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The Declarations of Havana

Speeches by Fidel Castro in response to the US administration's attempt to isolate Cuba, introduced by Tariq Ali.
In response to the American administration’s attempt to isolate Cuba, Fidel Castro delivered a series of speeches designed to radicalize Latin American society. As Latin America experiences more revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia, and continues to upset America’s plans for neo-liberal imperialism, renowned radical writer and activist Tariq Ali provides a searing analysis of the relevance of Castro’s message for today.


  • Cubans Remember Fidel

    This piece first appeared in NACLA

    Calle San Rafael, Havana. August 2016. via Wikimedia Commons.

    Olga, a former University teacher, remembered her faithful devotion to Fidel Castro when she was growing up in Santiago more than forty years ago. “Before the triumph of the Revolution I went to a Baptist private school. After I went to a state school, and I grew disenchanted with religion. This happened not only to me, it happened to my entire generation,” she said. “The change was profound. Fidel replaced the God we had believed in. He was a very significant leader for everyone, but in particular for us of the younger generation. We threw ourselves into the struggle to make the revolution. Life was very difficult after the sugar harvest of 1970 failed. We suffered a lot, but we still had that belief, that determination, that we had to fight for the revolution. We thought of Fidel as our God the saviour, and we all closed ranks, and we struggled, and we tried not to see his errors, his flaws. I did not return to the church for many, many years."

    I first interviewed Olga (not her real name) twelve years ago, when, alongside a team of Cuban and British researchers, I began recording life histories of Cuban men and women living on the island. Olga and I last met several months ago, in Miami, where she now lives. Our team has collected the life histories of 125 Cubans from different generations, social positions and political views, of diverse racial, gender, sexual and religious identities. Many talked with us multiple times, recounting how their lives and attitudes have changed over the years.

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  • History Will Absolve Me: Fidel Castro's 1953 Speech

    Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has died aged 90. To celebrate the life of this remarkable figure in history, we present a selection from his four-hour speech, 'History Will Absolve Me'. In October 1953, Castro defended himself in this speech in the courts after he led the attack on the Moncada Barracks. Later, the speech was reconstructed as the manifesto for Movimiento 26 de Julio and overthrowing Batista's dictatorship. This speech is but one in the collection The Declarations of Havana, part of our Revolutions series with an introduction by Tariq Ali.

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  • Fidel Castro 1926-2016

    Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader of revolution, has died aged 90. We present an extract from Tariq Ali's introduction to The Declarations of HavanaVerso's collection of Castro's speeches.

    On 26 July 1953 an angry young lawyer, Fidel Castro, led a small band of armed men in an attempt to seize the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, in Oriente province. Most of the guerrillas were killed. Castro was tried and defended himself with a masterly speech replete with classical references and quotations from Balzac and Rousseau, that ended with the words: 'Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.' It won him both notoriety and popularity.

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