Comandante Raúl Castro Ruz, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba:
On January 1, 2019, the Cuban people will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of your revolutionary triumph. Millions of struggling people around the world, including in our own country, the United States, will celebrate with you.
U.S. imperialism, from the start, saw the success of socialist Cuba as a huge threat to its economic, political and military interests, including the Guantanamo Bay naval base. Therefore every effort was made to isolate Cuba, harm its economy and destabilize its institutions. The hope was that by sabotaging Cuba economically, enough suffering would be inflicted on the Cuban people that they would “rise up” and overthrow their revolutionary government. This would allow the United States to install a regime in Havana that would have been as friendly to its own interests as had been the regimes of Batista and his predecessors.
There followed some of the harshest attacks, short of all out military conquest, that any large wealthy country has ever launched against a much smaller and poorer one. The cutoff of Cuba’s sugar quota , the refusal of U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba to refine Soviet crude oil, and other heavy handed forms of economic pressure were accompanied by acts of violent sabotage against the Cuban economy and people. These included the March 1960 blowing up of the French freighter la Coubre, which had just docked in Havana harbor with a cargo of arms for Cuba. The Eisenhower administration in the United States began the practice of training right wing Cuban exiles for the purpose of invading Cuba; this led to the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón) invasion in April 1961, which failed miserably. Operation Mongoose, however, continued, sometimes enlisting the help of Mafia criminals in terroristic efforts to overthrow the Cuban government. Production was sabotaged, assassination attempts were planned and carried out, and murders were committed. More than 600 assassination attempts against Comandante Fidel Castro alone were thwarted by diligent Cuban security.
But the Cuban Revolution was not diverted one millimeter from its path. To counter the U.S. boycott, Cuba negotiated trade and aid treaties with the USSR and its allies. Most of all, Cuba was able to mobilize the creativity and energy of its entire people in a giant, cooperative, and joyful effort to overcome both historic poverty and underdevelopment and the new attacks of imperialism, to build an exemplary model of socialism which is admired by millions around the world.
In spite of all difficulties, Cuba’s revolutionary government played an enormous role in the people’s struggles far beyond its borders. National liberation movements all over the world were inspired and invigorated by the Cuban example. Above all, the Cuban role, lasting over several decades, in the ending the fascist apartheid regime in South Africa was a gift of the Cuban Revolution not only to the South African people, but to all of Africa and to humanity.
When, at the end of the 1980s, and culminating in 1991, the socialist governments of the USSR and the other Eastern European states collapsed, Cuba was plunged into another dangerous crisis. By the creative response of the Cuban government, party and people during the “Special Period”, Cuba was able to overcome the new danger.
Cuba’s socialist, revolutionary solidarity with the poor nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, epitomized by its work in the fields of health care, education and even sports, have continued and expanded in spite of all dangers and challenges from imperialism. Even in wealthy capitalist countries such as the United States, our struggles for a better life have taken inspiration from the example of the Cuban Revolution and Cuban socialism.
Although many of the great leaders who brought the Revolution to power, including unforgettable figures like Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Vilma Espín and many others, have now passed from the scene and into history, their living monument, and that of the Cuban Revolution, is to be found in the achievements of the Cuban people and in the hearts of struggling people everywhere.
Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, Presente!
Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, Presente!
Comandante Vilma Espín Guillois, Presente!
May their memory never fade!
Long live the Cuban Revolution!
Victory to the Cuban people!
John Bachtell, National Chair, Communist Party USA