THE EARLY FIDEL by Lionel Martin


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Lionel Martin has been in Cuba since 1961 and is a correspondent for the American and Canadian Broadcasting Companies and the Washington Post. He argues that Fidel Castro was a Marxist-Leninist since university days, and not a social democrat pushed into the Communist camp by events and an erratic personality. There is considerable evidence for this. Castro himself claims to have been a Marxist-Leninist from the beginning, and others recall incidents which tend to confirm it. Young Fidel associated and was intimate with Communists and revolutionary radicals, read Marx and Lenin, and frequented Havana's Communist bookshop. Far more important, Martin has documented and analyzed early statements by Castro which reflect a Marxist-Leninist outlook. He argues a convincing case. The reason it required a book is that Castro long ""avoided revealing, by name, his ultimate aspirations for Cuban society."" He was particularly mindful of bourgeois democratic p's and q's when dealing with Americans, as in his famous interview with Herbert Matthews, or another, published in Coronet, where he predicted that the new Cuba would have room for Lions, Rotarians, and religious organizations. Martin, who believes revolutionary legality properly overrides constitutional legality, approves what he calls ""a sense of realpolitik."" Others may call it deceit. Martin cites a truly Leninist example which foretold the fate of some members of the 26th of July Movement who thought they were fighting for the constitution of 1940. In a letter from prison in 1954, Castro wrote: ""Deal with the people artfully and with a smile. Follow the same tactic used in the trial. Defend our viewpoint without making unnecessary enemies. There will be enough time later to crush all the cockroaches together.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1977
Publisher: Lyle Stuart