On Fidel

Eduardo Galeano*

Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo:  Mariela De Marchi
Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo: Mariela De Marchi

HAVANA TIMES, July 26 – His enemies say he was a king without a crown, and that he confused unity with unanimity.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say if Napoleon had had a newspaper like “Granma,” no Frenchman would have ever learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say he exercised power speaking a lot and listening little, because he was more accustomed to echoes than to voices.

And in that, his enemies are right.

But his enemies do not say that he was posing for history when he exposed his chest to the bullets when the invasion came; that he confronted hurricanes on equal terms, from hurricane to hurricane; that he survived six hundred thirty-seven assassination attempts; that his contagious energy was decisive in transforming a colony into a homeland, or that it was not due to a Mandinga spell or a miracle from God that the new homeland could survive ten presidents of the United States, who had each tucked in their napkins to serve it up as lunch, with knives and forks.

And his enemies don’t say that Cuba is an odd country that doesn’t compete in the World Cup of Doormats.

And they don’t say that this revolution, having grown up under punishing conditions, is what it could be and not what it wanted to be.  Nor do they say that, to a great degree, the wall between desire and reality was being made higher and wider thanks to the imperial blockade that drowned the development of a Cuban style democracy, that forced the militarization of society and turned it over to the bureaucracy, which has a problem for each solution – the alibis it needs to justify and perpetuate itself.

And they don’t say that despite all the grief, despite the aggressions from abroad and the inconsistencies from within, that this suffering but insistently persevering island has generated the least unjust society in Latin American.

And his enemies don’t say this feat was the work of the sacrifice of his people, but it was also the work of the stubborn will and the old-fashion sense of the honor of this gentleman, who always went to bat for the losers, like that famous colleague of his from the fields of Castilla.

*From the book “Espejos, una Historia casi Universal” (Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone)

A Havana Times translation of the original published in Spanish at the website: (www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/sobre-fidel )

4 thoughts on “On Fidel

  • And his enemies don’t say this feat was the work of the sacrifice of his people, but it was also the work of the stubborn will and the old-fashion sense of the honor of this gentleman, who always went to bat for the losers, like that famous colleague of his from the fields of Castilla.

    This is the best piece i have read to date. My sister Milagros, was very impressed. She is in Cuba and estatic because pastors for peace are sucessful. She is doing her part..but will be away for 2 months..:( i miss her so much already but now i know why she had to do this..She is a gentle..woman with charcater and a love for all cubans.
    No there will be no great recognituion for Fidel or what the revolution would/could have done had Cuba been left alone..I am so ashamed of the US.I cannot believe that people still herald the US as a great nation. What are they smoking or toking? Must be ragweed
    My sister has taught me so much, i cannot believe my ignorance.

  • My only comment is in the last Presidential Election, the majority of people in the US voted for the Democratic Party’s candidate and Baraac Obama became the President of the USA. Little by slowly he is following his agenda for change. Trying to get affordable health care for all those in the USA who want it is taking up a lot of his time and energy, because most of those in the Republican Party don’t want it.
    I personally would like to see the US Embargo of Cuba rescinded immediately, but obviously I am only one person. Right now now I am trying to learn Spanish, so I can visit Cuba, Spain, and other countries where they speak español.
    In time I think President Obama will mediate a new Cuban Solution. When this will occur I have no idea.


  • May I say a few words re what the enemies of Fidel do not say. They do not say that the indemic problems of Cuban state-owns-everything socialism–a bizarre formula that displaced the original cooperative socialist formula of the mid-1800s–speaks to the people of the United States and the world much louder than do the words of Fidel’s enemies. Marxian state socialism, brought to Cuba by the Soviet model, teaches the working people of the world that the specific form of socialism endured by Cuba is ultimately unworkable. It says to the world that “socialism” does not work, but it does not say that there is another form of socialism that could and would work–in Cuba, the U.S., and in every country. The enemies do not say it b/c they don’t need to. The leaders of Cuba naively infer that Marxian “state” socialism is “real” socialism. These are the unspoken words uttered and loved by Fidel’s enemies. But real socialism is cooperative, with co-op property and the natural trading…

  • MY opinion is the same as my twins.(milagros) The country that we are born and raised in and where Milagros now spends most of the yr is the country where we both believe would do as well as any country..when the US decides to mind its own biz and remove the embargo.
    None of you wanna be, know it all, wanna be 3 b seeking tourists have a right to sit in judgement of anything that a sovereign nation puts in place..Who are you the police?
    Perhaps u amerikkkns esp.. and others would do well to spend some time working on the myriad of social issues in your own back yards..before pointing fingers at what Cuba is doing..After all the US put Fidel and the Castro Adm in power..Do ur research.

    “I don’t believe in capitalism or communism but rather socialism.. because the real enemy is injustice.”


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