a canadian marxist viewpoint : un point de vue marxiste canadien: a choice selection of internationalist & class news and commentary
November 26, 2016
Farewell address of Commandante Fidel Castro April 19, 2016
"It constitutes a superhuman effort to lead any people in times of crisis. Without them, the changes would be impossible. In a meeting such as this, which brings together more than a thousand representatives chosen by the revolutionary people themselves, who delegated their authority to them, for all it represents the greatest honor they have received in their lives -- to which is added the privilege of being a revolutionary, which is the product of our own consciousness.
Why did I become a socialist? Or more plainly, why did I become a communist? That word that expresses the most distorted and maligned concept in history, by those who have the privilege of exploiting the poor, dispossessed ever since they were deprived of all the material wealth that work, talent and human energy provide. Since when does man live in this dilemma? Throughout time without limit. I know you do not need this explanation but perhaps some listeners do.
I speak simply so it is better understood that I am not ignorant, extremist, or blind, nor did I acquire my ideology of my own accord studying economics. I did not have a tutor when I was a law and political sciences student, subjects in which they have a great influence. Of course then I was around 20 years old and was fond of sports and mountain climbing. Without a tutor to help me in the study of Marxism-Leninism, I was no more than a theorist, and of course, had total confidence in the Soviet Union. Lenin's work outraged after 70 years of Revolution. What a history lesson! It can be affirmed that it should not take another 70 years before another event like the Russian Revolution occurs, in order that humanity have another example of a magnificent social revolution that marked a huge step in the struggle against colonialism and its inseparable companion, imperialism.
Perhaps, however, the greatest danger hanging over the earth today derives from the destructive power of modern weaponry which could undermine the peace of the planet and make human life on earth’s surface impossible.
The species would disappear like the dinosaurs disappeared, perhaps there will be time for new forms of intelligent life or maybe the sun’s heat will grow until it melts all the planets of the solar system and its satellites, as a large number of scientists recognize. If the theories of several of them are true, which we laypeople are not unaware of, the practical man must learn more and adapt to reality. If the species survives a much longer space of time the future generations will know much more than we do, but first they will have to solve a huge problem. How to feed the billions of human beings whose realities are inevitably at odds with the limited drinking water and natural resources they need?
Some or perhaps many of you are wondering where are the politics in this speech. Believe me I am sad to say it, but the politics are here in these moderate words. If only numerous human beings would concern ourselves with these realities and not continue as in the times of Adam and Eve eating forbidden apples. Who will feed the thirsty people of Africa with no technology at their disposal, no rain, no reservoirs, no more underground aquifers than those covered by sands? We will see what is said by the governments which almost all signed the climate commitments.
We must constantly hammer away at these issues and I do not want to elaborate beyond the essentials.
I shall soon turn 90. Such an idea would never have occurred to me and it was never the result of an effort, it was sheer chance. I will soon be like everyone else. We all reach our turn, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof that on this planet, working with fervor and dignity, can produce the material and cultural wealth that humans need, and we must fight relentlessly to obtain these. To our brothers in Latin America, and the world, we must convey that the Cuban people will overcome.
This may be one of the last times that I speak in this room. I voted for all the candidates submitted for election by Congress and I appreciate the invitation and the honor of your listening to me. I congratulate you all, and firstly, compañero Raúl Castro for his magnificent effort.
We will set forth on the march forward and we will perfect what we should perfect, with the utmost loyalty and united force, just as Martí, Maceo and Gómez, in an unstoppable march."
Delivered at the closing session of the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba April 19, 2016 55 years and one day after the Cuban people repelled U.S. invasion at the Bay of Pigs