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CUBA: Fidel, let History judge him
Elsa Claro
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Different circumstances make it difficult to fulfill the legacy of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who died on Nov. 25, at the age of 90.

This man was responsible for turning a small Caribbean island, threatened by invasions, sabotage and a brutal financial-economical blockade, into a place with an infant mortality rate of 4.8 per 1,000 live births (in 1959, when the Revolution triumphed, it was 70 per 1,000).

Fidel’s humanistic vehemence shaped a country where, according to the World Bank, there was nothing close to resembling a center for scientific study. Today, among others, stands the Biotechnological Research Institute and the Medical-Pharmaceutical Industry where one-of- a-kind vaccines have been created (meningococcal, hepatitis B, advanced lung cancer), medication (monoclonal antibodies, interferon, a cure for diabetic foot disease) or products geared for agriculture and veterinary applications. The population has a life expectancy that exceeds 74 years (it used to be 61) as a consequence of universal health coverage and a zealous frontal approach to infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Development linked with solidarity in 120 countries: 250,000 health workers during the last half-century, including the provision of assistance to surviving victims of earthquakes in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Haiti or in combating Ebola in Sierra Leone. Also, 20,786 health professionals from 74 countries, including low-income US citizens, have so far graduated from the Latin-American School of Medicine.

Cuba also promotes the Operation Miracle, which performed free eye surgeries on 10 million people throughout the continent, and set-up eye clinics in different countries. Similar figures are assigned in 30 countries to the Yo sí Puedo (Yes, I Can) adult literacy method. Tangible is the progress made in the area of computing and the broadest range of technical-professional specialties that make Cuba the country with the highest rate of university graduates and mid-level technicians of the hemisphere. At the same time, many professionals from Asia, Africa and Latin-American were prepared in different specialties.

The progress achieved in health and education are a seal of identity of the last 60 years, but advances in sports do not fall short (among the top seven countries) and culture (the Cuban National Ballet is considered one of the best). Electricity service in the country (over 95 percent of the territory), the construction of dams, roads and railways, low-cost housing, hospitals, schools, has no antecedent in number or quality.

Cuba faces the 21st Century being more industrialized. It expands its infrastructure and despite the deficiencies being accumulated, the achievements fueled by the fiery passion of Fidel stand out, guiding the main roads taken by the Greater of the Antilles, towards what it needs the most and does the people proud.

Let History appraise who has just left. I say... —Latinamerica Press.

And now it is thought of the wide-open dawn
of responsibility and anguish that you have lived,
in the unfathomable sorrows of seeing depart,
before time, great comrades.
We demanded him so much and so much he gave
that we thought he was unbeatable.
We are possibly not mistaken.
He will continue, innumerable, in the latitude without borders
of seeds and trees full of smell and vigor
that he had been planting
and make him immense and perpetual. (E.C.)

Y ahora se piensa en las anchurosas madrugadas
de responsabilidad y angustia que has vivido,
en las tristezas insondables de ver partir,
antes de tiempo, a grandiosos camaradas.
Le exigimos tanto y tanto dio
que le creímos imbatible.
Posiblemente no nos equivocamos.
Seguirá, innumerable, en la latitud sin fronteras
de las semillas y los árboles llenitos de olor y vigores
que anduvo plantando
y le hacen inmenso y perpetuo. (E.C.)


Fidel Castro Ruz (1926-2016) /
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