By: João Pedro Stédile *
São Paulo, Brazil
We lost Fidel. We gained a history of examples and wisdom.
The history of Fidel is indescribable; we cannot delineate it with words. Then, I would like to give a testimony.
He used all his wisdom, knowledge, ability as a leader and dedication to construct a united people throughout the decade of the 1960’s, which became unbeatable, confronting the 20th Century’s most powerful economic and military forces: United States capital.
During all those years, the people knew how to face the worst adversities, be they natural, with their hurricanes and strong winds. He faced an unacceptable economic blockade. And he remained standing in a permanent war, even with the Bay of Pigs military invasion in 1961.
He faced the difficulties of a society with limits on the production of material goods, a colonial heritage of extreme inequality, of slave labor, of the sugar cane mono-crop agriculture and of cultural servitude.
He combatted the worst moments of a peripheral country, dependent on global geopolitics.
He won all the battles.
He constructed a society that intensely seeks equality of rights and opportunities among all its citizens.
He defeated ignorance and it became the country with the highest scholastic index in the world.
He produced preventive, humanitarian and solidarity medicine and he sent more than 60,000 doctors to almost all the countries and joint international bodies. And he sent us 14,000 doctors so that 44 million Brazilians could know quality preventive medical attention for the first time.
He was always in solidarity with all the peoples of the world that fought against oppression and exploitation, above all in Latin America and Africa.
Our grouping, the Landless Workers Movement (MST), received the permanent solidarity and support of the Cuban people, with their technical schools, in their Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), where hundreds of poor Brazilian youths were formed, and received the experience and method in adult literacy (Yes I can!). Together we constructed international connection of movements, Vía Campesina, ALBA, with Cuban campesinos from the ANAP and their agronomy technicians from the Actaf, with CTC, the Martin Luther King Center etcetera. But, above all, we learned a lot with his example of struggle and persistence.
We participated actively with the Cuban people in the anti-ALCA campaign and against the empire’s domination over Latin America.
And Fidel was always the organizer and inspiration of all the people.
This is not the place, now, for extolling the personal qualities of that unique figure, as statesman, sage and political strategist. He just wanted his example to reinforce our militancy, in two fundamental aspects of his life. One was the love of studying. Fidel was a propagandist of the importance of studying, of scientific knowledge, of liberating education. He always studied, from a young age to his last days. He always asserted: “only knowledge truly liberates people,” reiterating his inspirer: Martí.
He was always together with his people, at all moments, being the first in line, in all the difficult situations: in wars, in the organization of production and of knowledge. He didn’t measure efforts and set an example of the spirit of sacrifice.
Fidel was a genial man, because of his ideas and his coherence.
He left us a fantastic legacy, as an example to follow.
Long Live Fidel! Fidel will live forever!
* João Pedro Stédile is the leader of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee