Raúl (left) and Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra,1959
It was in the twentieth century that humanity took the first steps to free itself of class rule, ending thousands of years of oppression and exploitation. The October Revolution in Russia in 1917 was followed by the Chinese revolution in 1949. Both were big countries, mighty empires. The defeat of their rulers by their own people caused the whole world to sit up. The world capitalist order was panic stricken. It launched a vicious war of attrition against the socialist camp and tried to crush communism elsewhere in the world.
But only a decade after the Chinese revolution, in 1959, a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea saw another people’s upsurge, which swept aside a hated military dictatorship. The island was Cuba, located just 90 miles from the United States. Such was the anger and panic among the ruling capitalist classes that they swore to destroy this new revolution before it could take roots. They feared that it would serve as a beacon to the whole of Latin America, which was treated as its backyard by US imperialism.