Events on the sports field have shaped us as a country. In tough times, sport has united us as a country; sport is how we express ourselves as a nation—especially at the Olympic Games, IAAF, and Fifa World Cup nand the World Netball championships which proves that sport matters.

Sport is important because it make positive differences. Sport can influence, shape and contribute to meaningful and sustainable growth and development of a nation.

The reality of sport as a social, economic and cultural phenomena, is well established in recent world history. There are many who would wish to deny the power of sport and in so doing keep sport on the margins of society and world history.

Nothing captivates like the drama of sport activities.

The death of one of the world’s iconic leaders Fidel Castro provided a reflection point on someone who was deemed by many a controversial leader, reviled by some for his socialism embrace and his decades long fight with capitalism.

Fidel Castro understood for better or worse the power of sport and set about making sport a central pillar of Cuba’s national and political life, and nation narrative.

The negatives will be highlighted by those who will forever resent his ideology and his modus operandi. There are unquestionable positives.

The world of sport—in particular Olympic sport and the Olympic movement—would have benefited from Cuba’s prowess and excellence.

The island nation, which didn’t have the financial and economic clout of many a developed nation powerhouse punched way above its economic and financial weight. What stood out was the willingness of Cuba to share its expertise and knowledge regardless of the perception of cynicism surrounding the ultimate motive.

Trinidad and Tobago is one country that have benefited in more ways than one from Cuba.

Even though at times an affinity to western culture and support and market access may have made open declaration of support and alliance with Cuba not the most politically correct thing to do. It cannot change the reality that T&T and Caribbean sport owe a debt of gratitude to Senor Fidel Castro and Cuba.

Cuba did plenty with little.

The passing of the influential Fidel Castro is certainly the end of an era. His many writings and speeches are fortunately well curated.

From a Caribbean perspective, history will provide a definitive rendering of Fidel Castro.

But of course those who are pawns and prisoners of the plantation economy and cultural mind bending of captialism and western political orthodoxy will lack the rigor to delve deeper into a meaningful research endeavour to understand and appreciate the contribution positive and negative of Fidel Castro.

Purely from the perspective of sport, there can be no credible denial.

Cuba’s contribution is undeniable and separating the influence of Fidel Castro’s leadership and influence is futile and impossible.

There is much to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the Fidel Castro era from an island nation perspective.

Its the simple things that matter most. Quality physical education teachers in every school and community. Sport from the community and grassroots up with an inverted pyramid perspective.

The role of education through talent identification and deciding what sports are a cultural fit and which of those that can achieve world and elite standards of excellence on a global stage.

Sport can make the world of difference. Thanks Senor Fidel Castro for your contribution and RIP!

Editor’s Note: Brian Lewis is the President of the TTOC. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC. Support the TTOC #10golds24 athlete welfare and preparation fund.