Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gloria La Riva — Fidel at 90: a Revolutionary Life

This August 13, Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution and international inspiration for people struggling for a better world, turned 90. His age alone is a remarkable achievement, considering more than 630 documented assassination attempts on his life by the CIA and other nefarious agencies.
Despite the enormous historical impact that Fidel Castro has had in Cuba and Latin America for more than 55 years, it is astounding that his voice has never been heard nor his words widely known by the people of the United States.
But Fidel’s legendary life of revolution is certainly noted elsewhere. All this year in Cuba, and around the world as his birthday approaches, there are countless activities to celebrate his life.
It is a shame that Fidel Castro’s life and his audacity in defeating a bloody dictatorship to then build socialism, is hardly known by the American people. They would find a man of enormous courage and humanity who delivered his country from a neo-colonial status to a sovereign country with a major imprint on the world stage.
They would learn that Fidel Castro has expressed admiration for the American people, despite U.S. government policy that has tried to overthrow the revolution and done so much harm.
Disclosure: Counterpunch is on the The List at PropOrNot. Be forewarned lest you become a "useful idiot."

Counterpunch
Fidel at 90: a Revolutionary Life
Gloria La Riva

47 comments:

Malmo's Ghost said...

So one of your heroes died, Tom. I get it. And I'm amused at the anecdotes that those he ruled loved him too. Of course those he ruled would say little in objection to or about their brutal dictator, especially with a gun trained on their collective heads.

I swear, I never thought I'd agree with anything that fella, Ted Kaczynski said, but he's damn near right on the mark that liberalism (including it's branch called communism) is a mental disorder.

Tom Hickey said...

"Liberal" American, the "beacon of freedom and democracy," committed genocide against the indigenous population to obtain free land, and enslaved Africans as the "capital" to cultivate it. The country was built on sea of blood and it goes on from there.

See Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, for example.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Every land has been conquered by someone over time. That's a shitty argument to make it an American phenomena.

Forget all your nonsensical comparisons in trying to absolve him of guilt. The subject here is Castro. He was evil. There are others who were evil too.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, I don't think that "liberalism," "communism," etc. are the issue. Probably more people have been persecuted in the name of religion.

Human are motivated in large measure by animal tendencies, territory, dominance, etc, and they justify what they do in pursuit of theses based on lofty ideology.

Of course, that is not the whole story in that humanity stands "between beasts and angels," and sometime rises to "the better angels of our nature" (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugurall).

History is a dialect between beast and angel, with beast prevailing at time and angel at other times. But mostly it is a combination of both impulses in a complex disposition.

Since humans are social animals they act in groups and groups have leaders usually led by alphas. Alphas are into dominance and doing what it takes to maintain it while extending territory of influence. "Nice guys finish last."

Tom Hickey said...

He was evil. There are others who were evil too.

Good v. evil is a black and white way to look at the world. It obscures more than it reveals since it is based on perspective, which is normative,, for one thing, and there are also many cognitive-affective biases involved.

Good v. evil is a typically US way of looking at the world. US, good. Those who agree with the US, good. USA, USA! Those who oppose US, bad. Those who agree with those who oppose US, bad. "You are either with us or against us."

If others do it, bad, but If the UW does it, good.

Matt Franko said...

Not a bad month so far....

Six said...

I don't see communism as liberalism; communism is a form of totalitarianism. It has nothing to do with "liberalism" (unless you've been programmed to believe liberalism=communism by Fox News or an obese drug addict on the radio or some other right wing moron).

Malmo's Ghost said...

Liberals are significantly fonder of communists than they are of conservatives or anyone on the right. Jesus, just watch the love fest on the MSM for Castro right now, which reinforces what we already know about virtually all elitist liberals in academia, media and pop culture.And these fools think Trump is evil personified. To elitist liberals far and wide, they all live by the dictum, pas d’ennemis a gauche

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

Stop moving the target. Castro was a despicable, murderous thug. Whatever anyone else has done that is despicable doesn't change that fact.

Tom Hickey said...

I don't see communism as liberalism; communism is a form of totalitarianism

Communism is a political theory. It is a subset of socialism. The early followers of Jesus were reported "communists," that is, they held all things in common. And as Pope Francis recently observed, Christianity and communistic share a concern for the poor that capitalism does not.

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. — Acts 4:32 (NSRV)

Totalitarianism is a political system of governing. They are different and not intrinsically connected. They became connected through the accession to power of revolutionary leaders that were opposed by the full force and power of the developed "Free World" as an alliance of imperialistic, colonial plutonomies. The most secure response was authoritarian leadership. This was a self-reinforcing dialectic that is still ongoing.


Totalitarianism Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.Wikipedia

One does not imply the other, and in Marx's developed communism, there is no state.

Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Hickey said...

Stop moving the target. Castro was a despicable, murderous thug. Whatever anyone else has done that is despicable doesn't change that fact.

In the view of some. In the view of others he was a saint. Somewhere along that range is more probably correct. What is the criterion for determining where exactly?

Life is series of tradeoffs and YMMV depending on where you stand.

My eyes were opened when I entered college, which happened to be Georgetown in Washington, DC. As part of freshman orientation, several visits to the halls of government and tours of the national monuments were scheduled. One of these was to Mount Vernon, George Washington's palatial estate. Part of the tour included a visit to the wretched slave quarters. Seeing that contrast changed my life and disabused me forever of idealism about America and its founders.

Where does evil end and good begin?

Malmo's Ghost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malmo's Ghost said...

"Where does evil end and good begin?"

Honestly, Tom, if you struggle with this question in regards to Castro then I'm afraid you've lost your marbles. He was one of the most monstrous tyrants of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He murdered tens of thousands. Christ, you don't need to cite other world wide atrocities and the murderers who fomented them as SOP to give Castro a pass. That in no way makes his vile deeds acceptable.

Idealism my ass. Has nothing to do with loathing a mass murderer like Castro. That's a cop out. You need deprogramming. Seriously.

Malmo's Ghost said...



"In the view of some (Castro a tyrant). In the view of others he was a saint. Somewhere along that range is more probably correct. What is the criterion for determining where exactly?"

What you say above would be like CNN on Pearl Harbor saying this: “To some a stirring fireworks show, to others a sneak attack...”

My criteria? I utterly despise authoritarianism. In the modern pantheon of authoritarian dictators, few are at the level of Castro. I also don't care for dictators that will imprison me or murdered me for not going along with their tyrannical program.

Kaivey said...

The US murdered tens of thousands in Laos and Cambodia, probably more. Castro never started war after war since WW2 murdering millions of people worldwide.

Kaivey said...

The US is authoritarian, it has nothing to do with freedom. The US had topled democracy after democracy to keep it's fascist friends in power.

Tom Hickey said...

Honestly, Tom, if you struggle with this question in regards to Castro then I'm afraid you've lost your marbles. He was one of the most monstrous tyrants of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He murdered tens of thousands. Christ, you don't need to cite other world wide atrocities and the murderers who fomented them as SOP to give Castro a pass. That in no way makes his vile deeds acceptable.


What is the source of your information?

Malmo's Ghost said...

My source? There are many but this is one I've had on my shelf for a decade:


https://www.amazon.com/Black-Book-Communism-Crimes-Repression/dp/0674076087

Kaivey said...

US-sponsored Murderous Dictatorships: A List

The greatest crime ever perpetrated in the name of America is the US government's long-established practice of installing and supporting so many murderous dictatorships, primarily after the end of colonialism and during the Cold War with the all-justifying excuse of anti-communism.
How many murderous dictatorships has the US installed or supported?

Let's count.


Country Dictator Dates Statistics

Chile Gen. Augusto Pinochet 1973-1990 3000 murdered. 400,000 tortured.
Argentina Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla 1976-1981 30,000 murdered. more
Indonesia Suharto 1965 coup against left-leaning Sukarno,
1975 support of East Timor genocide
500,000 dead after 1965 coup; 100,000-230,000 dead in East Timor; more, more, more.
Guatemala Armas, Fuentes, Montt 1954-
Iran The Shah of Iran
Ayatollah Khomeini was on the CIA payroll in the 1970s in Paris
Egypt Sadat, Mubarak 1978-today
Iraq Saddam Hussein
Nicaragua Anastasio Somoza & sons 1937-1979
Paraguay Stroessner. US supported throughout (state.gov says US has supported Paraguayan development since 1942) ($142M between 1962 and 1975) 1954-1989
Bolivia Col. Hugo Banzer overthrew elected leftist president Juan Jose Torres 1970-
Angola Jonas Savimbi/UNITA (didn't actually win his revolution, but killed or displaced millions) 1975-1989
Zaire Mobutu
Saudi Arabia Saud family
Kuwait a monarchy
Morocco
Tunisia
Algeria
Jordan
Panama Noriega was US-supported for years
Haiti Papa Doc, Baby Doc
Dominican Republic Trujillo, a military dictator for 32 years with US support for most of that time; Belaguer, Trujillo's protege, installed after US Marines intervened to put down an attempt to restore the democratically elected government of Juan Bosch 1930-61, 1965-78
Honduras
El Salvador 1980s
Nepal monarchy since 1948
Cuba Fulgencio Batista pre-Castro
Brazil Gen. Branco overthrew elected president Goulart with US support 1965-67
Uzbekistan Kamirov "The Boiler", $150M from the Bush administration for an air base. 1965-67


There are some gaps of information there.

Tom Hickey said...

Here is the story from Little Cuba

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html

Tom Hickey said...

Here is a story of a failed assassination plot..



https://www.rt.com/news/368298-castro-assassination-attempts-cia/

Tom Hickey said...

One of Castro’s many lovers – CIA informant Marita Lorenz, was also tasked with poisoning Castro in a daring operation involving a secret unit tasked with the assassination – Operation 40. According to the FBI, Lorenz had become a “contract agent” for the CIA, and willingly accepted the task of assassinating him following a miscarriage or an abortion – a story she told in 1959. Castro’s reaction to her not having the child had reportedly enraged her so much, she had eagerly taken up the task. And so she met with CIA double agent Frank Sturgis in 1960, who had handed her a bottle of poison pills.

Lorenz was to drop one into her lover’s drink, containing enough poison to kill him within 30 seconds. But as with the countless other attempts, it did not succeed because Lorenz herself could not go through with it. The mission was wrought with pitfalls. According to Ann Louise Bardoch’s ‘Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana,’ Lorenz recalled that “They said, ‘we want you to take him out.’” But, “I knew the minute I saw the outline of Havana I couldn’t do it.”

Even then, she had made the mistake of stashing the pills in her pot of cold cream, in fear of being discovered by customs. The substance had stuck to the pills, and Lorenz couldn’t unmix the two. As she attempted to flush the pills down the toilet, Castro –who had got wind of the plot – walked in with a cigar. He removed his handgun from the holster, and handed it to Lorenz with the words: “Did you come to kill me?” According to Lorenz, he handed her the gun and puffed on his cigar with his eyes closed.

“He made himself vulnerable because he knew I couldn't do it. He still loved me and I still loved him.”

She feared the CIA would kill her for being with Castro after the foiled assassination attempt. Upon her return to Miami, Lorenz never again met with Castro. Later, however, she had a daughter with another Latin American military leader, Venezuela’s Marcos Perez Jimenez.

Malmo's Ghost said...

The silly arguments defending the murderous tyrant, Castro, are akin to defending Richard Speck because he murdered thirty less people than John Gacy. Simply insane.

Thank god Trump won. There's real danger in the air from violence loving, leftist radicals far and wide.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Too bad the CIA operation failed.

Tom Hickey said...

I have no issue with Pearl being a sneak attack. The US started war with Japan with an embargo. No declaration was needed. The US got caught with its pants down, to the degree that a conspiracy theory formed around it that FDR let the Japanese bomb pearl to enrage then isolationist America.

Similar to the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI. The German claimed it was secretly carrying munitions, which the Brits denied only to reveal recently that the Germans were right.

I can't get my underwear in a knot over right-wrong and good-evil in a world in which humans are very intelligent animals but animals nevertheless, even though they attempt to conceal this from themselves with "manners." They only carry out their animal functions in private other than eating and eating is highly refined. German has two terms for "eat." Essen for humans, and fressen for animals. To apply "fressen" to a human is highly derogatory.

Alphas run the world and they do bad stuff and stupid stuff. That's just the way it is. Anyone that gets out of line soon finds that out, unless a member of the privileged classes to whom the rules don't apply as they do to others.

Being shocked about this is just naïve.

It would be nice to get a leash on them but so far it has very seldom happened and almost never when push comes to shove. It's takes a revolution, and then in due course the cycle starts again.

Tom Hickey said...

For a contrasting view:

Review — Black Book of Communism

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol7/no4/flewers.html

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

This isn't an America fuck ups in history vs Castro mass murderer contest. I get it that there are degrees of guilt and culpability in the human rights theater. That doesn't exonerate Fidel Castro's murderous purge and attendant guilt, especially if you think murder and tyranny are detrimental to ones existence as I do..

If you claim there is no good or evil, right or wrong (in any form) then it's pointless arguing with you.

Malmo's Ghost said...

For a contrasting view:

Review — Black Book of Communism


Of course, commies don't accept the book and its conclusions. Duh. Still, it's an academic Establishment publisher which put it out, which gives it some imprimatur, like it or not.

Tom Hickey said...

Castro's major problem, like all leaders, was economic incompetence. If he had been able to achieve distributed prosperity there would have been few issues other than the recalcitrants trying to recover what they had lost. But it was not only incompetence. The economic embargo would have made it difficult even for a genius.

Malmo's Ghost said...

"The economic embargo would have made it difficult even for a genius."

I'll grant you that. Still, Eisenhower should have stormed Cuba and spared them of 60 odd years of authoritarianism. Would have been much better than the ideological tyrannical rule of the lightweight thug, Castro.

Tom Hickey said...

It's a matter of perspective. My views were shaped by a variety of experiences, and the Vietnam War was a huge influence. And I have many more reasons than that.

Two of the issues are scope and scale. In this, America looms large because it is large.

In this, I don't think that many leaders are "evil." They are alphas doing what unrestrained alphas do, along with the privileged classes associated with them. The challenge is to get a leash on them for the good of everyone concerned.

While Americans are quick to criticize, I don't see many American reflecting on the havoc that America has wrought, let alone criticize or condemn it. Silence is consent and the karma falls on everyone involved. One thing leads to another.

Tom Hickey said...

I'll grant you that. Still, Eisenhower should have stormed Cuba and spared them of 60 odd years of authoritarianism. Would have been much better than the ideological tyrannical rule of the lightweight thug, Castro.

And kept Batista and the US mafia in power. Now those folks really did murder people.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

You're equating "America" with Castro. America isn't one person. America has a long, sometimes sordid history, but there is a relief valve built in. Castro is an authoritarian dictator with absolutely no checks and balances on his behavior. Apples to oranges.

Malmo's Ghost said...

'And kept Batista and the US mafia in power (Eisenhower admin). Now those folks really did murder people."

Come on, Tom. Castro "really" murdered too. Please.

Malmo's Ghost said...

I agree with Frank Luntz for once. He hated Trump, btw. He said, "If you praise Fidel Castro, don't expect anyone to take your criticism of Donald Trump seriously."

Tom Hickey said...

I can talk about specific Americans that are regarded as national heroes like Castro is in in Cuba and much of the underdeveloped world that has had to deal with imperialism and colonialism. There are a lot of Americans on the list.

Virtually all of them, including Castro, Stalin, Hitler, etc, were acting in the best of intentions and doing what it takes as leaders.

But there have also been some psychopaths and sociopaths that enjoyed tormenting their victims.

Takes Luntz seriously as anything but a pollster? He is a partisan hack the rest of the time.

Tom Hickey said...

Come on, Tom. Castro "really" murdered too. Please.

Did Harry Truman "murder" tens of thousands of civilians in ordering the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were of little strategic value. Yes, there were some troop and industrial installations there but that doesn't justify wiping out entire civilian populations. These are still unacknowledged war crimes. Notice that the US is accusing Syria and Russian of war crimes for hitting civilians in Aleppo with dumb bombs and even suggesting that this is intentional targeting of civilians. Well, you can't have it both ways.

And the US plan included two more cities but Japan surrendered first.

Joe said...

Tom, ever pondered what would have happened had fidel been a small d democrat? Would cuba ever have stood a chance against US imperialism and exploitation? Considering that the US conducted decades of terrorism and embargos against Cuba, I'm not sure a democracy could have survived.

Tom Hickey said...

I agree with Frank Luntz for once. He hated Trump, btw. He said, "If you praise Fidel Castro, don't expect anyone to take your criticism of Donald Trump seriously."

Of course, Trump has already promoted using torture again.

Yes, I know that tCuba used torture but again nothing like the scope and scale of the US not only internationally and domestically. It has been a longstanding practice and it is ongoing.

Joe said...

Take a balance, put all the bad things castro did on one side and all the good on the other, which side wins? I don't know. He aided the anc against apartheid south Africa (or Malco do you still consider Mandela nothing but an evil terrorist?), and has trained and sent doctors all over the 3rd world. Cubans have a longer lifespan, higher literacy rates, and lower infant mortality than the us, and have access to better health care and education than even many poor Americans do (and much better than many of the US imperial victims have access to). Definitely a mixed legacy. Good and evil can exist side by side in the same person. I have some respect for Castro if for no other reason than he stood up against US imperialism and survived. Few have ever accomplished that. Although the price was high....

Tom Hickey said...

Tom, ever pondered what would have happened had fidel been a small d democrat? Would cuba ever have stood a chance against US imperialism and exploitation? Considering that the US conducted decades of terrorism and embargos against Cuba, I'm not sure a democracy could have survived.

Well, we will never know but I doubt it. Democracies are subject to hijacking and the former rulers had plenty of bucks for bribes. Batista reported left with 300 million USD.

Look what happened to Russia after the USSR fell. The Russian mafia and oligarchs took over.

The idea that democracy can be exported successfully is daft. Cuba was a "democracy" before Castro and it was ruled by the elite that owned the place. They fought with each other for control and Batista came out on top. If the US had gotten rid of Castro it would likely have been more of the same, and if Castro had been stupid enough to try that is likely what would have happened too. And their progeny as just waiting to get back to Cuba, reclaim their property, and start the cycle again. this US is, of course, down with that.

lastgreek said...


Yes, I know that tCuba used torture but again nothing like the scope and scale of the US not only internationally and domestically. It has been a longstanding practice and it is ongoing.

Benjamin Kunkel ‏@kunktation
Castro's terrible political crimes were minuscule compared to the US & its hemispheric allies during the Cold War. (https://newleftreview.org/II/83/perry-anderson-imperium …)

The greatest crime ever perpetrated in the name of America is the US government's long-established practice of installing and supporting so many murderous dictatorships ...

Let's count...

Chile Gen. Augusto Pinochet 1973-1990 3000 murdered. 400,000 tortured...

There are some gaps of information there.


Yes, Greece -- the US sponsored Greek military junta of 1967 - 1974 ... and it was the best damn government since Pericles! so said some American two-star general at the time (while probably munching his fat cigar).







Tom Hickey said...

The Beaverton
Covert CIA plot to wait until Fidel Castro dies of old age successful
Ned Petrie

lastgreek said...

Given enough time ... ;)

Ignacio said...

One bastard less is one bastard less. Does that mean that Cuba would have been better without him?

We will never know, there is no lack of rightists banana republics which ended up being worse than Cuba in Central America and the Caribbean.

One thing does not deny the other.

Ryan Harris said...

The anti-communists post pictures of Castro executing his adversaries. But they forget that the US has bases that send out hundreds of drones each day to summarily execute political adversaries of the United States, and personal enemies of Barrack Obama. The US does that TODAY, not in the middle of revolutionary war.