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Cuba: Sixty years of persistency and creativity in paving the way for revolution
11/4/2019 14:11' Send Print
On 15 September 1973, Comrade Fidel Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, President of the Cuban Council of Ministers paid a visit to the Revolutionary People's Committee of Quang Tri Province (liberated zone in the south of Vietnam). Photo: VNA

Cuba as an example in paving the way for revolution

With the revolution against the Spanish colonial regime started in 1810 in Venezuela, Latin America is the first region in the world to light up the national liberation movement in the capitalist revolution era. By the end of the 19th century, all colonial countries in Latin America (except Cuba and Venezuela) gained independence. However, soon after, more than 30 young Latin American countries became new colonies and the Latin American region is considered by the United States as its "backyard." A series of consecutive socialist revolutionary movements broke out, but were all suppressed by new colonial forces and their henchmen.

In the context of prolonged impasse in terms of lines, strategies, and tactics of the communist, patriotic and revolutionary forces, in 1953, in Cuba a "red flame,” the violent revolution against the dictatorial regime, was launched by Cuban leader Fidel Castro which then became the people's revolution against the imperialists and eventually the socialist revolution in the following years. Thanks to the unique appropriate and feasible path opened by Fidel Castro, the small country of Cuba with nearly 10 million population escaped the yoke of the imperialists, becoming the first free country in the Western hemisphere from 1 January 1959.

The Cuban example awakened humanity, first of all Latin American people to rise up against the imperialists for national liberation. The revolutions in Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Nicaragua in the 1960s and 1970s; the overthrow of dictatorial regimes, social democratization in the 1980s; criticism against new free economic model in the 1990s of the 20th century and the leftist revolution against the imperialists in more than 15 Latin American countries since the beginning of the 2st century were an imperative implication of revolutionary struggle in Latin America lighted by the Cuban example. Latin America is not resigned to the status as the "backyard" of American "masters," and has become one of the most powerful and explosive anti-imperial struggle spaces. The golden pages of contemporary Latin America history bear the imprint of the Cuban revolution which paves the way and becomes the inexhaustible inspiration with the flow of time.

Building a model to replace the capitalist society from the Cuban revolutionary experience

From 1899, Cuba existed as a nominally independent nation but was completely dependent on the United States in terms of economy, defense and security. The 1899 Cuban Constitution stipulated that the US Government had the right and responsibility to secure Cuba in all circumstances; the then Cuban Government leased the Guantanamo military base to the United States. Cuba's economy was dominated entirely by American monopolist groups and domestic capitalists, while 83% of the total sugarcane acreage of Cuba, equivalent to 20% of the national total cultivable area, lay in the hands of 28 US “owners.” American capitalists also appropriated most resources and minerals, such as oil, nickel, electric, information and tourism industries and services. Nearly 7 million Cuban working people had to work as hired and dependent laborers; the richest people accounting for 20% of the Cuban population hold 58% of the national total income and the poorest accounting for 20% of the population were entitled to only 2% of the national total income; nearly 30% of people over 12 years old were illiterate; only 55% of children from 6 years old went to school; the average life expectancy of Cuban people was 58 years old.

The capitalist regime pushed Cuba into serious underdevelopment. The country's development reality gave rise to the need for a social revolution to replace colonial capitalist society and its economic structure and political institution with a regime based on the production and administration of the working people. Like in many other countries, Cuban socialism is not only a historical imperative of development, but more urgent and pronounced demand; it is also a condition for development.

After the victory of 1 January 1959, the Cuban revolutionary administration implemented many socialist-oriented policies on economic, cultural and social reform, including the establishment of the socialist public ownership of production material which was the most important structural reform of the economy as well as the socialist construction in Cuba. The exploitation regime was eliminated, laborers become masters of society. From a backward and dependent sugar monoculture economy, Cuba has built an industrial, agricultural and service economy with many spearheads, implemented the regime of. distribution by labor, basically meeting the needs of the people. Education, health, culture, science, sports and social activities have been promoted. The working class and laborers have developed, matured, their revolutionary virtues and professional capacity have been tested. The image, prestige, position of Cuba as a socialist outpost and revolutionary example in the Western Hemisphere are convincingly established in the international arena.

From 1960 up to now, the US has resorted to different schemes, such as hostile propaganda, diplomatic isolation, riots, air raid on Havana, Cuba capital, the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, instigation with the Missile Crisis in 1962, enactment of sanctions; carried out 800 assassination attempts against Cuban leader Fidel Castro to eradicate the communist bud in the Western Hemisphere. However, all those strategies and schemes failed. The political map of America and the world has been redrawn; the socialist Cuba proudly stands face to face with the capitalist superpower.

The crisis of socialism in the world from the late 1980s of the 20th century and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 pushed Cuba into the "special period." The lost of its bastion and mainstay, and the US sanction and embargo caused a total damage of US$950 billion to the small island. Cuba overcame the historical challenge, protected and developed the socialist regime with the main strength of a genuine revolution, the right political lines, the extraordinary motivation of the whole people, and strong international solidarity. No socialist achievements, values, superiorities were discarded in those difficult years. Only with exemplary persistency, creativity to realize socialist goals could the Cuban Party and people protect the socialist regime less than 100 miles away from the American superpower.

Confident in the path ushered in by Cuba, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was consistent with the socialist nature of the Bolivian revolution, bringing the country to "21st century socialism." Bolivian President Evo Morales repeatedly stated that "socialism is the hope of Latin America," affirming to be "anti-imperialist to the bone." And the President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega proclaimed: "to devote his whole life to the cause of building up socialism in our country." The Cuban revolution’s ideological power full of meaningful significance, is an indispensable spiritual weapon for the struggle to find alternatives to capitalism today and in future in Latin America in particular and world in general.

The Cuba model, the vanguard in raising awareness of sustainable development

The world economic crisis of 2008 awakened the international community in terms of important perceptions. This is not simply the collapse of a series of banking systems, financial policies, economic structures, global market chains, but more profoundly, the bankruptcy of a misconception on development, requiring humanity to overcome pure economic limitations when discussing, solving problems in development and underdevelopment.

As a historical category, development should be redefined on all aspects, from economy, politics, society, culture to the environment. The qualitative elements of development is the harmony between material and spiritual satisfaction; between economic growth and social justice, cultural and human development; between production and business efficiency and ecological environment safety; between economic efficiency and social efficiency; between creative freedom and value standards; between democracy and discipline and order; between individuals and communities, families and society, tradition and modernity. It is the development that can meet current demands without damaging the ability to meet the needs of future generations-that is, sustainable development. Although economic progress is the primary content, developing human factors is the basic content of development goals in the current age.

When Cuba’s revolution succeeded, the country was a poor and backward colony. Implementing appropriate socio-economic policies, Cuba has gained many important achievements. To date, all Cubans are entitled to free education, health, culture and sports; social security covers all people strata; 100% of the population are illiterate; no malnourished child is recorded; the infant mortality rate declines to 4 per 1,000; average life expectancy is approximately 80 years of age; there is no case of drug or gambling; cultural and sport activities are vibrant and healthy; the human development index reaches nearly 0.8 points, equal to developed countries in the world. Cuba is one of the 20 countries with the highest health index in the world and strict secured ecological environment. These impressive indicators have been maintained by Cuba in all circumstances, as Cuban leader Fidel Castro considered them “principled contents” in building new society and "unnegotiable issues “in every adjustment and reform process.

It can be said that the world has spent a lot of time to study why and with which resources the Cuban Government can effectively maintain the socio-economic superiority even in the years of extreme economic and financial difficulties, strong opposition, variations of the contemporary new free capitalist model which takes economy as the ultimate goal of development. The persistency and creativity are again confirmed as factors which lead to the vitality of Cuba.

The world today contains a lot of paradoxes. Never before have humans produced such a huge amount of wealth which can ensure enough food for the world's population, but there are still nearly 900 million people living in extreme poverty. The number of least developed countries (LDC) increased to 47 by 2017 compared to 25 countries in 1999. According to Oxfam's latest report, in 2017, the gap between 1% super rich and the remaining 99% of the world population widens; 82% of the world's wealth are in the hands of the 1% of the world's richest people, 8 of them possess an asset equivalent to that of 3.6 billion poorest people combined; 42 hold 80% of global assets. The World Bank (WB) maintains that currently 60% of the total global products belong to the 10 largest economies in the world. The world under the domination of capitalist production relations is a world of the contrasting 1% and 99%, excluding each other. The wealth of a group of people, or some countries, is at the expense of the poverty of other groups, other countries-this is the contemporary development logic. Such a world cannot be the choice of mankind and on the journey of building a better world, the Cuban model will be cited with confidence and will for action.

The Cuban Revolution-one of the most vivid symbols of revolutionary internationalism in today’s times

In essence, the proletarian revolution and socialist construction are an international cause. No single communist team can win the final victory in the fight against capitalism. Proletarians can only become revolutionaries and communists when they are aware of the global historical mission of the working class. These foundational principles have been paid much attention to by the Communist Party of Cuba in political communication and education and policy implementation. As a result, the entire Cuban people are deeply aware that the Cuban revolution is an integral part of the common struggle in Latin America and the whole world for the lofty goals of the era which are peace, national independence, democracy, national sovereignty and social progress. The have always upheld the pure international spirit and are ready to effectively implement international missions.

In the contemporary history of many countries and peoples in the world, especially the people of Asia, Africa, Latin America, acknowledgement has been given to the sacrifice of Cuban international soldiers in the fight against the colonialists, imperialists, reactionaries for national liberation; enthusiasm and humanism of the tens of thousands of Cuban teachers, doctors, engineers, and experts in national reconstruction; Cuba's strong support and consistent stance on international forums. Even in the current difficult situation, tens of thousands of international students have been given scholarships to study in Cuba; more than 50,000 medical staff, more than 60,000 Cuban teachers and experts are doing their international obligations in nearly 70 countries; Cuba has shared its scarce material resources to help peoples in the world and never once hesitated at the requests from revolutionary peoples.

In a world of prevailing pragmatic politics, progressive humankind needs Cuban-style internationalism, the style of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to firmly protect the values of truth - goodness - beauty in the relationship between people, as well as between nations. The example of Cuba truly lights up the global political conscience.

The cause of struggle for national liberation of the people of colonial and dependent countries since the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century has so far tempered relations of solidarity between nations. The Vietnam- Cuba relation is exemplary, loyal and pure. It has been tested through many periods and years of history, become the pride of the two peoples. The revolutionary cause of Vietnam, the people of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh have always played a unique position in Cuba’s internationalism. The Cuban people daily followed the war situation in Vietnam; shared will and woe considering support for Vietnam their conscience and responsibility; loudly protected Vietnam on all international forums; and is willing to devote blood for Vietnam. In the minds of the Vietnamese soldiers and people lie the memory of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, the first and only foreign head of state travelling to the battlefield of Quang Tri where fighting had not yet ended, holding high the flag of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, urging the Vietnamese soldiers to advance to liberate Saigon and meet again on the day of victory.

From 1975, Vietnam and Cuba have always stood shoulder to shoulder in socialist construction and national defense. At the end of 1982, the Vietnam-Cuba Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation was signed in Havana, defining the legal framework for the fruitful relations. On that occasion, Cuban President Fidel Castro stated that “Like small streams originating from distant regions apart and for a long time experiencing ups and down in isolation, the two peoples have gone through history until converging into a big and imposing river of the socialist revolution."

From 1992, at it annual session, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the draft Resolution against the US embargo against Cuba. In 2018 as well as for many years, the international community showed solidarity with the socialist Cuba with 191 out of 193 votes in favor. This is not just to protect a sovereign independent nation, but more importantly, show the world 's respect for Cuba over the past 60 years which has been steadfast and creative, paving the way against colonialism and imperialism, turning the people's dream into vivid reality, gaining national independence; abolishing exploitation, oppression and injustice; building a new regime of freedom, humanity, international solidarity and development.

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This article was published in the Communist Review, No. 915 (January 2019)

Assoc. Nguyen Viet ThaoDeputy Director of Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy