The people are lined, sometime more than ten rows deep, along the streets and highways as the ashes of Fidel are transported in a caravan from the City of Havana to Santiago de Cuba, retracing in reverse the Caravan of Liberty of the triumphant rebel army during the first week of January 1959. As the caravan passes, some are in silent solemnity. Some make a military salute. Many are clapping in unison, and/or are chanting, “Fidel” and “Viva Fidel” as the caravan passes. But it is the slogan “Yo soy Fidel” that is increasingly being chanted in unison, and it is becoming the signature of the historic moment.
Some have waited patiently for hours for to pay their respects. At the end of the first day, the caravan arrived in Santa Clara, where the ashes of the historic leader of the Cuban revolution passed the night near the remains of the heroic guerrilla Che Guevara. The caravan is expected to take four days before it reaches Fidel’s final resting place near the burial site of José Martí in the famous Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.
The discipline and revolutionary commitment of the Cuban people is impressive and moving to behold. Cuba is today demonstrating once again that it is the land of Fidel and of the people that Fidel has formed.
The bourgeois press asks what will happen now that Fidel has died. It understands nothing of Cuban reality.
A society is a social organism, and like any living organism, it evolves. There can be breaks or ruptures in the evolution of a society, as can occur with a revolution or an invasion. In the case of Cuba, the first rupture since the Spanish conquest occurred in 1898, when the United States intervened in order to prevent the triumph of a revolution committed to true independence and to a society made by all and for the good of all. The second rupture occurred in 1959, with the triumph of a revolution led by Fidel, formed by various popular sectors and seeking national sovereignty and social transformation, standing against US imperialism and the national bourgeoisie.
Since 1959, the Cuban revolution has evolved through different stages, always with continuity. There have been decisive moments in its evolution: the first revolutionary steps in the early 1960s, establishing the revolutionary socialist character of the revolution, provoking the permanent hostility of its powerful neighbor to the north; the establishment of a constitution and structures of popular power and democracy during the 1970s, with a single political party as a leadership vanguard and not as an electoral party (which were permanently eliminated as conflictive and dysfunctional); the Cuban presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1979 to 1982, during which Cuba defended the Third World project of national and social liberation, as the global elite turned to the imposition of neoliberal policies, thereby demonstrating its incapacity to resolve the structural crisis of the world-system; the collapse of the socialist bloc led by the Soviet Union, making necessary the formulation by Fidel of structural adjustments; the entrance of Cuba in the process of Latin American union and integration, as the political reality of Latin America was transformed on the foundation of renewed popular movements after 1994; the retirement of Fidel in 2006, with Raúl assuming leadership, and with the party increasingly demonstrating its capacity to function effectively as a vanguard political party; the new social and economic model of 2012, as the leadership came to conclude that further concession to foreign capital and small-scale domestic entrepreneurship could be made without jeopardizing the socialist revolution, a process that was led by the party and that was developed in response to inquietudes among the people concerning the material standard of living; and now the death of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, at which time the Cuban people are reaffirming their commitment to the Cuban revolutionary project.
As the Cuban revolution evolved, it established structures of popular democracy, and it was able to accomplish the institutionalization of the charismatic authority of Fidel (and Raúl) in the Communist Party. Accordingly, with the establishment of structures of popular democracy, and with the party able to assume its role as a vanguard party, the Cuban revolutionary project will continue its evolution as a popular anti-imperialist and Fidelist revolution, with a capable vanguard formed, and with the people appreciating what the revolution has accomplished, and actively participating in the revolutionary process through structures of popular democracy.
The bourgeois press fails to understand that nothing will happen now that Fidel has died, except that Cuba will continue on its revolutionary road, for the people are committed to the principles taught by Fidel. It will continue to develop its society on a foundation of socialist principles, and it will continue with a foreign policy of international solidarity with the peoples, social movements, and socialist governments of the world.
The distortions of the bourgeois press limit the understanding of the peoples of the North, particularly in the United States. So the people do not understand Cuba, and even more importantly, the peoples of the North cannot understand the meaning of the Cuban Revolution and the lessons that it can teach the world, namely, that a more just, democratic and sustainable world-system can be created by charismatic leadership and a unified, educated and committed people.
The intellectuals of the North have the moral duty to encounter Cuba, to arrive to understand its meaning, and to search for ways to break the ideological barriers of the societies of the North, so that the peoples of the North, armed with understanding and moral commitment, can arrive to effective political action in their own behalf and in defense of humanity.
As for Cuba, it will persist. Cuba is Fidel; and Fidel is Cuba.