Fidel Castro meets with cheesemakers

Fidel Castro visited the Food Industry Research Institute
Fidel Castro visited the Food Industry Research Institute

HAVANA TIMES — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro returned to public activity in Havana on Friday after several months, according to images released Saturday by the official newspaper “Granma”.

Castro, 88, visited the Food Industry Research Institute in the neighborhood of Guatao in the Havana district of La Lisa, the newspaper reported.

The former president “had an extensive exchange of more than four hours with 19 cheese masters” during his visit, said “Granma”. Castro showed interest in the problems facing the food industry on the island, said the newspaper.

In Cuba, for decades cheese has been a luxury item in short supply with most of the production going to the tourism industry. Milk production has also been far from sufficient to meet demand.

The last time Fidel was photographed in public was when he visited a school back in April. In May he received visiting French President Francois Hollande at his home in Havana.

Castro withdrew from power in 2006 with a serious illness after ruling the island for almost 50 years and is rarely seen in public. However he often receives high level foreign guests at his home in western Havana.

28 thoughts on “Fidel Castro meets with cheesemakers

  • Amen and The Cuban Revolution will continue to live on!!!!!!

  • yet the Cubans know more about the USA that Americans do… Go figure!!!!!

  • The execution of the Batistiano torturers was popularly supported and one can argue, legally and morally justified, but that does not mean that the executions were not part of widespread violent repression. Not all the people who were executed were torturers or murderers, either. One of the reasons the executions were broadcasted on TV was to act as a warning to others not to oppose the Revolution, making the executions instrumental in the violent repression.

    Same too, for the arrests following the Bay of Pigs. Yes, there were counter-revolutionary cells, some (but not all) supported by the CIA. Again, those details do not negate the fact that the mass arrests were part of the widespread violent repression.

    My description of the Escambray revolt is accurate. I’ve read Victor Dreck’s history of that fight, as well as Enrique Encionosa’s book, “Escambray, the Forgotten War”. While the two authors differ greatly in their political positions, they agree on many historical details of what happened.

    Certainly, we can include the revolutions of France, Mexico & Haiti, or even the ongoing bloody revolution underway in Syria today. I agree that the Cuban Revolution was much less violent than most other similar historical events. But I dispute the assertion that there was no “widespread violent repression” at all.

    As for who should face justice for sedition and terrorism, the Castro brothers belong in front of the line for those crimes. They rode to power on promises of free & democratic elections and were supported by the people. But once in power, they reneged on those oft repeated promises and installed a violently repressive dictatorship which has cursed the Cuban nation to this day.

  • My words were those of Lilian Guerra’s. You are free to read the extensively footnoted book which cover carries praise from none other than HT. Are you aware that there were riots and violent protests from the public when SIM agents and police recieved lienient sentences from the Tribunals ? There was tremendous public pressure for justice for murderers and torturers of the US backed dictatorship. And Cuba was completely open about what it was doing. It provided footage of executions to NBC. is Your comments about the Alzados is completely false. The round-ups during Giron are accurate. You neglect to mention there were dozens or hundreds of armed clandestine cells, directed and supplied by the US to assassinate key leaders, sabotage and create chaos as part of the coordinated plans for invasion. Are you suggesting they should have been given probation and a fine for their sedition and terrorism ? Lastly, why do you limit you comments to the violence of only Socialist revolutions ? You dispute the historian’s inclusion of France, Mexico and Haiti ?

  • Please define “widespread violent repression”.

    True, the Cuban Revolution did not inflict the kind of violent repression which characterized the Russian Revolution or Mao’s China.

    However, there were many executions carried out in the first few months after Castro seized power. Crowds listening to Fidel’s speeches in Revolution Square and shouting “Paradon!” were broadcasted on Cuban TV. The number of executions is a matter of historical debate:

    Latin American historian Thomas E. Skidmore says there had been 550 executions in the first six months of 1959.[20] British historian Hugh Thomas, in his study Cuba or the pursuit of freedom[21] stated that “perhaps” 5,000 executions had taken place by 1970,[20] while The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators ascertained that there had been 2,113 political executions between the years of 1958–67.[20]

    Professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, Rudolph J. Rummel estimated the number of political executions at between 4,000 and 33,000 from 1958–87, with a mid range of 15,000.[22]

    During the Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel took the opportunity to round up over 100,000 people suspected of political opposition. Most were released, but tens of thousands were jailed for years.

    The rebels who took to the Escambray mountains to fight against Castro and his growing tyranny certainly faced violent repression. The Cuban army sent 250,000 troops to fight the rebels. They took no prisoners and executed any who surrendered.

    So while you can make the very small point that in total numbers, the Cuban Revolution did not murder quite as many people as the other Communist revolutions around the world did, there still was widespread, violent repression in Cuba.

    Freedom House classifies Cuba as being “Not Free” and notes that “Cuba is the only country in the Americas that consistently makes Freedom House’s list of the Worst of the Worst: the World’s Most Repressive Societies for widespread abuses of political rights and civil liberties.”

    And by the evidence of the beating Antonio Rodiles received a few days ago, the widespread violent repression still goes on today.

  • You know that Batista, along with his cohorts, fled to Santo Domingo and then to Portugal! You of course know this but perhaps not all the readers do. Why do you then say he went to America; disinformation?

    It’s your kind of thinking I thought had disappeared. But I see that your dangerous thinking is still around, the same type of thinking that led to the UMAP forced labor camps.

    Because of those, and other repressive policies, hundreds of thousands fled Cuban communism for freedom. Those “traitors” are the same ones who now, ironically, indirectly support the Castro regime with hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances very year. Where would you be without that money?

    Must be embarrassing for you huh?

  • How dare you!! Who the f*ck are you to decide who should be celebrated and who should be ostracized. In many, if not most cases, true Cuban patriots were forced to leave Cuba simply because they disagreed with the Castros. True democracy demands disagreement. For 56 years the Castros have done everything in their power to suppress dissent and maintain control over the Cuban people. The only love the Castros have shown is self-love. True love for the Cuban people would have allowed Cubans to speak freely. True love would not have restricted Cubans from traveling or imprisoned homosexuals. Cuban exiles did not abandon the revolution. The revolution abandoned them.

  • The TRD shops and El Rapido sell Gouda cheese from Holland at CUC8.50 per kg and sometimes Cuban cheese at CUC4.50. Two years ago they introduced blue Cuban cheese, but the Cubans not being accustomed to it – or to the price – didn’t go for it.
    No doubt there would have been regular supplies of cheese and butter if Fidel Castro’s promise to build 150 dairy farms in Sancti Spiritus during 1959 had come to fruition, but that as usual was a pipe dream.
    For a few years butter from Germany was sometimes available but that seems to have ended and most of the time no butter is available.

  • Probably in America? The late Head of the Asian Language Department of the University of Toronto said on one occasion that “a degree in sociology is a degree in wishful thinking.” So I suppose that your close minded Americans similarly qualify.

  • Moses, those who fled Cuba are the traitors of the Revolution. Batista who was a dictator fled to America where he was kissed, hugged and welcomed by the exploiters of the Cuban People. The brave, courageous, people who wanted to build the Revolution, who wanted to introduce a new system where all persons are considered equal, where all persons work in the interest of all persons, they stayed behind and defended the Revolution, for Revolutions are and can only be built by dedicated,patient,committed,loyal, sincere and honest people. They who ran away were not prepared to build, were not prepared to wait, possessed no strength of character. They possessed no faith in the Revolution, its people and its leaders. Like some soldiers, they deserted. But the REVOLUTION has been built and its fortifications are strong for its builders built it with materials of courage, belief,determination and LOVE..

  • Carlyle, what planet are you living on, not the same planet as I. The Castro brothers are heroes of the world’s working class. What have you done that is commendable, for the poor, downtrodden, wretched of the earth, tell me, show me, point out to me? You seem to begrudge the advancements made by the Cuban people under the Castro’s? Why are you not condemning Pinochet in Chile? Why are you not Condemning the Papa Docs of Haiti? Why are you not criticizing the disappearances which took place under the military dictatorships in Latin America? Why are you not criticizing the fact that Luis Posado who bombed a Cubana Airline in 1976, Killing all of its passengers off the coast of Barbados, is still today, walking the streets of Miami a free man in a country which has the audacity to label other countries as sponsors of state terrorism? Could you imagine that Comrade Carlyle? Where are you getting your facts from concerning the elimination of Cubans by the Castro brothers and Che? Point me to your source of information and let me read it for myself. Why is America so brutally intent on destroying the Cuban Revolution in the name of Human ritghts but turns a blind eye to the atrocities heaped upon the Palestine people by Israel which is an extension of the United States? In the Middle Eastern countries, the people there are oppressed. They cannot vote but America hears nothing, and sees nothing. What a hypocritical world we live in eh Comrade Carlyle? Dont you think that you are just as crooked as the crooked the world for not condemning these atrocities?

  • Sorry.I apologize. Read the introduction to the book. The archives issue is addressed, however, that is far from the only sources available.

  • The Castros did not bother to repress their political opponents, they shot them!
    In the case of the currently much admired Raul Castro Ruz, under his supervision 78 were executed in one day at Santiago de Cuba without trial. Later when questioned about his action, Raul Castro Ruz responded that those executed had nothing to complain about as they had the services of a priest.
    Che Guevara was responsible for the execution of some 356 at the fort in Havana. No need for repression -GET IT!
    Before you respond, don’t incorrectly call me a tourist!

    “How can you educate people, teach them to think and then turn around and suppress them?’
    The answer is by forming a despotic family regime supported by the Communist Party and exerting total power and control over the people (suppress them).
    The system is called “Socialismo”.

  • Government archives!!! How likely do you think it is that a Cuban-American researcher has access to government files to that would cast a negative light on the Castros. Frankly, how likely do think such files even exist in Cuba? Stop making this about me. I choose not to attack your comments by attacking you personally. I can disagree with you without being disrespectful. You should do the same.

  • There you have it. Pick your history folks – Yale educated, Cuban-American, widely acclaimed, historian who spent years researching government archives and interviewing individuals, or Moses, “Last Word” Platterson, Liberation Tourist and his McHistory.

  • Tens of thousands of Cubans living in Miami and elsewhere in the diaspora who are either direct living victims or their children are flesh and bone witnesses to Fidel’s tortures and murders. I don’t need a library card or an Amazon account to talk to real people who share my opinion.

  • Speaking of books, it’s time you read some if you want to keep any shred of credibilty. I suggest you start with Lillian Guerra’s book, Visions of Power in Cuba. She is not a supporter of the Revolution. She was even interviewed on Radio Marti. Unlike you, she knows Cuba’s history. She states throughout the book that unlike the Haitian, French, Russian, Mexican and Chinese revolutions, there was in Cuba, post 1959 NO widespread, violent repression of political opponents. Got it? She calls it the Cuban exceptionality. She does not credit Fidel w/ it, but that’s beside the point. The point is that you either don’t know what you are talking about, or are lying about the historical record. She also acknowledges something else that you like to deny, that Cuba had no need to invent anything when it came to the US abandoning its liberal democracy morality in favor of violence and aggression in order to pursue its pure business and political interests. You and the other Liberation Tourists who spout off here regularly about murderous tyrants, ect. owe to yourselves to see how silly your comments are to those who have taken the time to be informed.

  • Your list of Cuban goodies are debatable but for the sake of discussion, let’s agree that Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate and biotechnological advances. I have NEVER criticized Cuba for the good they do in the world. I take issue with the arrests and beatings of peaceful protesters. I’m critical of the absence of press freedoms and criminalizing free speech. This post was a puff piece for Fidel Castro set against the backdrop of a cheese factory. My comment that Cuban cheese sucks is relevant to the topic. Sarah Stephens is a regime sycophant and not on topic to this post. There is NOTHING in my comment that reflects a pro-Batista position. You are creating a false dichotomy that does not exist. By the way, I am nowhere near the end of a long list of anti-dictator, anti-totalitarian criticisms.

  • Moses, I have been to Cuba and I am aware that your propaganda is meant to sit well with the choir, not with those who are a bit more concerned with how the U. S. Cuban policy, dictated by a self-serving few, drastically harms the image of the U. S. worldwide, especially throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Peter Kornbluh, in a recent international article, pointed out that it makes the U. S. look like a “Banana Republic.” Peter is respected as perhaps America’s best Cuban expert and he directs the Washington-based U. S. National Security Archives. Sarah Stephens, the highly respected founder and leader of the Washington-based Center for Democracy in the Americas, is even more emphatic in denouncing “self-serving and revengeful” Cuban-Americans and their “easily acquired sycophants” dictating a Cuban policy that the rest of the world, even “Cuban-Americans in Miami,” oppose. Cristina Escobar, the 26-year-old with Hollywood looks, stunned Washington when she covered the last Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic session. She garnered the headlines with a series of pertinent questions at a crowded news conference conducted by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. Then she spoke at four scheduled events in D. C., each time making the point — in both fluent English and Spanish — that, “The lies the U. S. media tells about Cuba hurts everyday Cubans the most.” In addition to the “media,” she could also have mentioned “full-time pundits.” Last week Margaret Chen, head of the World Health Organization, lavishly praised Cuba again for its “world-class health and education programs,” specifically stating this time that Cuba “is now the first nation in the world to totally cure the transmission of HIV from mother to child.” Chen earlier praised Cuba for having a lower infant mortality rate than the U. S., and she congratulated the U. S. for agreeing to market “some of Cuba’s remarkable medical discoveries, especially the cancer vaccine coveted by the Cancer Clinic in Buffalo.” I mention Kornbluh, Stephens, Escobar, and Chen — all recently outspoken about Cuba — not as pro-Cuban rhetoric but as a reminder that propagandists like you actually do a lot more harm to the U. S. democracy than to Cuba, which still seems to be a sovereign country. My passion for Cuba is strictly related to my passion for the U. S. democracy, and I agree with Kornbluh, etc., that a Cuban policy dictated by a handful of anti-Castro/pro-Batista zealots makes the U. S. appear to be a Banana Republic. Continuing to vilify the soon-to-be 89-year-old Castro to justify the Batista-Mafia dictatorship and to demean the opinions of Kornbluh, Escobar, Chen, Stephens, Wayne S. Smith, etc., etc., may go over well with the choir but not with the rest of the world, as the yearly vote in the UN attests and even recent polls in Miami’s Little Havana attest. Your inferences that Batista, Lansky, Luciano, Trafficante Jr., Masferrer, Posada, etc., etc., all treated Cubans on the island with sweet compassion does not exactly compute with history. One of your definitive sentences in the above tirade was: “First of all, Cuban ‘cheese’ sucks.” Your way of ridiculing Fidel Castro’s surprisingly robust appearance at the cheese forum on July 3rd? Your “melted condoms” quote is also hilarious. Are you running out of anti-Castro diatribes, Moses?

  • Your idolizing Fidel makes me gag. You blaspheme in your comparing Fidel to Jesus. Fidel is a murderous tyrant who tortured and imprisoned people simply for expressing their opinion. Fidel taught Cubans to read and then took away the books. Thank goodness the world will be rid of him soon.

  • Real dictators do keep the populace in ignorance. That’s why they censor everything in Cuba including certain writings from Marti.

  • I’ve never bothered with pizza in Cuba, and actually can’t recall ever having any cheese while there. I think that pretty much says it all. Ow sad for the Cuban people.

  • Castro, like the rest of us, will die. It’s a biological certainty, and his “revolution” will did with him. Like Jose Marti said, “One more revolution is needed, one that does not die with its leader”.

  • Castro will indeed be remembered. Like contemporaries such as Pol Pot, Tito, Stalin, Mao, and the North Korean Kim’s, for which Castro showed a special affinity, Castro will share a table with these dictators. Any way you spin it, that’s where he falls!

  • Leaders were born, not made. People like Fidel are a special ilk, a special creation a special breed of people who will always leave their mark upon on the world scene.The epitaph on his tomb stone will read like that of Euripides a Famous Greek writer, “This monument does not make you famous oh Euripides, but thou make this monument Famous. Fidel’s will read, This monument does not make you Famous oh Comrade Fidel but, instead, you make this monument Famous.” The world will pay respect to the passing of the other world leaders who will be forgotten the next day, for they have made no tangible contribution to the development of mankind; they made no sacrifices; they did not reach out and touch. They did not make a difference. they continued the degradation of their brothers and sisters for their own personal and their friend’s personal aggrandizement while the wretched of the earth dwelled in squalor. He forfeited his Life of Privilege and came down to fight for the cause of the wretched. Doesn’t this sound like a Biblical story of a MAN who left His Kingly Home to travel to earth to rectify the horrific conditions which existed then. He was crucified on a cross for stepping up to the defense of the poor downtrdden people. For stepping up to the plate in defense of the wretched of Cuba and the rest of the world, Fidel has been crucified by the media. They who have dealt with the worst dictators of the world have turned around and blasted Fidel, his brother Raul, Mugabe, Chavez, Maduro,and all the other leaders who fight or work in the interest of the ordinary peoples of the world as the worst dictators on the face of the earth. Nelson Mandela was labelled a terrorist for fighting for the dignity of the Black people in South Africa. He was branded a terrorist, he was jailed for 27 years, while the real terrorist who bombed a Cubana Airline walks the streets of Miam free as a bird. How can you educate people, teach them to think and then turn around and suppress them? Real dictators do not educate their people; they keep them in ignorance, they keep them in poverty; for, by keeping them there, they can easily be fooled, exploited and oppressed. Long live leaders like Fidel Castro. May they aleays be a thorn in the side of all the exploiters and oppressors of the world.

  • Where are the close-minded Americans who have been saying for the last 20 years that Castro was dying…….perhaps, they meant the anti-Castro of Miami and their sycophants in Congress

  • To anyone who has never been to Cuba or for the casual tourist who spends two weeks a year in Varadero, this post seems reasonable. Ex-dictator does photo-op with cheesemakers. But to Cubans who live abroad or anyone who has actually lived in Cuba, this post should make you sick to your stomach. First of all, Cuban “cheese” sucks. The 10 peso cubano pizzas that you buy on the street drip this cheese on the paper they serve it on and it leaves a greasy spot like no cheese I have ever seen before or since. As far as I know there is only one style of cheese made in Cuba. Why these guys would be called Cheese Masters is hilarious. During the Special Period, Cuban urban legend says that melted condoms were used as a cheese substitute on pizzas and Cuban sandwiches. True or not, the cheese in Cuba today probably tastes the same as the condom version.

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