Fidel Castro Dies

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Fidel Castro, who turned his island homeland into a vast prison of which he was the Warden, died yesterday at age 90.  My usual rule after someone dies is De mortuis nil nisi bonum, but I can think of nothing good about the life of Castro other than it now has ended.  Under his regime millions of his countrymen risked death at sea rather than submit to his rule, and I can think of no more damning indictment for any ruler.  A squalid dictator of the worst sort, Castro always received good press in some of the media in the West from leftists who were willing to forgive any sin if the proper Communist platitudes were spoken.  Castro leaves behind him a broken nation of slaves.  May they soon rise up and bring a new day to a free Cuba.

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49 Comments

  1. 2016 has been the year of impossibilities:
    England leaves the EU
    Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for literature
    The Chicago Cubs win the world series
    Donald Trump is elected President
    and now Fidel Castro’s unnatural long life has finally expired.

    I expect gene scientists to announce that they have produced a new strand of winged swine by Christmas.

  2. Unless I am mistaken, isn’t the name “Fidel Castro” descended from the Latin “Fides Castrum” for “Faith Castle”? If so, then how ironic.
    .
    “…statutum est hominibus semel mori post hoc autem iudicium…”
    .
    “…it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment…”
    .
    Hebrews 9:27

  3. Pope to honor him? After all, he’s more Catholic than most Catholics, he’s communist.
    Obama could rename Mt. Hood to Mt. Castro…as a sign of honor of course…

  4. @ Bob Tanaka

    What?
    You didn’t get the memo!
    Hillary Clinton is the prototype…a flying swine, most appealing to the so-called tolerant left.
    Pork belly futures on the ascent.
    Reindeer futures look gloomy.

  5. No Marxist me, but I would not call Castro a squalid dictator.
    A benign dictator with many personal faults including vanity.
    Cuba survived for years in spite of the US sugar embargo which created child poverty.
    Cuba had a lower infant mortality rate than the USA.
    Cuba sent more doctors to Africa during the ebola crisis than the USA.
    More young women, proportionally, study medicine in Cuba than the USA.
    The USA backed many squalid Latin American dictatorships where street children are routinely slaughtered by government-backed death squads.
    These countries are ruled by rich oligarchs and privileged families.
    The USA grants aid to underdevloped countries as long as they privatise health and welfare.
    Batista, the dictator before Castro, was financed by US money and people lived in squalor and poverty.
    I am a traditionalist Catholic but I support liberation theology too.

  6. The USA sent its military to every continent on Earth..ostensibly to support freedom, but left Castro in Cuba because Kennedy backed down to Khruschev.
    Castro not only turned Cuba I no the tropical gulag, he supported, directly and indirectly, just about every left wing insurgency in Latin America. The Colombian ELN and Chavez’ mess in Venezuela can be laid at his feet. Most disgusting is the praise heaped on Castro by Canadian prime twit Justin Trudeau. Canadian support of Castro is something I have long found nauseating.
    Slightly less nauseating have been the papal visits to Havana. They did nothing to ease repression of the Church in Cuba.
    Raul needs to go before Cuba changes.

  7. To Penguin Fan:
    Castro’s Cuba had many faults and some unpleasant aspects. But so have certain US cities such as Baltimore, especially if you are black.
    Batista’s Cuba was a great deal worse. The Church was tolerated as long as it did not speak out on social issues such as children living in filth and slum conditions.
    Oliver Stone said Castro answered every question that was put to him, and did not ask to see the filmed interviews before the film crew left Havana.
    Watch a DVD on Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, to see what the US got up to in Latin America.
    I love and admire the USA, but a true patriot must expose injustice, lies and double standards.

  8. “No Marxist me, but I would not call Castro a squalid dictator.”

    Agreed. Murderous dictator would be more apt.

    “Cuba survived for years in spite of the US sugar embargo which created child poverty”

    Actually Cuba’s communism made it a poor nation. It was always able to trade with most of the world and used the US embargo as an excuse for its abysmal economic performance.

    “Cuba had a lower infant mortality rate than the USA.”
    http://freebeacon.com/issues/cuba-manipulating-health-care-statistics/

    “The USA backed many squalid Latin American dictatorships where street children are routinely slaughtered by government-backed death squads.”

    Unlike Cuba the US has been a force for democracy and free elections throughout Latin America. Castro wanted to make clones of his police state throughout South and Central America.

    “These countries are ruled by rich oligarchs and privileged families.”

    The most unequal country in the world in the Western Hemisphere is the Nomenklatura of the Cuban Communist party compared to the rest of the Cuban people.

    http://canadafreepress.com/article/cubas-stalinist-nomenklatura-celebrates-50-years-of-high-living-and-represshttp://freebeacon.com/issues/cuba-manipulating-health-care-statistics/

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432680/myth-cuban-health-care

    “More young women, proportionally, study medicine in Cuba than the USA.”

    Considering the state of medicine in Cuba, the vast majority of their “doctors” would not even qualify to be medics in this country.

    “The USA grants aid to underdevloped countries as long as they privatise health and welfare.”

    Would that we had such a requirement. Alas we do not.

    “Batista, the dictator before Castro, was financed by US money and people lived in squalor and poverty.”

    Batista originally had the support of the Cuban Communist Party. Cubans had a higher standard of living under Batista than under Castro:

    http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/how-cuba-was-destroyed

    “I am a traditionalist Catholic but I support liberation theology too.”

    I never would have guessed. Marxism is a form of State slavery. The main secular forces that have liberated people around the globe are democratic governments and free markets.

  9. Mr. Hagerty, you can stop wasting your time singing the praises of Castro to me. Go tell it on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. St. John Paul II lambasted liberation theology, seeing it for what it is, a KGB inspired attempt to split apart the Latin American Church.
    I am sure the Versailles clientele on Calle Ocho is anxiously awaiting the eulogy of Castro. Justin Trudeau, the dunce PM of Canada, can deliver it.

  10. Democratic governments and free markets?
    Donald, in the US you do not even have a free press or free media.
    Vidal and Chomsky did a 30 minute discussion criticizing the Gulf War. Not a single TV station would air it. Your TV stations are terrified of dissent and so they end by ‘manufacturing consent’.
    Chomsky was speaking at Harvard. The young neo-cons, bless them, tore down all the fliers. The Boston papers did not even report that Chomsky was speaking. Yet he still draws crowds of over 2000 by word of mouth alone.
    Father Daniel Berrigan made some nuanced criticisms of Israel years and years ago – he was dropped by The New York Times and TV as a spokesperson.
    Pope John Paul was almost reluctant to recognize Helda Camara’s martyrdom.
    It’s OK for bishops to be political as long as they do it in Marxist regimes.
    William Colby in his fascinating autobiography Honorable Men discloses the exact sum (running into millions of dollars) allotted by the Nixon administration to destabilise Chile’s democratically elected government. This led to the truly sociopathic regime of Allende and the systematic slaughter of thousands of Chilean democrats. They rounded up the first of them and shot them in the football stadium in Santiago. The Nazis couldn’t have done a better day’s work.
    Milton Friedman earned big bucks as economic adviser to Allende and his junta.
    Castro, if not already Marxist, became a committed Marxist after the US declared him a ‘criminal’ and launched their very nasty embargo. JFK and Bobby were obsessed by Cuba and we all watched the black comedy of the Bay of Pigs.
    As for Fidel and Che fomenting revolution in Latin America, no wonder. The solution to Latin America’s gigantic problems could have been addressed by social democratic governance, but the US does not like social democracy, it demands that you do democracy its way or else.
    No worries, we had the CIA paying local thugs to hunt down and kill, sorry ‘take out’ as you Americans say, Che. In doing so they made him an icon for young radicals all over the world.
    Cubans had a higher standard of living under Batista? American big business created wealth for its client class only. Gambling, decadent night life, prostitution, child sex abuse, playboy culture, extremes of wealth and poverty? Yes, Senor Batista, God’s good democrat.
    I don’t need you to tell me about communism. I have stacks of back issues of Encounter magazine which I read during the Cold War years as well as histories of the Baltic states and what the Soviets did there.
    But fifty years of stupidity, ruthlessness and lies from US administrations has been no consolation for the nightmare of communism.
    Wait till the awful bloody mess (two years from now) when ‘Trumpgate’ is on every disillusioned American’s lips. Wait till the city riots begin.
    P.S. Save the Children NGOS were very impressed by the skill, expertise and commitment of Chilean doctors in the hell of the ebola crisis.
    I know someone who was there, Donald.

  11. Sorry, I meant to say that Save the Children staff were impressed by the skill of young CUBAN doctors who worked tirelessly in Africa during the ebola crisis. For very little money and at great risk to themselves.

  12. A second error. I mentioned Helder Camara when I meant to say Oscar Romero. Two great men who comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable as the Lord Jesus Christ taught us.
    Lucius, I honestly do not enjoy making you angry. I am off to read my beloved Hilaire Belloc who does not, I hope, qualify as ‘European crap’.
    Hilaire met four Popes or was it five? He admired Pope Pius X at whose school I was educated in the principles of Catholic truth.

  13. I love and admire the USA, but a true patriot must expose injustice, lies and double standards.

    Funny how those who claim to love an admire the USA soon demonstrate themselves as incapable of acknowledging anything positive about it. Well if we’re exposing double standards…

    P.S. Save the Children NGOS were very impressed by the skill, expertise and commitment of Chilean doctors in the hell of the ebola crisis.
    I know someone who was there, Donald.

    Funny, both of my parents work in the health care field, one has gone on several mission trips (with other health care professionals I’ll add) and… well the most charitable interpretation of their impression of Cuban doctors is the exact opposite. But by all means, go get treated by one. I’m interested in seeing how the medical tourism shakes out in a few years.

  14. “Donald, in the US you do not even have a free press or free media.
    Vidal and Chomsky did a 30 minute discussion criticizing the Gulf War. Not a single TV station would air it. Your TV stations are terrified of dissent and so they end by ‘manufacturing consent’.”

    You don’t know what you are talking about. Both Chomksy and the late Gore Vidal, crazed leftists, were ever lionized by our media.

    “Chomsky was speaking at Harvard. The young neo-cons, bless them, tore down all the fliers. The Boston papers did not even report that Chomsky was speaking. Yet he still draws crowds of over 2000 by word of mouth alone.”

    Chomsky has been an ever present feature in academia for decades. It is conservatives on college campuses who are shouted down by the forces of tolerance.

    “Father Daniel Berrigan made some nuanced criticisms of Israel years and years ago – he was dropped by The New York Times and TV as a spokesperson.”

    Actually Berrigan, who received constant press coverage in this country until he assumed room temperature, called Israel a criminal Jewish community. Like most leftists he hated Israel.

    “Pope John Paul was almost reluctant to recognize Helda Camara’s martyrdom.”

    Camera was never a martyr except to common sense.

    “This led to the truly sociopathic regime of Allende and the systematic slaughter of thousands of Chilean democrats.”

    Allende’s, Castro’s pal., regime caused the Pinochet regime. The Pinochet regime ended in a prosperous democratic Chile and the left has never forgiven the late dictator for that. Imagine if Castro had left a prosperous and democratic Cuba.

    “It’s OK for bishops to be political as long as they do it in Marxist regimes.”
    That trample on the Church? Of course.

    “Milton Friedman earned big bucks as economic adviser to Allende and his junta.”

    Nope:

    Milton Friedman gave some lectures advocating free market economic policies at the Universidad Católica de Chile. In 1975, two years after the coup, he met with Pinochet for 45 minutes, where the general “indicated very little indeed about his own or the government’s feeling” and the president asked Friedman to write him a letter laying out what he thought Chile’s economic policies should be, which he also did.[26] To stop inflation, Friedman proposed reduction of government deficits that had increased in the past years and a flat commitment by government that after six months it will no longer finance government spending by creating money. He proposed relief of cases of real hardship among poorest classes.[2] In October 1975 the New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis declared that “the Chilean junta’s economic policy is based on the ideas of Milton Friedman…and his Chicago School”.[26]

    Friedman has wondered why some have attacked him for giving a lecture in Chile: “I must say, it’s such a wonderful example of a double standard, because I had spent time in Yugoslavia, which was a communist country. I later gave a series of lectures in China. When I came back from communist China, I wrote a letter to the Stanford Daily newspaper in which I said, ‘It’s curious. I gave exactly the same lectures in China that I gave in Chile. I have had many demonstrations against me for what I said in Chile. Nobody has made any objections to what I said in China. How come?’” He noted that his visit was unrelated to the political side of the regime and that, during his visit to Chile, he even stated that following his economic liberalization advice would help bring political freedom and the downfall of the regime.[27]

    “Castro, if not already Marxist,”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/19/magazine/fidel-castro-s-years-as-a-secret-communist.html?pagewanted=all

    “No worries, we had the CIA paying local thugs to hunt down and kill, sorry ‘take out’ as you Americans say, Che.”

    Are you seriously contending that Che, Casto’s hangman, was a social democrat?

    “Cubans had a higher standard of living under Batista?”

    Yes they did. That is why modern Cubans are still driving around in museum relics from the 1950’s.

    “prostitution”

    The world’s oldest profession has been one of the mainstays of the Castro economy:

    http://www.cubanet.org/htdocs/CNews/y00/jun00/30e17.htm

    “P.S. Save the Children NGOS were very impressed by the skill, expertise and commitment of Chilean doctors in the hell of the ebola crisis.
    I know someone who was there, Donald.”

    Castro’s Cuba has a three tier medical system. The first two tiers provide first world medical treatment to hard currency foreigners and to Communist party officials and their families. The third tier is for the vast majority of Cubans and is hellacious even by Third World standards.

  15. I respect the informed opinion and front-line experience of your parents, Nate. So I will leave the reputation of Cuba’s young medics in their safe hands.
    As for my not acknowledging the ‘positive’ side of America.
    Being ‘positive’ for its own sake, as a Saul Bellow character says, can be just another game. (The Adventures of Augie March?)
    Being ‘negative’ with some moral purpose can be a good thing.
    You are welcome to be as negative about Britain as you like. We need to hear it.
    Surely Christian love calls us to look hard at ourselves, and to look critically at our own nation and those nations we admire.
    Christ called the common people to ‘repent’ because He loved them with a special love.
    I only need to see the oppressed people who come to America for a better life.
    Men and women escaping communist and fascist regimes. Yes, many of them Cubans.
    They love America and only want to work hard and enjoy religious freedom.
    Nor do I flatter myself in claiming to understand the US.
    Robert Caro’s monumental biography of LBJ made me see how hard it is to understand your country. But trying to understand is part of one’s endeavour.
    Recently I read an essay by William Styron on his friend James Jones.
    A veteran of WWII and a student of American history, Jones was visiting Washington for the first time.
    He stood looking at a monument to men who had fallen in the Civil War. Turning to Styron he said, ‘Those men died for nothing.’
    Many would be shocked by such a statement. But in his own way Jones was contributing to the debate that never ends. History.

  16. Mr. Hagerty, those of us Americans who post here are well aware of our nation’s sins and faults. Fidel Castro was a bully, propped up and financed by the Soviet Union and unwilling to realize that his system was garbage. A long, meandering essay about American intervention in Latin America….our backyard that has been an unstable place since the Spanish and Portugese left…can in no way justify the deeds of Castro.

  17. To Donald R McClarey.
    We have a very different world view. But let me say that I have taken issue with quite a number of ‘leftist’ people in my time. As long as forty years ago. On matters such as education and the Soviet Union.
    Chomsky is ever present in academia, as you say, perhaps because intelligent open-minded people there wish to hear him.
    Chomsky is attacked for having ‘sources’ that are said not to be ‘real’ sources at all, but he stands up very well to his critics. The sources turn out to be real if only his complacent enemies had looked hard enough.
    These sources show that hundreds of Palestinian villages were wiped off the face of the earth by the Israelis many years ago. Palestinian poets and writers have tried to preserve that lost culture.
    Amos Oz has criticised his own country in similar terms, and there goes another ‘leftist’ no doubt.
    Edward Said (another ‘leftist’ sorry) said he and Chomsky were seldom asked to speak on television though Paul Johnston (a ‘rightist’ and one of my own favourite authors) was always on US television.
    If I don’t know what I am talking about, then please show me an objective break-down of the people who have appeared on US news channels over the last 10 years.
    In Britain our universities have skilled media academics who monitor news coverage; the US must have them too.
    But Said would say that, wouldn’t he? Hell, these lefties, they’re everywhere.
    Television and newspapers are another story.
    The coverage of Iran and Afghanistan in both the American and British press struck me as being very limited.
    British television was a disappointment too, though Channel 4 stood out in asking tough questions. Its series Unreported World is worth watching if you want to see how the world’s economic systems shaft poor people.
    As for Vidal being ‘lionized’. His theory that America had an ’empire’ was pretty much ridiculed when he first proposed it. Things look different now.
    I am aware Cuba has a three-tier health system but I do not believe Castro (for all his terrible faults) planned it that way.
    He regretted the return of prostitution to the streets of Havana.
    In Batista’s day children were bartered for sex, bought by rich perverts.
    Cuba became degraded. The Party elite must take much of the blame but the embargo was cruel, unnecessary and hypocritical. The US propped up some rotten regimes with histories of human rights violations.
    Milton Friedman had a sense of humour and I admired aspects of the man and some of his ideas.
    But he parlayed with Pinochet, a brute with the blood of the young on his hands.
    I never said Castro and Che were social democrats.
    I do think social democracy with a mixed economy were the best weapons against communism.
    I admired Keynes. A leftist?
    Joe McCarthy probably thought so.

  18. Yes Lucius, America’s intervention in WWII saved Europe from barbarism. I am reading Rick Atkinson’s The Guns At Last Light, so it is very much on my mind..
    I do know about the appalling American losses in the Ardenne Forest and at the Bulge.
    Remember, Roosevelt was giving Britain aid and hiding it from Congress, before Pearl Harbour.
    Remember too that the US presented Britain with a hefty bill at the end of the war. American war profiteers made millions.
    Britain’s economy was in ruins in 1945 but we managed to provide a health service and a welfare system for our people, which Mrs Thatcher dismantled in the name of the market economy.
    Clement Atlee, the British Prime Minister in 1945, came up with the Special Relationship with America.
    As someone said, it’s special to us but not to America.,

  19. “Britain’s economy was in ruins in 1945 but we managed to provide a health service and a welfare system for our people, which Mrs Thatcher dismantled in the name of the market economy.”
    .
    Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest women to ever walk the face of God’s green Earth. That the socialists of England reject God’s gift in her, preferring instead handouts from Caesar, is simply par for the course. Sadly her attempt to rid your island of suicidal socialism never succeeded. Yet her legacy lives on. She with Ronald Reagan and Pope St JP II defeated socialism’s close cousin of communism in the USSR though they could not drive the snakes of the fantasy of free health care for all from our suffering parent land.
    .
    TANSSAAFL
    .
    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Cuba is the end goal of England’s enbrace of the lunacy of free health care, and equally America’s Obamacare. Such pipe dreams die one dictator at a time – Fidel Castro did not depart soon enough.

  20. “Clement Atlee, the British Prime Minister in 1945, came up with the Special Relationship with America.
    As someone said, it’s special to us but not to America.,”

    What baloney. It was very special in America when upheld by a Churchill or a Thatcher. Neither was known to toady to Americans. When they spoke Americans listened.

  21. “Chomsky is ever present in academia, as you say, perhaps because intelligent open-minded people there wish to hear him.”

    Mo, because Chomsky is a far left loon and that panders to the prejudices of most of academia. Most American universities seek to shut out ideas they do not approve of. You can find much more intellectual diversity at most American bars.

    “Chomsky is attacked for having ‘sources’ that are said not to be ‘real’ sources at all, but he stands up very well to his critics. The sources turn out to be real if only his complacent enemies had looked hard enough.”

    Chomsky reaches conclusions first and then scrambles for factoids that support his conclusions.

    “These sources show that hundreds of Palestinian villages were wiped off the face of the earth by the Israelis many years ago. Palestinian poets and writers have tried to preserve that lost culture.”

    The “Palestinians” made the mistake in 1948 of assuming that the Jews would be wiped off the face of the Earth by the invading Arab militaries from each of their neighbors, and hence the “Palestinian” leaders rejected the partition plan. They choose poorly. Ironically, the Arab citizens of Israel are the freest Arabs on the face of the globe.

    “Edward Said (another ‘leftist’ sorry) said he and Chomsky were seldom asked to speak on television though Paul Johnston (a ‘rightist’ and one of my own favourite authors) was always on US television.”
    Only an American history enthusiast such as myself would even know who Paul Johnson is. It would be a dull American undergraduate indeed who would not know the names of Said and Chomsky, especially Chomsky because of his cult like following in American academia.

    “If I don’t know what I am talking about, then please show me an objective break-down of the people who have appeared on US news channels over the last 10 years.”

    Please. I am not going to waste my time proving that water is wet or fire burns. Vidal, until the very last years of his life, was a frequent presence on American television. Chomsky has had less of a presence, but he has been there. One of the earlier outings of him I can recall is when he appeared on Bill Buckley’s old Firing Line show on PBS. His videos are ubiquitous on YouTube.

    “The coverage of Iran and Afghanistan in both the American and British press struck me as being very limited.”

    Good coverage of any foreign nation requires in-depth knowledge of the place, something most foreign journalists lack.

    “As for Vidal being ‘lionized’. His theory that America had an ’empire’ was pretty much ridiculed when he first proposed it. Things look different now.”

    Vidal was a talented novelist. When it came to his looney tune conspiratorial political opinions, the best that could be said for him was that he employed a novelist’s craft in making facts fit his world view rather than vice versa.

    “I am aware Cuba has a three-tier health system but I do not believe Castro (for all his terrible faults) planned it that way.”

    Castro was in absolute control until he put his brother in charge of the family business in 2008. Everything that went on in Cuba was because he wanted it that way, at least he wanted it that way as opposed to allowing free elections.

    “In Batista’s day children were bartered for sex, bought by rich perverts.”

    Precisely the same thing goes on in the tourist sex trade promoted by Castro’s regime:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1948284.html

    “but the embargo was cruel, unnecessary and hypocritical”

    I would actually apply each of those adjectives to the Castro regime.

    “But he parlayed with Pinochet, a brute with the blood of the young on his hands.”

    Pinochet was a piker compared to Castro. Friedman was always willing to tell anyone what he believed would lead to economic improvement.

    “I admired Keynes. A leftist?”

    I admire Keynes as a literary stylist. As an economist he made the dismal science a bit more dismal. You might enjoy this:

  22. “Cubans had a higher standard of living under Batista?”

    It seems there is hard evidence of this:

    “But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. ‘Between 1960 and 1976,’ Cuzan says, ‘Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.’”

    Source:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/last-communist-city-13649.html

  23. From the same article about its wonderful health care:

    “As for the free health care, patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital. Most of these items are available only on the illegal black market, moreover, and must be paid for in hard currency—and sometimes they’re not available at all. Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad—especially to Venezuela, in exchange for oil—that the island is now facing a personnel shortage. ‘I don’t want to say there are no doctors left,’ says an American man who married a Cuban woman and has been back dozens of times, ‘but the island is now almost empty. I saw a banner once, hanging from somebody’s balcony, that said, DO I NEED TO GO TO VENEZUELA FOR MY HEADACHE?'”

  24. “He regretted the return of prostitution to the streets of Havana”
    What a lie!
    ‘In a mark of just how close to the brink the Cuban economy really was, Castro even welcomed the large-scale return of prostitution, which he had called a “social illness” in the early days of the revolution. But in a 1992 speech to the National Assembly, he bragged that the army of freelance hookers who swarmed through Havana’s streets every night in search of tourists were the most cultured in the world. “There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist,” Castro said of the women, known as jineteras in local slang. “Those who do so do it on their own, voluntarily, and without any need for it. We can say that they are highly educated and quite healthy.”’
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html

  25. Nearly 1,900 words (i.e. three single-spaced typed pages, pica font), shot through with fiction. Nearly all in defense of a small and terminally ill-governed country (the most retrograde in Latin America), appended to which is a slander directed at a small and generally well-governed country.

    While we’re at it, J. Haggerty, the quality of life in Baltimore is deficient for two reasons: street crime and school disorder. The political class in Maryland could repair this problem, but they cannot be bothered, nor do they suffer electorally for chronic nonfeasance in this regard.

  26. To Art Deco:
    I am not ‘defending’ Castro. He was a dictator of a one-party state. Absolute power corrupts. So any despot must become very corrupt indeed. Castro’s latter remarks about prostitution can hardly be defended.
    Thirty years before, Garcia Marquez found Castro to be extremely astute in his judgments and very well informed in world affairs. Clearly he had deteriorated. So it was a case of an old man hanging on to power. The communist classes do this while the people suffer. Romania is another example of the extremes to which despots will go in their addiction to power.
    But I was attempting to look at the Cuban Revolution in an historic context. If the political class in Maryland can be guilty of ‘chronic nonfeasance’, then so too can national government be guilty of lies, injustice and intimidation.
    It is inevitable that American historians will now re-examine the involvement of the USA and American business in pre-Castro Cuba. I hope they will not be shouted down as traitors or as Castro sympathisers.
    Now this is not an ‘attack’ on the United States. I am having a conversation, I hope.
    To give one example.
    Mr McClarey mentioned the Palestinians and the partition. By 1947 the United States emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition. That is the context in which the United Nations recommended the partitioning of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.
    The United States persuaded the General Assembly of the UN to delay a vote in order to bring certain Latin American countries into line with its own views. Some delegates charged the USA with diplomatic intimidation – they feared American ‘reprisals’.
    The UN was established to uphold the rights of all peoples to self-determination. But in this case the UN denied the rights of the Palestinians, who formed two thirds of the country.
    Indeed large sections of Israel’s society were opposed or extremely unhappy with partition, including Ben-Gurion.
    As for the Arabs who fled in terror, they feared the repetition of the 1948 Zionist massacres.
    The winter of 1949 was the first winter of exile for more than 50,000 Palestinians. Many of these starving people were only miles away from their own vegetable gardens and orchards, to which they could not return.
    Some ten years before, David Ben-Gurion had said – ‘in our political argument abroad, we minimise Arab opposition to us’. He added, ‘politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves … The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.
    Now I have gone ‘off topic’ but I am only attempting to demonstrate that there is a wider context to every issue.

  27. haggerty started out saying “A benign dictator” and now says “a dictator of a one-party state. Absolute power corrupts. So any despot must become very corrupt indeed.”

    I think haggerty’s verbal self-gratification is just wasting our time to read his long posts.

  28. I am not ‘defending’ Castro.

    Let go of my leg.

    As for the Arabs who fled in terror, they feared the repetition of the 1948 Zionist massacres.

    The massacre at Deir Yassin claimed about 120 lives in a war that ran on for about 16 months and had a death toll of about 8,000 It was a sideshow, but for some the only interesting thing that happened in that part of the world during that interval.

    The winter of 1949 was the first winter of exile for more than 50,000 Palestinians.

    I have news for you: the population of refugees in Europe at that time was enumerated in eight digits. (And while we’re at it, Israel alone absorbed 700,000 Jewish immigrants and refugees in just 4 years). You’ve had a refugee problem in the Levant (and not re Silesia or Pomerania, or Cyprus) because a UN agency was erected which, with the co-operation of proximate Arab governments, made being a refugee a way of life. More than half the personal income to be had in Gaza consists of UNRWA doles.

    By 1947 the United States emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition. That is the context in which the United Nations recommended the partitioning of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.

    Mr. Truman, unlike Dean Rusk, was no fool. Ethnically distinct and antagonistic populations do not a viable state make.

    from their own vegetable gardens and orchards, to which they could not return.

    Their own? Allodial tenures were atypical at that time and place and Jewish landowners employed Arab agricultural labor.

    But in this case the UN denied the rights of the Palestinians, who formed two thirds of the country.

    There were no Palestinians at that time. The local Arabophone population had no such self-understanding, and the term ‘Palestine’ and its derivatives were at that time favored by the Jewish population, not the Arab population. The locals understood themselves as associated with particular villages, or particular lineages, or as Syrians, or as Arabs (itself a novel identity for aught but the Bedouin). And, of course, the local Arabs were not denied territorial self-government by the act of the United Nations or anyone but their own political leadership. What they did not want and were implored to accept was the presence of the Jews and Jews in a superordinate position vis a vis Arabs in those areas where they predominated. While we’re at it, there were three Arab states erected in the the Levant between 1919 and 1948. They had a total population of 5.4 million in 1946. The Arab population in mandatory Palestine was about 1.2 million.

    It’s a reasonable inference that the Ben-Gurion quotations are fabrications, likely floating around the internet for 20 years now.

  29. It is inevitable that American historians will now re-examine the involvement of the USA and American business in pre-Castro Cuba. I hope they will not be shouted down as traitors or as Castro sympathisers.

    Cuba as a political economy is nothing like the rest of Latin America as we speak. As for the period prior to 1959, the most notable thing about Cuba was that it was one of the more affluent territories in the region (behind the Southern Cone, not much else). Its political history as a sovereign country was briefer and somewhat less untidy than the Latin American norm, perhaps bearing closest resemblance to Panama in this respect.

    It’s is inevitable that our ruined arts and sciences faculties will produce indictments of American business and Theodore Roosevelt and John Foster Dulles in lieu of exploring why Latin American elite behavior (and rank-and-file reaction thereto) has been so unproductive for so long. It’s also inevitable that people will write inane flak-pieces while denying that’s what they’re doing.

  30. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.
    .
    Ergo, Castro became a good red. He spent his life fighting capitalism and he died on “Black Friday.” Karma?
    .
    Outside Cuba, North Korea, Das Kapital, SJWs’ feverish psyches, the post-modern, (morally and fiscally) bankrupt welfare state there is no unalienable, God-given human right of one person or group to take another person’s or group’s property. Government without justice is organized brigandage.
    .
    And, We Christians can simply ignore the tens of thousands of murders, tortures and imprisonments of Castro’s “enemies of the state” because Castro clothed and fed the poor; and we all are children of God; and BARF; . . .
    .

  31. Gentlemen, I don’t need to tell you that it is Advent. No more yak yak yak from me.
    I am off to meditate on American Catholic’s timely look at Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘the last of the fathers’ as Thomas Merton called him in a short book of that name.
    I wish you all a closer walk with Our Saviour.
    I leave you with someone else’s words.

    ‘I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.
    ‘I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.
    ‘I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States.
    ‘Now we shall have to pay for those sins.
    ‘In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.’

    President John F Kennedy 1963

  32. That quote is from left wing French journalist Jean Daniel. He is the only source for it. Here is a quote from a speech JFK made four days before his death:

    But just as we have friends abroad, we also have enemies. Communism is struggling to subvert and destroy the process of democratic development, to extend its rule to other nations of this hemisphere. If the Alliance is to succeed, we must continue to support measures to halt Communist infiltration and subversion, and to assist governments menaced from abroad. The American States must be ready to come to the aid of any government requesting aid to prevent a take-over linked to the policies of foreign communism rather than to an internal desire for change. My own country is prepared to do this. We in this hemisphere must also use every resource at our command to prevent the establishment of another Cuba in this hemisphere. For if there is one principle which has run through the long history of this hemisphere it is our common determination to prevent the rule of foreign systems or nations in the Americas.

    We have ultimately won this battle against every great power in the past. We will continue to wage it and win it. And as we gain momentum and strength, the appeal and force of communism will greatly diminish. This has already begun to happen. Castroism, which a few years ago commanded the allegiance of thousands in almost every country, today has far fewer followers scattered across the continent. Experience in China, the Soviet Union, and in Cuba itself has revealed that the promises of abundance under tyranny are false. We ourselves can prove that democratic progress is the surest answer to the promises of the totalitarians.

    These are the many fronts of the Alliance for Progress. The conduct of those fronts, the steady conquest of the surely yielding enemies of misery and hopelessness, hunger, and injustice is the central task for the Americas in our time. But no sense of confidence, of optimism in the future of the hemisphere as a whole, can conceal our feelings at the self-inflicted exile of Cuba from the society of American Republics. The genuine Cuban revolution, because it was against the tyranny and corruption of the past, had the support of many whose aims and concepts were democratic. But that hope for freedom and progress was destroyed. The goals proclaimed in the Sierra Maestra were betrayed in Havana.

    It is important to restate what now divides Cuba from my country and from the other countries of this hemisphere. It is the fact that a small band of conspirators has stripped the Cuban people of their freedom and handed over the independence and sovereignty of the Cuban nation to forces beyond the hemisphere. They have made Cuba a victim of foreign imperialism, an instrument of the policy of others, a weapon in an effort dictated by external powers to subvert the other American Republics. This, and this alone, divides us. As long as this is true, nothing is possible. Without it, everything is possible. Once this barrier is removed, we will be ready and anxious to work with the Cuban people in pursuit of those progressive goals which a few short years ago stirred their hopes and the sympathy of many people throughout the hemisphere.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9529

  33. ‘I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

    If it helps you feel better, fine. As a comparative assessment in a troubled world, it’s utter nonsense.

  34. “Ergo, Castro became a good red. He spent his life fighting capitalism and he died on ‘Black Friday.’ Karma?”

    Just the type of humor that keeps me reading TAC! ?

  35. I don’t remember where I first saw this information but just found it on World Net Daily re: Mary appearing to St. Anthony Mary Claret and predicting Castro.

    http://www.wnd.com/2006/08/37357/
    “Did 19th-century priest
    predict Castro’s death?
    Archbishop’s 1850’s vision of Cuba’s patron saint –
    told of bearded leader’s demise in 40th year of rule”

    I was born on a US military base at the end of Sept. 1962. My father was in the army after college ROTC. They were sent to Florida during the Crisis. He thought we were all going to get nuked. I know JFK is the reason older Cubans vote Republican but frankly I’m glad nobody used the bomb or started a war – the Cold War was enough.

  36. Chavez died not long ago, next it was Castro. Like Hollywood actors, these things often happen in threes.

    Like Bill Goldberg used to say in World Championship Wrestling, after he had powerslammed the latest jobber into the canvas covered plywood….”Who’s next!”

    Oh, and Justin Trudeau is a complete idiot. Canada, or more precisely Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver and Quebec, enjoy your Barack Hussein Obama. Prepare to see more Canadian hockey teams – and businesses – move to the United States.

  37. Dear Mr McClarey,
    Thank you for providing us with this speech from President Kennedy. It is indeed crucial to our understanding of what happened in Cuba. I for one will read and ponder it. This speech deserves to go viral in the wake of Castro’s death. How moving to think it was made just four days before the President’s death. I recall our school in Scotland praying for the President in the last hour of his life.
    I have just read your recent essay on American Catholic, ‘Christ and History’. It is first rate. I look forward to reading any book that you write on the forces at large that are reshaping our world and which are also out to attack and rewrite Christianity. I am rereading Hilaire Belloc’s brilliant study of Cardinal Richelieu. We need another Belloc now.
    J Haggerty

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