Hasta Siempre Comandante

A unique survivor of the great protagonists of the Cold War, Fidel Castro established a socialist government only 150 kilometers off the coast of the United States, and allied himself with the Soviet Union, the US staunch enemy. He successfully escaped 638 attempted assassinations of the US intelligence services.

He governed the island for 47 years and continued to remain in the ranks even after he fell ill and on July 31, 2006 handed the power to his brother Raúl, five years younger.

The Argentine intellectual Atilio Borón wrote: "He was a consummate politician, a man with a phenomenal capacity to feel the conjuncture, both domestic and international, which allowed him to turn his beloved Cuba - our Cuba in reality - into a leading player in some of the major international conflicts that shook the second half of the twentieth century. No other country in the region achieved anything similar to what Fidel achieved. Cuba provided decisive support for the consolidation of the revolution in Algeria, defeating the last bastion of the French colonialism; Cuba was with Vietnam from the very beginning, and their cooperation proved to be of immense value to the people threatened by the American genocide; Cuba was always with the Palestinians and never doubted what was the right side in the Arab-Israeli conflict; Cuba was decisive, according to Nelson Mandela, to redefine the socio-political map of the south of the African continent and to put an end to apartheid. Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, with their larger economies, territories and populations, never managed to exert such gravitation in world affairs. But Cuba had Fidel… ".

In his turn, the Spanish scholar Ignacio Ramonet reflects that "Fidel demanded notes, reports, cables, news, statistics, summaries of television or radio broadcasts, telephone calls ... He kept thinking. Always alert, always in action, always at the head of a small staff - who were his assistants and assistants - fighting a new battle. Always with ideas. Thinking the unthinkable. Imagining the unimaginable. With a spectacular mental courage. "

Ramonet also considers that "the Cuban Revolution, where Fidel Castro was the inspirer, theoretician and leader, remains today, thanks to its successes and despite its shortcomings, an important reference for millions of disinherited people on the planet. Here and there, in Latin America and other parts of the world, women and men protest, struggle, and sometimes die trying to establish regimes inspired by the Cuban model.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the historical failure of state socialism did not change Fidel Castro's dream of establishing a new society in Cuba, fairer, healthier, better educated, without privatizations or discrimination of any kind, and with a total global culture. "

The death of Commandante comes at a particularly uncertain time for his country, when the process of normalization of bilateral relations with the United States that his brother Raul Castro and Barack Obama started, is under question due to the impending arrival to the White House of Donald Trump. But a sense of orphanhood spreads not only in Cuba; millions of people in the world feel a deep sense of loss. And not without reason: the last great leader of the 20th century has gone.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.