No other date is more symbolic than April 16, that of our party’s founding.
On the eve of the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón, after honoring the victims of the previous day’s aerial attacks on our airports, combatants of the Rebel Army, the National Police, and militias swore to defend at any cost the socialist character of the Revolution, proclaimed on this unforgettable day.
The historic roots of Cuba’s political vanguard lie in the Cuban Revolutionary Party founded by José Martí to organize and conduct the Necessary War; in the profusion of Marxist-Leninist ideas expressed in the first Communist Party of Cuba created by Carlos Baliño and Julio Antonio Mella in 1925; in the development of mass anti-imperialist consciousness in the first half of the 20th century; and, as the culmination, in the shock wave produced across the nation by the heroic actions of July 26, 1953, and the initiation of the war for the country’s definitive independence, conquered January 1, 1959. At that time, for the first time, the people achieved their legitimate aspirations, and took their rightful place as protagonists following the triumph of the Revolution.
The destruction of the old bourgeois apparatus, and the formation of the nascent state, the radical steps taken by the Revolution, and the creation of genuine, fighting organizations of the masses, confirmed the Revolution’s unmistakable trajectory. On October 15, 1960, during a television appearance, Comandante en Jefe Fidel stated that the democratic, popular, agrarian, anti-imperialist stage of the Cuban Revolution had been completed, and with it, the essence of the Moncada Program, outlined in Fidel’s History Will Absolve Me. The economic and political power of the privileged in Cuba had been eliminated, he said, and announced the beginning of a new stage, one in which methods directed toward economic and social transformation would be different. It would be the beginning of the socialist period in Cuban conditions, although its essence had already been expressed in action, and in the content of the Declaration of Havana on September 2.
The big changes in all aspects of the country’s life, the need to face relentless imperialist aggression, and the strategic goals of the Revolution made the creation of a political vanguard imperative, to forge and consolidate the necessary unity – a party which would be a faithful representation of Cuban society and the people’s deepest desires.
At that moment, the principal forces participating in the armed struggle and in the period immediately following the rebel victory (the July 26th Movement, the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate, and the Popular Socialist Party) all had their own areas of influence, tactics and leadership bodies.
The evolution of the process, and the Revolution’s objectives, contributed to the creation of conditions for more frequent discussion and interaction between the principal organizations carrying out the Revolution, and steps were taken by their leaders to work jointly at the grassroots and leadership levels.
Thus, when the socialist character of the Revolution was declared, that historic April 16, unification of these three organizations was already underway, even though a single party did not yet exist.
Referring to this important process, Fidel stated in the main report to the First Party Congress, “The conditions were present for the convergence of all revolutionaries in a single Party. A process of integration at the grassroots and leadership levels had already begun earlier, but after the definitions of April 16, and the glorious victory of Girón, our Party was in fact born in the firm unity of all revolutionaries and working people, cemented by the heroism of our working class, which fought and shed its blood generously in the defense of the homeland and of socialism. From now on, we act as a single organization and under a cohesive leadership.”
Unlike the party founded by Martí to win independence, or that created by Lenin to lead Russia to the victory of October, 1917, and other examples within the revolutionary movement, our Party emerged in the heat of battles to defend the Revolution.
In the days following the resounding defeat of the mercenary invasion, the definitive steps were taken to create a new political organization, under a collective leadership. Interests and barriers, which divided, distanced, impeded and weakened the necessary unity, were left behind. From this moment forward, the Party followed an unprecedented path of creation and authenticity, closely tied to the people.
This is how our Party was born, under the unquestionable leadership of Fidel.