Putin and Russia honor Fidel
A symbol of the freedom of oppressed peoples
On November 22, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel honored the memory Fidel Castro at the inauguration of a monument to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution. The monument by sculptor Alexei Chebanenko and architect Andrei Bely was erected in a plaza that previously bore Fidel’s name in the district of Sokol in Moscow.
In his words of commemoration, the Russian President demonstrated a keen understanding of the importance of Fidel to Cuba and to the world. He also spoke of the relations of friendship between Russia and Cuba, in which Fidel played a central role; and of the strategic alliance today between the two nations, and legacy of the revolutionary life and work of the historic figure that Evo Morales has called the Comandante of all peoples. Putin declared:
We have gathered here, on a square named after Fidel Castro, to unveil a monument to this outstanding statesman and political figure, the founder of the modern Cuban state.
Fidel Castro dedicated his life to the selfless struggle to advance the ideas of goodness, peace and justice, for the freedom of oppressed peoples, for a decent life for ordinary people and social equality.
He is rightfully considered one of the most colorful and charismatic leaders of the turbulent and dramatic 20th century, a truly legendary person and a symbol of an era of national liberation movements, the collapse of the colonial system and the creation of new independent states in Latin America and Africa.
Fidel and his associates have selflessly defended the sovereignty of their native country; they did not allow it to be broken by the intervention of mercenaries, sanctions, financial or economic embargo, or attempts at external isolation; they upheld Cuba’s right to its own development model in accordance with national rather than externally imposed values; and made sure that the world takes into account Cuba’s opinion and respects its interests.
For many generations of our fellow citizens, the image of the Comandante has always been shrouded in romantic glory, courage and victories. The lyrics of the well-known Soviet song Cuba, My Love! reflected our sincere and enthusiastic feelings not only for the Island of Freedom and the entire Cuban people, but also directly for Fidel, whose strength, energy and unbending will attracted and still attract people like a magnet.
I was lucky enough to meet with Fidel Castro on several occasions, and I still remember many hours of conversations with him, especially our last conversation in July 2014.
He talked about the things that were surprisingly consonant with the time –- the time of the development of a multipolar world – saying that independence and dignity cannot be put up for sale and that every nation is entitled to develop as it sees fit and to choose its own path, and that a truly fair world has no place for dictatorship, plunder or neo-colonialism. His encyclopedic knowledge, deep understanding of the underlying causes of events, sharpness of mind, and accuracy of assessments were striking.
Fidel was a true friend of our country and often came to see us. In 1963, he travelled around almost the entire Soviet Union. He was always a welcome guest in Moscow and loved it very much. As Fidel said, he was willing to come to Russia any time, summer or winter, with or without snow.
Our country has always supported the freedom-loving Cuban people and the leadership of the Republic. And we know it is a mutual feeling. Cuba has been, is and, I am sure, will always be our consistent strategic partner and ally in international affairs.
The Russian-Cuban friendship that was bequeathed to us by Fidel Castro is the common legacy of our peoples. Mr. President, you represent the new generation of Cuban leaders and you are making an enormous contribution to promoting friendly and trust-based relations between our countries.
We will join efforts in order to strengthen our alliance and to defend the great values of freedom, equality and justice.
For his part, Díaz-Canel declared that for him it was an honor to participate in the inauguration of the monument to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution. He noted that Fidel is intimately linked to the friendship between the governments and peoples of Russia and Cuba. He noted that Fidel frequently made reference to the greatness of the Russian people, as exemplified by their launching human beings into space, and by their immense capacity to sacrifice when confronting the fascist forces.
The Cuban President declared that “the ties between Russia and Cuba are indestructible. Fidel established their base, Raúl developed them, and we will give them continuity.”
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