Remembering Fidel – Defending Cuba

SG, Corcaigh

On the 25th of November, Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Hugo René Ramos Milanés, addressed the Connolly Youth Movement at a talk held to remember Fidel Castro, on the 4th anniversary of his death.

Ambassador Ramos emphasised the importance of Fidel’s leadership during the Cuban Revolution of 1959 – and noted that indispensable to this leadership was the wide support among the Cuban population, who were both inspired by and inspired Fidel.

Fidel Castro made an outstanding contribution to the Revolution, and Ambassador Ramos pointed to his achievements in education and healthcare particularly, while also appreciating his contributions to science, culture and food security. Fidel Castro took a wide-ranging interest in many projects throughout Cuba, and went to great lengths to encourage and personally support them.

2020 gives us a clear evaluation of the successes of the Revolution; Ambassador Ramos points out that there have been over 200 new sanctions against Cuba this year, on top of a global pandemic. Cuba overcomes these setbacks thanks to Fidel, and thanks to the Revolution, which prepared the Cuban people to resist these existential threats while maintaining their autonomy, dignity and unity in the face of adversity.

Cuba’s investment in medical science is key to its resilience. Post-revolution, hospitals and medical universities were established around the country. One can study medical science in any of Cuba’s 15 provinces, without leaving their own community. We can see the benefits of this in COVID statistics; 59 million worldwide; 25 million in Latin America; but only 7,879 in Cuba. This is 10 times fewer than the world average, at 696 cases / 100,000. Ramos notes that while we lament every single death caused by COVID-19, only 133 Cubans have lost their lives this pandemic. We can contrast that to nearly 3,000 deaths on the island of Ireland, with only half the population of Cuba, to show that prioritisation of public health produces concrete and undeniable results.

These successes are only possible when the health system is a universal right, and not a private business. Again, we must thank Fidel Castro for the emphasis he put on healthcare throughout the revolution, as well as Che’s contributions to the theory of revolutionary medicine.

As well as looking after the needs of their own citizens, Cuba has consistently extended their solidarity around the globe; beginning in 1960, the year after the revolution, 400,000 Cuban doctors have worked in over 100 countries around the world. The Connolly Youth Movement has expressed its support for the nomination of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, and we continue to extend that solidarity to all Cuban medical workers, who so selflessly dedicate their work to international friendship and peace.

The Henry Reeve brigade recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary of delivering healthcare aid across the world.

We must view this selflessness always within Cuba’s current context, and persistent bullying and violation of international law from the US. Ambassador Ramos noted that it was impossible to buy aircraft from either Boeing or Airbus, leaving few other options to keep Cuba in the air; additionally, Venezuelan flagged fuel ships have been sanctioned. Despite these unilateral sanctions threatening insecurity, especially in this time of global pandemic, the Cuban people continue to stand strong in the face of imperialism, and offer international solidarity to the working people of the world. Again, we have Fidel, and the Cuban people’s dedication to the Revolution, to thank for this.

We look forward to building ever stronger links and friendships with the people of Cuba, offer them all our solidarity and support, and thank Hugo Ramos for joining us to remember Fidel Castro.

VIVA CUBA! VIVA FIDEL! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

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