I remember in the early 80s, growing up in the quiet university town of Nsukka in Enugu state, Nigeria, some of the university students bore “Castro” as nickname. At that time, I had neither heard about a man known as Fidel Castro, whose name they bore, nor the country called Cuba, the country of Castro.
During that period, I discovered that those who bore Castro as nickname were strong-willed guys who never bulge at any given circumstance. I admired those who bore the nickname, such that I was hoping to also bear the nickname when I get older and become a university undergraduate student, given that I’m strong-willed too.
That year came, and I became an undergraduate student. As a political science student, I had the opportunity to be introduced to several political ideologies, including communism by our then Political Economy teacher, Professor Sule Kano. After that, I read about communist countries. I read about Cuba and I read about Fidel Castro. It was after that that I changed my mind, and dropped the idea of choosing Castro as nickname.
From what I read, I discovered that Fidel Castro was a revolutionary leader, who led Cuba to become a full communist state after he overthrew the government at that time. By that incident, Cuba became he only communist nation in the American continent. China practices communism, North Korea practices communism, and the former Soviet Union. In a communist state, everything belongs to the government.
Castro’s volte face irked the West, especially the U.S and diplomatic ties were severed. Castro was seen as dictator in the West and their allies, but that did not deter Castro. He stood for what he believed in, the Marxist-Lennist ideology.
There are lots of arguments as to whether Castro’s communist state was a blessing or curse to Cuban economy. Notwithstanding, Castro achieved universal health care with really good quality, he eliminated hunger and made university free for everyone who want. He made Cuba the largest producer of sugar in the world.
Castro was a friend of Africa, he sent Cuban doctors when Ebola struck Africa. I was hoping to see him in his lifetime, to share the revolution experience and how one can be so passionate to the wellbeing of one’s country, irrespective of whose ox is gored. How he survived the U.S onslaught and over 600 assassination attempts. It never came! Castro passed on today at 90.
A few years ago, Castro became incapacitated by ill-health and he handed power to his brother, Raul who is the current Cuban President and who announced his obituary.
RIP the revolutionary leader.
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