On Jan. 1, mass celebrations took place throughout Cuba to mark 55 years since the hated dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on Jan. 1, 1959 and a new dawn arose with the Cuban people in power.
After five years, five months and five days of determined struggle led by revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, the Rebel Army forces began the march westward to Havana from several rebel strongholds, to secure the revolution’s triumph.
Fidel Castro’s rebel column arrived on Jan. 8, and he spoke to thousands of enthusiastic people amassed to hear his historic declaration.
Within days, weeks and months, new revolutionary decrees tore down the oppressive chains of the capitalists — U.S. and Cuban.
One can only imagine the enthusiasm of the Cuban people when more than 2 million acres of U.S.-owned land were turned over to Cuban hands, in the land reform law of May 17, 1959. Or when rents were cut in half in the first weeks, and in the next two years, the Cuban people became outright owners of the housing they occupied.
Cuba became the first country in the western hemisphere to successfully wipe out illiteracy in 1961, in the midst of a U.S.-financed plot to invade the island. Despite the CIA’s terrorist attacks that killed young Cuban literacy volunteers and peasants who backed the land reform, the revolutionary process moved ahead.
Looking at Cuba today, and all the economic, social and political gains that the whole population enjoys, we must remember that it has taken place despite more than 50 years of U.S. genocidal blockade, an armed invasion, and constant counterrevolutionary plots.
In economic terms alone, Cuba has calculated its losses at over $1 trillion dollars due to the blockade. The Obama administration — continuing the policy of every previous president since1959 — has imposed hundreds of millions of dollars in fines on European banks that do business with Cuba. The U.S. government pursues governments around the world to force an illegal compliance with the U.S. blockade.
Achievements of the revolution
Yet, Cuba’s social indices are truly remarkable, and prove that socialism is the only system that meets people’s needs and lays the basis for real equality and development.
Just to mention a few: According to the Cuban government’s declaration of December 13, 2013, “Cuba: The Meaning of Human Rights,” 9,960 young people graduated as medical doctors from 58 countries, at Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). Think of how many lives they have saved worldwide.
Cuba was the first Latin American territory free of illiteracy in 1961. Its stupendous literacy programs, “Yes, I can,” and “Yes, I can go further,” have brought 7,926,530 people into the light of reading and writing, as of November 2012.
The Haitian people have been virtually abandoned after hundreds of NGOs took advantage of the earthquake and cholera catastrophes. But Cuba’s doctors have provided free medical care since 1998, and almost 75,000 lives were saved post-earthquake by Cuban doctors. Cuba’s internationalism is most notable for its emphasis on other people’s development. 817 Haitians have graduated as doctors in Cuba’s schools, and 324 are now in medical school.
While U.S. students are forced to run up school debts of tens of thousands of dollars, in Cuba nearly 70 percent of Cuban youth age 18 to 23 are in university. And they don’t pay a cent to become educated.
Tonight, Cuban President Raúl Castro spoke in Santiago de Cuba at an outdoor rally to celebrate the Revolution. In his concluding remarks, he said, “The new generations of leaders—who gradually and in an orderly way are assuming the main responsibilities in leading the nation—will never forget that this is the Socialist Revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble…”
As he concluded, he repeated Fidel Castro’s words uttered 55 years ago, at almost exactly the same hour, “’The Revolution triumphs with absolutely no compromise with anyone, only with the people, which is the only one to whom the Revolution owes its victory.’” Raúl continued, “Fifty five years later, in this very same place, we can repeat with pride, the Revolution remains the same, with absolutely no compromise with anyone, only with the people!”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation salutes Fidel and Raúl Castro and their comrades who fought alongside them, the Cuban people, the Cuban Communist Party and the country’s mass organizations, for showing what struggle, socialist ideals and internationalism can accomplish, and for proving that another world is possible with socialism.