South Africa: Cosatu Commemorates Brother Fidel Castro's 94th Birthday - Paying Tribute to His Remarkable Legacy

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the global progressive movement in paying tribute to a revolutionary and inspirational leader of the Cuban Revolution, our brother, and Comrade Fidel Castro - on his 94th birth date. In the nearly four years since his passing on November 25, 2016, the significance and resonance of Fidel's revolutionary and socialist ideas, and the practice of the Cuban Revolution he was the central leader of, are greater than ever.

Fidel Castro remains one of the outstanding revolutionary leaders in recorded world history. His life, heroic example, ethics, integrity, and, above all else, his revolutionary and socialist ideas made a huge impact on the 20th Century history and world politics that can never be buried or fabricated with calumny by imperialist propaganda.

Cuba's resistance in unity to defend the Revolution allowed Cuba to excel in isolation in fields of medicine, education, health, sciences, life expectancy and many other areas surpassing many countries labelled as "first world". Through Castro's leadership, the U.S. has failed dismally to veil the progressive Republic of Cuba despite all efforts to isolate it from the world socially and economically.

Comrade Castro also spearheaded the unique and exceptional friendship between South Africa and Cuba, which we continue to enjoy to this day. We especially note the socialist and anti-imperialist internationalism permanently identified with Fidel and the Cuban Revolution. We will never forget the decisive part of Fidel's Cuba in the defence of Angolan sovereignty, the winning of Namibian independence, and the unravelling and defeat of apartheid South Africa.

The contribution of Cuba during the South African struggle against apartheid remains a lesson for all who dream of a different world. Under his leadership the Cuban people gave both symbolic and practical solidarity with no strings attached and the resounding victories that followed are owed to his strategic, visionary, and selfless leadership.

Through his exceptional ability to lead, inspire and motivate - he was able to unify the people of Cuba under one purpose, to defend the Cuban Revolution and to build selfless internationalism. During this devastating pandemic - which continues to tear through health care systems globally, we are witnessing the altruistic nature of the Cuban people, who have sent more than 2 000 doctors and nurses to over 23 countries since the crisis broke.

We too are beneficiaries of this act of self-sacrifice, and COSATU stands unwavering in its support of the Cuban "army of white robes" which is doing an exceptional job working hand-in-hand with our gallant healthcare workers who are at the frontline of this pandemic. The record of the invaluable solidarity support ranging from military support, medicine, engineering, education, and other mutual exchanges speak for itself.

In the honour of Comrade Castro, and what we have witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, COSATU also calls on all friends of Cuba and advocates of mutual assistance among nations to support the nomination of the Cuban International Medical Brigade "Henry Reeve" for the Nobel Peace Prize, for its significant contribution to humanity in the face of the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus. The initiative to nominate the Henry Reeve Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize appeared in social networks since March 2020 and has taken shape in groups of friendship and solidarity with Cuba.

COSATU remains resolute in its efforts to fight for justice for the people of Cuba, inspired and motivated by the teachings of his Excellency Comrade Castro. He remains a global Icon in his stern resolve on Internationalism and solidarity. The Federation (COSATU)continues to enjoy relations with the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) building worker to worker alliances.

We call on all progressive forces to unite and draw inspiration from the life and legacy of our Comrade Fidel Castro to fight for a better world for all.

Long Live Fidel, Long Live!!

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