the internationalist thought that you put in the people is the seminal fluid of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Brother Abdul Akbar Muhammad was with me and he saw tears come up in Commandante Fidel Castro’s eyes and I quoted to him from the Qur’an.  “Speak not of those who die or are slain in the way of God as dead.  They are alive but you perceive not.”  The physical flesh and blood and bones of my brother are gone from us but the revolutionary ideas and principles that he lived are alive. They’re in the people that his revolution quickened to international consciousness.  And those characteristics and principles are found all over our planet today among the poor and the oppressed and the weak.  He lives!  In my heart and in the heart of all of us who understand his role, he will never die.
Long live the memory of Fidel Castro.  Long live the Cuban people who have endured this savage blockade for over 50 years and have produced magnificent things in medicine, in science, in culture for the world to receive.
Long live the Cuban revolution. And may we be on the side of those who admit that we were once blind but it’s our time to see as the confusion of Western heads of state and government is so clear that they are going blind.  The confusion that exists in the Heads of State and government of the Western world will continue.  They will continue to break apart as the poor, the weak, the Black, the Brown and the Red will continue to rise by the grace of Allah (God).
Statement from The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on the passing of ‘El Comandante’ Fidel Castro (November 29, 2016)

Party of Communists USA

A condolence message to the Communist Party of Cuba is posted at:

Party of Socialism and Liberation

Fidel Castro dies, great revolutionary and leader of Cuban Revolution

Statement of the Party for Socialism and Liberation on the death of Fidel Castro Ruz

A giant of a man, the indomitable leader of the Cuban Revolution and the global struggle against imperialism, Fidel Castro Ruz, has died at the age of 90 years.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends our profound condolences to the Cuban people. We mourn together with Cubans and many millions of people around the world on the passing of one of the outstanding revolutionaries in history.

Fidel’s life was testament to his astonishing will to struggle, surviving hundreds of CIA assassination attempts, because of U.S. imperialism’s fear of Cuba’s example. Fidel fought without let-up for his people, for revolution, for socialism.

Fidel was the ultimate revolutionary. He was fully aware of his essential historic leadership in the Revolution, but just as important was his guidance in building the Communist Party of Cuba and continually inspiring a people who would fight no matter the adversities.

The revolution against the U.S. puppet Batista, which ushered in the Cuban Revolution, was carried out during what would seem an inauspicious time.

The 1950s were a time of anti-communist hysteria led by the United States which thoroughly dominated Cuba at the time and whose aim was to crush the communist movement and workers’ struggles at home and abroad. Yet, Fidel believed that after Batista’s military coup in 1952, that it was the very time to strike.

The next year, Fidel led the July 26 assault on the Moncada barracks in eastern Cuba. While the revolutionary combatants were defeated and many killed, the Moncada attack would give birth to the July 26th Movement. In 1956, Fidel and his comrades, including Che Guevara and Raul Castro, launched the guerrilla war that brought down the Batista regime on January 1, 1959.

The 1950s and 60s was also a time of emerging national liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America and Asia

Fidel’s steel determination and victory over U.S. imperialism helped revive the ideas of revolutionary socialism in Latin America and across the globe. Many national liberation struggles in Latin America, Africa and Asia gained strength from the assistance of revolutionary Cuba.

Fidel’s legacy will endure because he leaves a strong country of true revolutionaries, people who have given of themselves countless times as medical workers, as teachers, as construction workers, as military combatants, all for the liberation of humanity.

He spoke in April of this year at the Cuban Communist Party Congress:

“Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if one works with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need and that need to be fought for without ever giving up.”

We render homage today and always to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. Our comrades are proud to have always stood by Fidel’s and Raul’s and the Cuban people’s side. We will always remain supporters of the Cuban Revolution.

¡Viva Fidel! ¡Viva la Revolución Cubana!

Revolutionary Communist Party

On the Death of Fidel Castro - Four Points of Orientation

I. Fidel Castro led a just, genuine, and popularly backed anti-imperialist revolution against the United States. The Cuban revolution of 1959 overthrew the oppressive, hated, and corrupt Batista regime, a cruel enforcer of the interests of U.S. imperialism. The revolution went on to confiscate the land holdings of U.S. investors and to put an end to the economic domination of Cuba by the U.S. Right on the doorstep of United States, a revolution had come to power that stood bravely against U.S. imperialism and that called on others to follow its example. Cuba became a source of hope and inspiration for the oppressed and for radical and revolutionary-minded people throughout the world, including in the U.S.
II. The U.S. imperialists worked viciously, unrelentingly, and unconscionably to cripple and destroy the new regime, and to re-subjugate the Cuban people. The U.S. imposed a blockade that limited Cuba’s ability to obtain vital goods and supplies (such as medicine). In 1961, the CIA armed, financed, and coordinated the Bay of Pigs invasion of mercenaries and thugs that quickly met defeat. Castro was the target of repeated U.S. assassination attempts. The U.S. sought through every means to isolate Cuba diplomatically.
III. In the face of this economic, political, and military pressure, Fidel Castro opted for policies, a road of development, and an international orientation that, whatever his initial intentions, resulted in capitulation to imperialism. Castro brought Cuba into a dependent relationship with Soviet social-imperialism—the Soviet Union had ceased being socialist in the mid-1950s. The Cuban economy remained tied to and distorted by sugar production. The new society established in Cuba was not one that was empowering the masses to uproot all exploitation and oppression. Cuba was not socialist under Fidel Castro... and it is not socialist today.
IV. Fidel Castro played a reactionary ideological role in the world communist movement, particularly in defending the revisionist Soviet Union and attacking Mao and revolutionary China.
*In the early and mid-1960s, Mao Zedong waged a momentous ideological struggle against revisionism and the Soviet Union, which was the global center of modern revisionism. Revisionism guts the revolutionary heart out of communism and perpetuates capitalism in the name of Marxism. Mao scientifically showed that the Soviet Union was not socialist but state capitalist—Fidel Castro upheld and promoted the Soviet Union as socialist. Mao revealed that the Soviet Union was a new imperialist power acting to advance the interests of empire—Fidel Castro aligned with the Soviet Union and prettified and defended its oppressive international role and actions.
*Mao had made the pathbreaking contribution to the cause of communist revolution: the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, of preventing the restoration of capitalism and carrying forward the revolution towards the goal of a communist world without exploitation and oppression and the division of human society into classes. Mao translated this understanding into the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76—in which tens and hundreds of millions of people were debating and struggling over questions bearing decisively on the direction of society and the world revolution, and which prevented the restoration of capitalism in China for 10 years. Fidel Castro attacked Mao and the Cultural Revolution that Mao led, the high point of the first stage of communist revolution.

Socialist Action

Fidel Castro:  An autobiographical essay

In the early hours of Nov. 26, President Raul Castro announced on Cuban state television that Fidel Castro, the former president and revolutionary leader, had died and would be cremated later in the day. “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday),” he said. “Hasta victoria siempre!” (Always forward to victory!).

The Organizing Commission of the Cuban government announced nine days of mourning for Castro. On Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, “all Cubans will have the possibility to pay tribute and sign a solemn oath to fulfill the concept of Revolution, expressed by our historic leader on May 1st, 2000, as an expression of the resolve to continue his ideas and our socialism.” On Nov. 29, a mass rally will take place at José Martí Revolution Square in Havana. On the next day, his ashes will be carried following the same itinerary that remembers the Caravan of Freedom of January 1959, until the province of Santiago de Cuba.”

At this sad moment, Socialist Action expresses our condolences to the Cuban people. We are preparing an article on Fidel Castro’s political life and legacy. In the meantime, we reprint from the Cuban government’s on-line magazine Granma an autobiographical essay by Fidel Castro on the occasion of his 90th birthday last August.

Tomorrow I will turn 90 years old. I was born in a territory called Birán, in the eastern region of Cuba. It’s known by that name, although it has never appeared on a map. Given its good conduct it was known for close friends and, of course, a stronghold of political representatives and inspectors involved in any commercial or productive activity typical of the neocolonized countries of the world.

On one occasion I accompanied my father to Pinares de Mayarí. I was eight or nine years old. How he enjoyed talking when he left the house in Birán! There he was the proprietor of the land where sugar cane, pasture and other agricultural crops were planted. But in Pinares de Mayarí he was not a proprietor, but a leaseholder, like many Spaniards, who were the owners of a continent under the rights granted by a papal bull, of whose existence none of the peoples and human beings of this continent were aware. Already, the knowledge transmitted then was largely treasures of humanity.

The altitude rises to approximately 500 meters, with inclined, rocky slopes, where the vegetation is scarce and at times hostile. Trees and rocks obstruct transit; suddenly, at a certain height, a vast plateau begins which I estimate extends over approximately 200 square kilometers, with rich deposits of nickel, chromium, manganese and other minerals of great economic value. From that plateau dozens of trucks of pines of great size and quality were extracted daily.

Note that I have not mentioned the gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, copper, tin, and others that at the same time have become symbols of the economic values that human society, in its present stage of development, requires.

A few years before the triumph of the Revolution my father died. Beforehand, he suffered a lot.

Of his three sons, the second and third were absent and distant. In revolutionary activities both fulfilled their duty. I had said that I knew who could replace me if the adversary was successful in its elimination plans. I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the presidents of the United States.

On January 27, 1953, after the treacherous coup by Batista in 1952, a page of the history of our Revolution was written: university students and youth organizations, alongside the people, carried out the first March of the Torches to commemorate the centenary of the birth of José Martí.

I had already reached the conviction that no organization was prepared for the struggle we were organizing. There was complete disorientation from the political parties that mobilized the masses of citizens, from the left to the right and the center, sickened by the politicking that reigned in the country.

At the age of 6 a teacher full of ambitions, who taught in the small public school of Birán, convinced my family that I should travel to Santiago de Cuba to accompany my older sister who would enter a highly prestigious convent school. Including me was a skill of that very teacher from the little school in Birán. She, splendidly treated in the house in Birán, where she ate at the same table with the family, was convinced of the necessity of my presence. Certainly, I was in better health than my brother Ramón – who passed away in recent months – and for a long time was a classmate. I do not want to be extensive, only that the years of that period of hunger were very tough for the majority of the population.

I was sent, after three years, to the Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Cuba, where I was enrolled in the first grade. Almost three years past without them ever taking me to the cinema.

Thus began my life. Maybe I will write, if I have time, about this. Excuse me for not having done so before now, it’s just I have ideas of what a child can and should be taught. I believe that a lack of education is the greatest harm that can be done.

Humankind today faces the greatest risk of its history. Specialists in these areas can do the most for the inhabitants of this planet, whose number rose, from one billion at the end of 1800, to seven billion at the beginning of 2016. How many will our planet have within a few years?

The brightest scientists, who now number several thousand, are those who can answer this question and many others of great consequence.

I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I will transmit to the members of our Party and relevant organizations.

Modern technical means have allowed for scrutiny of the universe. Great powers such as China and Russia can not be subject to threats to impose the use of nuclear weapons. They are peoples of great courage and intelligence. I believe that the speech by the President of the United States when he visited Japan lacked stature, and it lacked an apology for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, in spite of the fact that they knew the effects of the bomb. The attack on Nagasaki was equally criminal, a city that the masters of life and death chose at random. It is for that reason that we must hammer on about the necessity of preserving peace, and that no power has the right to kill millions of human beings.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

November 26, 2016

Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans - in Cuba and in the United States - with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. 

For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends - bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.


Workers Party, U.S.A.

Fidel Castro
August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016
Our Condolences
The Workers Party U.S.A. expresses its deepest sympathies to the people of Cuba during this time of mourning.

Individuals, as well as political parties and organizations from all over Latin America and the world are sending you messages of love and support on this day. We would like to join our voice to this chorus.
Many people are speaking of what a great father and great man Fidel Castro Ruz was. With each of these messages we encounter, we feel deeply moved and reverential.
Most of all, we declare with complete conviction and brimming over with confidence, that the positive and immortal contributions of Fidel Castro in the historic era of transition from capitalism to socialism on a world scale, will never be forgotten. Alongside the American working class and broad masses, as well as the Workers and Oppressed Nations and Peoples of the World, we will cherish and draw inspiration from them always.

World Socialist Web Site
Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International
The political legacy of Fidel Castro
28 November 2016
The announcement Friday night of the death of Fidel Castro, one of the major figures of the 20th century, has provoked a broad range of public reactions reflecting the bitter controversies over his contradictory historical legacy.
His death at 90 came nearly a decade after he surrendered the reins of unchallenged power he exercised over Cuba’s political life. For nearly half a century he was “president for life,” first secretary of the ruling Communist Party and commander-in-chief of the Cuban military, with much of this authority passing dynastically into the hands of his younger brother, Raul, who is now 85.
His rule outlasted that of ten US presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush, all of whom were committed to the overthrow of his regime, including by means of the abortive CIA-organized Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, literally hundreds of assassination attempts, and the longest economic blockade in world history.
The longevity of his political career is, in many ways, astonishing. No doubt, there were elements of the Latin American caudillo in his rule and he could be ruthless in relation to those seen as political rivals and opponents. At the same time, he possessed an undeniable personal charisma and a degree of humanism that attracted support from both the oppressed masses of Cuba and wider layers of intellectuals and radicalized youth internationally.
The reaction of the US media to Castro’s death has been predictable. Editorial denunciations of the “brutal dictator” have been accompanied by revolting coverage giving greater air time to a few hundred right-wing Cuban exiles dancing in the streets of Miami’s Little Havana than to the somber and very real mourning among broad layers of the population in Cuba itself.
On the island, ten years after relinquishing power, Castro has maintained a significant, albeit diminished, popular base, reflecting support for the undeniable improvements in social conditions for the country’s most impoverished layers that were wrought by the revolution he led in 1959.
The indices of these changes come into clear focus when one compares conditions in Cuba to those prevailing in the neighboring Dominican Republic, which has roughly the same size population and gross domestic product. The murder rate in Cuba is less than one quarter that in the Dominican Republic; life expectancy is six years higher (79 vs. 73), and the Cuban infant mortality rate is roughly one-sixth the Dominican. Cuba’s literacy levels and infant mortality rates, it should be added, are also superior to those in the United States.
The commentary in the US media centering on denunciations of Castro for political repression deserves to be placed in historical context. After all, the United States has, over the course of a century, supported countless dictatorships responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America alone. Castro and Castroism were ultimately the product of this bitter and bloody history.
Castro’s own political evolution was shaped by US imperialism’s decades-long plunder and oppression following the island’s transformation, as a result of the 1898 Spanish-American war, from a colony of Spain into a semi-colony of Washington. Under the so-called Platt Amendment, the United States guaranteed itself the “right” to intervene in Cuban affairs as it saw fit, and seized Guantanamo Bay to serve as its military base.

The US-backed Batista dictatorship

Before the revolution, Washington’s man in Havana was Fulgencio Batista, who headed a ferocious dictatorship that ruled in the interests of foreign corporations, the country’s native oligarchy and the mafia, which turned the country into a center of gambling and prostitution. Torture was routine and John F. Kennedy himself commented that the regime was responsible for the political murders of at least 20,000 Cubans.
As vicious as this regime was, it was by no means unique in the region. During the same period, Washington supported similar mass crimes carried out by Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Duvalier in Haiti and Somoza in Nicaragua.
Those who attempted to alter the existing order by democratic means were disposed of with violence, as seen in the CIA-organized overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954. The result was a growth of seething popular hatred for the United States throughout the hemisphere.
Born into a Spanish landowning family, Castro developed politically within the hothouse environment of student nationalist politics at Havana University. Reportedly, as a youth he was an admirer of Spanish fascist Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and the Italian duce Benito Mussolini.
Among his politically formative experiences was a 1948 trip as a student to Bogota, Colombia, where the US had convened an inter-American congress that was to found the Organization of American States to assert US hegemony over the region. During the visit, the assassination of Liberal Party candidate Jorge Gaitan led to the mass uprising known as the Bogotazo, in which much of the Colombian capital was destroyed and up to 3,000 were killed.
Castro himself acknowledged that he was also significantly influenced by the politics of Juan Peron--the military officer who came to power in Argentina--admiring him for his populism, anti-Americanism and social assistance programs for the poor.
Still in his twenties, Castro began his struggle against the US-backed dictatorship of Batista as a member of the Ortodoxo Party, a nationalist and anti-communist political tendency rooted in the Cuban petty-bourgeoisie. After running as an Ortodoxo candidate for the Cuban legislature in 1952, Castro turned to armed action a year later, leading an ill-fated assault on the Moncada army barracks in which all 200 insurgents were either killed or captured.
Following a brief jail sentence and exile, he returned to Cuba at the end of 1956 with a relative handful of armed supporters, who suffered overwhelming losses in initial engagements with government troops. Yet, within barely two years, power fell into the hands of his guerrilla July 26 Movement, under conditions where both the Cuban bourgeoisie and Washington had lost confidence in Batista’s ability to rule the country.
There existed broad international sympathy for Castro, whose uprising was seen as a struggle for democracy. Among those expressing support for the new regime was American author Ernest Hemingway, who described himself as “delighted” with the overthrow of Batista.
Initially, Castro denied he had any sympathy for communism, insisted that his government would protect foreign capital and welcome new private investment, and sought to reach an accommodation with US imperialism.
However, as the masses of Cuban workers and peasants were demanding results from the Castro revolution, Washington made it clear that it would not tolerate even the most modest social reforms in the territory 90 miles from US shores. The expectations within US ruling circles was that after brief celebrations of the fall of Batista, the new government would get back to business as usual. They were horrified that Castro was actually serious about changing social conditions on the island and raising the living standard of its impoverished masses. They met any attempt at altering the existing order with intransigence.
In response to limited land reform, Washington sought to strangle the Cuban economy, cutting Cuba’s sugar export quota and then denying the island nation oil.
Castro responded with nationalizations, first of US property, then of Cuban-owned enterprises, and turned to the Soviet bureaucracy for assistance. He simultaneously turned to the discredited Cuban Stalinist Popular Socialist Party, which had supported Batista and opposed Castro’s guerrilla movement. The Stalinists provided him with the political apparatus that he lacked.
Castro was representative of a broader bourgeois-nationalist and anti-imperialist movement that swept the colonial and oppressed countries in the post-World War II period, giving rise to figures like Ben Bella in Algeria, Nasser in Egypt, Nkrumah in Ghana and Lumumba in the Congo, among others. Like Castro, many of them attempted to exploit the Cold War conflict between Washington and Moscow to secure their own interests.
No doubt, there was an opportunistic element in Castro’s self-proclamation as a “Marxist-Leninist” and his turn to the Soviet Union. However, it is also the case that in 1960, the October Revolution, which had transformed Russia 43 years earlier, exerted a massive influence internationally, even though the Soviet bureaucracy had long since exterminated the revolution’s leaders and severed all ties to genuine Marxism.
While the rising expectations of the Cuban masses and the obstinate reaction of US imperialism served to push Castro to the left, he was in no sense a Marxist. While sincere in his original intentions to implement significant reforms of Cuban society, his political orientation was always of a pragmatic character.
Ultimately, Castro went the furthest in striking a Faustian bargain with Soviet Stalinism, which provided massive aid and subsidized trade in return for exploiting Cuba as a bargaining chip in its quest for “peaceful coexistence” with US imperialism.
With the Stalinist bureaucracy’s final betrayal, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Cuba was thrown into a desperate economic and social crisis, which the Castro government was able to offset only through an ever-widening opening to foreign capitalist investment, as well as major subsidies from Venezuela, whose own economic crisis is now closing off that source of aid as well.

Rapprochement with Washington

These are the conditions that laid the groundwork for a rapprochement between Washington and Cuba, with the reopening of the US embassy in Havana and Obama’s visit to the country last March. For its part, US capitalism is determined to exploit Cuban cheap labor and potentially lucrative markets, and ward off the growing influence in the country of its Chinese and European rivals.
The ruling strata in Cuba see the influx of US capital as a means of salvaging their rule while pursuing a course similar to that of China. The Cuban elite hopes to secure its own privileges and power at the expense of the Cuban working class, under conditions where social inequality on the island is rapidly deepening.
No doubt all of this troubled Castro in the last decade of his life. During this period, he continued to comment regularly in the Cuban media through a column known as “Reflections.” These writings provided little in the way of theoretical insight and reflected the thinking of a sincere petty-bourgeois radical.
To his credit, until his death he continued to despise everything that US imperialism stood for. He vigorously attacked the hypocrisy of Barack Obama and his combination of “human rights” rhetoric with imperialist wars and drone assassination programs.
In the aftermath of Obama’s visit to Cuba, Castro wrote one of his last columns, bitterly denouncing the US president’s speech in Havana. He declared: “... we are capable of producing the food and material riches we need with the efforts and intelligence of our people. We do not need the empire to give us anything.”
The reality, however, is that the Obama visit and the move to “normalize” relations with US imperialism signaled that Castro’s revolution, like every other bourgeois nationalist movement and national liberation struggle led by middle-class forces, had reached its ultimate dead end, having failed to resolve the historic problems stemming from the imperialist oppression of Cuba and moving toward restoration of the neocolonialist relations that it had previously opposed.
Only a cynic could deny the elements of heroism and tragedy in the life of Castro and, above all, the protracted struggle of the Cuban people.
However, Castro’s legacy cannot be evaluated solely through the prism of Cuba, but must take into account the impact of his politics internationally and, above all, in Latin America.
Here, the most catastrophic role was played by left nationalists in Latin America, as well as petty-bourgeois radicals in Europe and North America, in promoting Castro’s coming to power at the head of a small guerrilla army as the opening of a new path to socialism, requiring neither the conscious and independent political intervention of the working class nor the building of revolutionary Marxist parties. The myths surrounding Castro’s revolution, and, in particular, the retrograde theories of guerrillaism propagated by his erstwhile political ally Che Guevara, were promoted as the model for revolutions throughout the hemisphere.

The role of Pabloite revisionism

Among the most prominent proponents of this false perspective was the Pabloite revisionist tendency that emerged within the Fourth International under the leadership of Ernest Mandel in Europe and Joseph Hansen in the US, subsequently joined by Nahuel Moreno in Argentina. They insisted that Castro’s coming to power had proven that armed guerrillas led by the petty-bourgeoisie and based on the peasantry could become “natural Marxists,” compelled by objective events to carry out the socialist revolution, with the working class reduced to the role of passive bystander.
They further concluded that Castro’s nationalizations created a “workers state” in Cuba, despite the absence of any organs of workers’ power.
Long before the Cuban Revolution, Leon Trotsky had explicitly rejected the facile identification of nationalizations undertaken by petty-bourgeois forces with the socialist revolution. The Transitional Program, the founding document of the Fourth International, written in 1938, declared that “one cannot categorically deny in advance the theoretical possibility that, under the influence of completely exceptional circumstances (war, defeat, financial crash, mass revolutionary pressure, etc.) the petty-bourgeois parties including the Stalinists may go further than they themselves wish along the road to a break with the bourgeoisie.” It distinguished such an episode, however, from a genuine dictatorship of the proletariat.
In response to the expropriations carried out by the Kremlin regime in the course of its invasion of Poland (in alliance with Hitler) in 1939, Trotsky wrote: “The primary political criterion for us is not the transformation of property in this or another area, however important these may be in themselves, but rather the change in the consciousness and organization of the world proletariat, the raising of their capacity for defending former conquests and accomplishing new ones.”
The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) fought intransigently against the Pabloite perspective, insisting that Castroism represented not some new road to socialism, but rather only one of the more radical variants of the bourgeois nationalist movements that had come to power through much of the former colonial world. It warned that the Pabloite glorification of Castroism represented a repudiation of the entire historical and theoretical conception of the socialist revolution going back to Marx, and laid the basis for the liquidation of the revolutionary cadre assembled by the Trotskyist movement internationally into the camp of bourgeois nationalism and Stalinism.
While waging a principled defense of Cuba against imperialist aggression, the ICFI rooted its analysis of Castroism within a broader assessment of the role of bourgeois nationalism in the epoch of imperialism.
Defending Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, it wrote in 1961: “It is not the job of Trotskyists to boost the role of such nationalist leaders. They can command the support of the masses only because of the betrayal of leadership by Social-Democracy and particularly Stalinism, and in this way they become buffers between imperialism and the mass of workers and peasants. The possibility of economic aid from the Soviet Union often enables them to strike a harder bargain with the imperialists, even enables more radical elements among the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders to attack imperialist holdings and gain further support from the masses. But, for us, in every case the vital question is one of the working class in these countries gaining political independence through a Marxist party, leading the poor peasantry to the building of Soviets, and recognizing the necessary connections with the international socialist revolution. In no case, in our opinion, should Trotskyists substitute for that the hope that the nationalist leadership should become socialists. The emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves.”
These warnings were tragically vindicated in Latin America where the theories promoted by the Pabloites helped divert a whole layer of radicalized youth and young workers away from the struggle to mobilize the working class against capitalism and into suicidal armed struggles that claimed thousands of lives, served to disorient the workers’ movement and helped pave the way to fascist-military dictatorships.
In the first instance, these theories claimed the life of Guevara himself in Bolivia. Ignoring the militant struggles of the miners and the rest of the Bolivian working class, he vainly sought to recruit a guerrilla army from among the most backward and oppressed sections of the peasantry, ending up isolated and starving before being hunted down and executed by the CIA and the Bolivian military in October 1967.
Guevara’s fate was a tragic anticipation of the disastrous consequences Castroism and Pabloite revisionism would have throughout the hemisphere. Similarly, in Argentina, the cult of guerrillaism served to blunt and disorient the revolutionary working class movement that had erupted with the mass strikes of the Cordobazo of 1969.
Castro himself, acting both as a client of the Soviet bloc and a practitioner of realpolitik in the attempt to secure the stability of his own regime, sought to forge ties to the same Latin American bourgeois governments that those who emulated him were attempting to overthrow. Thus, in 1971 he toured Chile, extolling the “parliamentary road to socialism” in that country, even as the fascists and the military were preparing to crush the working class. He hailed military regimes in Peru and Ecuador as anti-imperialist and even embraced the corrupt apparatus of the ruling PRI in Mexico, after it had overseen the massacre of students in 1968.
The overall impact of Castro’s policies, as well as those of the political tendencies who glorified him, was to hold back the socialist revolution throughout the hemisphere.
Now, the imperialist powers in general, and the US in particular, are evaluating to what extent the death of Castro can be used to advance their interests in Cuba and beyond.
President Barack Obama issued a hypocritical statement declaring, “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” and assuring that ”the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
For his part, President-elect Trump issued a statement celebrating “the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.” There is growing speculation over whether Trump will carry through on his threats to rescind measures enacted by Obama meant to facilitate the penetration of Cuba by US banks and corporations.
While the representatives of imperialism seek to exploit Castro’s death to advance the cause of reaction, for a new generation of workers and youth the study of the historical experience of Castroism and the far-sighted critique developed by the International Committee of the Fourth International remains a vital task in preparing the working class for coming mass revolutionary struggles and building the parties that will lead them.
Bill Van Auken

[Now might not be the time to argue about the Cuban Revolution, but besides the above criticisms from Trotskyist and Maoists perspectives, there is a Hoxhaist view at .  There was a debate over whether Cuba is really socialist in International Struggle Marxist Leninist (defunct, but some articles are online at ) in 2000, but it is not posted online.] 

Workers World Party

Condolence message to the Communist Party of Cuba:

To Comrade Raúl Castro
Central Committee
Communist Party of Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Dear Comrades:

Our hearts go out to the Cuban people and all those who loved Fidel Castro. He changed history in a thousand different ways, all to benefit the many millions who have suffered starvation and abuse under colonialism and imperialism.

His enormous confidence in the struggling masses and their ultimate victory — expressed in his heroic speech to Batista’s court, “History Will Absolve Me” — inflamed young fighters for justice in Cuba and all over the world, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, Asia and the U.S. itself.

He armed the Cuban people with internationalism, solidarity, unity and an iron will to defend their independence and sovereignty. So when Africa called, Cuba answered and helped defeat the scourge of apartheid.

Fidel stormed the fortresses of the brutal servants of the empire at a time in history when U.S. imperialism was riding high. The plutocrats were outraged when he offered new hope for a socialist future just as they were gloating over the anticipated victory of capitalism in the vicious Cold War.

Who can forget Fidel’s defiance at the Bay of Pigs, his great energy concentrated on winning both the military and political battles? It was on April 16, 1961, while U.S. mercenaries were invading Cuba and Fidel was leading the counterattack, that he said for the first time, “The Yankee imperialists cannot forgive us for having made a socialist revolution under their very noses.” The die was cast. Cuba would never go back to capitalist slavery.

Who can forget his ringing speeches to the Cuban people? He meticulously went over the concrete lessons of each new revolutionary initiative and demolished the lies of the parasites, those who had treated the island as nothing but a source of cheap labor and entertainment for the rich. He always spoke truth to power.

And he had such rapport with his audiences! So many shouted-out replies to his questions, so much honest laughter at his well-aimed jokes. He spoke for and listened to the people to a degree few leaders ever achieve.

Fidel had a long and glorious life. We knew his body could not survive forever. But he truly lives on in the hearts and brains of hundreds of millions of people. We mourn his loss today, but we will invoke his name tomorrow and for future generations as we continue to fight for a socialist system to undo the terrible damage capitalism has inflicted on the workers and oppressed and on our entire planet.

Larry Holmes, First Secretary
National Committee
Workers World Party, USA


All-African People's Revolutionary Party

Viva Immortal Comrade Fidel Castro

The All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) sends our most heartfelt revolutionary salute and thank you to the people of Cuba for the life and contributions of comrade, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz.  Comrade Fidel epitomized revolutionary leadership and what it means to be a cadre in the worldwide Socialist Revolution.

The legacy of Revolutionary Cuba and Fidel Castro is one that will stand the test of time.  Revolutionary Cuba and Comrade Fidel, in addition to liberating the small island nation of Cuba from the web of Imperialist domination and building a self-reliant democratic state, has also developed and institutionalized a culture of international solidarity with the struggling masses throughout the world. 

Africa and African people have, as much as any continent or people, been the benefactors of the presence of Revolutionary Cuba and Comrade Fidel Castro.  Cuban patriots fought side by side with various African Liberation Movements against Colonialism, Settler Colonialism and Apartheid in Central and Southern Africa from the 1960s up until the 1990s.  From an organizational perspective, Cuba and Fidel helped to form and build OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America) and Cuba serves as the physical headquarters of OSPAAAL to this day.  Cuba and Comrade Fidel has given space for endless numbers of meetings, conferences and forums for revolutionary forces to discuss strategize and plan for the ultimate victory of the working masses over imperialism, capitalism and class exploitation.  The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People (ICAP) has help develop and coordinate Cuban Friendship Associations in most every country on the African continent where social, ideological and cultural exchanges have been systematically institutionalized on the grass roots level with community based organizations. 

Cuba has opened its arms to African youth both born in Africa and the diaspora, training thousands of African doctors free of charge so that they could return to their communities and serve the health needs of their people.  Cuba has deployed even more doctors and health workers throughout Africa and the world, embedded themselves not just in the large cities but in the villages and provided day-to-day health care services in addition to addressing tragic events such as the earthquake in Haiti and the Ebola crisis in West Africa.  Cuba has built and maintains factories in Africa developing products pushing for the eradication of malaria. The people of Africa have come to know the greatness of Revolutionary Cuba and Comrade Fidel through the principled development of human relationships based on mutual respect.  No amount of reactionary propaganda against the Cuban Revolution will mute this reality.

Thus when we talk about Fidel Castro Ruz, we MUST talk about the Cuban people.  Conversely when we talk about the Cuban people, we must talk about Fidel Castro.  Both spirits are the embodiment of the other.  This is perhaps the greatest legacy of Fidel Castro.  That through his work, commitment and ideological conviction, he will continue to live far beyond his physical death both through the Cuban masses and the revolutionary forces throughout the world.

The A-APRP and the African Revolution praise Comrade Fidel for his contributions and commit to continue to stand with and protect the Cuban Revolution going forward.


Condolence message from President Xi Jinping to Raul Castro (online at:

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a message of condolence to his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, after Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro passed away late Friday at the age of 90.

In the message sent to Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, offered his deepest condolences on the death of Fidel Castro and sincerest sympathy to his family.

The English translated version of the message is as follows.

Distressed to learn of the passing away of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, I, in the name of the CPC, the Chinese government and people and in my own name, express my deepest condolences to you and through you to the Communist Party of Cuba, the Cuban government and people, and my sincerest sympathy to Fidel Castro's family.

Fidel Castro, founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuba's socialist cause, is a great leader of the Cuban people. He has devoted all his life to Cuban people's great cause of struggling for national liberation, safeguarding state sovereignty and building socialism.

He has made immortal historic contributions to the Cuban people and to the world socialism development. Comrade Fidel Castro is a great figure of our times and will be remembered by history and people.

I met with Comrade Fidel Castro many times and held in-depth conversations with him. His real knowledge and deep insight inspired me as his voice and expression live in my memory. Both I and the Chinese people miss him deeply.

Comrade Fidel Castro, who dedicated his life to the friendship between China and Cuba, paid close attention to and spoke highly of China's development.

As a result of his care and support, Cuba became the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1960. Since then, the two countries have witnessed profound development of bilateral ties, fruitful results of cooperation in a wide range of areas and deepening friendship between the two peoples, thanks to Comrade Fidel Castro's solicitude and painstaking efforts.

The death of Comrade Fidel Castro is a great loss to the Cuban and Latin American people. The Cuban and Latin American people lost an excellent son, and the Chinese people lost a close comrade and sincere friend. His glorious image and great achievements will go down in history.

I believe that under the strong leadership of Comrade Raul Castro, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Cuban government and its people will carry on the unfinished lifework of Comrade Fidel Castro, turn sorrow into strength and keep making new achievements in the cause of socialist construction.

The friendship between two parties, the two countries and the two peoples will definitely be consolidated and further developed.

The great Comrade Fidel Castro will be forever remembered.

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

In memoriam
¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre, Fidel!

With deepest sorrow, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) learned that on Friday, November 25, at 10:29 pm, Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the ever victorious Cuban RevolutiVancouveron, passed away.

We send our profound condolences on this very sad occasion to Comrade Raúl Castro and the entire Cuban leadership, to all the Cuban people and their Communist Party and to Comrade Fidel's family.

Comrade Fidel will live in our hearts in death as he did in life, inspiring us to defy all impediments to human and social progress and to break new ground and reach new heights in all our endeavours. May the revolutionary spirit, fidelity to principle and the profound generosity which characterized Fidel's every action imbue our thoughts on this very sad day.

¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

[ There were vigils in solidarity with Cuba yesterday in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver. ]



¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Message from the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro, notifying the Cuban people and world of the death of the late leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro

“Dear people of Cuba:

It is with deep sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, and friends of Our America and the world, that today, November 25, at 10.29pm, Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz passed away. In accordance with his express wishes Compañero Fidel’s remains will be cremated. In the early hours of the morning of Saturday 26, the funeral organizing commission will provide our people with detailed information regarding the posthumous tributes which will be paid to the founder of the Cuban Revolution.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”

Council of State declares period of national mourning

Activities and public spectacles will cease during the period of national mourning, and the national flag will be flown at half-mast in public buildings and military establishments

Following the death of Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba declares nine days of national mourning, to be observed from 6am on November 26, through 12pm December 4, 2016.

Activities and public spectacles will cease during the period of national mourning, and the national flag will be flown at half-mast in public buildings and military establishments. Radio stations and television channels will offer informative, patriotic and historic programming.
The Council of State of the Republic of Cuba

[ Marxism-Leninism Today has a statement from one of the Cuban Five, Ramon Labanino, and his wife Elizabeth Palmeiro at: ]


Korea Central News Agency

Brief History of Fidel Castro Ruz

Pyongyang, November 28 (KCNA) -- Fidel Castro Ruz was born in Oriente Province of Cuba on August 13, 1926.

He graduated from a secondary school at Santiago de Cuba City and was admitted to Havana University in 1945. And he was called to the bar after graduation of the university.

He took part in the struggle against violence and corruption of the dictatorial regime at home and abroad from 1947 to 1952.

He, together with 165 young men and women students who were armed with the idea against dictatorship, attacked Moncada Barracks, a point of military importance for the Batista dictatorial regime in Santiago de Cuba City, kindling the flames of armed struggle.

He was arrested by enemy with more than 100 members who took part in the armed struggle as they failed in the first armed uprising and served prison term on Pinos Island of Cuba (Juventud Island at present).

After his release in May 1955, he organized the "July 26 movement". He went to Mexico as an exile together with his comrades-in-arms in July 1955 and prepared for guerrilla struggle.

He landed in Oriente Province of Cuba by Granma ship with 82 armed fellows from Mexico in December 1956 and staged an armed struggle with Mt. Sierra Maestra as a base.

He finally overturned the dictatorial regime of Batista in January 1959 and achieved the victory of the Cuban revolution.

He was appointed as the prime minister of the revolutionary government in Feb. 1959 and had worked as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba from Oct. 1965.

He was elected and worked as first secretary of the C.C., Communist Party of Cuba from the First Congress to the Fifth Congress of the Party.

He was elected to be president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers of Cuba several times at the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba.

He resigned from his post as president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers at the First Session of the 7th National Assembly of People's Power in Feb. 2008 and from his post as first secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the Sixth Party Congress in April 2011 for his health condition and began writing books.

Fidel Castro Ruz visited the DPRK in March 1986. He met with President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il and made great efforts to deepen the militant friendship and friendly and cooperative relations between the peoples of the two countries fighting in the outpost of anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. struggle.

He, a close friend and old revolutionary comrade-in-arms of the Korean people, was awarded several orders of the DPRK including the title of DPRK Hero.

He passed away to our sorrow at 10:29 on Nov. 25, 2016.

His feats for the victorious advance in the cause of anti-imperialist independence and socialism and the development of the DPRK-Cuba friendly relations will remain forever. -0-

Message of Condolences to Raul Castro Ruz        
Pyongyang, November 28 (KCNA) -- Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, and Pak Pong Ju, premier of the DPRK Cabinet, sent a message of condolence to Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers of Cuba, on Sunday.
The message said that though Fidel Castro Ruz passed away, the feats he performed for the Cuban revolution and the fraternal relations of friendship between the two countries would remain forever.
It expressed belief that the Cuban party, government and people would convert their sorrow into strength and courage and steadily register good successes in the struggle to defend socialism and revolution. -0-
DPRK Sets Period of Mourning for Fidel Castro Ruz
Pyongyang, November 28 (KCNA) -- The DPRK decided to set a three-day mourning period from Nov. 28 to 30 and raise flags at half-mast at buildings of important institutions and fixed places to mourn over the death of Fidel Castro Ruz.
The Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK and the DPRK Cabinet issued a joint decision in this regard on Nov. 27. -0-
DPRK Party and State Delegation Leaves for Cuba
Pyongyang, November 28 (KCNA) -- A DPRK party and state delegation led by Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee, left here for Havana Monday to express condolences over the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, supreme leader of the Cuban revolution.
The delegation includes Kim Yong Su, department director of the C.C., WPK, So Hong Chan, first vice-minister of the People's Armed Forces, Ryu Myong Son, vice department director of the C.C., WPK, and Sin Hong Chol, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs. -0-


Ante la partida del Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz

Ningún otro hombre en la historia ha batallado de tal modo por los intereses de la humanidad. Hasta los últimos momentos de su vida, Fidel advirtió serenamente sobre los peligros que se ciernen sobre todos por cuenta de la avaricia del gran capital. 

Siendo indiscutible Comandante en Jefe de la revolución cubana y uno de los  personajes más importantes del planeta, asumió con singular modestia su papel, rechazando el mínimo culto a su persona por parte de un pueblo que sabía lo adoraba.
Todos los revolucionarios y demócratas del mundo nos sentimos golpeados profundamente. Ha partido el más grande, el de mayor alcance en la visión, el inspirador de nuestros sueños. Sus ideas tomarán ahora más fuerza que nunca. 
¡Viva Fidel! ¡Viva la revolución!
Timoleón Jimenez, Jefe del Estado Mayor de las FARC-EP
Bogotá, 26 de noviembre de 2016.


Prime Minister Aklexis Tsipras and the SYRIZA party gave long statements, but they are in Greek.  According to Tsipras tweeted "Farewell comandante. Until the ultimate victory of the people," among other things, and SYRIZA's tweet includes saying that Castro has been “vindicated by history.”  Tsipras will lead the Greek delegation to Castro's funeral. 


Hezbollah Offers Condolences to Cuban Leadership, People Over Castro Death

Head of Hezbollah International Relations Department Sayyed Ammar Al-Moussawi phoned, on behalf of the party, the Cuban embassy in Beirut to offer condolences over the death of the major leader Fidel Castro.

Stressing that Castro has been always the minaret of the rebels across the world.

Al-Moussawi expressed his full trust that the revolutionary leadership in Cuba will continue following the path of the late leader Castro.

Source: Al-Manar Website


Posted on the official Prime Minister's Office of Japan Facebook page  :

Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

I wish to express my sincere condolences at the passing of former Chairman of State Council Fidel Castro, the prominent leader of Cuba after the revolution.

When I met him during my visit to Cuba this September, I was struck by how passionately he talked about world affairs.

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I again express my sympathy.

(Originally posted at 18:37, Wednesday, November 26, 2016 in Japanese)

Message of Condolence from Foreign Minister Kishida on the Demise of Mr. Fidel Castro Former President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba

On November 26, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, sent the following message of condolences to H.E. Mr. Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, upon hearing news of the demise of Mr. Fidel Castro, former President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, on November 25 (local time).

1. I solemnly pray for the peaceful repose of the soul of former President Castro.

2. I had an opportunity to meet with him when I visited Cuba in May 2015 and was greatly impressed by his very warm comments about Japan.

3. He visited Japan twice and made great efforts to advance friendly ties and mutual understanding with Japan. He also visited my hometown, Hiroshima. Even after resigning his post as President, he continued to deepen even more the relationship between the two countries.

4. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the Government of Cuba, the Cuban people, and former his relatives, on behalf of the Government of Japan and Japanese people.

[ For context and statements from other officials and survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki who met with Castro, see the Japan Times ( ).  I was surprised to hear on the NHK's Newsline that not so long ago Japan was Cuba's most important "Western" trading partner, though Prime Minister Abe was the first Japanese leader to visit Cuba, earlier this year, while Castro went to Japan in 1995 and 2003.

The Japan Times quotes Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, on Castro:  "He made significant contributions to building his country with a focus on medical care and education without yielding to unreasonable economic sanctions by the United States." ]

Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (PCMLE)

On the night of November 25, Fidel Castro Ruz, Comandante of the Cuban Revolution, has died and the Cuban people, the peoples of Latin America and the world mourn his death.
Fidel, throughout his life, was an outstanding revolutionary leader, and along with his comrades such as Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and others, was at the head of the heroic process of the Cuban revolution, which confronted the aggressive designs of US imperialism, defeated the armed incursions, the plots and conspiracies that the world power financed and directed together with the reactionary circles, in an attempt to break the will of the Cuban people and their leaders.
With Fidel at its head, the courageous Cuban people, with arms in hand, were able to overthrow the infamous, criminal and pro-Yankee dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, who had handed over the Caribbean island’s resources, sovereignty and independence to the Yankees. This same people, based on their unity, promoting the struggle, has been advancing in their revolutionary process that achieved important and well-known social achievements in various fields such as education, health, social security and, despite the criminal imperialist blockade, managed to rise up and maintain those achievements, which earned them the recognition and solidarity of the peoples of the world.
For the peoples of Latin America, the victories achieved by the Cuban revolution have undoubtedly been an example that has influenced their anti-imperialist struggles and the struggle for social revolution. Cuba has been the example of how a small country, besieged by the major world power that has blocked it since the beginning of the revolution, was able to stand up and maintain its independence with dignity.
The Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador, its members and leaders, pay homage to the memory of Fidel Castro, Comandante of the Cuban Revolution; We express our heartfelt condolences to the people of Cuba and their leaders and we believe that all of Fidel's courageous legacy in his revolutionary actions will be maintained and developed for the advance of their social achievements and social justice.
Political Bureau of the Central Committee
November 27, 2016
Laos expresses condolences over passing of Fidel Castro
VIENTIANE, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Lao leaders have sent a message to the party and state leader of Cuba to express condolences over the passing of Fidel Castro.

"We have learned with profound sadness of the passing of Comrade, Fidel Castro Ruz, former First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba on the 25th November 2016," reads the message sent by Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and President of the National Assembly Pany Yathotou.

"On behalf of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, President of the Lao People Democratic Republic, the Government, the Lao National Assembly and on our own behalf, we would like to convey our deepest condolences and sympathy to Comrade and through you to the party, the government and the Cuban fraternal people. We would specially like to share the profound sadness with Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz's family," Lao state- run news agency on Sunday quoted the message.

The message was sent to Raul Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.

"The passing of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz is of a great loss to the Cuban Revolutionary Party, Government and the Cuban Fraternal People and it is indeed a great loss to the Lao Revolution Party, Government and the Lao people," reads the message.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

PFLP mourns and salutes Comrade Fidel Castro, a revolutionary inspiration for the world

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine extends its condolences to the Cuban people, the Palestinian people and the revolutionary movements of the world upon the loss of the former prime minister and president of Cuba and the historic international revolutionary leader, Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, on Friday, November 25, 2016.

Castro’s internationalist revolutionary commitment to fighting imperialism and capitalism – manifest in the revolutionary victory against US imperialism and its puppet Batista regime in the 1959 Cuban revolution – conistently stood with the oppressed peoples of the world in their confrontation of imperialism, Zionism, racism and capitalism. Throughout his life, Fidel was a supporter and an example of revolutionary struggle in Latin America, in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and throughout the continent. From Angola to South Africa, Palestine to Mozambique, Bolivia to El Salvador, Castro’s legacy of international revolutionary solidarity and struggle continues to serve as an example in practice that transcends borders toward revolution, democracy and socialism.

At a time when the world is witnessing the massive domination of imperialist powers, it is particularly critical at this time to cherish and learn from the legacy and reality of the Cuban revolution and its persistent defeat of US imperialism. The victory of the Cuban revolution was one that came through armed struggle, a victory that belonged to the entire people. Fidel and his comrades mobilized workers and peasants to fight together to ensure the victory of their revolution, not only at the moment of their triumph in 1959, but over the decades to come. Despite all contradictions, the Cuban revolution has remained an example of the nationalization of production, the division of wealth, and the construction of exceptional free education and health care systems.

Throughout Castro’s life, and throughout the history of the Cuban revolution, support for the Palestinian people’s national liberation movement and the Palestinian revolution has been central to its anti-imperialist approach that centered the construction of revolutionary alliances between the progressive forces and struggling peoples of the world. The Palestinian people and the Cuban people have stood fidel22together at all levels, in confronting imperialism and its forces, from Latin America to Africa to the Arab world. In the Tricontinental alliance and the Non-Aligned Movement, Cuba stood with the Palestinian people and their liberation movement in all facets of international struggle, building a revolutionary alliance for collective movement against imperialism, colonialism and its particular manifestation in Palestine, Zionism. Zionism has been a key weapon of racist oppression, a fact recognized by Fidel Castro and the Cuban people and state. This popular unity has not faded over the years; as Zionist weaponry pounded Gaza in 2014, Castro slammed this “repugnant fascism” against the Palestinian people. Dozens of Palestinian students continue to study in Cuba today through its long-running scholarship program.

As we mark the passing of Fidel Castro, we also remember his comrades: Che Guevara, Celia Sanchez, Camilo Cienfuegos, Haydee Santamaria, and many more who fought to create a new Cuba and build a revolutionary society. This is a moment not only for mourning and for memory, but also a time to revive our revolutionary ideas, for victory for Palestine, towards democracy and socialism.

“A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past,” said Fidel Castro. Throughout his life, he fought endlessly to bring that future into being. This moment calls on us to intensify, examine, and develop our Palestinian, Arab and international revolution to defeat Zionism and imperialism and fight for a future of liberation, justice, democracy and socialism.

Sinn Féin

By Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams:

Fidel Castro - Death of a Revolutionary Hero

I have been lucky in my life to have met many brave people. Ordinary men and women who in exceptional times in Ireland or Palestine, in South Africa or Cuba, in the Basque country or Colombia, and in so many other places, have taken a stand against injustice. In the face of great brutality they have stood for freedom and independence and an end to inequality and cruelty. Some have been exceptional leaders in the Irish struggle or in other parts of the world.

Today we mourn the death of one of the great revolutionary leaders – a hero and friend of Ireland - Fidel Castro.
On my own behalf and of Sinn Féin I extend my solidarity and condolences to President Raul Castro, to Fidel Castro’s family and to the Cuban people.
In December 2001, along with Gerry Kelly, and other comrades, I travelled to Cuba to unveil a memorial to mark the twentieth anniversary of the hunger strikes in the H-Blocks and in Armagh Women’s prison. The hunger strike memorial is in Parque Victor Hugo - a beautiful park in central Havana - named after the author of Les Miserables. The ceremony was held on a beautiful warm winter’s day and was afforded full state honours by the Cuban government. That memorial was one of many erected that year to mark the hunger strike. Two months earlier I had unveiled a monument on Robben Island in the yard where Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisilu were incarcerated for 27 years.
On our first night in Havana we were taken to an outdoor event to mark the formal opening of 200 new schools that the Cuban government had built in the recent past as part of a programme to expand and modernise its school programme. There were hundreds of people present, including many of the children attending those schools. Fidel Castro was the main speaker and his words were carried live on Cuban television. When it was over he and I met in the midst of the crowd and together we walked about meeting many of the young people.

The next day we again met with Fidel in his office. We spent several hours discussing Ireland, the issues of human rights, civil and religious liberties, democratic values, social justice, equality and other matters of concern to people wherever they live. We also spoke about the state of the world, especially in the aftermath of the attack on the twin towers in New York which had taken place four months earlier.

It was also an opportunity for me to thank him for his solidarity with the Irish republican struggle and particularly toward the 1981 hunger strikers. Fidel recalled those events and praised the courage of Bobby Sands and his comrades. He reminded us that in September, 1981, he opened the 68th conference of the Interparliamentary Union in Havana and in his speech praised the courage of the hunger strikers.
On that occasion he said: “Irish patriots are writing one of the most heroic chapters in human history…They have earned the respect and admiration of the world, and likewise they deserve its support. Ten of them have already died in the most moving gesture of sacrifice, selflessness and courage one could ever imagine…The stubbornness, intransigence, cruelty and insensitivity of the British Government before the international community concerning the problem of the Irish patriots and their hunger strike until death remind us of Torquemada and the atrocities committed by the Inquisition during the apogee of the Middle Ages…Let tyrants tremble before men who are capable of dying for their ideals, after 60 days on hunger strike!”
There is no doubt in my mind that the hunger strikers left a lasting and emotional impression on Fidel.
The revolution in Cuba and the remarkable leadership of Fidel and of Ché Guevara inspired many other peoples around the world in the 1950s and 60s and gave hope that change was possible – that freedom and an end to dictatorship could be achieved.
Fidel was a freedom fighter whose strategic insights helped overthrow one of the most brutal regimes in Central and South America. He was a political prisoner and a skilful negotiator. Fidel was also a peacemaker – a commitment that his brother and successor Raul Castro and the Cuban government has maintained as evidenced in their central role in brokering a peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC.
Fidel was a friend to those engaged in the struggle for justice across the world. Today they and millions more are remembering and celebrating the life of a great world statesman who by his example and leadership made the world a better place.
In our conversations he was funny, relaxed, and knowledgeable of world affairs and of events in the Irish peace process. He was as committed to the principles of the Cuban revolution 60 years later as he had been in the 1950s. He was self-effacing in his humour, totally relaxed and very focused.
He asked us many questions about Ireland. From the state of our fishing industry, our farming, as well as about unionism. He wanted to hear the sound of the Irish language so he asked that I recite the Hail Mary in Irish while he recited it in Spanish. He also said that following September 11 attacks in the United States that no progressive struggle would be won by armed actions. They could only be won by the power of ideas.
Go well, Rest in Peace, Fidel.
Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dílis.
[ Gerry Adams also tweeted "I am honoured 2 b representing Sinn Féin @ Fidel's funeral." and retweeted a Castro quote that "Ireland is one single country, one single homeland. My desire is that one day this entire island will be united and at peace." ]


Syrian Arab News Agency

President al-Assad:  Fidel Castro Will Remain an Inspiration for All Peoples Seeking Real Independence

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad sent on Saturday a condolence letter to Cuban President Raul Castro over the death of the Leader Fidel Castro.

In the letter, President al-Assad expressed on behalf of the Syrian people and on his own behalf heartfelt condolences to the leadership and people of Cuba, wishing them all success and asking that may the late leader rest in peace.

President al-Assad said that the “great” leader Fidel Castro efficiently led the struggle of his country and people against imperialism and hegemony for decades, and that his steadfastness has become an example and an inspiration for leaders and peoples everywhere in the world.

“Our friend Cuba was able under his leadership to stand its ground in the face of the most ferocious of sanctions and unfair campaigns witnessed in our modern history,” said the President, adding that Cuba has thus become a beacon for the liberation of the peoples of the South American countries and others around the world.

“The name Fidel Castro will live forever in the minds of generations and remain an inspiration for all the peoples who aspire to achieve real independence and liberation from the yoke of colonialism and hegemony,” the President said.

H. Said
Communist Party of Vietnam
Vietnam sends condolences to Cuba over Fidel Castro's death
The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, State President, Government and the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on November 26th sent a message of condolences to the Cuban Party, State Council, Government, National Assembly and people over the passing away of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
The message read the Vietnamese leaders and people are deeply mournful when hearing the news that Fidel Castro, former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, former Chairman of the State Council and Council of Ministers, a great leader of the Cuban leader, and an unyielding communist and revolutionary leader of Latin American nations and the struggle movement for peace and national independence, freedom and socialism, died on November 25th.
He devoted all of his life to Cuba’s revolutionary cause, overturning the dictatorial regime and bringing the Cuban people to the era of independence and freedom since January 1959.
As a leader of the Cuban revolution for more than half a century, Fidel Castro has always been a close comrade and brother of the Vietnamese leaders and people. He has always stood side by side with Vietnam during its past struggle for national independence and reunification as well as current national development.
Fidel’s immortal saying “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to devote blood” is always in the hearts of the Vietnamese people,
The world revolution loses an unyielding, brave and experienced leader, while the Party, State and people of Vietnam lose a close and beloved comrade and brother.
“We believe that in this sorrowful moment, the Cuban communists and people will continue to unite under the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba and President Raul Castro to realise the wishes of late leader Fidel Castro, firmly safeguarding the national independence and sovereignty as well as building socialism,” read the message.
The Vietnamese people once again affirm the solidarity with the Cuban people, it said.
The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also sent his message of condolences to Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.
Fidel Castro made three visits to Vietnam. In September 1973, Fidel Castro was the first and only foreign leader to visit the southern liberation area of Vietnam when the war was ongoing. His next visits were in December 1995 and February 2003, during which the friendship and cooperation between the two countries witnessed new development milestones.
Under the leadership of Fidel, Cuba was the pioneer in the world movement of supporting Vietnam’s struggle for independence as well as national construction.
With all of his great contributions, Fidel Castro was presented with the Vietnamese State’s Golden Star Order in 1982 and Ho Chi Minh Order in 1989./. 
[ There is an article and photo tribute from Vietnam's People's Army Newspaper at: