LOS ANGELES – Fidel Castro “El Comandante en Jefe” of the Cuban Revolution has passed away at 90 years of age. One is struck by the dichotomy of coverage in the media with outpourings of condolences and recognitions of Fidel’s legacy coming from the island, Latin America and the world countered by condemnations coming from the U.S.
But that was Fidel. Unapologetically in favor of the victims of, and resistors to, imperialist domination and intervention, Fidel Castro even in death outlives his critics. He inspired two generations of alternative thought and revolutionary action, however imperfect, by those who suffered the consequences of “blue eyed” imperialism.
I say this as someone who was inspired by the Cuban Revolution along with a generation of young Chicano activists in the 1960’s and 70’s. We grew up with Fidel, reveling in Cuba’s profound advances in health care, education, human development and Cuba’s role in revolutions in Central America, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
And alternately we suffered with the island as Cuba reached the limits of Fidel’s socialist model and endured setbacks.
I was not disheartened when Fidel left power in 2006 because I perceived that the era of U.S.-Cuba hostility was also nearing an end. On this President Obama deserves thanks for his multiple actions to improve U.S.-Cuba relations.
Today we in the U.S., especially those of us with roots in Latin America, have a duty to redouble our efforts to help end the immoral U.S. embargo on Cuba immediately. For our part WCVI rededicates itself to this historic task.
Fidel Castro Presente!
Antonio Gonzalez is president of the William C. Velasquez Institute and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.
[Photo at top of the Chicano Park Icons mural in San Diego, California.]