The Eternal Fidel Castro

Elio Delgado Legon

Fidel Castro during his visit to Chile in 1971. Photo: Pablo Pildain.

HAVANA TIMES — Next August 13, the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, will turn 90. It seems incredible that a man who has been targeted by the Central Intelligence Agency for over 50 years should be reaching this age, not having locked himself up somewhere to stay out of harm’s reach, as Fidel Castro never failed to attend any of the activities he planned, neither in Cuba nor abroad.

Fidel Castro will continue to celebrate birthdays until, one day, as is only natural, he will cease to be among us physically, to go down in history as one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th and 21st century. Great men never truly die; they continue to live in the annals of history and in the hearts and memories of peoples.

Centuries will pass and, every 13th of August, his birthday will be celebrated in all corners of the planet where the Cuban revolution has offered its fraternal aid to make the lives easier of those excluded and marginalized by a selfish society, concerned only with its own, petty interests.

Fidel Castro is the man who has struggled the most for peace on earth and to protect the natural conditions that make human life possible. However, he has never even been considered for a Nobel Peace Prize, even though no one is as deserving of one as he is.

Many intellectuals around the world have praised Fidel Castro. I will limit myself to only a few comments because of space limitations.

“For he was born among the people and among the people he remains, which is why his greatness is the greatness of the Cuban people. Everything he’s done, all of his actions are the expression of the loftiest aspirations of Jose Marti’s homeland. The peace I believe in is not and will not be divorced from justice, freedom, the hope of a better world – and all of this is embodied by Fidel.” – Jorge Amado, Brazilian writer, 1986.

“He’s a sequoyah, an old, giant tree that, when others have been cut down, continues to stand, surrounded by those desperate to make the final cut. Then, we will be left with no one like him. We will have other marvelous people and we ourselves will have to be thus, but he is our inspiration.” – Alice Walker, US writer.

“When the word Fidel is heard from the mouth of a child, an adult, in addition to its direct value, it has a series of resonances, like the music produced by a harmonica, which touches the fibers of our sensibility, of our conscience. Fidel is the sculptor of the Cuban revolution.” – Julio Cortazar, Argentine intellectual, 1982.

“(…) I admire his leadership and I consider him to be one of the most important leaders in the world today. A certain international press has tried to disfigure Fidel’s image, but I don’t always believe all the international press says.” – George McGovern, former US Senator, 1982.

Fidel Castro about to turn 90.

“The Cuban people and Fidel are offering us their heart, their lives, everything, and I believe this is a marvelous example of life, integrity, and we have to continue united, continue to struggle, because the struggle isn’t over.” – Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize.

“Fidel Castro is the greatest man I have ever met. I’ve met many people, great musicians, great writers, great politicians. No one ever gave me the impression of fullness, of a full character, in all its dimensions, with each of their phrases, that Fidel did. The people are on the side of Fidel absolutely, the people of Cuba hope Fidel will live forever. The generalized belief in Latin America is that Cuba is the realization of all the peoples that aspire to be, it is our hope.” – Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian painter and sculptor, 1991.

“Fidel is the hopeful light of a future with more solidarity and justice.” – Rafael Alberti, Spanish poet, 1996.

Time Does Not Devour Redeemers

A living statue of a stronger metal,
the monsters of gold and mud
could not kill you with the bullet or the poison
and want time to condemn you to death.

They count your hours, they like to see
your white, Hellenic beard,
and in the heights of their idle thinking
they are amused by your gray hairs.

The peoples, however, give you roses,
poems and songs, more because
you fulfill dreams than because you are growing older,

for the age of heroes and of geniuses
is not measured in days or years
but in long centuries and millennia.

– Jesus Orta Ruiza, Cuban poet, 1996.

These are the opinions of great men and women around the world, and it is the reason I claim Fidel is an eternal man.


50 thoughts on “The Eternal Fidel Castro

  • The New York Times is one of the world’s most respected news organizations. The NYT article that I linked speaks directly to the Castro quote that I reference in my comment. The news source you recommend is a rag.

  • A good post .

  • The Soviets lost some 50 million of its people in two World War killed by invaders from the Western countries.
    The Soviets won WWII by killing 80% of all the German killed in that war.
    The terms arrived at by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill after the war gave the Soviets domination over those Eastern European border states which served them as a shield to further capitalist invasions.
    The US foreign policies since then have killed tens of millions of people in the world since then . The Soviets didn’t come anywhere close to that bad as they were.

  • As should have been expected, the source you linked has nothing in it that is relevant.
    I would hope you you posted it in error.
    The New York Times is a mouthpiece for imperialism and capitalism and is not very reliable when it comes to issues involving U.S. foreign policy .
    Even the WSJ is far more reliable on such issues.
    To rely on the NYT is to be constantly disinformed.
    Try this website : The New York Times Examiner to see just how unreliable that rag is .

  • Hi there,
    Cuba is NOT communist , since communism is a FUTURE state that, of necessity, must follow the establishment of a DEMOCRATIC socialist society.
    Cuba was never socialist because socialism is a bottom up system and Cuba’s is not.
    Cuba is best described as totalitarian state capitalist with government officials taking the place of the private owners under free enterprise (US style ) capitalism .
    Please take the time to go to You Tube and request ” Chomsky on socialism ” to have the world’s foremost intellectual explain to you what socialism is and isn’t .
    Thank you for the link you provided .
    I will check it out.

  • There is no surprised he has reached this age, we can be sure the best medical care was always there for him, I am sure the same does not apply to the common people. His birthday will not celebrated as much as the day he steps into hell for all the pain, suffering and killings he has caused to the innocent.

    For one group of people to stay in power by methods of suppression for such a long time is unforgiving, and for those that admire this, is unexplainable.

    Generations have been under the thumb of individuals with outdated ideas and theories and for those people is time wasted and time they can never get back.

    To imply that this is the greatest man he ever met, one can only assume the writer has not met many folks or that maybe he wanted his life to be controlled by others, who would dictate what to eat, how much, where to travel or not to travel, what to say and what not to say, the knowledge of freedom is one that very few in Cuba has had the chance to experience.

    Maybe what the CIA failed to archived, will be archive by Father Time who so far has shown far more mercy on him than Fidel has shown on others.

  • Che would support payback to Russia? The television technology which was supplied by Russia comes at a price.

  • So give the Soviets credit for fighting apartheid! Africa is not the U.S.

  • The USSR had troops in ALL Esatern Europe countries and they repressed any dissent that arose there. Check Hungary, Chescoslovaquia, etc.

  • Marquez’s account of the Cuban intervention in Angola is pure propaganda, full of historical errors and falsehoods. For one thing, contrary to Marquez’s fanciful story, the Cuban intervention began in 1965, ten years before Operation Carlotta.

    If the Russians did not support the Cuban intervention, they never would have sent billions of rubles worth of arms to Angola for the Cubans to fight with. There were thousands of Russian officers, KGB and pilots in Angola. Castro provided the cannon fodder. The Cubans & the Russians had their disagreements, as it would be impossible for anybody to work with the narcissistic Fidel Castro without getting into an argument. But the overall intervention was well planned. When the Russians finally stopped sending weapons & ammunition to the Cubans, in 1989, Fidel realized he could no longer keep fighting. That is when he finally agreed to participate peace negotiations.

    A detailed, unbiased and accurate account of the Cuban intervention can be read here:

  • John fears an independent state will be like Haiti… he has two options, study Elijah Mohammad who taught the principles, or move to Cuba where he can learn mind reading the hard way

  • A solvent Cuba was behind a variety of leftist interventions. The embargo helped to limit the “internationalism” the Castros would have otherwise been involved in.

  • Your “keyboard courage” speaks volumes about you. Stop the personal attacks.

  • Stop the personal attacks. It’s cowardice.

  • What was it you said to Michael Pece about ad hominem attacks? Something about “last resort….have no effective argument”

  • …but Jonny, ad hominem attacks are a specialty of yours. Don’t see why you’d complain about it now.

  • And.. what experience have you personally ever had with common sense ?
    What did Marquez have to say about the equipment used and of the aid the Soviets provided for ‘Operation Carlotta” .?
    The Soviets were STALINIST-socialism in ONE country sorts . They rarely sent troops beyond the state that bordered the USSR. It was not ‘tactical” disagreements that the Cubans and the Soviets disagreed about it was Cuba’s open internationalism ( Trotskyist) that the Soviets were pissed about.
    Do you read any real, i.e. factual history ?

  • They are using a Maya Angelou quote in the current U.S. presidential campaign that (accurately IMO) says: ” When someone shows you who they are,
    believe them”
    I believe you, Mr. Heap

  • Source, in context , please.
    Thank you

  • The “alternative was worse …”
    You need to explain blank statements like that
    In what way would Cuba change for the worse WERE the embargo to be lifted.?
    You ‘re now going to have to go back and look up all the different reasons given by the many different U.S. administrations to justify/euphemize the immorality of the original back-in-the- 60s embargo.
    You’re going to need a Tylenol or two ,straining your eyes as you must do reading through those reactionary blinders..

  • Common sense would disagree with the Garcia Marquez version. The USSR may have disagreed tactically with the Castros in Angola, but the Soviet-supplied weapons the Cubans used and the Soviet-made uniforms Cuban soldiers wore supports my contention that without Soviet support, Castro was a paper tiger.

  • In as much as its intent was to foment the overthrow of the Castro dictatorship, it’s lack of “effectiveness” is self-evident. It has been maintained by 11 administration’s because the alternative was worse. That may still be true. Obama is willing to take the chance. Thus far, Congress is not.

  • “I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief.” ‘Nuff said!

  • “Immoral steaming heap”? C’mon John, play nice. You have no idea what I “subscribe” to unless I tell you. Why guess? You are terrible at it.

  • Hey , you’re as bad as Bill O’Reilly in slinging cheap-shot rhetoric that you KNOW to be untrue but would take many long paragraphs to refute . A typical right-wing tactic.
    For those who want a look at what the Cubans were doing in Angola and why the Soviets did not instigate the Cubans nor participate read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Operation Carlotta”.

  • As an avowed and self-professed supporter of capitalism I know you probably subscribe to the Prosperity Christian Church of one kind or another, believe that you needn’t be a moral person and, like Hitler, will have all your sins forgiven and get into heaven as the immoral steaming heap that you are .
    That, or you’re an atheist, something like me, but without the moral values .

  • Please post a single VERBATIM ( note emphasis) lie uttered by Fidel or be seen as a liar yourself.
    Just try to find one in the great many long recorded speeches he made.
    It should be easy for YOU to come up with hundreds.

  • Of course, and the dozen or so U.S. administrations since Eisenhower, who have maintained that embargo right up to today, maintained it because it was not effective.
    You have some secret source of information and you’ve been keeping it from them . Shame on you , that’s idiotic….I mean unpatriotic.
    Can you not hear the illogic in what you’re posting ?

  • And… if someone had an opinion that say..Jews are inferior or that blacks are inferior or that a few million babies starved to death each year is worth it to maintain capitalism ?
    Would you bother to debate that deep a hatred of humanity or just call him/her an IGNORANUS
    ( someone who is both ignorant AND an a-hole )?
    That said, ad hominem attacks are often the last resort of those on the far right who have no effective counter argument.

  • When I read ‘greatest statesman’ in reference to the article I think it is amazing Fidel has done what he has done. But in part his longevity is due to the US isolationist policy. In a strange way the US has helped Fidel stay in power despite the stated desire to foment his demise. Given the state of the economy and lack of development an interesting question is what would the island be if he had not inherited the structural aspects of the old Cuba. What if he had to be the architect of building cities and an the infrastructure to support the population. If an earthquake erased the buildings in Havana tomorrow what would happen now that decades of Cuban Government have developed their own capabilities and limitations?
    My feeling is the development in Cuba is cultural; something you can see and experience but cannot really put your hands on it. It is an alternative existence and clearly not to the liking of all. But what is? Economic development stratifies society and isolates people. Money provides the ability to do things and make choices and therein lies the problem. Cuba is something of an enigma, as a social model that might otherwise have only been professed but never existed. Yet here it is thanks to Fidel and company. As a time capsule and social experiment outcomes, pro and con, have become visible and evolution is the logical next step. Whether Fidel is a great ‘statesman’ depends on your point of view. But remarkable? That is undeniable. (I expect lots of remarks over

  • The embargo has not had the debilitating effect on the Cuban economy as you suggest. It is Castro-style socialism that has destroyed the Cuban economy.

  • First and foremost, Fidel’s goal has been to perpetuate his power. All other objectives were of lesser importance to the dictatorship. His international exploits were far from altruistic. He acted on behalf of his Soviet pimps in fomenting leftist movements in Africa. By the way, that whole Ten Ton Harvest folly was a flop. He wasted human and financial resources, including your volunteer time, on ventures that suited personal whim alone.

  • You fail horribly at mind-reading and guessing the religiosity of others.

  • It is axiomatic and Fidel SAID as much,
    that it is impossible to export/start a revolution if a people are not ready for it ( witness what happened to Che) and it is also impossible to stop a revolution if the people ARE ready for it.

  • There is no God.
    and you are also an atheist.
    You just believe in one more God than me.
    When you become capable of understanding why you reject all other possible gods , you will be able to understand why I reject yours.
    There have been precious few “mistakes” made in perpetrating U.S. imperialist foreign policy which is why they control much of the world .
    An actual reading of the U.S. record in its imperial quest would show that they have been very successful precisely because killing millions is necessary for the repression they need .
    History will not only absolve Fidel of his non-crimes but will extol him for his morality amid a world of imperialist immorality .

  • The reason Cuba is in the condition it is in today, you historic amnesiac , is because some 54 years ago the United States instituted the embargo to impoverish the people to the point that they would overthrow their revolution.
    Look up Lester Mallory and relieve your ignorance.
    Your post is high-school level revisionism.

  • Thanks for your compendium of paeans, Elio! I don’t know about History, but I, and many million others, certainly absolve him. First and foremost his goal has always been social and economic justice for the Cuban people (and, by extension, as exemplified by Cuba’s assistance to the peoples of Angola, South Africa, and other nations, oppressed people of all nations). A remarkable man has this way come. If, in the end, he didn’t manage to triumph, it was not for lack of trying. Certainly an outstanding memory in my life was being selected as one of the seven members of the Venceremos Brigade who, one day in late December of 1969, cut cane with Fidel in a field near Aguacate, and later, that evening, sitting at the same table with him in the comedor, then listening, late into the night, as he answered our questions.

  • Damn, it is not even worth expressing ones opinion on this site with replies that attack the person and not the opinions!

  • I suppose one can use words like “altruistic” and “great leader” to describe Fidel. However, if Fidel had been trying to improve life for the people of Cuba and correct the major problems faced by the government, he went about it in the wrong way. To help one’s people, it is not necessary to kill your distractors by firing squad. Great leaders do not expropriate the homes and businesses of citizens. One does not put paid spys on every block to inform on their neighbors. People who govern do not try to control the press and they are not afraid of the truth. A “president” does not turn himself into a dictator. And, a “great leader” does not accumulate almost a billion dollars for himself and his family while enjoying a lifestyle the average Cuban could hardly imagine. It is not the fault of the US Embargo (though I also tend to disagree with it) that Cubans have suffered so mightily. Why have so many Cubans left Cuba, some even facing death to do so? Why do so many Cubans today still want to leave, especially among the young? Any reasonably informed individual would understand that what has happened since 1959 to the lovely paradise called Cuba is because of the actions taken by Castro and his cronies. To attempt to argue otherwise is simply an exercise in futility. The world knows; someday all Cubans will know what has been kept from them.

  • Despite your holier-than-thou assessment, Fidel lied a lot. He asked the Cuban people to make sacrifices, he was unwilling to make. He took away basic human rights from the Cuban people. These are God-given rights and only by force was he able to take them away. He killed people. He took property. He caused unnecessary suffering. There have, no doubt, been mistakes in US policy, but ‘history will NOT absolve’ him when the entire truth of his tyranny is known.

  • Before he sent doctors, he sent revolution, and threatened nuclear war. Before the fall of the Soviet Union the embargo was simply a paper tiger as Cuba lived off the subsidies provided by there benefactor. What did Cuba do with this money? The exported more revolution. Instead they should have used that money for the people, maintained their infrastructure, and saved for the future. Today Cuba exports doctors, not out of benevolence, but as a source of revenue, a way to get “hard cash”. The Castros are the ones that destroyed Cuba. I saw it first hand.

  • Read my reply to ElDorado.

  • Maybe so but the likelihood of an alien invasion landing in Cuba are slim. Everybody knows that the first place aliens will go is New York City.

  • The author, I think, wrote a very compelling and accurate article.

    I am not Cuban, and perhaps do not know the suffering of the people but I think Fidel has always spoken the truth however unpleasant it may be. I have always believed what he said as opposed to the US politicians. Perhaps he did not bring the eternal spring which he wanted. I do not think of him as a “failed leader”. I think it is a great over-simplification when you think there is a “special place in Hell for dictators”. I think he did the best he could for Cuba and the world. He has sent Doctors and nurses all around the world to help other countries. He sent his military in to help support countries who had no place else to turn. This is what he could do. I think the Cuban people and Cuba itself was destined to fail when the US and some European countries slapped an embargo on the country and people. Without which the country and the people would have been much better off. Fidel’s legacy was destroyed be stupidity by the US.

  • Well there are absolutly more hellish scenarios on agenda for Cuba then Fidel. Future will tell.

  • Failed leaders are hardly remembered so warmly. It must be his charisma that will elevate past his many failures.

  • Fidel has his fans and his enemies. There will be dancing in the streets of Miami when he goes on to that special place in Hell just for Dictators. I can hardly wait to read all the obituaries.

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