Viva Fidel!

Updated - November 30, 2016 07:46 pm IST

Published - November 28, 2016 12:02 am IST

That the passing away of Fidel Castro is a personal loss for many of us living far away from Cuba speaks volumes about the influence of the man (“Castro, Cuban revolutionary who defied U.S., dies at 90”, Nov.27). Those of us who grew up in times when there was only Doordarshan, and which used to cover international happenings — with some empathy for the countries of the South and those coming out of the shadows of colonial rule — still hold fond and vivid memories of giants such as Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, and Fidel Castro. They symbolised the struggle of the oppressed and were the icons for justice on the world stage.

As a student then, one felt great pride in those times in India’s expression of active solidarity with the struggles for self-determination and the freedom of people elsewhere in the world. Occasions such as the NAM summit held in 1983 in Delhi provided one glimpses of international solidarity against imperialism. I remember being gifted by my paternal uncle a card-size photo of the revolutionary leader when I was in school. It is a gift I hold dear for more than one reason.

Firoz Ahmad,

New Delhi


Whatever our travails, our generation and the ones before us were fortunate to live in the decades in which there were great leaders, visionaries who combined their ideals with action and who changed the world they inherited. My own generation lived in the time of Mao, Tito, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Castro was the last of them all. And, he was the greatest of them all. At 90, he died old and frail, but undefeated and unbroken, standing up till the very end to the world's mightiest power that ceaselessly tried and unendingly failed to snuff him and his tiny great nation out. For the millions who mourn his death, he stood for something very basic — the ability and the will to stand up to a force infinitely larger and more powerful than oneself. And that he managed to do so till his last breath — unflinching and unblinking — makes him a real-life David that the world has seldom seen.

K.S. Padmanabhan,



Fidel Castro was a revolutionary leader with great moral courage and personal charisma in the mould of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and Nelson Mandela. His majestic look which were enhanced by the trademark beard, military fatigues and cigar he sported will be deeply etched in our minds. The numerous attempts by the CIA to assassinate him are part of folklore. He survived explosives concealed in a packet of cigarettes, poison pills, exploding mollusks and chemically-tainted diving suits. It was not for nothing that the Cubans looked up to him. Cuba has registered impressive domestic achievements, especially in self-sufficiency in food production, education and health care. We salute Fidel who needs no adjectives to describe his greatness.

G. David Milton,

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu


He strode the world stage for half a century. Though the island nation still faces economic problems, Fidel Castro, as a champion of social justice, transformed the banana republic into a nation with sovereign status. He will be judged more for his rationalistic outlook than his communist affiliation.

B. Gurumurthy,



In a way, Castro belonged to the stock of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and even Mahatma Gandhi as they were the champions of human rights; he was the voice of the voiceless. Castro carved a niche for himself in world history. Present day communist leaders are no where near Castro in the context of his ideology.

K. Pradeep,



Like it or not, Fidel Castro strode like a lion in the latter half of the 20th century even among the communist countries of the world. In the 1950s, he influenced the young with his charismatic persona thanks to the Soviet land magazine which was available either freely or at a subsidised cost. He will always be remembered for the way he stood up to the U.S.

Kulasai Yaaman,



The demise of Fidel Castro is a major loss to the world. As an international statesman and humanist par excellence, he was at the forefront of international efforts to fight oppression and undemocratic practices the world over. In an era where conflicts and military aggressions have become the norm, Castro’s diplomacy, which was grounded in pacifism and human dignity, will be a constant reminder to the international community that values, ethics and international relations can coexist. On the domestic front, Cuba, with its enviable track record in health care, education, women’s representation and sporting success, affords a model of emulation for many developing nations. India has lost a major friend.

Abraham Joseph,



The world has lost an iconic hero as he stood as a bulwark against attempts of economic invasion and also physical elimination. The little David stood his ground, against Goliath, with the logistic support of the USSR and moral backing of non-aligned nations such as India. We stand united in saluting the great revolutionary.

S.V. Venkatakrishnan,



“I want to be a writer, in my next life,” Fidel Castro confessed to one of his best friends, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His hours long speeches were in fact Cuba’s sound-track.

C.V. Venugopalan,



Even though Cuba was subject to an economic embargo by the U.S., no one can deny that Fidel Castro made Cuba a leader in health care. He encouraged Cubans to work for Cuba and make the nation self-reliant. The success of a nation lies in the vision of its leader, and Castro proved this.

J. Bharath,




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