The curtains have finally folded for the charismatic Cuban revolutionary leader and longtime president Fidel Castro who died at 90. Fidel Castro staged a fierce battle that ended western imperialism not only in his own country but also inspired the same in Latin America and Africa where thousands of Cuban soldiers fought against western colonizers. On his state visit to Cuba, the iconic Nelson Mandela gave Fidel Castro a mammoth hug and appraised him for his role in ending the apartheid regime in South African.
In the past week, Western media in particular have labeled Fidel Castro as the worst dictator of our time. The same media nonetheless has not expounded on the impact of half a century American economic embargo on the South American state. Undisputed facts notably denote that Castro believed in absolute freedom of every nation to decide its destiny without interference from world powers or former colonial masters. He aspired to see a future where not only Cubans lived devoid of American massive control but also where poverty stricken and uneducated Africans developed their own strategies to grow their young post independent states.
It is on the basis of these ideologies that Fidel Castro voluntarily sent thousands of soldiers to roam the African jungles and to fight for the freedom of the people unknown to him. He also deployed hundreds of doctors and teachers on the African continent because he believed in the full potential of the free black people to determine their own history.
Even though the Washington administration was bend on killing the young Castro for establishing a communist state at the heart of America, their plans tumbled as Fidel Castro dodged CIA assignation bid over six hundred times. He also annihilated the American led occupation force that attempted to topple him. But even as the ashes of the former revolution leader are set to be interred on 4th December, many of the social injustices he avidly fought against on the African continent are still prevalent.
For instance, since the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, successive African led governments have done very little to redeem millions of Africans living in abject poverty. According to the World Bank report on poverty eradication twelve million people in South Africa live in impoverished conditions and are likely to die of preventable diseases.
Access to basic education still remains a pipe dream while university students’ demos seeking cut on their sky-rocketing fees are mercilessly quashed by the brutal Praetorian regime. On the other hand, the leadership has been blamed on excessive misuse of public money on lavish living, a classic case being of the incumbent president Jacob Zuma who has been ordered by the High court to refund millions of tax-payer Rand he used to furnish his posh home.
Many South African nations still deny their citizens the freedom of expression as the government control the media, a tool so important in setting the progressive agenda for the people. In places where many of the former Cuban soldiers chose to settle after the independence like Zimbabwe, the state denies populations virtually all forms of freedoms. Robert Mugabe has highhandedly run the economy of the country to the dogs. He has as well overseen an almost failed state for decades as government institutions grapple including the central bank which has inherently failed to control circulation of money resulting in the worst inflation in modern day history.
The systematic failure of many African states including Kenya to live up to the expectations of Fidel Castro’s dream of universal brotherhood, respect and accountability is a pointer that the struggle for emancipation will still rage. Opposition groups and activists will likely fight on until the day fundamental human freedoms is not a privilege for a few but all. Until the day healthcare services are dispensed to all citizens and government corruption is brought to a halt, the revolutionary spirit of Fidel will still roam the African continent.
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