Today, the Executive Management Team of the Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity (HCIF-PFS) joins Cubans and millions around the world to observe the seventh anniversary of the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, the revolutionary leader of Cuba. He died on 25th November, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. He was 90.
Indeed, seven years have passed since the death Fidel Castro. His legacy remains worth emulating for succeeding generations of leaders. Observing the death of Fidel annually is also a way of preserving the legacy he left behind for us. Before his death, he had survived 637 United States assassination attempts on his life.
To the Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity, Fidel was an idea, not just a person, and this idea lives in our blood, hearts and it is in our marrow. Having so inspired many generations, Fidel lives forever and the struggle goes on unabated. Commandant Fidel Castro was in every sense a great man. He spent his entire life thinking and working for his people and his great nation. He died satisfied that he had done his best for his country. He must surely be in heaven.
The death of this dedicated and committed revolutionary leader has created a void in the international solidarity movement. We have missed a great thinker, teacher, philosopher and achiever, and an iconic leader whose life on this planet was successful. The proof of it is what he has bequeathed us as a legacy, which must be preserved for succeeding generations. Castro’s political resoluteness and unswerving ideological stance found expression in a myriad of achievements, including but not limited to the July 26 Movement, which culminated into the triumph of the January 1, 1959 Revolution in Cuba.
When, say for instance, Africa was made a battleground for ideological supremacy between the West and East super power blocks, Cuba took the wise decision and noble path of friendship towards the liberation of the continent against colonialism and vestiges of an obnoxious apartheid enclave. The role of Cuba in the African Liberation Movement went beyond the ideological standoff between right and left to a real helping hand, by committing her sons and daughters (soldiers), doctors and teachers when post-colonial Africa was at its peril.
Today, we owe it as an unforgettable debt to honour even after death a man who sacrificed so much of the wealth of his country, to liberate the people of Africa. There is no gain saying the fact that Cuba’s commitment to Africa is evergreen. This is evidenced as Cuba continues to train African doctors, and sending doctors to the continent. Thanks to the wise and visionary leadership of the late Fidel Castro.
When Ebola ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Cuba led international aid efforts when other world powers pretended to be busy in other parts of the world that needed urgent attention. And during the August 2017 mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Cuba again intervened to prevent outbreak of diseases and other incidents.
With the facts above, it is our hope that the existing friendship and unflinching solidarity between Cuba and Africa will continue forever. It is our wish that God Almighty may have spared Castro to live more years on earth to have witnessed the birth of the current New African Movement. The New Africa recognizes Fidel Castro’s love for Africa and Africans everywhere. That is to say, no other revolutionary leader besides Fidel Castro, has proved that ‘Africa has a place in the world’.
On this day today, we pray that the soul of Fidel Castro may continue to rest in peace. Amen!
Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh.
The Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity
For and on behalf of Executive Management of the Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity.