'A revolution is not a bed of roses': Fidel Castro in his own words
|Fidel Castro: ‘We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed,’ he said in 1991. Photograph: Niurka Barroso/AFP/Getty Images|
Here are some of his more memorable quotes:
I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” – On the revolution in 1959
I’m not thinking of cutting my beard, because I’m accustomed to my beard and my beard means many things to my country. When we fulfill our promise of good government I will cut my beard.” – In a 1959 interview with CBS’s Edward Murrow, 30 days after the revolution.
A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.” – Castro in 1959.
I reached the conclusion long ago that the one last sacrifice I must make for (Cuban) public health is to stop smoking. I haven’t really missed it that much.” – Castro in December 1985 upon announcing he had stopped smoking cigars.
I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure (Jesus Christ).” – Castro in 1985.
We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed.” – Castro in 1991.
These changes [the opening to international tourism, foreign investment, some small business and family remittances] have their social cost, because we lived in a glass case, pure asepsis, and now we are surrounded by viruses, bacteria to the point of distraction and the egoism created by the capitalist system of production.” – Castro in 1998.
One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates.” – Castro to director Oliver Stone in 2003 documentary Comandante.
I realized that my true destiny would be the war that I was going to have with the United States.” – Castro’s opening quote in Looking for Fidel, Stone’s second documentary on the Cuban leader from 2004.
Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone ... actually knew how to build socialism. ... Whenever they said. ‘That’s the formula,’ we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a physician.” Castro in 2005.
I’m really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbor, the greatest power in the world, trying to kill me every day.” July 21, 2006 while attending a summit of Latin American presidents in Argentina.
We are not a developed capitalist country in crisis, whose leaders are going crazy looking for solutions amidst depression, inflation, a lack of markets and unemployment; we are and we must be socialists.” – Castro writing in one of his “reflections,” or newspaper columns in 2008.