The final day of the 24th Annual Meeting of the São Paulo Forum (FSP) in Havana, July 17, began with a special plenary devoted to the thought of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, his relationship with the Forum, and the construction of Latin American and Caribbean unity.
“What is Cuba’s history but that of Latin America, and what is the history of Latin America but the history of Africa, Asia, and Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but that of imperialism’s most ruthless and cruelest exploitation of the whole world?”
Recalling these words of Fidel, expressed on February 4, 1962, in a mass event held after the expulsion of Cuba from the OAS, the plenary highlighted the validity of his thought, and served as an opportunity to describe him as a standard bearer of unity, on understanding that the oppressed peoples had a common struggle.
With the presence of José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, head of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee International Relations Department, and Mónica Valente, FSP executive secretary, Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler offered remarks that moved all those present, on recalling that Fidel represented both theory and action in the struggle to make Our America the place that José Martí dreamed of.
“Let us unite singularity in unity, respect the role of everyone in this process of infinite struggle and raise our spirits, perhaps discouraged by current circumstances, but never defeated, this is the validity of the ideas of the Comandante,” stressed Leal.
“We see the images of Fidel as a university student and his iron will is visible, his character, he was a man in the strict sense of the word, a man of action and thought. He always said that the only role he could never play was that of the coward, that one must have the courage to fight and that’s what he did,” he added.
This was one of the most emotive and anticipated moments of the event, to which presidents, former presidents, prime ministers and other high level figures were invited, not only from Latin America and the Caribbean, but also from distant countries in terms of geography, but close in terms of ideas, such as China, Laos, and Syria.
Leal called to follow the example of the great men of the region, from Simón Bolívar and José Martí to Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro.
He also mentioned Lula, founder of the Forum and an example today, “when his political enemies themselves, and even the most notorious representatives of his opponents, can not hide how much he did to revive, change, to raise awareness among his people that there was another way.”
”If we can meet today and meditate on these issues in the São Paulo Forum, it is because the Revolution that Fidel headed lives on; if we can talk about unity it is only because it has sustained the Cuban people. Those who have not come, it is not because they did not want to, they didn’t come because they couldn’t. This is not about surviving, it’s about triumphing” he stated.
Meanwhile, during his speech, Bolivian President Evo Morales recalled an illustrative experience: the moment in which he asked the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution how the Revolution is made. And Fidel, Evo explained, replied that “The Revolution is made with the people.”
Former president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, also spoke, highlighting moments in the history of the Latin American left, and its progressive nature, reflected in governments such as that of Hugo Chávez, which finds continuity in that of President Nicolás Maduro, among others.
Dilma described Fidel’s immense love for the peoples of the world, his commitment to the transformation of peoples and to humanity, as his most important characteristic.
Also present was former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, ousted in a coup d’état, who insisted on Fidel’s belief of the need to rethink the left’s strategies of struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world, and the imperative need to build socialism as the only alternative to the world’s hegemonic powers.
“Fidel Castro is the greatest revolutionary in history, the most vivid example of someone who fights for justice, sacrificing everything,” he concluded.