Was Fidel Castro a friend to Africans?

fidel

The Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro passed away on Friday 25th November. I am not going to provide an account of the Cuban Revolution, rather I just wanted to pay a brief, but heartfelt tribute to Castro, without deifying him or pretending that he was perfect, which is a common tendency when people write about people they admire. Why do I admire Castro? Is it because I am a Communist or Marxist revolutionary? No, certainly not. I admire him because he was one of the few true friends, in terms of significant political leaders, that Afrika has had during the 20th century. Whilst some of the Afrikan leaders of the ‘frontline states’, during the apartheid era in South Africa,  either sat passively by or in some cases, actively co-operated with the apartheid regime, such as the arrogant neo-colonial lackey Dr Hastings Banda who “… was careful never to appear radical in front of the former colonial masters and pleased the British government by maintaining trade and contact with South Africa, condemning his fellow African leaders more than he did apartheid.”  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary-dr-hastings-banda-1296534.html  Fidel Castro put Cuban forces into battle against colonial regimes in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola. Much Cuban blood was shed on the battlefields of Southern Africa in aid of Afrikan liberation.
A great example is the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. “The battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the Cuban intervention in Angola is one of the turning points in Southern African History. It led to the movement of powerful Cuban armed force, into the west, towards the Namibian border. The fighting in the south western part of Angola led to the withdrawal of the South African, ANC and Cuban presence in Angola, and to the Independence of Namibia.”  http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/battle-cuito-cuanavale-1988 This battle was hugely significant in that it not only led to the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and independence of Namibia, but it also destoyed the aura of invincibility surrounding the South African Defence Force (SADF), and was a  significant contributory factor in the release of Nelson Mandela and end of apartheid in South Africa.

You have to put this all into context by remembering that the white world vacillated between overt and covert support for the apartheid regime, as perhaps best exemplified by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher referring to the Afrikaners as “our kith and kin” during a state visit to the UK by the then South African leader, the despicable war criminal, PW Botha. In global terms Cuba is a small island nation with a small population and which has been under economic and political attack by the United State ever since the revolution in 1959. Over the years there were more than a dozen documented assassination attempts against Castro by various US governments and yet despite living in the shadow of a hugely powerful; hostile neighbour, Castro had the vision and commitment to reach out to African people in Afrika, the Caribbean and other parts of the world and lend direct practical military, economic and medical aid. Just take the example of the massive earthquakes in Haiti where Cuba sent teams of doctors and the US sent in hordes of soldiers. That is a direct legacy of Fidel Castro and also illuminates the Euro-American mindset of always coming to conquer. Cuba even offered to send in medical teams in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina whilst the US government once again sent in teams of soldiers to face down a non-existent threat from the stranded, mostly Afrikan residents of New Orleans. Over the years Cuba has run a program giving free medical training to African-Americans.

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Castro should also be remembered for his strenuous attempts to wipe out racism in Cuba. I should be clear that he did not succeed in this, but it was not for the want of trying. Racism is still alive and kicking in Cuba as you can see by the behavior and attitudes of many of the European Cubans who migrate to the US from the island. Since, as I have mentioned many times before, racism is a normative part of European culture, all Castro could do was to suppress overt manifestations of racism in Cuba, but he could never kill its cultural root. I recall an Afrikan woman telling me of her holiday to Cuba, which took place in the last 10 years, and how she was constantly asked for her ID on the private beach associated with the hotel she was staying in and how it was regularly insinuated that she was a prostitute. You also have all of the skin color and shade issues in Cuba as is found in places such as Jamaica, UK, US etc. as well as the same European beauty ideal.

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Human Rights – We have to speak about human rights because this will be the biggest criticism made of Castro.  Did the Castro government suppress people’s human rights? To my mind the answer is obviously yes, however I think again we have to look at this in context. What do you think is going to happen when you lead a  tiny nation with the most powerful nation on Earth as a very hostile near neighbor which is  making every attempt to not only overthrow your government but also to directly kill you? It would be naive to think that you can have an open society under such abnormal conditions. Just take the failed ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion in 1961 as an example of US hostility  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13066561  No one knows for sure how Cuba would have developed if it was not faced with the ongoing US economic embargo designed to impoverish the Cuban people and destabilise the Cuban government.

The Future – With the transition of leadership to Fidel Castro’s brother Raul in 2008, the lifting of the US economic embargo and the flow of US money into Cuba which will become a tidal wave, the future for Cuba is likely to be Back to the Future. Prior to the revolution Cuba was a playground for the rich and famous from the US, a place where the Mafia could launder money and  centre for gambling, drugs and prostitution. I predict that in 5-10 years Cuba will be transformed. There will be huge infrastructure investment in the key tourist areas with hotels, casinos, theme parks etc popping up and a massive spike in property prices in these areas. Cuba will become one of the top holiday destinations for US citizens and will become a hotspot for sex tourism. Some Cubans are going to make  significant amounts of money, whilst the US transnational corporations are going to make a killing. Cuba will become yet another neo-colonial island in the sun.

Article written by Ifayomi Grant

22 thoughts on “Was Fidel Castro a friend to Africans?

  1. Nice post KP. If ever there were to be a non-African for me to honor and hold in high regard, it would be Fidel Castro as I will always have a special place in my heart for him just for giving political asylum to Assata. I can’t overlook that one. May she continue to stay protected.

    • Thanks Carol. I know many black people have conflicted feelings about Castro. You’re right about Assata too. I almost forgot about that. That’s another reason many black people saw Castro as an ally.

  2. In regards to the last paragraph of this article, I was thinking the same thing just about. Although Castro did not whole the title as president later in his life, he still was a major influence to his son behind the scenes. Since that is gone, we will see if his son Raul will hold true to those ideals his father taught him, or will he succumb to temptation and sell his country down the river. smh

    • I have been wondering about Raul too. I’m interested to see what direction he goes. But I do find it interesting that all the white Cubans are celebrating his death. Where are the black Cubans?? I would assume they have a different reaction to his death. The racism in Cuba can’t be denied.

  3. Very enlightening post brother. I never knew much about Castro, this really put him into perspective. Not surprised by the US lust for Cuba, they’ve wanted it since slavery days. ‘White’ people, especially Americans, need to be disarmed by force to ensure peace in the world.

  4. Wow I’m really surprised about it, I knew nothing about this other his side of him, my opinion of him was always as traitor or dictator but not as a good person!
    The Western media have always contributed to damage his image,made him some kind of monster!
    But I know American goverment doesn’t like when you said no to them,they always want to be on the top of the world!
    One thing I always like about Cuba It has always been one of few country in the world that has never kissed America ass,that’s why they are so pissed off!
    Thank you,I really liked this post!

  5. If we keep things in context then we can overstand that the socialists total life’s purpose is to destroy capitalism. They have been indoctrinated to go to actual war with Capitalism, just like Capitalism has gone to war with communism and Islam. Ourstory is filled with black people that has given their in defense of both Capitalism and socialism, because both supporters swallow the blue pill, which conditions us to accept that ultimate death and destruction of the opposite system is imperative….or die trying. Cuba and Castro’s defense of Afrika, should be seen in this context and over stand that we are alway political football for others. Hence Dr. Clarke’s assessment that we have no friends. I had urged a kneegrow on facebook to not say that socialism is an Afrikan thing, yet the fool kept putting up articles about Afrikan socialism, written by Afrikan socialist. Similar to promosexuals claiming Afrika was homosexual or Christians turning to the bible to justify the bible.

    Perhaps this article could give us some insight into Cuba, Socialism and Castro from an insiders point of view.

    http://www.looptt.com/content/different-side-fidel-castro-through-eyes-former-exiled-cuban

    • We know Castro was not breaking bread with Afro-Cubans, he lied about racism ending in the mid-60’s in Cuba. This in a nation where race relations are just as strained as in the USA with race consciousness been relevant at all times there and having even had a race war in 1912. Cubans also were no different than 95% of non-Afrikan (gene expression) groups to supporting freedom fighting in apartheid South Afrika’s borders. Open racism remains a big problem in Cuba thousands of black Cubans settled in Angola due to this.

      Unlike other premierships Castro clearly was helpful to Afrikan people in Central and Southern Afrika by dismantling apartheid and attacking the white South Afrikan presence there. That is about it. Ifayomi Grant is very wrong to claim Castro attempted to end racism, the guy constantly lied about race relations in his country and never ever shared economic and political power with blacks. Hiding overt racism is not helping blacks as we have seen with liberals in the West.

    • @BlackMyStory
      “The Cuban government, unforgiving for what they considered his counterrevolutionary stance and his escape, did all they could to silence Moore.
      “The Cuban regime tore my reputation to shreds and demolished my character internationally. Being branded a CIA agent was the most damaging charge. Wherever I went, people shunned me. I wonder that I retained my sanity before the relentless thrashing I was subject to wherever I showed my face,” he wrote in his book.
      Thanks to mediation efforts from former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, who acted on Moore’s behalf on the urgings of his friend Jamaican scholar Rex Nettleford, Moore’s banishment was rescinded in 1995 and he was allowed to return to Cuba.
      In 1997, Moore set foot in his native country to find that racism was still alive but some used the issue, now discussed openly, for profiteering.
      “The dollarization of Cuba’s economy, with tourism as the engine, created new situations whereby a pragmatic ex-Communist elite could reposition itself. The racially discriminatory practices of the tourist industry had created social tensions and heightened social awareness among the black population. The tourist boom, in turn, produced a dollar-crazy folklorization of Afro-Cuban culture. Western European tourists evinced an inordinate interest in black Cuban religion, music and dance; things black became exotic and being officially commoditized as never before,” Moore wrote in Pichón.”
      Thanks for that link. That was very eye opening. Everyone needs to check out that link. I also like your analogy about homosexuality promoters. I have encountered a few Afrikan socialists on YouTube. They do that a lot. I still agree with Clarke though….we have NO friends.

  6. Fidel Castro to Gaddafi were no different from any other racist Non BLACK Africans who disrespect & use BLACK Africans for their own benefits. “TO ALL BLACK AFRICAN PEOPLE WE HAVE NO FRIENDS.” Our people are brainwash & suffer from low self esteem to even allow Non Black African people to manipulate us.

    Here is a nice link of the arab king of Africa Gaddafi.
    http://www.afrik-news.com/article18180.html

    “We don’t know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans,” Col Gaddafi said in Rome.

    Colonel Gaddafi of Libya has continued in this tradition albeit masquerading as a Pan-Africanist amid his relentless attempts to Arabize Africa since the early 70s.

    Gaddafi has brutally deported thousands of Africans.

    During his Rome visit, Gaddafi asked the EU for 5 billion Euros to block Black Africans from Invading Europe and turning the continent into “another Africa”, which for him is a continent of starving and ignorant black barbarians.

    • Wow. I didn’t know that Gaddafi was a wolf in the sheep’s clothing. But it doesn’t surprise me much because Africans ‘have no friends’, as Dr. John Hendrik Clarke said in one of his lectures.

      I don’t know what it will take to awake more than 1.4 billion Africans who still sleeping tight after 500 years.

  7. I learned greatly from the article. Brother, I think you should write books. In my opinion, you’re already an African ‘expert’ on African history. In fact, any African person who is well-versed in African culture and history is a scholar, and his/her outweighs that of so-called white ‘historians’ and Uncle Toms like Gates jr.

    Our people are starving for KNOWLEDGE and SOLUTIONS for their PROBLEMS.

    • Thanks Nkomo. An expert?? That’s a nice compliment but I feel I’m still learning. I just study and read a lot of books on African history and culture. I’ve actually thought about writing a book. Some people have asked me. Although I didn’t write this particular article. It was written by Paul Ifayomi Grant.But he did great research on Castro for it.

      • By expert I meant being knowledgeable. Sometimes I listen to the elderly folks who will recite oral history that outweighs the kind of history we learn in school. They do it without actually reading books.

        Most of them are illiterate, but through oral tradition, it connects with ancient Egypt and other African civilisations. Even though some Africans never read the bible, but it is funny that our initiation rites resemble those practiced in the bible and ancient Egypt.

      • I think it’s because African knowledge and Kemetic texts is older than the Bible. We need to study more about our African history. The search for knowledge never ends. Thanks for the compliment though. I do my best. I just want to share information that can empower my people.

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