Fidel Castro (1926 – 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who led the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, and then as President from 1976 to 2008.
Castro was the architect behind the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which overturned the right-wing authoritarian government and turned the nation into a one-party socialist state.
Castro remains one of the most divisive political figures of the 20th century, revered by many as a champion of social justice and anti-imperialism, and hated by others as a brutal dictator.
Prior to his death in November 2016, Castro was listed on the PFC40 Autograph Index as the world's most valuable living signature, with the price of his autograph having risen 16.9% per annum since 2000.
This printed booklet contains the text of a speech by Fidel Castro entitled "Pay tribute to the empire or pay tribute to the motherland".
Castro gave the speech on July 18, 1985, during the final session of the Latin American and Caribbean Workers Trade Union conference in Havana.
The conference was held at the peak of the Latin American debt crisis, which saw many countries crippled by billions of dollars in foreign debts far outweighing their national GDP.
Many delegates, including Castro himself, called for the debts to be cancelled to help the Central American economy to recover.
"I like the total cancellation of the debt more than a mouse would like a ton of Swiss cheese,' said Castro during the conference, and later suggested "the debt will never be paid anyway...it's mathematically impossible".
During the conclusion of his stirring speech, Castro declared:
"I have sometimes been accused of being an optimist. Some companeros remember when we met for the first time, and we were seven guerrilla members carrying rifles...
"I told them: We have won the war. We were only seven men. Some companeros said that out of respect for me, they said nothing, but they disagreed...Anyway, time went by and we won the war. So, do not be afraid to be optimistic. Life has shown me that we must not be afraid to be optimistic.
"I told you that I know this continent, this region of the world can become free and lead the struggle. Today, we are also fully convinced that the workers will also be leaders of this struggle between the different levels and sectors of the population. They will be the vanguard of this struggle."
The booklet is signed boldly by Castro in black ink on the title page, and remains in good condition, with light creasing to the front cover.
Booklet measures 5.5 x 8".