The Passing of Commandante Fidel Castro

Revolutionary condolences to the Cuban people on the demise of El Commandant Fidel Castro

It was indeed with shock and sadness that we received the news of the passing of Commander Fidel Castro, a revolutionary who freed the people of Cuba and became the President of the island until 2008.

The Free State government, the people of the Free State, South Africa and the world at large revered the leadership and revolutionary diacipline of Fidel and his fellow leaders, including late Che Guevara.

A socialist, commissar, revolutionary and visionary, Fidel governed Cuba into a world-class country, using the masses as agents of change. Before the 1959 revolutionion, the Cuban literacy rate stood at about 60%.

The government of Fidel declared 1961 as the "year of education". Literacy brigades were deployed throughout the country to teach people to read and write.

Between 1 January and 22 December 1961, the literacy rate went just above 96%. Vurrently, Cuba's literacy rate is at 99.8%.

During the same period, Cuba faced a millitary offensive from a CIA-funded para-military group Brigade 2506. The invasion, which lasted for 3 days between 17 April and 19 April 1961, was defeated by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, led by then Prime Minister Fidel Castro.

On 3 October this year, the Free State government hosted a Cuban celebration event, where the legacy of Fidel was honoured. In addressing this event, I emphasized that as South Africans, we are greatly indebted to Cuba and its people.

As one of the ways of honouring the legacy of Fidel, the Free State government renamed a major government building after Fidel Castro.

On this sad day of the demise of one of Cuba's outstanding leaders, we mourn with the people of Cuba. May the revolutionary soul of Fidel Castro rest in peace...