By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Jul 26, 2007 12:20 AM
“What heart is not set aflame by the promise of freedom?” Fidel Castro asked a kangaroo court of the U.S.-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista so many years ago in 1953. He was being charged with the crime of attempting to overthrow the Batista dictatorship and the corrupt, decadent, colonized and impoverished order in Cuba along with it.
On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro and 160 others attacked the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Fidel Castro and 160 others had led an attack against the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The attack failed. Some of the young revolutionaries were killed outright or tortured to death; Castro and others were apprehended. The speech Castro gave in his defense was soon widely circulated under the title “History Will Absolve Me.” It became a recruiting tool for the building of a guerrilla army that eventually toppled the regime in 1959.
Who can deny that Castro was correct? In terms of medical care, education, literacy and employment, Cuba stands far ahead of any other nation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some are skeptical of such claims, but they need look no further than the CIA’s own World Fact Book.
While the CIA has done its best to drown the Cuban Revolution in blood with terrorist attacks, bombings and assassinations, it is nevertheless forced to concede the facts about Cuba in its own publication.
The fact book shows that a child born in Cuba has a better chance of surviving than one born in the United States, despite the fact that the U.S. contains the most wealth of any country in the world.
It shows that Cuba’s life expectancy is far ahead of every other Latin American nation, and is just slightly lower than that of the U.S.
These figures show that Cuba has a government devoted to the welfare of the people. It has built countless hospitals, clinics and medical research facilities since the revolution. Cuba has a medical college where people from all over the world are trained to be doctors in their home countries. It exports more medical aid than any nation on earth. It even offered medical aid to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina—an offer that Washington spurned.
Unlike the government in Washington, the Cuban government has devoted itself fully to the fight against AIDS. As a result, the rate of infection with HIV-AIDS in Cuba is only a sixth of what it is in the U.S.
The fact book shows that Cuba now has a 99 percent literacy rate—again, far above all the capitalist nations of Latin America.
Even while Cuba was fighting off the CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, its literacy campaigns did not stop. Cuba now has free, high-quality schools and all children are guaranteed an education through secondary school. All education, including the university level, is free to Cubans.
How is it that a small island in the Caribbean has been able to accomplish so much?
What is it that Cuba has that the rest of Latin America and most of the developing world do not have?
It has socialism. Cuban society is not based on greed and profits. The Cuban Revolution, which started out as a struggle against a bloody dictatorship, went on to free the land from the control of agribusiness, much of it in the hands of U.S. corporations. In the words of Che Guevara, it was “an agrarian reform that grew over into a socialist revolution” as the revolutionaries, in order to keep their promises to the people of a better life, began to liberate the offices and factories as well.
The means of production—the factories, the big farms and banks—are now in the hands of the Cuban people, who are using them to build a better future for themselves and their children.
“What heart is not set aflame by the promise of freedom?” Castro said so many years ago, and when the people of the world look upon Cuba their hearts are set aflame. They see the lie in the claim that capitalism is the best we can do and that humans are naturally greedy.
History has absolved Fidel Castro, as it will absolve all who fight for socialism, not just in Cuba but all over the world.
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