A notable and remarkable political era will come to an end in the Americas this week as Raul Castro, 86, President of Cuba, and brother of Revolutionary Fidel Castro, steps away from the leadership of the country, thus paving the way for a non-Castro to rule the Caribbean nation for the first time since 1959.
Meeting today and tomorrow in Havana, 605 Cuban legislators will select a new president along with 30-members for Cuba's State Council to run the country amid a faltering economy, which appeared robust three- years-ago under a new opening with the Barack Obama administration in Washington, but appears smothered today, under restraints from the Trump White House.
Fidel Castro ruled Cuba until 2008 when he turned the reins of power over to his brother Raul. Fidel died, November 25, 2016, at age 90. Raul will now step down. And by Friday, a new Cuban era will be ushered in, minus a Castro at the helm.
But history must chronicle and give an accurate and fair account of the profound impact the Castros, especially Fidel, have had upon Cuba, Latin America, the Caribbean, the entire Americas and the world in general. Though many in the United States (US), especially Cuban-Americans, and others will continue to harbor ill-opinions of Fidel for they have their individualistic experiences for such, I unapologetically declare that the good derived from Fidel's Cuba, way out-weights the bad.
Castro's exploits in Cuba from the fields of science and medicine to the assumption of social equality, created much pride in the people of the Americas and Africa. Castro's revolution told the region that it was possible to rule their lands without colonial domination and capitalist dictation.
Yet, while the passage of time has revealed that Castro's great social experiment lacked economic vitality and true political freedom, history must still render accolades to Castro.
Persons born in the Americas in the 1960s and the 1970s will concur with my concluding commentary:
Born in the Caribbean in the 1960s, much of my early political ideology, like that of many other youth of the region in those times, was profoundly shaped and impacted by the likes of Simon Bolivar, Frantz Fanon, Jose Marti, Che Guevara, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Mao Zedong, Kim II-sung and Fidel Castro.
From this list, it is clear that as youths, much of our affection went out to revolutionaries and not individuals who 'toed-the-line'.
The Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Cuban Revolution and other similar profound socio-economic and political movements by people across the world, were symbolic events of monumental glory to all who shared my political-school of thought.
Cuba's Revolution was special. It was close to home. It showcased a revolutionary taking a stand on behalf of the people, the masses - the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. As youths of the Americas, this represented true grandeur - not Rome, not Greece, but Havana, a place close to home. Such was the impact of Castro upon us in the region at the time. These thoughts I leave for your consideration on this April date, 2018.