CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat on Sunday said left parties smarting from electoral reverses must look to Cuba for inspiration, saying that the Caribbean country has overcome adversities, most difficult times and "impossible odds".
"We had serious setbacks in these (recent Lok Sabha) elections. But we must learn from Cuba", Karat said in his address to 'Cuba Festival' organised by the Cuba Solidarity Committee to mark the 50th anniversary of Cuban Revolution.
Cuba has gone through adversity, most difficult times and what may people say "impossible odds" but overcome every time, he said and added, "So, we in India also...Left and progressive forces...Must take heart and must learn from Cuba and not surrender."
He said after the Lok Sabha elections, many of the left parties' "friends and critics" tell them to give up fight against imperialism because it has become "irrelevant in the 21st century" and give up fight against neo-liberal policies, and "accommodate itself".
"If you do that (give up fight against imperialism and neo-liberal policies, we (Left parties) cease to be what we are; we cease to be a force for progressive change and that lesson (never to surrender and continue fight against imperialism) we must imbibe", Karat said.
Karat praised the "indomitable courage" and "heroic endeavours" of the Cuban people.
"Cuba is not only a symbol of resistance to imperialism but also a source of inspiration for all countries who were under colonialism and imperialistic exploitation," he said.
Cuba, a country of just 1.1 crore population, had a remarkable recovery, he said, noting that the country wiped out illiteracy in just one year. In terms of development in health and education, Cuba is far superior to many of the developed countries, he said.
"In Cuba, the number of physicians to 100,000 people is more than that in the US," Karat said. "It has got an education system which we in India cannot even dream of".
Cuba spends 6.5 per cent of its GDP on health, whereas India spends just one per cent in this sector, he said.
Cuban Minister of Council Eduardo Iglesias Quintana suggested that the Left parties, who suffered electoral reverses, should look to Cuba on how to "turn setbacks into victories" by regaining the "will of the people".