THERE always comes a time when, forced by circumstances, you must do what you would have preferred not to. Mourning Fidel Castro’s death in words is my challenge today.
But it is one which also allows the opportunity to reflect on the 40 years since his words inspired those of us here to establish the first Saint Lucia-Cuba Friendship Association in the wake of the 1976 terrorist bombing of the Cubana Airline in Barbados.
Those four decades have seen mountainous and monumental positive changes in the way the world has seen Fidel and Cuba. Likewise, Saint Lucia’s relationship with Cuba during that time, with Fidel at the helm for all of the over three decades since diplomatic ties were established.
Today, our national flag flies at half-mast, like in Havana, in deserving respect for the eternal commander.
Today, everyone mourns for Fidel, but no one should be crying because we know, we see, we feel and we continue to live what Fidel made possible for us.
We should not cry because he has left us all the means to save the tears of joy for our own sweet victories down the road.
The rebel leader and commander opened the way for the party and the revolutionary socialist state to show the world how a small island can be continental in its solidarity — and reaffirming the historical truth that a people united can never be defeated.
Fidel has gone to the great beyond, but his ashes bear testimony to the infinity of his legacy. Each spec is a catalyst for a new brain, a manure for a new mind committed to the cause of mankind. Today, we stare with disbelief at unwelcome reality.
But our grief will give way to the resignation that our best tribute to Fidel is to continue where he left off.
He has left us the challenges and opportunities to overcome and grasp as we all continue along the river of no return.
Humanity was happy with Fidel. Mankind shaped him and he helped shape mankind. Fidel came, he saw — and he did what life required of him for the benefit of all.
The many long tentacles of Fidel’s legacy will be the eternal stars that will continue to help guide the world’s multitudes in always demanding that the people of all countries are equal inhabitants of the global village we continue to share, in all its changing climates.
He will have wanted us to always be guided by the undeniable truth that life comes and goes, but the struggle always continues.
Our best farewell to Fidel, therefore, has not to be in mournful tears, but in our strengthened resolve to do all we can, everywhere and all the time, to always keep on struggling for the better for the most.
History absolved Fidel. Now it’s our turn to continue to always try to shape our destiny and history in ways that will always guarantee our absolution!