A new book exploring the political and economic thought of the late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has been released which collects the work of various intellectuals, scholars and journalists who explore the iconic leader’s views.
Titled, “I am Fidel: Political and Economic Thought,” the Spanish-language compilation is a rallying call for the preservation of El Comandante’s sublime approach to the issues of his day that remain relevant now.
The 240-page book, released by Cuban publishing house Ciencias Sociales, arose from discussions following Fidel’s death last November and was compiled with the idea of preserving, disseminating and advancing the leader’s ideas, according to co-editor Ramon Labañino, the vice president of the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba. Labañino was also one of a member of the Cuban 5 who was imprisoned by the United States on spurious charges of espionage.
Throughout the Cold War, Fidel was the face of communism in the Western Hemisphere. In a 1977 interview by Foreign Policy, the Cuban leader was asked when he became a communist.
“I became a Communist by studying capitalist political economy,” he answered. “When I had some understanding of that problem, it actually seemed to me so absurd, so irrational, so inhuman, that I simply began to elaborate on my own formulas for production and distribution.”
In addition to economics, the book also delves into Fidel’s approach to questions of political ideology, science and humanism.
Beyond the socialist measures spearheaded by Fidel in the field of economics, the Cuban Revolution of 1959 helped raise the national literacy rate from 60 percent to 96 percent shortly after its triumph. Hundreds of “literacy brigades” taught over 700,000 adults to read and write, showing the profound impact his revolutionary thought had on Cuban society on all levels.
Fidel also instilled the Cuban nation with a powerful spirit of solidarity, extending aid to various countries despite a U.S.-imposed blockade that choked the socialist nation’s economy to this day. Following Hurricane Katrina, he even pledged to assist the U.S. While Washington rebuffed the offer, Fidel noted that “regardless of how rich a country may be,” the poor people of the U.S. require health professionals during times of crisis.
Deputy Rector of La Sapienza University in Italy Luciano Vasapollo, who also helped compile the book, noted that the book is relevant for European readers seeking to explore not only Fidel the economist, but Fidel the revolutionary, who defended cultural and human heritage itself.