We only know him as the main man of the Cuban Revolution together with Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
A full-bearded man smoking tobacco in fatigues and one of the few world leaders who had the big cojones to defy the United States, the Man is no other than Fidel Castro.
If Filipinos are still enraged with the surprise burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the national cemetery or Libingan ng mga Bayani, lucky for Castro he will have his burial without question and delay because Cubans won’t dare to oppose his burial.
Halfway around the world people living in the United States particularly Cuban-Americans in Miami are celebrating his demise. Because for them his death serves as justice to their sacrifice to get out of Cuba and free themselves from the oppression of communism that Castro has when he took power from the US-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Before his demise, I once considered him as a strong stubborn man that is just too bad to die. I say this because first he survived more assassination attempts than Adolf Hitler, second he shaped the twentieth century not only with his encounters with the United States during the early 1960s but the Cuban Revolution that truly placed him in power by adapting Soviet communism as the political framework of his country.
If Guevara was least known for being a physician before he became a revolutionary, Castro was least known for being a lawyer and politician that already has that rebellious reputation.
In his lifetime however, he lived under eight Popes beginning with Pius XI who began his Papacy in 1922 and had encounters with three Popes with Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He outlasted ten United States presidents from President Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush before he stepped down due to his ailing condition. He witnessed the fall of his country’s closest ally, the Soviet Union in 1991 to which his country suffered in the economic aspect. Although he stepped down in power due to his ailing condition in 2006, he is witness to how the United States elected and re-elected the first African-America president in Barack Obama then almost elected the first woman president in Hillary Clinton.
In his lifetime also, he was able to tell the world the demise of his fellow revolutionary, Che Guevara after Guevara was captured and gunned down in Bolivia in 1967. Thirty years later, Guevara’s remains together with his compatriots in Bolivia were recovered and presented to Castro to be buried properly in Santa Clara, Cuba.
As a lover of video games, I find it amazing on how the people behind ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ depicted his failed assassination attempt during the Bay of Pigs invasion. It was not one of the difficult missions when you play the game but it gives you the feeling of what is like to kill one of the biggest pains in the neck of the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Communism may no longer be that relevant in this world marred by terrorism to counteract western ideology, his ideals will live on in Cuba and to neighboring Latin American countries that admires his vigilance against the US.
Beyond Latin America, Russian president Vladimir Putin salutes him for his staunch ideals against the US. Which is no surprise to me for Putin was a former KGB.
Cuba may no longer be a force to reckon with in this world since 1962, we must not forget that a communist country like North Korea and China can instill fear worldwide.
The comandante truly lived his life to the fullest simply as a revolutionary just around his late twenties. Even in his twilight years as a leader and a person, he continues to divide his people from those who want to live and die in Cuba, to those who do not want to live in his rule. He truly made his mark in this world.
It’s just sad that Castro has gone to the next life while people like Juan Ponce Enrile are still given the chance to walk this earth. Even Imelda Marcos who outlived her husband, and it’s just too bad Imelda won’t get to be it buried next her better half because there’s no place her. In fact, why did we even let Ferdinand Marcos give that chance to be buried there.
The world may have lost a dictator in Castro but there will come a time where revolutions as well as revolutionaries will be brought back to the streets and guerilla warfare would continue for those smart enough to risk their lives no matter political ideology it may be to fight imperialistic countries.
It will take time. We will never know how and when it will be presented to us.