Viva Fidel! Viva Cuba!

“With the passing of Fidel, the last great political leader of the 20th century departs this life, the only one who succeeded in ensuring the survival of his own life’s work for more than 50 years: the Cuban Revolution. Thanks to the Cuban Revolution, the small island stopped being the whorehouse of the Caribbean, exploited by the mafia, and made itself into a respected and sovereign nation acting in solidarity with others, a nation that maintains health and education professionals in more than one hundred countries, including Brazil.”

The Caribbean Camera wholeheartedly endorses this excellent   assessment of the achievements and the legacy of the heroic standard bearer of the movement that transformed Cuba into a bastion of political empowerment and international cooperation.

That assessment was written by the celebrated Catholic priest from Brazil who championed the liberation theology and was commonly called Frei Betto (Friar Betto).

That expression of admiration is based on the conviction that Fidel and the Cuban people embody the art and science of survival. It also refers to Cuba’s decisive military and internationalist support for such causes as the liberation of Angola.

And it reminds the world of Cuba’s leadership in humanitarian assistance to countries and regions ravaged by natural disasters such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

In addition to making Cuba a major success in medicine and education generously shared with the international community, the Castrist regime also managed a society that produced excellence in sport, music, dance (including classical ballet), and the performing arts.

In response to the fraternal spirit of the Cuban Revolution, the neighbouring countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) took the unprecedented step of granting political recognition to the Castro government in 1972.

In the context of the USA’s presumption of absolute political dominion over the western hemisphere, that was the boldest undertaking of the former British colonies in the Caribbean in asserting their right to political self- determination in the sovereign exercise of their own foreign policy.

To this day, the cooperation between Cuba and CARICOM remains unshakable. This is a fitting tribute to the enlightened vision of the four founding fathers of Caribbean integration: former Prime Ministers Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, Michael Manley of Jamaica, Forbes Burnham of Guyana and Errol Barrow of Barbados.

To this day, the people of the Caribbean can and should continue to denounce the US economic embargo against Cuba. This hateful crime against humanity still endures as a painful infection in Cuba’s economy, a major handicap for the Cuban people’s standard of living and an insult to the Caribbean region’s modern history.

Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau owes no apology to those whose hypocritical, double-standards blind them to the mortal sins of politicians, military personnel and heads of governments whose hands are dirtied with the blood of the millions of victims of their military, political and economic adventures in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and, yes, in Europe and North America.

For these and so many other reasons, the Caribbean Camera stands firm with the personal and official sentiments that inspired Prime Minister Trudeau’s original statement on the death of Fidel Castro:

 “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother, President Raúl Castro, during my recent visit to Cuba.”