Press Release

The RPP Mourns the Death of a Good Friend of Africa

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In the early hours of November 25, 2016, came the bad news of the death of Fidel Castro, one of the greatest men of our modern times, a beloved figure in Africa and a champion of hope and liberation movements in Africa, he was a legend.
Fidel Castro should have been born an African; given his undying and unshakable love for the continent, he believed in and contributed more to Africa than the Continent’s colonialists had ever done. To himself, he was an African by love and passion. This was obvious in his words “We are a Latin African people —enemies of colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, apartheid, which Yankee imperialism aids and protects.”
Fidel Castro among ordinary Africans is a well-known and respected figure. There are currently a lot of children all over Africa bearing the name Fidel or Castro, showing the extent to which he has impacted on their lives. Fidel Castro would be greatly missed by Africans all over the world. With the death of this great man, Africa has lost a comrade in arms, a loyal friend, and a true hero of the people of Africa. The footprints of national struggle and liberation that he left on African soil will forever be honoured and remembered. He was a popular figure, among the leaders and Africans who lived during the period of Fidel Castro’s heroic actions all over the world.
From Northern Africa to Southern Africa, he was a figure that brought hope and dignity to the African people. He deserves the type of respect Africans accord great figures like Nelson Mandela, Muammar Gaddafi and Nnamdi Azikwe.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born in Biran, Cuba on August 13, 1926. He went on to become a Cuban leader, first as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and President from 1976 to 2006. As a revolutionary, he was anti-capitalism and pro-African in his actions and words. During his youth, Cuba was more of a US-colony with a very poor economy. As a young man, he led a revolt against the puppet US backed government.The attack carried out on the Moncada army barracks by Castro and a group of student on the 26th July 1953, ended in a defeat but spiraled theurge in him. Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro were apprehended and Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was later released. He later went into exile in Mexico in May 1955.
Castro was determined to liberate his country and institute national independence and social reform of his people, even while in exile in Mexico in 1955, he formed the 26th of July Movement with Raul, and Che Guevara.
In November 1956, Castrowith Che Guevara and a small group of 80 revolutionaries sailed from Mexico to Cuba on a-61-foot wooden yacht named “Granma”, but their journey came to an end as the yacht crash landed near Los Cayuelos. They were attacked by Batista’s forces, thus they fled to the Sierra Meastra mountain range where the 19 survivors set up a base from which Castro waged guerrilla war against the army.
Castro and his group of revolutionaries overthrew the authoritarian government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista on 1st January 1959.
The 26th of July Movement later reformed along Communist lines, becoming the Communist Party in October 1965. In April 1961, Castro defeated an attempt by the CIA-backed rebels to overthrow his regime at the Battle of the Bay of the Pigs, a battle that was commanded by the late Castro himself. Castro was also a key player in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War. The United States was totally against Castro’s government and attempted several times to assassinate him, but he survived in all 638 assassinations and the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion that was plotted by his enemies.
Castro was a towering figure among a generation of leaders that envisioned an equitable life for all. Fidel Castro led Cuban forces in support of many liberation movements all over the world to liberate and fight for independence. Much of his involvement was in Angola and Namibia, where the apartheid regime in South Africa was fought to a standstill by the coalition of Cuban forces and the liberation movements. In November 1975, Cuban forces defeated the FNLA in the Battle of Quifangondo.
It was the 1988 FAPLA-CUBAN forces that defeated the South African Apartheid army, along with UNITA during the decisive battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Southern Angola. Commenting on the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, the former South African president from his prison cell in 1988, Mandela said “Castro has destroyed the myth of invincibility of the white oppressor and inspired the fighting masses of South Africa”.
The efforts of this Cuban icon of freedom will forever befelt all over Africa. It was the victory at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, under the Command of Castro directly from Havana that sent shivers into the nerves of Washington, London and the SA apartheid regime. Eventually forcing the SA Apartheid regime to accede to Namibia’s independence and later speeding up negotiations for the handing over of power to the majority South Africans. It was Castro who drove long nails into the coffin of the SA apartheid regime.
Castro will always be remembered for his anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism stands. He was a propagator of self-government, nationalism and social reforms. This prompted Madiba again to praise his heroic actions with the following words “For the first time, a country has come from another continent, not to take away something but to help Africans to achieve freedom”.
We will always remember the heroic acts of Fidel Castro such as his support in 1988 for the independence struggle in South Africa and Namibia. If not for Castro it is possible that South Africa would have suffered under the apartheid regime longer than the 1994 transfer of power to the black majority.
Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, Cuba was popular for he believed in teaching a man how to fish a fish, rather than just giving the man a fished fish. He was keen on self-reliance; this is evident in his medical internationalism by providing doctors, teachers, engineers, medical services and equipment all over the troubled spot in the world. There’s no other leader who has offered what Fidel Castro has offered the world.At his death, more than 50,000 medical doctors of Cuban origin were working all over the world. His legacy was recently felt around the world when Cuban doctors and nurses caught the world by surprise through their critical leading role in defeating the disastrous Ebola Virus that ravaged and caused havoc in several West African countries.
Not only that, during Castro’s administration, there were improvements in health and education for many African nations and Cuba became a home for many African students seeking higher education.
Castro’s whole life was dedicated to revolution, self-determination and equality among peoples, races and nations. After his graduation in late 1945, when he entered the law school, University of Havana, Castro was immersed in Cuban nationalism, anti-imperialism, and socialism, focusing his energies more exclusively on politics, all of which later materialized upon him becoming the leader of the Cuban people and a global icon for African Liberation movements for independence and self-determination.
Fidel Castro stayed convinced of his ideas till his death, love him or hate him, Castro was one of the most remarkable and exceptional leaders of the 20th century. If his seizing of power at the age of 33 in a popular revolution was a startlingly and precocious act, his ability and capacity in maintaining this position for five decades, outliving 11 American presidents, defying 638 assassination attempts, 60 years of blockades and defeating the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, is proof of his convictions, heroism, courageousness, bravery and determination.
Fidel Castro successfully removed the direct US influence on Cuba’s internal politics and inspired leaders such as the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who continued in the Anti-US stand of the Cuban towering figure from the start of their reign the president day, and they are both totally against the hegemonic tendencies of the United States in the region by resisting and opposing every action.
Until his death on the 25th of November 2016, Fidel Castro was a respected figure in the Third World, Africa and developing countries where he had at a point in time been of help. If the liberation and independence of 17 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa are not a feat, then his record-setting health and education policies is an achievement yet to be broken by any other leader.
In reacting to the death of a great friend of Africa, President José Eduardo dos Santos of the Republic of Angola referred to Castro as “an extraordinary figure of transcendent historical importance”. Approximately 350,000 Cuban internationalists served in Angola during the war against the US supported forces of counterrevolution, including the well-armed and brutal South African army.
Similar opinions were also expressed further north; Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika saluted the late Cuban revolutionary as “an authentic defender of the values of peace, respect and national sovereignty, and of his uncompromising struggle for the rights of people to self-determination. This is also a great loss for the people of Algeria who have a special relationship with El Comandante, one of respect, admiration and mutual affection.” The Algerian government even declared eight days of mourning on the death of El Comandante who contributed generously to the independence of Algeria.
In solidarity with all the other admirers of Fidel Castro all over the world, we mourn the death of a great leader of men anda lover of freedom and equality. His legacies will always be felt throughout Africa and throughout the world in general. And his greatest legacy is that Cuba is a free nation today, not a US colony nor a country exploited by foreigners. The Cuban revolution has the same meaning today as in the late 1950s. The revolution sought social reforms and national independence in the country and beyond.
On behalf of myself, and my party the Rwanda People’s Party (RPP), and the great people of Rwanda, I wish to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to H.E. President Raul Castro, the Cuban government, the Castro family, the great people of Cuba, for the loss of the great son of Cuba and a pillar of the African Liberation Movements and African independence.
El Comandante Castro, your legacies will forever be in our hearts, and we are privileged to have lived in your Era.
May the Holy Mighty God, Rest the Soul of Castro Fidel in Internal Peace.
John V Karuranga, President
Rwanda People’s Party (RPP)
Twitter @rppimvura
Skype: John.Karuranga

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