Socialism and Man in Cuba by Che Guevara/ Che’s Ideas Are Absolutely Relevant Today by Fidel Castro
Che Guevara is known the world over for being a handsome, bearded revolutionary. However, it’s not just his pretty, socialist face that was easy on the eye, his words formed a compelling perspective on the Cuban struggle in the form of his diaries and in this case an overview of his vision and how it was being implemented in Cuba. This short but powerful book made me contemplate what an individual should value and how this should contribute to society for it to thrive. I reflected on this recently when considering Cuba’s place in the present. A country of just 11 million people has developed 5 different vaccines to combat Covid-19! Some of these match the effectiveness of the leading vaccines being distributed across the world and most excitingly one is administered orally which could be an absolute game-changer for production and distribution across the world as it would be cheaper and take less time if what I have researched is to be believed. But I digress…
Whatever you think of Cuba politically, the people of this small socialist nation must be admired for their resilience and creativity in the face of cruel trade embargoes and sanctions. This hardship is not seen as punishment for many, but rather a challenge to face up to and overcome to build something better. “Our sacrifice is conscious: an instalment payment on the freedom we are building”. I found this sentiment an admirable one that many wealthier nations could do with learning from. It is hard to argue with the idea that analysing what is best for the majority, promoting critical thinking and unity are both worth pursuing. I enjoyed learning about the principles of socialism from the perspective of someone immersed in the establishment of a state in the image of the people. Although it will not give you an in-depth understanding of the wider principles, this personal text will introduce you to ideas framed in a persuasive and rational manner. Che Guevara died for what he believed in and fortunately, the ideas he had are still there to be reflected on and refined upon.
Although shorter than the first section of this book, Fidel Castro’s speech paying tribute to Che and his ideas. It’s hard to judge whether the vision was fulfilled as they may have imagined whilst organising for the revolution from Mexico. Castro didn’t believe that there was one way for things to be done, this adaptability and creativity determined by material conditions is what makes Marxism uniquely straightforward albeit with clear challenges. This speech encapsulates the hope for change with optimism and highlight victories, obstacles in the way of progress and possibilities for the future.
Cuba’s future is always somewhat precarious with the rabid beast that is the United States constantly breathing down its neck but it seems to prevail despite everything. “I feel confident, I feel optimistic and I am absolutely convinced that we will do everything we set our minds to”, this sentiment is prevalent throughout this concise text and it made me feel inspired to consider possibilities for how the world can look. This isn’t an easy task as ideas must be coherent to be valid and that means a great deal of critical thinking, but acknowledging this is a great start and this book will help convince you this is a goal worth striving for.