Galeano: On Fidel Castro

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Eduardo Galeano | Havana Times, July 26, 2009

Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo:  Mariela De MarchiUruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, photo: Mariela De Marchi

July 26 – His enemies say he was a king without a crown, and that he confused unity with unanimity.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say if Napoleon had had a newspaper like “Granma,” no Frenchman would have ever learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that, his enemies are right.

His enemies say he exercised power speaking a lot and listening little, because he was more accustomed to echoes than to voices.

And in that, his enemies are right.

But his enemies do not say that he was posing for history when he exposed his chest to the bullets when the invasion came; that he confronted hurricanes on equal terms, from hurricane to hurricane; that he survived six hundred thirty-seven assassination attempts; that his contagious energy was decisive in transforming a colony into a homeland, or that it was not due to a Mandinga spell or a miracle from God that the new homeland could survive ten presidents of the United States, who had each tucked in their napkins to serve it up as lunch, with knives and forks.

And his enemies don’t say that Cuba is an odd country that doesn’t compete in the World Cup of Doormats.

And they don’t say that this revolution, having grown up under punishing conditions, is what it could be and not what it wanted to be.  Nor do they say that, to a great degree, the wall between desire and reality was being made higher and wider thanks to the imperial blockade that drowned the development of a Cuban style democracy, that forced the militarization of society and turned it over to the bureaucracy, which has a problem for each solution – the alibis it needs to justify and perpetuate itself.

And they don’t say that despite all the grief, despite the aggressions from abroad and the inconsistencies from within, that this suffering but insistently persevering island has generated the least unjust society in Latin American.

And his enemies don’t say this feat was the work of the sacrifice of his people, but it was also the work of the stubborn will and the old-fashion sense of the honor of this gentleman, who always went to bat for the losers, like that famous colleague of his from the fields of Castilla.

*From the book “Espejos, una Historia casi Universal” (Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone)

A Havana Times translation of the original published in Spanish at the website: (www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/sobre-fidel )

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