Fidel Castro Says He Doesn’t Trust the USA

But at the same time supports the thaw in relations

Fidel Castro.  Photo/archive: cubadebate.cu
Fidel Castro. Photo/archive: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Former President Fidel Castro, 88, said today in a public letter that he “does not trust US policy,” but supports the approach taken by his brother Raul, the current president, reported dpa news.

“I do not trust the US policy nor have I exchanged a word with them, without this meaning a rejection of a peaceful solution of conflicts and dangers of war,” said Fidel Castro in his first statement since Washington and Havana announced in mid-December that they would resume diplomatic relations.

“The president of Cuba has taken the appropriate steps according to his prerogatives and powers granted by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba,” said Fidel Castro about the agreement reached between his brother Raul and US President Barack Obama.

“We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, including those of our political opponents,” he said in the letter read this evening on state television.

Fidel Castro had not stated his position since the agreement last December 17 between Washington and Havana to resume diplomatic relations. The state media has not published current photos of the former president, for example alongside the three Cuban Five agents newly released by the United States as part of a prisoner swap agreed on by Obama and Raul Castro.

The silence of Fidel Castro was causing concern for weeks on the island. His absence also sparked earlier this month a new wave of rumors about his supposed death, especially in the anti-Castro Cuban exile media based in Miami and Madrid.

Fidel’s letter was addressed to the Federation of University Students and was read in full by a student into a microphone at a ceremony broadcast on state television.

“Many friends of Cuba know the exemplary conduct of our people, and to them I briefly explain my position,” said the former president in the letter signed at noon on Monday.

The US and Cuba began last week in Havana negotiations to resume diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of rupture. They will soon hold a new round of talks on a date to be determined in Washington.

The following is the official translation of the open letter from Fidel Castro which he addressed to the Federation of University Students (FEU).

To the Federation of University Students

Dear compañeros,

In 2006, as a result of health issues which were incompatible with the time and effort required to fulfill my duties – which I myself assumed when I entered this University September 4, 1945, 70 years ago – I resigned from my official positions.

I was not the son of a worker, or lacking in material or social resources for a relatively comfortable existence; I could say I miraculously escaped wealth. Many years later, a richer and undoubtedly very capable U.S. citizen, with almost 100 billion dollars, stated – according to a news agency article published this past Thursday, January 22 – that the predominant system of production and distribution of wealth would, from generation to generation, make the poor rich.

Since the times of ancient Greece, during almost 3,000 years, the Greeks, without going very far, were brilliant in almost all activities: physics, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, art, science, politics, astronomy and other branches of human knowledge. Greece, however, was a land in which slaves did the most difficult work in fields and cities, while the oligarchy devoted itself to writing and philosophizing. The first utopia was written precisely for them.

Observe carefully the realities of this well-known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don’t know what to do with it. Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants. Can this population increment be accommodated, in this way, over the next 100 years, and food, health, water and housing needs met, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made?

Well, setting aside these perplexing problems, it is astonishing to recall that the University of Havana, during the days when I entered this beloved, prestigious institution almost three fourths of a century ago, was the only one in Cuba.

Of course, fellow students and professors, we must remember that it is not just one now, but rather more than 50 institutions of higher learning distributed across the entire country.

When you invited me to participate in the launch of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of my admission to the University, which I was surprised to learn of, during days when I was very busy with various issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful, I decided to take a break and devote several hours to recalling those years.

I am overwhelmed recalling that 70 years have passed. In reality, compañeros and compañeras, if I were to register again at this age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitation, that it would be to pursue scientific studies. I would say, like Guayasamín: Leave a little light on for me.

In those years, already influenced by Marx, I was able to understand more, and better, the strange, complex world in which it has befallen us to live. I may have harbored some illusions of the bourgeoisie, whose tentacles managed to entangle many students, when they possessed more passion than experience. The topic would be long and interminable.

Another genius of revolutionary action, founder of the Communist Party, was Lenin. Thus I did not hesitate a second when during the Moncada trial, when they allowed me to attend, albeit just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high ranking officials of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin.

We didn’t talk about Mao Zedong, since the socialist revolution in China, inspired by the same principles, had not yet ended.

I insist, nonetheless, that revolutionary ideas must always be on guard as humanity expands its knowledge.

Nature teaches us that tens of billions of light years may have passed, and life in all of its expressions has always been subjected to an incredible combination of matter and radiation.

A personal greeting between the Presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the distinguished, exemplary combatant against apartheid who had become friendly with Obama.

It is enough to indicate that, at that time, several years had passed since Cuban troops had decisively defeated the racist South African army, directed by the wealthy bourgeoisie, which had vast economic resources. This is a story of a conflict which has yet to be written. South Africa, the government with the most financial resources on the continent, had nuclear weapons supplied by the racist state of Israel, as the result of an agreement between this party and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized the delivery of devices for the use of such weapons to attack Cuban and Angolan forces defending the Popular Republic of Angola against racist troops attempting to occupy the country.

Thus peace negotiations were excluded while Angola was attacked by apartheid forces, with the best trained and equipped army on the African continent.

In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution. Continual efforts to liquidate the Popular Republic of Angola, to bleed the country systematically with the power of that well equipped and trained army, was what led to the Cuban decision to deliver a resounding blow to the racists at Cuito Cuanavale, the former NATO base which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs.

That powerful country was obliged to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola, and an end to apartheid in South Africa.

The African continent was left free of nuclear weapons. Cuba was forced to face, for a second time, the threat of a nuclear attack.

Cuban internationalist troops withdrew from Africa with honor.

Then Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do.

Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people’s exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.

I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war. Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.

We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s peoples, and with those of our political adversaries. This is what we are demanding for all.

The President of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.

The grave dangers which today threaten humanity must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied such a right.

In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle, to my last breath.

 

Fidel Castro Ruz

January 26, 2015


71 thoughts on “Fidel Castro Says He Doesn’t Trust the USA

  • July 14, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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    Cuba isn’t the only one. lol. We Americans (the smart ones) do not trust the government either! That’s a fact.

  • February 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    Agree that the US is becoming isolated in Latin America. Several organizations established that exclude the US. CELAC membership includes all 33 states of Latin American and the Caribbean. The recent meeting in Costa Rica included a resolution to end the embargo. There was also a CELAC China meeting in Beijing. China is making inroads in Latin America while the US makes war in the Midddle East. If we are a close ally of the family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia then we should certainly not be holier than thou in Cuba and tell them what type of political system is acceptable.

  • February 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm
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    Absolutely brilliant!

  • February 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm
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    What did you know?. You are poorly informed ifvyou think what Fidel says has any bearigs on what Raul is actually doing. Fidel is not in the driver’s seat. So I don’t understand what you were having an epiphany about?

  • February 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm
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    Since you have chosen to take it to a personal level, can I ask you a question. Do you work in Havana or Santiago? I am guessing you are one of the Castro trolls who zoom into anti-Castro blogs, launch personal attacks and then never respond. As a result, it is not worth responding to you. Bye.

  • February 3, 2015 at 9:31 pm
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    Read a little further on for a list of the whoppers Fidel has told. Attacking me personally makes you feel better?

  • February 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm
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    he is not, he helped liberate Cuba from imperialism. Why Castro was one of only five world leaders invited to speak at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. In the words of Mandela, the Cuban “destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor … [and] inspired the fighting masses of South Africa.” Historian Piero Gleijeses argues that it was Cuba’s victory in Angola in 1988 that forced Pretoria to set Namibia free and helped break the back of apartheid South Africa.

    So the only liar here is you Moses

  • February 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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    Moses murders and rapes are increasing?, I see, you just totally contradicted yourself. where are you getting these statistics from?. if Cuba is so totalitarian where are you getting these “facts”?.

  • February 3, 2015 at 7:02 am
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    Really? Who “is paying [my] bills”? Please provide the “beyond shadow of doubt” evidence of your source.

  • February 2, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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    on this message board, you of all people has the least credibility to be able to call anyone a liar. I think its beyond a shadow of doubt who is paying your bills.

  • February 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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    Hey the Native Americas want their land that the United States stole from them, the black slaves want their lives back that United States exploited from them. Nice one hypocrite.

  • January 30, 2015 at 9:08 am
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    The Soviets did not invade Afghanistan to stop the heroin trade. They invaded to keep the Marxist government in power in Kabul when most of the Islamic country was in open revolt against them.

    Osama bin Laden had no contact with and no support from the US during the war.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan

  • January 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm
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    The corruption in Cuba involves different activities than in Mexico or Venezuela, but it still exists. There are examples of Cuban officials who have relatives among the emigres in Florida and elsewhere, who are buying properties with money coming from who-knows-where.

  • January 28, 2015 at 10:27 pm
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    The Russian effort to stop the crops of heroin drug or opium from the the poppy crops of Afganastan was a just war. The mountain tribes were provided and trained as it is documented by and were
    made in the U.S. of A. The Osama training was during the conflict
    was also from their government agencies . As for Islam they once again took the blame , of the Templars deeds , as did the Hebrews
    at the Cavalry cross.God has mysterious ways and can not be denied and so should all religions be allowed to compare their experiences for since we are prone to type errors from time to time.
    Thank you

  • January 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm
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    I KNEW IT….IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME!

    Raul Castro lays out conditions to normalize relations and renew ties with Washington, demanding an end to the embargo, the return of Guantanamo and Havana’s removal from a terror list.

    Raul and Fidel NEED the embargo to legitimize the regime. The Cuban regime is deathly afraid of having the embargo lifted!

  • January 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm
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    Not true Dan. Crimes against person and property have been relatively stable in Cuba for 80 years. Before that, unreliable records were kept. The problem is that today, crime in Cuba is underreported by the victims and largely unpublished by the government. But murders and rapes in Cuba have actually increased since the Special Period and not so surprisingly. Yes, there were sensational crimes before the revolution and there have been sensational crimes since the revolution as well. Did you read about the $20 million Medicare scam in 2013 where the money was stolen in Miami and ended up in a Cuban bank? The Castros claimed to know nothing about how the money got there. Do you how Cuban banks work? For transactions over 500 cuc, you have to produce ID. So $20M and nobody knows anything? Pleeeeease!

  • January 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm
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    Here we go again. We will simply disagree that tyranny will be seduced into giving up power. Power concedes nothing without demand, as so eloquently said by my hero Frederick Douglas. You clearly, perhaps naively believe, that with a little ‘love and affection’ the Castro elite will submit to elections and a free press. I know of no dictator in history who has left power in that way. I respect but heartily disagree with you optimism.

  • January 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm
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    When you can refute the facts, attack the commenter. Is that your strategy here? But just as a gauge of your sense of humor, since you have called me a “joke”, which comment of mine do you find funny?

  • January 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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    I agree, the crime rates are generally lower in Cuba than elsewhere in Latin America. As Moses has said, that’s one benefit of a police state. The standard of living of the poor in other Latin American countries is worse than the poorest in Cuba.

    However, the question the Cuban people have never been offered is to decide if it is worth having all their rights denied for the privilege of receiving a month ration? The other question they never get to decide is whether the total state control and repression is actually necessary to provide the socialist state? Maybe they could have their rations, their so called free healthcare and free education (which are not actually free, because they pay for it with their extremely low wages) without the single party dictatorship?

    Why do the Cuban people have to give up their right to freedom of speech just to get a lousy ration booklet?

  • January 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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    Those historical cases would be examples of corruption in Cuba. Add to those thieves, the legendary corruption of Presidents Gomez, Menocal, Zayas, Grau & Prio. The Revolution changed the nature of the corrupt practices, and they certainly put an end to the rampant gangsterismo of the previous two decades. They did this by making damn sure they were not only the toughest gangsters of the bunch, but the only gangsters on the island.

  • January 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    Fidel Castro knew exactly what his plan would be once he gained power. He admitted as much several years later when he said in a speech that he had always intended to take Cuba down the socialist path, but that he just couldn’t say that before because the Cuban people were not ready to accept it.

    Castro told many, many lies, John. Your idolatry is a bit creepy.

  • January 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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    The 500,000 dead Iraqi children “statistic” is a lie, created by the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

    “The claim that sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children originated in a 1995 letter to The Lancet which, in turn, was based on a Baghdad survey done by Sarah Zaidi and colleagues. After other researchers identified anomalies in the survey data, Zaidi, to her great credit, re-investigated the work from the ground up. Having sub-contracted the original interviews to the Iraqi government, she traveled to Baghdad and re-interviewed many of the original households. When Zaidi failed to confirm quite a few of the reported deaths in these follow-up interviews, she retracted her results.”

    http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/the-iraq-sanctions-myth-56433

    The embargo was approved by the UN and Saddam could have had lifted anytime by allowing UN inspectors into Iraq.

    You can read Dr. Zaidi’s retraction at The Lancet, including her re-analysis of the data she collected, which resulted in numbers several multiples smaller than the figure you cited.

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)70470-0/fulltext

  • January 28, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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    I will accept your challenge if you will accept mine.
    A) Quote ONE instance between 1960 and today when ANY Cuban newspaper or television programme has directly criticised Fidel Castro.
    B) Identify ONE DAY in the past fifty years in which no major American newspaper has published criticims of the president of the United States.

  • January 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm
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    Moses you are a joke. “Whatever the level of corruption that does exist in the US, it does not compare to the rampant business-as-usual corruption in Cuba.” HAHAHA! Just stop, okay? You are embarrassing yourself.

  • January 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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    “More ironic is that you hold the Castros to no account.”

    That’s absolutely false. Of course I do. But I’m a realist…I know that nothing much will change in Cuba until there are fully normalized relations with the US. The Cuban government needs to feel that the war is over before they can relax their guard and allow their economy and government to evolve in a new direction. Cuba needs to be recognized and respected. The Cuban government has been on high-alert for decades…many of their policies limiting freedoms for their people were established to help protect the principals of the revolution and Cuban sovereignty in the face of adversity. It will still take time for democratic principals to precipitate out through a much closer and trusting relationship with the US government, and through business dealings too, but it will happen. End the embargo, fertilize the garden, and continue to dangle the carrots. Continuing to insist that the Cuban government immediately ‘sell out’ and dismantal their 1 party system in favor of democracy is absolutely pointless…as the last 50+ years have proven. That’s nothing more than a pipe-dream, and always has been.

  • January 28, 2015 at 11:51 am
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    Cuba isn’t moving to more democracy in any area. That is reality. The state capitalist elite wants to become a Chinese style authoritarian capitalist elite.

  • January 28, 2015 at 11:50 am
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    First things first: it is indeed not up to the US to decide what is best for Cuba. that is the sovereign right of the Cuban people as the US itself has stated very recently.
    See the interview with Mrs. Jacobson:
    “It is up to Cubans decide their future”
    Yoani Sánchez, Havana | Enero 24, 2015
    http://www.14ymedio.com/englishedition/Yoani-Sanchez-interviews-Roberta-Jacobson_0_1712828707.html

    That being said: Cubans should be free to express their views and free to elect the government they want. That isn’t the case right now under the Castro dictatorship. So if you want Cubans to freely decide their future you have to support the efforts to end the Castro dictatorship.

    Cuba owes 6 billion dollars to US citizens for properties it expropriated without compensation.
    Source: Cuba’s $6B debt to Americans for seized properties hangs over US
    talks | Fox News –
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/26/cuba-6b-debt-to-americans-for-seized-properties-hangs-over-us-talks/

    Cuba also owes the exiles in the US – and other countries – for the 5 billion dollars a year they send to Cuba to help their families survive.
    Source: The winners of Cuba’s ‘new’ economy –

    http://fortune.com/2015/01/14/the-winners-of-cubas-new-economy/

  • January 28, 2015 at 11:31 am
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    Machado w/ La Porra and Batista w/ his BRAC were police states par excellance, and crime during those years was out of control. And corruption ? I’m assuming you know about La botella, and incidents such as the Minister of Education driving up to the Treasury with a fleet of trucks and spiriting an estimated $7 million to the US, with no questions asked or prosecution in either country.

  • January 28, 2015 at 11:29 am
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    And I could get hit by a bus tomorrow too…but the odds have it that I won’t. Again, I feel safer there than I do at home…and the odds have it that I have little to worry about. I’m also a fairly intimidating hombre too…for what that’s worth…just saying. No hay problema.

  • January 28, 2015 at 10:34 am
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    Stop. Whatever the level of corruption that does exist in the US, it does not compare to the rampant business-as-usual corruption in Cuba. Potshots at the US to defend the Castros many failings are beneath intelligent debate. Your minimizing internet access and quality is a tad bit unfair since you probably pecked out your comment using a low cost high-speed Wi-Fi connection in your home. More ironic is that you hold the Castros to no account. If you did you would at least consider that until the Castros install fully democratic reforms for the Cuban people, it will always be impossible to draw uninhibited conclusions about the lack of fully normalized relations with the US. You, also, should not expect to have it both ways.

  • January 28, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    Corruption in Cuba predated US involvement with the country. It was corrupt during the Spanish colonial era. It was corrupt during the Cuban republican era in the first half of the 20th century, not because the US made them corrupt, but because that was how the Cuban politicians behaved. And Cuba has been corrupt under the Castro regime. Political corruption runs deep in Cuban culture.

  • January 28, 2015 at 10:14 am
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    Not untouchable, as the murder of that British tourist demonstrates. Don’t be a fool. There’s always a non-zero chance somebody will take a chance on robbing you or worse, wherever you are.

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    Very good and thank you.
    I accept the three as lies without checking for veracity although the last was spoken during the revolutionary fighting and I don’t think anyone knew what direction the revolution would take at that time. .
    Can you give me any more ?
    Three lies in 54 years isn’t really that many for a dictator of Fidel’s reputation and verbosity and, as Moses posted, for someone who is a “notorious liar” .

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:58 am
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    probably less corruption in cuba than in the USA. the corrupt latino officials.take money and buy properties in miami but not cuban officials. the drug kings buy properties in miami but there are no drug gangs in cuba and no drug culture.

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:55 am
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    you are correct about carriles. but compare havana with the slums in lima, rio, sao paulo and caracas. no comparison. cubans are much better off than most people in latin america and have the best education. it also supplies thousands of doctors to poor areas of latin america including brazil, venezuela and nicaragua.

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:50 am
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    A very selective listing:
    In the 10 year embargo on Iraq back in the 90s, some 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result and this was openly admitted to by once Secretary of State, Murderous Madeline Albright who is frequently quoted as saying .”…it was worth it.”
    I’d say ISIS/ISIL has a long way to go before they can equal that record but if any group can do it , a crazy religion-driven group mired in primitive and barbaric beliefs and practices like the fundamentalist Muslims are the ones to give the imperial U.S. a run for their money
    and we’re the good guys, right ?

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:42 am
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    A slight exaggeration.
    The foreign policy of the U.S. as regards the Middle East is largely determined by the Zionists and other religious crazies in Israel who claim that God gave them all the land they choose to ethnically clean with the unqualified support of the U.S. .
    The many U.N. votes in which the entire world with the exception of Israel, the USA and Palau vote against Israel and for the Palestinians is testimony to the control the Jewish Jihadists have over U.S. policy.
    And, for the record, I am of Jewish descent . My father smuggled guns to Israel during the late 40s.
    I sent money to Israel to plant trees in the 50s.
    Israelis are acting no less crazy than are the people of ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban , the wacko Wahabis in Saudi Arabia etc.
    All of these groups are driven by primitive beliefs founded in very primitive times by ignorant and superstitious men.
    But in the U.S. we’re much more rational about our beliefs .
    We have Mitt Romney who, as a bishop in the fraudulent Mormon Church , had to both believe and teach until 1979 that all people of color were marked with those skins by God to point them out as descendants of Cain who killed his brother Abel and who were banned from higher positions in the church for that reason.
    This is but one of the bizarre early 19th century beliefs that are, according to Mormons, the word of God as transmitted to Joseph Smith back in 1820 or so. .
    I have a short list of the other absolutely loony beliefs intrinsic to that particularly phony religion but I will spare you the risible details . Read them for yourselves.
    You can buy Christopher Hitchens’ book ” God Is Not Great: How Religions Poison Everything” or watch any of the “Hitchens debates….( various clerics) You-Tube videos to get a far deeper understanding.
    BTW , the subtitle of the book is not an exaggeration, as reading it will prove.
    It’s not for the faint of faith, however and it will certainly be unreadable for the deeply religious who make a virtue out of not thinking. .

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    Cuba may possibly move towards more democratic systems such as cooperatives on the economic side and a stricter adherence to the tenets of Poder Popular on the electoral/government side .
    It may, just as likely, keep with its state capitalist economic form and use the Leninist governing system to maintain that totalitarian form.
    What it is less likely to do, IMO, is move towards the re-establishment of free-enterprise capitalism which would switch control of the society from elected/appointed officials under Cuba’s state capitalism to control of the society by private individuals such as has happened in the other so-called communist countries.
    If the leadership isn’t interested in or is opposed to establishing revolutionary democratic institutions and ceding decision-making power to the people then it almost certainly follows that they would not be interested in ceding that power to wealthy individuals either.

  • January 28, 2015 at 6:49 am
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    Again, a fair assessment. I think it’s important to keep negotiations focused on the here and now. What happened in the past should be viewed as no longer relevant. If the US continues to press this issue of compensation, the talks will stall and nothing more will happen. It really is a tit for tat scenario…and each could blame the other for losses. It’s what happens now, going forward, that is more important, and you’re right, there will need to be much better legal assurances provided to protect new investments in Cuba.

  • January 28, 2015 at 6:40 am
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    True enough. Of course it’s a bit different for my cubano amigos in Cam too…they think I’m crazy when walking the barrio alone at night. I just tell them…estupido yuma…y muy guapo (I fear nothing). As a foreigner, I know I’m an untouchable…but for them, it can sometimes be a completely different situation.

  • January 28, 2015 at 6:33 am
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    It goes without saying that there is corruption in every government system. The American government wrote the book on that. The relatively poor internet connection is the least of Cuba’s worries at this time. Moses, until the US re-installs fully normalized relations with Cuba, it will always be impossible to draw uninhibited conclusions about the Cuban government’s short-comings. You can’t have it both ways.

  • January 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm
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    Why are you so willing to tacitly give the Castros credit for the relatively low crime rate and yet not blame them for the relatively high corruption and relatively poor internet connection? The police state that the Castros have constructed in Cuba lowers crime but the economic structure they have created foments corruption. The paranoia they promote manifest itself through the lack of technological development. I agree that Cuba is relatively safe. Can you also agree that it very corrupt, all due to the Castros?

  • January 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm
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    Kudos to AB. What a dolt to ask such a question. My all-time favorite is the Ten Million Ton harvest.

  • January 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm
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    Downtown Toronto is perfectly safe. But their are certain stretches of the suburbs, such as Jane-Finch, Rexdale, or Malvern which one would be wise to avoid.

  • January 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm
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    If the Cubans want what the US has to offer, they will cut a deal. Cuba has much more to loose if this deal falls through.

    Consider the desire among Castro regime to attract US capital investment. US investors will demand assurances their assets once invested won’t be seized. No assurances will mean no investment. Therefore, the Castro regime will be obliged to establish enforceable property laws. Once that happens, other interests can sue in courts for compensation for seized assets.

    Likewise, Cuban business interest will want to sell products into the US and buy US products on credit. Once that happens, Cuba will have assets in the US which can be placed under a lien for judgements won in a US court.

    You see, once the camel’s nose is in the tent, the whole damn beast will follow. This has nothing to do with how you or Raul feels about mean old USA. It’s just business.

  • January 27, 2015 at 6:01 pm
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    Thanks. That’s a fair assessment. That’s been my experience too, although I don’t stay in Havana. I’ve been to Camagüey more times than I can remember, and when I’m there I can walk anywhere in the city day or night by myself without having to worry. One can feel quite safe in Habana too, but it’s even less threatening in the oriente. I feel safer there than I do in downtown Toronto.

  • January 27, 2015 at 5:34 pm
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    Cry me a river….forget everything that you and others might claim is owed. It just isn’t going to happen…plain and simple. When factoring the billions and billions of dollars that Cuba has lost as a result of the economic embargo, the US should feel lucky that the Cuban government is not pressing America for compensation.

  • January 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm
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    Osama bin Laden was not “their man”.

    In 1998, OBL was interviewed by the British journalist Peter Bergen for his book, “Holy War Inc”. Bergen asked OBL if he received any assistance or weapons from the USA. OBL told Bergen, “The US offered no help and we would never have accepted it if they had.” Zayman Zawahiri explained to Bergan, “We had our own sources for money and did not need or want the Americans’ help.”

    The head of the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, explained that when they guided CIA agents into Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets, they made sure to avoid Bin Laden’s territory because they knew OBL’s men would kill the Americans if they found them.

    The myth that the US created Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda is just that, a myth. Read Bergen’s book, and Laurence Wright’s “The Looming Tower” if you want to know where bin Laden came from and how Al Qaeda was created.

  • January 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm
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    I did not see the shacks when I was in Cuba, but I did read about them here at HT. Nor did I walk around the poorest barrios of Havana alone or late at night. I did walk around Centro, Habana Viejo and Vedado during the day and evening, and felt quite safe. I was approached quite often by Cubans offering to sell me various products and services, not all of them legal. I declined them and they offered no malice.

    Compared to the slums of Mexico, Sao Paulo, or Lima, Havana is a walk in the park.

  • January 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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    I am commenting on the reality of diplomatic negotiations, which always involve some give and take. There will be areas of mutual interest where agreements will be relatively easy to arrive at. Other areas will be more ‘political” and therefore more difficult to work out.

    There are American corporations and individual who have claims on property in Cuba which the Revolution expropriated without compensation. There are also many Cuban exiles who’s property in Cuba was expropriated by the Revolution. They want it back. For example, the Bacardi family, which had supported Castro with money and guns while he was a rebel fighting Batista, want their property back: the distillery in Santiago and the beautiful Bacardi building in Havana.

    So whether you like it or not, the Castro government does indeed owe something. How much and how to arrange it remains to be negotiated.

  • January 27, 2015 at 2:11 pm
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    Griffin, how many times have you been to Cuba to see the shacks and shantytowns? Have you ever felt threatened in any way when walking through the barrios alone?

  • January 27, 2015 at 2:03 pm
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    Cuba owes nothing to America. Absolutely nothing. You have it completely bassackwards…as does the American government. That has always been the problem. It’s not America’s place to decide what is best for Cuba. That sentiment is not only reflected by the yearly UN vote, but by the contempt for the US held by much of latin America and the world at large. The US is finding itself more and more isolated in its continued interventionist posturing regarding Cuba…a position which is costing America money. If money is the only thing that America understands, then let it be the loss of economic opportunity that motivates the US to inevitably “do the right thing” and end their war on Cuba.

  • January 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm
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    Oh, but that first one was true: Castro did ban plenty of books, but none of the banned books were in Cuba. He burned them all!

    (or so he thought!)

  • January 27, 2015 at 1:48 pm
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    At no time did the US place any trust in Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Both of them were virulently anti-American from the very beginning of their “careers”. The US did attempt some diplomatic contacts with Saddam. At no time did the US have any relationship with Osama bin Laden other than as enemies.

    Perhaps a better choice for your argument was Bashir al-Assad, who was repeatedly called a “reformer” by your President Obama, even while his soldiers were shooting at the Syrian people.

  • January 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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    Here’s a corker: “there are no banned books in Cuba” (Feb 1998, Havana)

    Another classic: “No one in our country has ever been punished because he was a dissident or held views that differed from those of the revolution. The history of the revolution contains no cases of physical abuse or torture.” (Playboy Interview, August 1985)

    All-time favourite: “We will restore the 1940 constitution.” (numerous occasions 1956-9)

  • January 27, 2015 at 11:00 am
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    If you believe that you are truly lost.
    Please try making some sense here and stick to the topic at hand: Cuba.

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:35 am
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    I believe you conflated the Spanish Conquistador Joan Ponce De León, who died in Havana in 1521, with the terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles.

    There will need to be an extradition treaty between Cuba & the US before the Americans will hand over Posada Carriles. The US will want Cuba to hand over Joanne Chesimard and several other wanted criminals living freely in Cuba.

    There are indeed shacks and shantytowns in Cuba, as this article from Havana Times reported on in 2012: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=65704

    Cuba’s crime rate is lower than most of her neighbors in the Caribbean, but it is not 100% safe, as this British tourist discovered: she was strangled to death in her hotel room by a Cuban security guard.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10330241/Teacher-who-visited-Cuba-due-to-low-crime-rate-strangled-in-hotel-room.html

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    I read this message from Fidel (or his ghost writer) as a note to Obama to not expect any concessions from Raul. The Cubans are willing to talk, US had better give them everything the Cubans demand, but don’t expect anything in return.

    To go by his record, (on Russia, Iran, Syria…) Obama will roll over and concede everything in return for nothing.

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    Ariel Sharon is dead. And he never claimed that Israel controlled the USA. Only paranoid antisemitic bigots and conspiracy-mongers make that claim.

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:16 am
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    According to the anti-war organization Iraq Body Count, the total number of Iraqi’s killed in the war since the US invaded in 2003 is 206,000. Of that number, civilians account for somewhere between 135,000 and 152,000.

    https://www.iraqbodycount.org

    Most of the civilians killed we’re targeted by one or another of the extremist sectarian militias. Since the US withdrew combat forces in 2012, the number of killings has shot up again. For example, here is the grisly toll from yesterday:

    Monday 26 January: 83 killed

    Barwanah: 70 executed.
    Falluja: 4 by shelling.
    Nahrawan: 1 by IED.
    Muqdadiya: 2 by IED.
    Abu Ghraib: 2 by IED.
    Mahmudiya: 1 by IED.
    Baghdad: 2 bodies.
    Nineveh: 1 child reported raped to death.

    The US had nothing to do with any of those deaths.

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:01 am
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    The U.S. an oligarchy: an unelected dictatorship of money .
    You have no idea what democracy is.

  • January 27, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    A challenge :
    Reprint any SPECIFIC lies told by Fidel.
    Cite the quotes, time, place, publication .
    I have two books of his speeches to reference in order to check what you come up with .

  • January 27, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    Bush and Cheney were a disaster. But that’s why I support our democracy. We had to suffer through only 8 years of those guys. Imagine Cuba and 56 years of the Castros! By the way, for future reference, flaws in the US do not justify flaws in Cuba.

  • January 27, 2015 at 9:01 am
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    i have been to cuba four times and was impressed that there were no street children as all are in school and can go all the way through university with no tuition. more and more private businesses are opening. there are no wooden shack slums as there are in other latin american countries. there also are no strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services, beggars or drugs and the police crack down hard on street walkers. 3 million tourists visited last year in complete safety and now cuban americans are going in increasing numbers. all other countries recognize cuba and the US was getting isolated as Latin American countries established new organizations which excluded the US. Allowing business relationships and travel will help the Cuban people as has our dealings with China and Vietnam. If we are concerned about democracy why do we support the Saudis and provide them with arms? could it be that we need their oil? that is truly a country run by one family which has captured most of the wealth. It is a lie that the Castros are worth billions and have foreign bank accounts. The distribution of incomes is more equal in Cuba than any other country in the hemisphere including our own. We will have much more influence with the cuban people once we dismantle the embargo. some say we should insist on the return of a female cop killer but then cuba will insist on the return of juan ponce carilles who was responsible for the downing of cubana airlines planes with 70 cuban athletes on board. he roams freely on calle ocho.

  • January 27, 2015 at 8:18 am
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    The United States of America is controlled by Israel according to Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel.

  • January 27, 2015 at 8:17 am
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    2 million Iraqi women and children are dead because of lies told by Bush and Cheney.

  • January 27, 2015 at 7:36 am
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    You make my point. When the US has trusted certain leaders in the past, their untrustworthiness was revealed. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden BETRAYED the US, not the other way around. If the US has been guilty of anything, it has been guilty of ‘trusting’ the wrong people. You claim that the embargo is illegal. How so? The US, as any country would, has a sovereign right to decide with whom we will do business. “Cuban Franchise Rights”? Are you nuts?! Talk to the Castros about that. The embargo has nothing to do with that. Have you been to Cuba? You claim the success of the revolution in your mind and that is the ONLY place where it exists. In Cuba, the revolution has been an abject failure.

  • January 27, 2015 at 6:23 am
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    Fidel is fading fast. These “grumblings” no longer carry the weight they used to, even in Cuba.

  • January 27, 2015 at 1:43 am
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    I was thinking the same thing. How can you trust them. Saddam Hussien was their man, Osama Binladen was their man , so many problems they have been responsible for. They can not even trust themselves and sqabble over unimportant things. They are doing the unimagineable , like the embargo even against U.N.determinations of its illegality and inhumane result over decades. If you did a mathematical calculation on reperations for war crime regarding this act of war, the case against them would if “all in loss” to the” Cuban franchise rights” were accurately held accountable, those bastards lurking behind the scene would invoke diplomatic status as they illiminated any one they could to avoid this truth.
    So keep your head down .
    I have in my life seen the ability of God to do the kind of magic that only
    could conclude in the existance of the one and only almighty God. Cuba and the revolution success in my mind, as you know, having played a lead part, was truly miraculous having calculated this result myself. So I stick my neck out to write and help continue this blessing to the rest of the world in good time.
    A very wise Russian wrote and I, like today, had the pleasure to read his words,
    “DONT BECOME YOUR HEROES” and I understand the meaning, he knows who he is as you do also.
    My hope of hopes is as you have stated is for world peace and cooperation
    and, acceptance of humanity as it stands before God before it is too late.
    To that end I would call you my brother. All you have to do is ask. I wait.
    Thank You

  • January 26, 2015 at 11:23 pm
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    Fidel Castro is one of the most notorious liars in the world. The last thing he should be talking about is a lack of trust. Besides, how can we trust he even wrote this letter?

  • January 26, 2015 at 10:29 pm
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    Most Americans don’t trust the American government.

    Be very careful, Cuba.

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