In remembrance of Fidel Castro, Whose Significance Shall Endure
Indeed, the world has lost a "true revolutionary", with the passing of a man who truly needs no introduction, H. E. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz. Irrespective of what the mainstream media has spewed about this icon for decades, there is absolutely no question in my mind that President Castro belongs in the pantheon of great socio-economic and political figures of all time. Many may not agree with his "politics", but undoubtedly he is an icon of resistance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. No-one can take away the fact that due to his: insight, ingenuity, conviction to his cause, love of country and overall charisma, that former President Castro was and shall forever remain a true trailblazer. I can recall while studying at UWI, one of our required texts for the course -- Contemporary Governance Issues in International Relations -- was "Carribean Charisma: Reflections on Leadership, Legitimacy and Populist Politics". It was an entirely insightful book that featured the likes of Maurice Bishop, Michael Manley, Eric Gairy, Eric Williams, Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham and none other than Fidel Castro. After reading that text (which shall forever serve as the cornerstone of my personal library) I became infused with an awareness of the role embodied by those with the personal touch/gift of charisma who played an integral role in the development of their respective countries throughout the wider Caribbean. For those who are scholars of the Caribbean, you will note that former President Castro is the only one listed from the non-English speaking Caribbean and I dare say that among those heavyweights of populist and influential movements that shaped their respective countries, the author chose his photo to grace the cover. It is amid this backdrop that I awoke on Saturday morning at 2:30 am, to the news of his passing. I shall say that gone (in the physical element) is a pioneer of true, 20th century, revolutionary: thought, consciousness, conceptualisation, due diligence, proactive action, persistence, innovation, galvanisation, development, patriotism and reality. Yet due to his impact, which extended far beyond the borders of his native Cuba, his effect lives on in the hearts and minds of those whom he inspired. Therefore I say that former President Castro has moved on to be with the ancestors, but his consciousness lives on. I salute this man and all who supported his leadership, for to me he represents the epitome of that which can only be described as an unyielding example of nationalist self-determination. Yes, he is and shall forever remain an icon in that regard. It is for these reasons that, although I never had the honour of personally meeting him, I consider Fidel Castro one of my mentors. As I mentioned from the onset, everyone is entitled to their opinion and, in mine, this gentleman was truly one of a kind. Given the warm and cordial relations that have always been shared between Belize and Cuba, it is my hope and aspiration that my people can somehow glean some semblance of national pride from the Cuban Revolution, so that we can fulfill the legacy through which social democracy/labour can substantively and effectively transform our broken system of governance by issuing in a renewed environment in which collectivism, steeped in providing equitable opportunities becomes the foundation of the true Belizean Revolution. Let us not forget that Cuba, under the leadership of former President Castro, was among the first and most staunch supporters of British Honduras in its bid for independence and following our independence continued to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation-state of Belize. Bearing this in mind and given the tenuous situation in which our so-called leaders have placed our nation amid the continued and I dare say facilitated aggression by Guatemala on our territorial integrity, I pray that the passing of this great man shall inspire Belizeans to take a leaf out of Cuba's book and demand accountability from its leadership on this and all pressing governance issues. Let us honour the memory of Fidel Castro, by not acquiescing to the powers that be and ensure that all 8,867 square miles of sovereign Belizean territory remain precisely that... and in that same vein, purge this nation of the traitors who are masquerading as representatives of the people. In such regard I shall put forth the question, "What would Mr Castro have done, in such a situation?" On that note, I draw the attention of Belize’s foreign minister, who is ever so keen on over-emphasising Belize’s presumed detractor of “...being so small in the face of our much larger neighbour Guatemala…”, to a quote from none other than Fidel Castro in which he extolled; “'I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action." ~ Castro in 1959. With that I say, rest in peace Comrade Fidel and rise in glory, for your global influence shall never be forgotten and to my Belizean people, it is past time to stand up for Belize and anyone who seeks to impinge upon our territorial integrity and sovereignty, for there exists enemies of the state, both external, as well as internal. Paco Smith 8867 Today 8867 Tomorrow 8867 Forever Belize, Sovereign and Free - NO ICJ!