Cubans exiled in USA are celebrating whilst other world inhabitants are expressing extreme remorse at the icon’s departure. It’s more confusing especially if you have mixed information from CNN News & Aljazeera or maybe read the Sunday Mail just after reading the Daily News. Fidel Castro is a divisive figure in terms of opinion, but here is my brief attempt to simplify Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (Kuti ufambiranewo nevamwe pa current affairs)
By Simba Mazoyo
Think of Fidel as that mascular guy you called Mukoma Jackson back in high school. That one who looked the oldest in the entire stream. A certified bully but fortunately/unfortunately far from being dull. The one who once slapped you after you mistakenly stepped on his toes at assembly. That slap which felt like a Manyika thunder bolt! The one which made you hear that ‘twiiiiiiiiii’ sound for some seconds whilst everything else remained silent. You only regained full hearing after break time. You had stepped on his polished Grasshoppers yes, but was the violence justified? Did it solve anything besides embarrass you for weeks? Worse still it only booked him a manual punishment for the whole day. His strict nature and love for violence was not good for him or anyone.
Cruel as he was, the entire school including you enjoyed his presence when it came to confronting the school’s oppressive system. Remember when he pledged to get into a fist fight with the overzealous senior teacher? The whole school got into a frenzy shouting Mukoma!
Mukoma! Mukoma! The ultimate
buster was when he held the stiff minded janitor by the collar. The janitor who terrorized all students by creating a stupid bathroom schedule. Mukoma was your hero in those moments. You celebrated from afar though, you feared any close proximity interaction. He was energetic, unpredictable, strict, but a passionate hater of unfair school regulations. Even though you feared him yourself, the sound of a teacher’s voice trembling in fear of Mukoma Jackson was sweet music to your ears.
The janitor incident was the last stroke that broke the camel; Mukoma was expelled from school. It was a bitter sweet experience seeing him go. He had destroyed his own future due to his tendencies. You had suffered at his hands, but also marveled at his bravery sometimes.
So now as you write memoirs of your school days from different places, was Mukoma a hero or villain? Of Couse its debatable, the same applies for the late icon Fidel Castro.
With a history of violence and protestant behavior he overthrew the illegitimate government of Batista in 1959 and took over Cuba with the promise of *freedom* and *prosperity*. By each day in power, freedom became non-existent as he pursued his socialist ideologies. He nationalized all major businesses including those of USA in Cuba. Thus USA was irked and reacted with sanctions. The following years were characterized by serious animosity towards all capitalist states and an attempt to further push the communist-socialist agenda. Cuba became poor in the face of this unrealistic economic approach, only surviving from heavy subsidy from The Soviet Union(which later bore Russia).
Fidel was the sole center of power from 1959 till 2008 when he officially handed over to his Brother Raul only because of bad health.
Cubans over the years have flocked to USA for better living standards and fear of persecution. One of Fidel’s own daughters even sought asylum in the USA openly criticizing her father’s ruthlessness
Meanwhile many African countries including South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe attained independence from the oppressive imperialist powers with the help of Cuba. Nelson Mandela is on record as a singer of praises for Fidel Castro for the hand he offered in fighting Apartheid. Many Cuban personnel including Doctors and Teachers have assisted in holding up Zimbabwe’s health and education sectors since 1980. Fidel passionately hated capitalist behavior by the West. His idea of living was characterized by a common control & distribution of wealth in line with the communist policies.
For many he is a revolutionary, a symbol of bravery against imperialism and racism. They view him as a dedicated fighter and resilient principled leader who stood his ground against America for ages. Oh, did you know that it is said over the years Fidel Castro survived more than 300 assassinations by CIA?
From another view point they will say he was simply a power hungry insane individual whose ideologies were unrealistic, retrogressive and dangerous to many including himself. ‘Kuwona kunosiyana’
Whether the glass is half empty or half full, we might argue till the cows come home.
PS: We can’t say ‘gone too soon’. He was 90 years old.