Of all the comments penned about Israel’s atrocities inflicted on the people of Gaza, Fidel Castro’s reflection published in Granma, the newsletter of the Cuban Communist Party, is of utmost significance. Weaving an account of imperial violence as a force necessitating resistance, the legendary Castro’s discussion of Palestine and the genocide inflicted upon Palestinians should be read with particular attention within the internationalist context that has, historically, formed part of the Cuban revolution since his memorable speech, History will absolve me. Not only read, but heeded.
Reflecting upon the widespread horror that engulfed the world in relation to the Nazi persecution of Jews, among other minority groups, Fidel wrote: “Why does this government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetrated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the US Empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored?”
Cuban collaboration with the Palestinian resistance dates back to June 18, 1959, when revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara visited Gaza only a few months after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. In later years, Cuba supported Palestinian armed resistance, forming particular alliances with Fatah under Yasser Arafat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following this, the Caribbean country severed all diplomatic ties with Israel.
As can be seen from Castro’s many speeches and declarations, internationalism against colonial and imperial domination remains a central feature. In the Second Declaration of Havana, he said, “The movement of the dependent and colonial peoples is a phenomenon of universal character which agitates the world and marks the final crisis of imperialism.” In further analysis with regard to revolutionary consciousness and internationalism, the Cuban revolutionary leader stated, “A country that exploits the people of Latin America, or any other parts of the world, is an ally of the exploiters of the rest of the world.”
Within the context of Gaza and Israel’s colonial massacre, the above quotes prompt profound reflection. Imperialism has sought, relentlessly, to dismiss Palestinian resistance as uncalculated and unwarranted violence, aka “terrorism”, despite the obvious discrepancies arising from the magnitude of the damage inflicted by Israel upon Gaza. Following decades of colonial violence in various manifestations which contributed to the erosion of resistance through concessions, Palestinian revolutionary struggle has been embraced at a national level, through recognition of, and resistance against, the threat of colonisation. “Protective Edge” has served to heighten the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance; not through the ramifications of international law, but as a coherent struggle against the epitome of imperialist-supported violence.
Fidel Castro’s words stand in stark contrast to the UN’s ineffective and ambiguous resolutions, another struggle which the Cuban leader elaborated upon continuously as he utilised the international platform to further the revolution’s internationalist stance. Armed struggle has proven to be the primary means through which imperialism may be combated, a fact proven by the continuation of the Cuban Revolution. Salvador Allende’s refusal to advocate for armed struggle (a fact expounded upon by Castro in his analysis of Chilean society and the military) against US-backed neoliberal violence resulted in a brutal military dictatorship, the relics of which continue to hold sway over Chilean society.
Palestinians find themselves in a far more perilous predicament. Any retreat, or concessions, that divert from the recently-embraced revolutionary consciousness manifesting itself in armed struggle will contribute towards the complete Zionist colonisation and continued extermination of the indigenous population.