Fidel’s 40th Anniversary Speech

Special international attention has focused on this year’s annual celebration of the victory of the Cuban revolution, since it marks the 40th anniversary of the revolution.

The Cuban government is now the only state leadership to wholeheartedly defend the perspective of an international struggle for socialism.

In general, the capitalist press only reported that in his anniversary speech, Fidel Castro continued to pledge support for socialism. It had less to say about his analysis of the crisis of world capitalism. That obviously contradicted the image it wanted to give of a lonely voice continuing to proclaim “loyalty to the past.”

What the Cuban leader had to stay about the state of capitalism corresponds to concerns that the capitalist press is anxious to conjure away:

“The current world order is not sustainable. … New and unsuspected phenomena arise that escape the control of the governments and the international financial institutions. It is no longer a matter of creating fabulous riches unrelated to the real economy.

“Such is the case of hundreds of new multimillionaires who made their fortunes when the stock prices in the U.S. stock exchanges multiplied in the last few years. Like an enormous balloon inflated to absurd levels with the serious risk that, sooner or later, it will explode…

“In August of this year, the simple financial crisis in Russia, which produces only 2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Produce, made the Dow Jones-a standard index in the New York Stock Exchange-drop 512 points in one day.

“Panic spread. There was the threat of a Southeast Asia contagion in Latin America, thus a great risk for the U.S. economy. So far, they have been able to hold back the catastrophe but not without great difficulties.

“Among the stocks quoted on the stock exchanges are the savings and pension funds of 50 percent of Americans. At the time of the 1929 crisis, it was only 5 percent, and there were many suicides….

“Speculative operations with currencies constitute a daily growing phenomenon, reaching huge and uncontrollable heights. The amount involved is at least a trillion dollars a day. Some say it is 1.5 trillion. Barely 14 years ago, this speculative figure was only 150 billion….

“The fact that the existing economic order is untenable is proved by the very vulnerability and weakness of the system that has turned the planet into an enormous casino and millions of people, sometimes whole societies, into gamblers, distorting the function of money and investment, since what they seek at all costs is not production or the increase of the world’s riches but to turn money into more money.”

Castro pointed out that the recent near-bankruptcy of a U.S. hedge fund system threatened to bring about a world financial crash. The fund had to be bailed out by the U.S. government, which in this case had no qualms about ignoring its own dogmas about not interfering with the function of the market.

He asked, “How sound is an economic system where the actions of an entity … that had only $4.5 billion of its own money can lead the United States and the world to an economic meltdown?”

The Cuban leader also made it clear that he was not speaking for a revolution just of the past, but for achievements that had survived the political and economic onslaught of the world’s most powerful capitalist state for 40 years.

Before the 1959 revolution, he said, “some 30 percent … did not know how to read or write. I think that maybe another 60 percent did not have more than a sixth grade education.

“Today, we can proudly state that we are the country with the world’s highest number per capita of educators, doctors, and physical education and sport teachers, and with the lowest rate of infant and maternal mortality in the Third World.”

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