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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

9TH EDITION: FAMILY WRITERS PRESS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY

9TH EDITION: FAMILY WRITERS PRESS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY

THE CUBAN REVOLUTION: LESSONS FOR BIAFRANS (PART 1)

Written by Nwafor Somtochukwu Aloysius
For Family Writers Press

"If we are not prepared for change from the top, let us prepare for a revolution from below" .... Colonel Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu

Whenever a mention of revolution is made, just like old women would get scared and troubled when reference is made to a beautiful skin, so also are the genre of comprador nascent bureaucratic bourgeoisie politicians and beneficiaries amongst other classical "yes men" of the ruling class or  the existing order.

By it's definition, revolution is a total and complete change in ways of thinking, methods of working, etcetera. The revolution of computer technology has greatly redirected or changed business practices globally for instance. This kind of change was what actually transpired during the period mostly within the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe when machines were invented and the first set of factories were established.

Revolution can be either peaceful or violent depending on the mindset of the concerned revolutionaries and the formidability of the opposition/task they desire to surmount. In this context, we will considerably be following three well known revolutions of the twentieth century, viz:

(1) The Bolsheviks Revolution of October 1917 in Russia led by a lawyer called Vladimir Ilyish Ulyanov (popularly known as Lenin) in Russia.

(2) The Chinese Revolution of 1914 led by Chairman Mao Zedong.

(3) The Cuban Revolution of 1959 led by another lawyer called Fidel Castro.

Let us make a referral by taking a cursory look at the Cuban Revolution and the lessons thereof.

In the year 1956, a lawyer called Fidel Castro led a revolt against Cuba's harsh and corrupt dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cuba and Puerto Rico shared a common historical experience until the 1950s and then quickly diverged.

North American interests dominated both Islands after the fall of Spanish rule about 1900. United States investors exclusively owned plantations and other businesses on both Islands and to give protection to their interests, the United States government influenced dictatorial local regimes in other to keep social unrests of labor organizations under control. Cuban workers suffered abysmal low wages. Occasioned by cheap labor, there existed massive profit turnovers for the American investors in Cuba, to the detriment of pauperized Cuban citizens.

In the theories of imperialism, Aghiri Immanuel posited: "wealth begets wealth and poverty begets poverty. When a nation forges ahead by historical accident, backward nations have to pay for higher wages through unequal exchange".

By 1950s, poverty was widespread in both Cuba and Puerto Rico. Infant mortality rate was at 50 per 1000 or even higher and most of the people worked as agricultural labourers.

In 1957, Fidel Castro, his rag-tag and bobtail militia attacked the Moncada military barracks. It was a failure to Castro which later turned out to be a political success for him and his militia. He was arrested. Fidel Castro placed a demand that his trial/judgement be made public so that every Cuban would be afforded the opportunity to hear him out and know his crime. The Cuban government obliged and granted him open trial.

It was in this trial that he repeated the prophetic statement: "History will vindicate the just".

Fidel Castro used this trial to acquaint Cubans of his mission with the militia. There was the need for Cubans to be the architects of their nation's destiny and not subjected to the whims and caprices of imperialists, stooges and their Cuban collaborators, the bourgeoisie. The man Fidel Castro was jailed. Subsequently, staged mass protests nationwide, forced the Cuban government however, to release him from detention.

Having tested and failed in his direct military confrontation with the military under Fulgencio Batista's regime, Fidel Castro and his militia resorted to "Guerilla warfare". This time, they shifted their base to Sierra Maestra Mountain. The highlands of Sierra Maestra created considerable diversity as reflected by extensive timbers, producing tropical forests and varied soils on which crops ranging from tobacco to sub-tropical fruits were grown. Rice and beans remained essentially, the staple food.

From Sierra Maestra, Castro and his group recruited local teachers and the intelligentsia for embarkment on total enlightenment and education of the grassroots. These local teachers and their counterparts, worked assiduously on the large population of illiterate Cubans to really know why they should fight for their land and freedom.

In the year 1959 and having the full support of the Cuban populace, Fidel Castro courageously launched the final assault on Havana, the Cuban capital city. This resulted in the collapse of Fulgencio Batista's regime and his flight from Havana to America on self imposed exile. Cuba experienced a communist revolution under the leadership of Fidel Castro.

Since his seizure of power in Cuba, Castro dramatically improved the well-being of the populace in all areas of assessment. Life expectancy increased  to 75, birth rate II, infant mortality dropped to 6, population growth in 2008 stood at 11.4 million while literacy rate was 96℅. In 1990, Cuba had solid human welfare record despite her relatively low Gross Development Program (GDP) per capital.

The country thus proved that once the requisite investment in human capital was effected, poverty and other related social vices particularly in Latin America, would become intractable as erroneously thought. Cuban medical scientists who exceptionally received good training in the country, are up till date, among the very best in Latin America. Cuba's regime still has appreciable support amongst the general public.

During the reign of Fidel Castro, much was done to bring the Afro-Cuban population into the mainstream through definitive education and healthcare provision.

Since the year 2003, the nation of Venezuela has steadily been providing all the fuel (gasoline) needs of Cuba. Castro despatched a total number of thirty thousand (30,000) health workers and other professionals to Venezuela to provide aid assistance to the poor.

Fidel Castro was irrefutably determined to change the Cuban society in virtually every strata and end the dichotomy between the rich and the poor. All the businesses/companies owned by the United States of America in Cuba which included plantations, oil refineries, mines, stores and plants were indigenised/ nationalised (taken over). The United States retaliated by cutting off all trade links with Cuba.

Presently, many Cubans believe that Cuba as a nation, has been able to solve most of her problems independently. Education is readily available today to more Cubans than it were under the regime of Fulgencio Batista. Almost all Cuban nationals who need medical treatments can be adequately attended to. Considering the sincerity of their leaders encouragingly, Cubans are readily available and prepared to make desired sacrifices for the good of their nation.

To be continued.......

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