Fidel on the ‘battle of ideas’

Amilcar Cabral, one of Africa’s foremost anti-colonial leaders, and Fidel Castro together at the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, which focused on common goals of resistance to colonialism and imperialism and the establishment of an alliance across colonial national boundaries.

These slightly edited excerpts are from a speech given by Fidel Castro Ruz, speaking as president of the Republic of Cuba, Feb. 3, 1999, at the Central University of Venezuela. The complete remarks are available at

“We have had to wage, and will have to continue waging, a more difficult battle against that extremely powerful empire: a ceaseless ideological battle that they stepped up with all their resources after the collapse of the socialist camp, when fully confident in our ideas we decided to continue forward . . . without ever forgetting the immense and invincible support and solidarity of the peoples which we always had and which makes us feel under a greater obligation to struggle. . . . 

“[The U.S.] was unable to defeat a united people, a people armed with just ideas, a people endowed with a great political consciousness, because that is most important for us. We have resisted everything and are ready to continue resisting for as long as need be, thanks to the seeds planted throughout those decades, thanks to the ideas and the consciousness developed during that time. It has been our best weapon and it shall remain so. . . . 

“We have withstood that warfare. . . .We are winning the battle of ideas. Still, the battlefield is not limited to our small island, although the small island has to fight. Today, the world is the battlefield; it is everywhere, in all continents, in all institutions, in every forum. This is the good side of the globalized struggle. We must defend the small island while fighting throughout the huge world they dominate or try to dominate.” 

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