“I will neither aspire nor accept —I repeat— I will neither aspire nor accept the position of president of the Council of State and Commander-in-chief."
“I am not bidding you farewell. I only wish to fight as a soldier of ideas. It will be a one weapon more from the arsenal that can be counted upon. I will be careful."
This was the powerful message from Fidel Castro, the great revolutionary and internationalist, to the valiant people of Cuba and other peoples of the world, on the morning of February 18, 2008, a little before the nominations and election of the Council of State, and its president, vice-presidents and secretary.
The commander-in-chief has given all his life to the national and internationalist revolution, to the freedom of peoples, to progress and social justice at the different stages of the socialist revolution.
In the trajectory and advance of Castro’s struggle, forces united and national liberation movements were initiated around the world: in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and in Arab countries – indeed in the heart of them, among the people of Palestine. Revolutionary Cuba provided more than a half million of internationalist fighters in the continents of the Third World to defend the right of peoples to liberation, independence, progress and justice; from Vietnam to Algeria, by way of the Golan Heights, Angola, Mozambique, and in most of the countries of Africa and Latin America. The island assisted in the training of thousands of scientific professionals and soldiers throughout the continents of the south.
In Castro’s march, there converged all the forces of socialism and national liberation: the forces of peace and non-alignment, the lovers of freedom and independence, advocates of revolutionary democracy and human dignity on the five continents. They advanced toward the sun of the future of peoples, liberating themselves from the ferocity of the forces of colonialism, imperialism, Zionism, apartheid, to beat back the aggressiveness and hegemony of savage globalized American capitalism.
Now we say: thank you comrade Fidel. The people of the Earth will not forget your bold and leading role in human scenarios for the cause of achieving freedom, justice and human dignity.
Fidel Castro is among the frontline of the premiere revolutionary leaders, among those great internationalists of the 20th century that headed revolutions for development and change in the world: Lenin, Mao Zedong, Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Castro, Abdel-Nasser. Reality, in its course and destiny, demonstrates that Castro has been the most outstanding revolutionary patriot and internationalist of the greatest influence in the period spanning the second half of the 20th century to now.
During the celebrations in Havana for Fidel’s 80th birthday, there gathered the world’s forces of liberation, progress, socialism, freedom and peace; thousands of leaders from the five continents covering the full spectrum of ideologies, politics and combativeness. They met in a celebration of greetings and appreciation for the revolutionary leader, the patriot, the internationalist – Fidel. His state of health did not even allow him to write a letter directed to the thousands of leaders that concentrated at that great event. Now, he has recovered and the “battle of ideas” continues in his column “Reflections of Compañero Fidel.” I wish long life to my friend and comrade of the great revolutionary path; today you are in the “center of the humanity’s sun.”
In the festivities of the 80th anniversary, there came together the world of freedom, peace and progress… friends from the five continents of the planet came.
I responded to the call for the celebration of comrade Fidel’s birthday, since he has been very generous to the Palestinian people, the Arab countries, and to the people of the Middle East… our people owe such a celebration and homage paid to the great revolutionary.
Palestine took its place on the presidential podium of the great conference, and our voice —the voice of Palestinians and Arabs— was received with a standing ovation, with the warm applause of thousands of leaders of movements for progress, peace and change. This was because Palestinians and Arabs are in “the eye of the storm,” resisting the Israeli occupation supported by their imperialistic American protectors who have maintained a blockade against Cuba for more than 45 years.
In the great internationalist conference, all of the Palestinian and Arab ambassadors met in a great, unified delegation, as an example of the appreciation and value we place on our friend and comrade Fidel, one of the great revolutionaries of the second half of the 20th century to now.
Fidel Castro is in “the eye of the sun, in the heart of people.” History has absolved you, as we remember when you said in your youth at the Moncada trial… “History will absolve me.”