Legend is gone, but Castro’s legacy continues

By Han Han Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/28 21:43:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT


Fidel Castro, a communist revolutionary of the Republic of Cuba, died at the age of 90 on Friday. Castro played a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading a guerrilla war against Fulgencio Batista's puppet government. After Batista's overthrow in 1959, Castro transformed his country into a state independent from the West, and became a national hero and a role model of independence and revolution in Latin America. 

It was reported that the US had made many attempts to remove the legendary figure through more than 600 assassination attempts, an economic blockade, and sponsored military invasions, including the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Despite these serious threats, Castro survived and led Cuba for half a century.  Castro held the position of prime minister until 1976 and then began a long tenure as president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. He temporarily delegated his presidential duties to his brother Raul Castro in July 2006 because of health problems and formally relinquished the presidency in February 2008.

Fidel Castro was a statesman globally known for his legendary experiences, revolutionary charisma, perseverance in anti-US causes and idealism in pursuit of communism. 

In the prolonged face-off with the US-led Western world, Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, has kept a strong political influence upon the Caribbean and even the entire Latin America with his hard-earned success in socialist development.

Time and history have vindicated and awarded Fidel Castro's hard fight to uphold Cuba's sovereign integrity and independence. The much smaller country has finally made the neighboring Goliath compromise. Washington lifted a half-century embargo against Cuba in early 2015, and both sides restored their normal relations. This indicates that Western countries have accepted the failure of their Cold-War containment of Cuba. This is essential to Cuba's re-entry into the broadest international community.  

Both governed by communist parties, China has been keeping a comradely relationship with Cuba. Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders are respected by the majority of Chinese as revolutionary heroes. Their stories are inspiring to the Chinese as well as to Cubans.

Upon the success of the revolution, the new leadership of Cuba cut off diplomatic ties with Taiwan and turned to Beijing to seek a real relationship with China. Cuba sent a high-level party delegation to China in 1959 and established the official relationship with China the next year. Cuba became the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic ties with China. 

After that, although having met some ups and downs due to major-power geopolitical games during the Cold War, China and Cuba have maintained close contacts, learning how to build socialism as they pushed new boundaries. The past decades have seen frequent exchanges at various levels from both sides, especially Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit in 2014. 

Besides political and ideological closeness, Sino-Cuban economic cooperation and trade have been growing smoothly. Now China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner, and Cuba is China's largest trading partner in the Caribbean region. Bilateral cooperation moved forward steadily in digital TV, agriculture, biological science and technology, automobile, mining products, steel, food, mechanical and electrical products, and infrastructure.

China's achievements in opening-up and reform have been inspirational to the ruling Communist Party of Cuba and its leaders, who have derived a lot of experiences from China, and used them for their own reforms.   

As Fidel Castro said in an "animated dialogue" with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on September 26, "After noteworthy economic and social progress, peace and friendship is the most important task for the People's Republic of China."

Although the legend has gone, both peoples' desire for friendship and comradeship will last forever.

The author is general secretary of the Center of Cuban Studies, Institute of Latin American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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