September 4, 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the entrance of Fidel into the University of Havana. The occasion was commemorated in Cuba by a series of events, newspaper columns, and television commentaries. The commemorations repeated the celebrated comment made by Fidel twenty years ago at the University of Havana, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his entrance into the university, when he said, “Here I became revolutionary” (see “Fidel becomes revolutionary at the university” 9/11/2014). These commemorative activities have called upon the students to be, like Fidel, revolutionary, and to be committed to the revolution that Fidel directed and to ethical and professional service of the revolution.
One newspaper commentary recalled an historic speech given by Fidel at the University of Havana in 2005, on November 17, The International Day of the Student. On that occasion, Fidel asserted that “imperialism cannot destroy us, but we can destroy ourselves, if we do not eradicate certain vices.” The revolution is not irreversible, he concluded.
Elier Ramírez Cañedo, historian of the University of Havana, was President of the University Student Federation of the University of Havana central campus at the time of Fidel’s historic address in 2005. He observes that Fidel was explaining to the students that imperialism understands that it cannot destroy the Cuban Revolution from outside; it can only destroy the revolution from within, by pretending to help. He interprets the 2005 speech by Fidel as initiating a new stage in the Cuban Revolution, in which “looking inward” becomes the principal task. He notes that the 2005 speech has particular relevance at the present time, when a new form of relation with the United States is unfolding, thus establishing the most difficult test for Cuban revolutionaries of the last fifty years.
On September 4, 2015, the leadership of the University Student Federation sent a message to Fidel, pledging that they will fulfill their duty and respond to the challenge that Fidel has given them. They wrote:
Responding to your constant alerts, we will not defraud the trust deposited in us, above all before the new ideological scenarios in which we Cuban youth will live. We university students will carry, like you, the doctrines of José Martí, along with the conviction to defend socialism, promote humanism, ethics, and anti-imperialism, to save the great family that constitutes the human species and to bring to an end the still vacillating and dubious equilibrium of the world.
Like the youth of Cuba who were prepared to defend their socialist revolution before the US-backed military invasion at the Bay of Pigs, Cuban students and youth today are ready and prepared to defend their socialist revolution against the upcoming ideological and cultural invasion. And they understand that what is at stake is not only the future of the Cuban Revolution, but the future of humanity.
Castro, Fidel. 1998. “Días de Universidad,” en Fidel en la memoria del joven que es, Pp. 51-75. Melbourne: Ocean Press. Speech at the University of Havana on September 4, 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of Fidel’s entry into the university.
Gomes Bugallo, Susana. 2015. “Fidel en tres tiempos,” Juventud Rebelde, September 4, P. 5.
FEU. 2015. “Mensaje de la Federación Estudiantil Universitaria al Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana Fidel Castro Ruz,” Juventud Rebelde, September 4, P. 1.