Fidel: If I had the Privilege of Living My Own Life Again

By Wilkie Delgado Correa on August 13, 2018

Photo: Roberto Chile

“… but I can assure you at the same time, that all my life I would fight with the same passion for the same goals I have fought for until today.”

Fidel was 50 years old when, in his speech before the constitution of the newly elected National Assembly of People’s Power, he reviewed many events in revolutionary history and reflected on the role of the Cuban people, on certain international aspects. And talking about history he pointed out criteria on the exercise of power and its reflection in the constitution of the Republic that had been approved by the people.

Perhaps it would be appropriate, on this, his 92nd birthday and the second in his cycle of everlasting life, to point out just a few of the ideas expressed at that time, among those referring to the Cuban people as the omnipresent protagonist of historical events. He never wavered in his vision on this. When he was on trial for the assault on the Moncada Barracks the prosecutor questioned him about the resources with which he intended to sustain the armed uprising, Fidel told him: “With the people. Yes, I have faith in the people.” And so it was..he counted on and trusted the people to start the guerrilla struggle in the Sierra Maestra three years later. He fought the battles with the people throughout the revolutionary period, and power was exercised with the people in an indestructible bond, against the harassment and aggressions of the imperialist power and its allies large and small. He appealed to the people, with infinite faith and loyalty, to fight battles internally and externally and to put into practice a solidarity with other peoples that had never been seen before in history.

Here are some of the ideas developed by Fidel in his speech:

“Power is one, that of the working people, which is exercised through the National Assembly and the State bodies that depend on it”.

“The first sovereign act of the people was the revolution itself…. Our Revolution was not imposed by anyone from outside; it was forged in heroic struggle against imperialist domination and the fiercest external aggressions”.

“Our Revolution emerged in the very bosom of the people, conceived and realized by the humble children of the people. Our Revolution was thus born from a small seed that today has become a gigantic tree; it is a secular dream of yesterday transformed into a beautiful reality of today, the will of a people already turned into an irreversible piece of history”.

“But our Revolution is not the exclusive fruit of our ideas; our ideas themselves are largely daughters of world revolutionary thought”.

“I therefore think, and have always thought, that whatever the individual merits of any man, any manifestation of personality worship must be radically avoided; that any man, no matter what aptitudes may be attributed to him, will never be superior to collective capacity, that collegial leadership, unrestricted respect for the practice of criticism and self-criticism, socialist legality, partisan and state democracy and discipline, and the inviolability of the basic norms and ideas of Marxism-Leninism and socialism”.

“One day, on commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Moncada, I said: the man dies, the Party is immortal. Today I wish to add: no man can be above the Party; no citizen’s will must ever prevail over that of millions of his countrymen; no revolutionary is more important than the Revolution”.

“The exercise of power must be the constant practice of self-limitation and modesty”.

“As can be seen, profound institutional changes have taken place in a short space of time. With the constitution of this National Assembly, the election of the Council of State, its President and Vice-Presidents, and the appointment of the Council of Ministers, this historic process of institutionalization of our Revolution is fundamentally concluded”.

“No one is capable of calculating the strength and decision that just ideas can generate in the spirit of the human being”.

“For my part, dear colleagues, I am a tireless critic of our own work. We could have done everything better from the Moncada to today. The light that tells us which could have been the best variant in each case is the experience, but unfortunately it is not possessed by the young people who begin on the hard and difficult road of the Revolution. Let this serve, however, to learn that we are not wise and that before each decision there may be a superior one”.

And as final words, as a political axiom, a judgment that perhaps serves to meditate on the multiple variants that are present when facing the realities and circumstances for making the best decisions. Of course, Fidel’s actions and decisions at the head of a small country with limited resources and faced with colossal enemies were not an easy task, and he only had the glory of acting as a Sisyphus of his time, willing to push the rock to the top, and to achieve, the almost impossible, that the rock would remain at the top and thus circumvent the sentence decreed by the imperial powers. It was the company of the people and their struggle with the main protagonist of this history of revolutionary Cuba that made the miracle possible.

Fidel then said: “If I had the privilege of living my own life again, I would do many things differently than I have done until now, but I can at the same time assure you that all my life I would fight with the same passion for the same goals I have fought for until today”.

Source: Rebelion, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau