Monday, November 28, 2016

Article: Fidel Castro: Atheist Theologian of Liberation, Practitioner of Radical Democracy | OpEdNews

Article: Fidel Castro: Atheist Theologian of Liberation, Practitioner of Radical Democracy | OpEdNews

"I don't understand why Fidel doesn't allow free elections in Cuba. After all, he'd win hands down every time."
I remember how astonished I was when the young spokesperson at the U.S. I ntersection in Havana pronounced those words about 20 years ago. But I had heard her correctly. Despite being a U.S. diplomat, she was admitting that Fidel Castro was extremely popular with Cubans. Her concession contradicted the official U.S. position repeated incessantly since 1959 -- and regurgitated mindlessly by U.S. commentators last weekend on the announcement of the comandante's passing.
The young diplomat's recognition of Fidel's popularity was confirmed for me again and again as I visited Cuba repeatedly since 1997. That was the year of my first trip there with the Greater Cincinnati Council of World Affairs. Two years later, I and a colleague led a group of Berea College students to the island for a month-long January Short Term study of the African Diaspora in Cuba. Subsequently, while teaching in a Latin American Studies program sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, I visited the island perhaps eight times as the term-abroad program for U.S. students brought them there each fall and spring. Then three years ago, I returned to Cuba to teach a Berea College summer term there. I'll return with a similar program next May.

Remembering Fidel Castro (VIDEO)

Remembering Fidel Castro (VIDEO)

At age 90, Fidel Castro passed away after decades of heroic struggle for social justice, not just for his native Cuba but for all people around the world. Even in his final decade of illness, the iconic revolutionary was still actively fighting; writing articles on international politics and upholding the cause for socialism.

One measure of his historical significance is expressed in the fact that he outlasted 10 US presidents by the time of his official retirement from politics in 2008 due to declining health. Counting incumbent Barack Obama, Fidel’s political life spanned 11 US presidencies. All of them oversaw a barbarous policy to economically strangle Cuba with a trade blockade on the tiny Caribbean island nation. Several of these US leaders sanctioned criminal plots to assassinate Fidel and incite regime change. They all failed. Castro beat them all and died peacefully in his bed having lived his life to the full.