Fidel's last speech

Fidel Castro’s last major public appearance was on April 19, 2016, at the seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. Known throughout his career for giving marathon speeches, some lasting as long as 6 hours, Fidel’s final public speech was notably short, yet as defiant and hopeful as ever.

“Fidel Castro’s last speech connected the lessons of the Cuban revolution to the challenges we all face today.”

“Perhaps this will be one of the last times I speak in this room,” said Castro, “but the ideas of Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if you work hard and with dignity, you can produce the material and cultural goods human beings need.”

Fidel spoke of his own ideological journey from son of a wealthy landowner to communist revolutionary, “Why did I become a socialist, or more plainly, why did I become a communist? That word that expresses the most distorted and maligned concept in history by those who have the privilege of exploiting the poor.” Stating that “I am not ignorant, extremist, or blind, nor did I acquire my ideology of my own accord studying economics,” he acknowledged that as a young student he was mostly “fond of sports and mountain climbing.”

He pointed out that “without a tutor to help me in the study of Marxism-Leninism I was no more than a theorist and, of course, had total confidence in the Soviet Union.” Yet after comparing the lived realities of Cuba’s then U.S. backed dictatorship to the distortions of Lenin’s original revolutionary ideas, the young Fidel Castro concluded that the world needed “another example of a magnificent social revolution that marked a huge step in the struggle against colonialism and its inseparable companion, imperialism.”