Date: Sat, 27 Jul 1996 07:20:30 -0500
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Via Workers World News Service
Cuba at the crossroads - in Fidel's words
By Judith McCullough, Workers World, 1 August 1996
"Cuba at the Crossroads" is a remarkable collection of recent speeches by President Fidel Castro. It was published in July by Ocean Press in collaboration with Workers World Party, whose San Francisco branch produced the book.
Released in a time of increased tensions caused by the Helms-Burton Act and the U.S. government's unceasing attempts to overturn Cuba's socialist system, the book gives worldwide voice to Cuba's brilliant leader by publishing nine of his principal speeches. They were given between November 1994, at the World Solidarity Conference in Havana, and April 30, 1996, when President Castro addressed the closing session of the 17th Congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC).
An introduction to the speeches by Workers World editor Deirdre Griswold contrasts the Cuban leader's skillful use of this form of direct political communication with the sterile photo opportunities and news conferences of bourgeois politicians.
Fidel covers a wide variety of subjects of historic and contemporary importance--in a manner both enlightening and inspiring.
The speeches include his July 26, 1995, commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the opening battle of the Revolution and his two talks during the "Cuba Vive" International Youth Festival in August 1995. There is his speech in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which he visited last December for the first time since the Vietnam War, and his Oct. 21, 1995, address to the United Nations--where his presence and his words riveted the world's attention.
In a uniquely personal talk at the University of Havana, Fidel recalls his youth, his first political experience as a boy, and about becoming a socialist, a Marxist-Leninist and a revolutionary while at the university. As he describes his own history, it becomes apparent how completely intertwined it is with Cuba's revolutionary history.
The two most recent speeches are from April of this year-- a time of both heightened U.S. government animosity and growing worldwide solidarity with Cuba's valiant struggle against the vise of the U.S. blockade. Because of the importance of these two speeches, the book's publication date was postponed in order to include them.
In an April 16 speech commemorating the anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, Fidel reflects on what it took to overcome the U.S. invasion and how--ironically for the U.S.--the result was the acceleration of revolutionary changes toward socialism.
In the final speech, his address to the Cuban trade-union congress, he discusses Cuba's struggle, what the nation has overcome, and the new strength and spirit that have emerged in the Cuban people. They are determined never to return to capitalism, and to remain true to their socialist ideals.
The book contains extensive footnotes that add considerably to its value by providing a great deal of historical information about Cuba's revolutionary history, as well as clarifying many f Fidel's references.
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