Combating the Misrepresentation of Fidel Castro in Imperialist Narratives of the Cuban Revolution

Fidel Castro RIP e492f“The resentment of imperialism is so profound, its hatred of our revolution so great, that the imperialists refuse to resign themselves.” Uttered by Fidel Castro during a speech in 1961, the statement generates a particular relevance in relation to the dissemination of contrasting narratives regarding Fidel and the Cuban Revolution.

In the years following the death of Ernesto Che Guevara, attempts to sabotage the narration of the Cuban Revolution have focused upon creating unfounded hypotheses. Imperialist narratives attribute the intellectual inscription of the revolution solely to Che, depicting a process which fragmented itself when Che was captured and murdered in Bolivia. However, this attribution does not deter imperialism from forging a perverse triumph over Che’s murder and the alleged termination of the revolutionary struggle. In fact, the incomplete and intentionally misrepresented image of Che serves to marginalise Fidel’s consistent anti-imperialist narrative. By promulgating the image of the murdered revolutionary into the limelight, the imperialist narrative has also served to detract from the primary historical framework which supported and implemented the revolution – the revolutionary philosophy of José Martí and Fidel Castro.

Imperialist narratives of the Cuban revolution differ; the simplest depicting Fidel a dictator whose tenure as leader defied the objectives of democracy. However, a more intricate manipulation exists, which weaves a narration of the Cuban Revolution through a historical account disassociated from its origins. Within this narrative – a common feature within material purporting authentic history, the revolutionary history of Cuba is sidelined to portray the alleged imperial triumph culminating in the murder of Che, in a manner which marginalises Fidel. This erroneous narrative depicts Che as the sole intellectual author of the revolution, relying upon the capitalist exploitation of Che’s iconic image to portray the fall of the martyr without acknowledging the Cuban revolution as a process ingrained within education and internationalism.

The definition of Che as the intellectual author of the revolution not only marginalises Fidel, it is also in direct conflict with the historical narrative which describes José Martí as the intellectual author of the revolution, asserted by Fidel in 1953 after the Moncada Barracks attack, preceding Che’s inclusion in the revolutionary July 26 Movement. It is also in direct contradiction with Che’s assertions in ‘Socialism and Man in Cuba’ (1965), in which, among many references to Fidel’s leadership and intellect, he states, “At the head of this immense column, we are neither ashamed nor afraid to say it – is Fidel”.

Like Martí, Fidel sought to impart revolutionary consciousness to Cubans even prior to the defeat of Batista’s tyrannical dictatorship, as is evidenced in his defence speech ‘History will absolve me’, which served as the foundation for his later anti-imperialist stance. Imperialist manipulation regarding Fidel’s role in the revolutionary process lies in relying upon tangible and concrete sources which are then divested of the meticulous chronology and ideology in order to attain a new narrative derived from the authentic – a calculated process which is also disseminated unwittingly by some purported supporters of the Cuban Revolution. Read more

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