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Fidel Castro: Africa has lost a friend

Saturday, November 26, 2016 20:01
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by Chief Charles Taku

Fidel Castro will go down in history as a revolutionary leader who strongly supported the liberation struggle in Africa. The courage with which he withstood and confronted years of intimidation and threats from the gatekeepers of the “might is right” ideology, and on his own terms, inspired and will inspire the alternative world of genuine hope and freedom.

Fidel Castro and Julius Nyerere talk with a Cuban worker in 1977. – Photo courtesy Julius Nyerere Archives

Fidel Castro and Julius Nyerere talk with a Cuban worker in 1977. – Photo courtesy Julius Nyerere Archives

His tenacity in leading the ideological war through sacrifice and action, against imperial domination of the poor and exploited peoples of the world, will lead us on long after him. For the better part of 18 years, I travelled to almost all the corners of Africa, our beloved great continent. I have found the traces the Cuban presence and the admirable sacrifices made to help us free ourselves, first from mental enslavement and then from colonialism and neocolonialism.

I had an opportunity to visit and sit in the chair where Mwalimu Kambarage Julius Nyerere sat to sign the Arusha Declaration. That was for me a powerful moment of meditation about the plight of Africa.

On the wall, I saw a picture of Mwalimu and Fidel Castro. I saw the picture of other great African revolutionaries who symbolized the spirit of Ujamaah, when the African spirit of freedom and resilience sent apartheid crashing into the gates of hell. Mwalimu addressed the South African Parliament and called on Africa to reject the eternal curse of indebtedness imposed on us.

He enjoined Africa to deny foreign debts and foreign aid and to renegotiate cooperation agreements on our own terms and not as slaves with imperial guns to our heads. Well, Fidel and Che Guevera had warned Africa against these tools of colonial enslavement. They did so on good moral grounds.

Fidel Castro will go down in history as a revolutionary leader who strongly supported the liberation struggle in Africa.

Cuba proved the policy of sanctions and enslaving economic policies futile when Cubans turned to their nature-endowed human qualities for their individual and collective survival. Africa can do the same. Indeed, Africa must do the same for the survival of its people. Our God given natural resources cannot and must no longer be the curse of the continent and the blessing of others.

I was in Accra in Ghana during the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana. As I lay prostrate on the tomb of Osegyefo Kwame Nkrumah, I again meditated profoundly about the direction Africa was going despite the prophetic call to the conscience of the Black race made by the Osegyfo. Luckily our generation and posterity heard Osagyfo and heard him loud. As Africa struggles for its soul, the liberation ideology that Osagyfo brought to us will continue to guide us and posterity towards the shores of freedom and human dignity.

Chief Charles Taku at home in Cameroon

Chief Charles Taku at home in Cameroon

And so therefore, when a colossus in human history like Fidel Castro dies, those of us who are adherents of the total emancipation ideology of human freedom must recommit ourselves to the struggle for a fair world economic, environmental, political, racial and cultural order free from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and socio-economic status.

I missed travelling to Cuba in 2008 to attend the Conference of the International Democratic Lawyers Association because the American government then had a ban on travel to Cuba. My friend John Philpot from Quebec just returned from another conference in Havana and hopefully acknowledged our debt to Cuba on behalf of those of us who were greatly inspired by Castro as a result of his great contributions to our liberation struggles in Africa.

The Cuban miracle in the field of medicine is unmatched worldwide. I am so sure that those who imposed an unjust embargo on Cuba will soon be struggling to go to Cuba to study the miracles of the ingenuity and the creative genius of a people that made a critical choice of sacrifice over domination and enslavement. The tactical and strategic operational genius of the Cubans helped free ideologically inspired Africans in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissua, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and elsewhere to defeat the forces of bigotry and economic exploitation by countries that lived on the sweat and blood of the Black race for centuries.

Fidel is gone, leaving so much work to do. He is the pathfinder who lit the torch of freedom for us and posterity. In honor of this great man, let us intensify the struggle for the total emancipation and freedom of Africa and the Black race. Let us reject imposed foreign currency, imposed foreign armies and wars, let us reject arms-for-minerals merchants; indeed, let us reject the angels of death and their local lackeys who have stolen the soul of the Black race.

Fidel is gone, leaving so much work to do. He is the pathfinder who lit the torch of freedom for us and posterity.

Fidel is dead – but alive because the revolution he led is eternal in our spirit and that of posterity.

Chief Charles A. Taku, advocate and criminal defense counsel, can be reached on Facebook.

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