The socialist movement has lost an icon - and the world is a poorer place. I think we all assumed he was immortal.
Fidel Castro was that rarest of political creatures; a successful revolutionary who retained his principles. He walked the walk.
His unwavering commitment to creating a socialist society in Cuba - despite considerable obstacles placed in his path by the superstate-next-door - saw him achieve the victory he fought for, and never doubted he would see. And he made it work.
The man was synonymous with the very word revolutionary - it is his image, and that of his comrade in arms Che Guevara, that millions see in their minds' eye when they even think the word.
Castro politicised me - back in the late 70s, when the Thatcher nightmare was just beginning, and whilst most of my friends were reading Smash Hits, I was reading about revolution, about Che and Fidel. They stood as proof positive that it WAS possible, when things were wrong, when the weakest in society were oppressed, to DO something about it.
To make things better.
I'm not going to go into Castro's many achievements - and I'm certainly not going to excuse the mistakes he undoubtedly made - in his own words 'History will absolve me'.
But for me - I will miss knowing that he's in the world, and I'm grateful that he was.
'Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty'
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