Fidel during the founding of the PCC Central Committee. Photo: Jorge Oller

As early on in the Cuban Revolution as December 1961, the phrase “I am a Marxist-Leninist and always will be,” appeared on the front page of the newspaper Revolución. These were the words of Fidel expressing an idea on which would be built the national project, launched many years before, and that would come to fruition on January 1, 1959.

“(…) The extraordinary wealth of knowledge contained in Marxism, signifies an extraordinary advantage for us in this struggle.”
“(…) Marxism is not only the true science of politics and revolution, but since time immemorial, is the only genuine interpretation of the process of development of human history,” the Comandante en Jefe would also state in June 1962.

Fidel also advised us on how to approach the work of Marx: “However, perhaps one of the most difficult things to understand is that none of these interpretations are mechanical interpretations, none of these interpretations should be clichés, and that Marxism isn’t a group of “little formulas” that we must try to forcibly apply to explain every concrete problem, but rather a dialectic vision of these problems, the active implementation of these principles, a guide, a method.”

From then on, Marxist thought would be present in Cuban daily life, it would be part of the theoretic foundations on which figures such as Che would base their thinking - with a contemporary interpretation of Marxism that became latent in his philosophical work, of which the book El socialismo y el hombre en Cuba, is a valuable expression.

Others such as Carlos Rafael Rodríguez would open the way later “to specialized studies from a Marxist perspective,” according to Olivia Miranda, an expert on his works.

The humanist vision of “El Morro” (The lighthouse) - as Marx was also known in Cuba - and his support of the poor, also drew Martí’s attention, who when informed of the revolutionary thinker’s death stated, "Since he placed himself on the side of the poor, he deserves to be honored."

Bidding farewell to Marx at his grave in Highgate Cemetery, London, Friedrich Engels would say of his friend: “The greatest living thinker ceased to think…The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt…His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.”

Marx’s ideas would lead another Cuban, Pablo Lafargue from Santiago de Cuba, to his door. Lafargue would not only become an intellectual comrade but also a member of Marx’s family after the Cuban married his daughter Laura.

Marxist thought would come to be present in Raúl’s leadership and vision of the sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous, and sustainable nation being built.

Meanwhile, the Conceptualization of the Cuban Social and Economic Model of Socialist Development, approved during the Seventh Party Congress, asserts among the many principles on which our socialism is founded: “The leading role of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only organized vanguard of the nation, a follower of Martí, Marx, Lenin, and Fidel, the highest leading force of society and the state, an expression of the unity of all Cubans around the leadership of their Revolution, of the humble, by the humble, and for the humble, derived from its prestige, moral authority, exemplary nature, and links with the people.”

Marx dissected and taught us to understand the roots of inequality and exploitation which sustain capitalism, hence Cuba’s decision to build an alternative model. Marxism is not a dead letter, but lives on and continues to thrive in revolutionary thought and action.