Cuba Sympathizers: Curious or Shameful?

by Martin Guevara

General/President Raul Castro. Foto: Ladyrene Perez/Cubadebate.
General/President Raul Castro. Foto: Ladyrene Perez/Cubadebate.

HAVANA TIMES — It would say it was funny if I didn’t find the situation so disgusting.

Raul Castro says that, in 2018, after nearly sixty years of authoritarian and repressive rule, he will step down (not specifying who he will pass the torch to), as though he were offering people a gift. What’s more – and pay attention – he says he would like to visit Miami!

At this point, even the Guinness Book should acknowledge that he, like his brother Fidel, not only holds a record in human rights violations but is also one of the shameless people humanity has ever known, in terms of utter, barefaced forwardness.

Very few things about dictators and despots can truly surprise us these days, but it seems as though the degree of surprise can vary from dictator to dictator.

I know many people respected in their social milieu, endowed with a “left-wing” disposition, who would have long taken up activism (or retreated to the bowels of some bar) to condemn the system’s tyrannical and fascist oppression, if they were told that Eisenhower – not Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Ford, Carter, Nixon or Kennedy -, that is to say, the president the United States had in 1959, were still alive and, surrounded by his great (adult) grandchildren, announcing, as a kind of personal favor to the people, as big news, that he was willing to relinquish his absolute power in three years.

I would expect the same reaction were I to say, in Argentina, that an aged Arturo Frondizi, who was president in 1959 (and was followed by sixteen constitutional presidents and seven military juntas) were still in power, or that De Gaulle were announcing, today, that, if he feels like it, and everyone behaves, he will soon step down.

What mechanism is at work here to make these same “pseudo-leftists” and much of public opinion greet Raul Castro’s announcement that he will likely step down after fifty-nine years of absolute power (without any opposition and plenty of human rights violations) with shameful complacency, and to offer reactions that go from sympathy to the feeling that it is probably not as noxious for those who have no choice but to suffer this rule?

It is probably the same mechanism that keeps them from showing any solidarity towards the prisoners of conscience in socialist countries and from showing copious sympathy for political prisoners in regimes at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Is this a curious or downright shameful fact?


41 thoughts on “Cuba Sympathizers: Curious or Shameful?

  • November 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm
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    the only place for me as a Palestinian is Palestine unfortunately at this time it will be like coming out of the frying pan into the fire ,
    http://youtu.be/IZJtFm8uZAI
    watch this video above of Israelis massacring Palestinians in the hospital

  • November 15, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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    Can you point to one, just one, statement, from anyone on this forum, that expresses support for Batista? ….just one? Or are you just trying to muddy the waters, so to speak.

  • November 15, 2015 at 11:45 am
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    Amen! I still don’t like the Castros. By the way, I have been to Cuba many, many times.

  • November 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm
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    Moses, I have been to Cuba three time. Have you ever been there? I could live in Cuba because it shows you how to survive anywhere, The lessons Cuba teaches you is that Material wealth is not the it all and the end all. It is the human spirit that counts. Why have all this material wealth and so many of your brothers and sisters are suffering? Cuba teaches you to share; to be your brothers keeper; to be interested in the human being. To give that human being a fair chance to exist like the human being he or she was created to be. In the final analysis of life, Moses, what do we do with the material things we have gained through robbing, looting, dehumanizing, exploiting, murdering, subjugating? Tell me brother Moses, what do we do with all the material wealth we have accumulated? A rich man and his gardener died in my country. On earth, the rich man would hold parties and, instead of sharing the left overs with the gardener who lived in a hut to the back of his yard, he would dump them. He would not even share the left overs with the servants who prepared the eats; whatever the gardener cooked he would share with the little children of the maids who worked long hours especially when the rich man held parties. So they both died the same day and both went to heaven. St. Peter escorted them to show them their residence. There was this huge mansion and, beside it, was a little hut. The gardener was shown the mansion and the rich man was shown the hut. The rich man objected stating that on earth,he occupied the mansion and the gardener occupied the hut. St. Peter turned to him and said, “We build according to the materials you send up.” get the message brother Moses?

  • November 14, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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    After more than 30 years you would think you would have found a way out of the hell hole you live in.

    Instead we are subjected to your constant bitching about the USA. Perhaps you should spend more time talking about Cuba! this Havantimes?com after all.

  • November 14, 2015 at 5:24 pm
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    Dear Martin Guevara :
    I have been living in the West since 1981, and I noticed the governments of Canada and United States try to please everyone with something and in the end please no one , I think such issues is much more complicated then accusations here and there considering the merciless propaganda inflicted on the Cuban society and honorable Castro’s , I have problem believing these accusations ,
    in Canada police used to kidnap natives , take them few miles outside the city in the middle of a snowstorm leaving them naked and drive off , next day after they found them dead the police and the government will say in the autopsy ” he was drunk and walked out of the city by himself ” it is a true story you could check it out for yourself ,I did not see you or anybody else scream your lungs off saying I am disgusted with the Canadian human rights record after all a native in Canada is worse than the black in the south of US.
    does the ends justify the means I say no .
    I don’t see the Castro’s driving around in expensive limousines living high on the hog like kings and queens , I don’t see them invading somebody else’s country and creating terrorist organizations like Isis,
    what I see individuals who love there country and love there people and willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to keep them safe healthy and educated ,
    when you say “as thought were offering people gift ” he already done so a lifelong commitment to his country and his people he have his track record to prove it .
    if you look at the history of Central and South America it has been continuous turbulence war revolutions drugs American dumping guns right left and center , the Castro,s have successfully kept Cuba out of the entire century off South American disaster and misery .
    I think you would have been better off used your talent and such language to describe George Bush and the American government , Paris last night is the latest American politics blowback and looks like there is no end in sight .
    in my opinion the heritage that the Castro’s going to leave behind is something in which history wall look at as positive to the benefits of the Cuban society and all of humanity .

  • November 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm
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    Rotten? And yet you continue to live in that life of your own free will. You should check Trivago. There are cheap flights to that paradise of social justice Palestine even day. What keeps you from escaping your so-called “rotten” life for a life on Cuba? Sounds hypocritical to me.

  • November 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm
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    Holguinero: I fly out of either Tampa or Miami to Holguin where a driver picks me up and takes me to Cueto. Then I do the reverse. I don’t understand what is so hard to manage or “fantasy” about that.

    You mean the Diaz Canel who is First Vice President? Yes, I have heard of him.

  • November 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm
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    Dear Nidal, I never dare to make a comparison with others acts of brutality or crime from a government; in fact I am activist against every form of violence and lack of rights of the poor and middle class people.
    I don’t know where you found that I am a defender of the foreign politics of Bush father and son, but despite that, I want to repeat my denounce to a lot of attacks to the elemental human rights in Cuba across 56 years, like in any country with only one president and party allowed in more than half century!!! Would be very long and boring for the readers if I start to write case by case.
    Thank you very much for your kind words and for your concerns!

  • November 12, 2015 at 8:27 am
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    Speaking of fantasy, how do you manage to live in Florida and Live in Cueto as well for a few months per year? Has anybody heard of Diaz Canel? Already hand picked by the Castros to take over when Raul steps down.

  • November 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    To Martin Guevara
    what is the term violation of human rights means to you ?
    by whose standards do we go by ?
    the Americans , the same as in Iraq ? or the Israelis similar to what’s going on in Palestine right now ?
    when you choose to use such a term do you take in consideration the free health care free education and a stable low crime society ?
    what about George Bush father and son , what kind of scale would you measure them by ? do you remember the highway of death ?
    please don’t forget the innocent human beans locked up in concentration camp Guantanamo , where is there Human Rights ?
    I think the American fear had nothing to do with the Castros , it have to do with the idea of socialism , successful socialism 90 miles away from the shores of America would have been a nightmare for the so-called capitalist , they are willing to starve to death an entire population then to have socialism succeed , keep in mind Salvador Allende and what happened to him , Henry Kissinger whom went half way around the planet to destroy a socialist idea .
    the last thing I want for anyone on this planet is to live the American Way of life , I’m living it and I’m telling you right now it’s rotten .

  • November 11, 2015 at 11:16 am
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    That’s bullsh*t Bob. Proof of this is that there are far more “oranges” trying to get to the US by any means possible, than there are “apples” trying to get to Cuba. If your broadly defined freedom truly existed in Cuba, why don’t Cubans agree with you? The handful of Cubans that you hang out with in the small eastern town that you visit a few months a year may enjoy horse-drawn taxis, and open air butcher shops, but MOST Cubans would love the chance to drive their own cars to a Walmart Superstore. If you don’t know that, you really don’t know Cubans.

  • November 11, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    We certainly agree in general about freedom to chose one’s own destiny. Where we diverge is the specifics and our definitions of “freedom”.

    I see constraints on personal freedoms in a broad sense including economic factors and social pressures. I believe a person’s ability to choose an occupation being limited to those with a pay scale high enough to pay off student load debt as a lack of freedom. I see someone’s choice where to live being limited by economics, access to medical care or educational opportunities as a lack of freedom. I see people’s need to hide the fact that they occasionally have sex with a neighbor purely for physical gratification as a lack of freedom. I see societal pressures to have a well paying job, nice house and car both with big payments as a limiting factor. The list can go on and on.

    Comparing freedoms is quite an apples and oranges thing. But I can see the argument that Cubans have great freedom when the term is defined broadly.

  • November 10, 2015 at 11:03 pm
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    The Batista sympathizers in this forum, in my opinion, never choose to discuss what created the Castros and their Cuban Revolution. They were created by the extreme brutality and thievery of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship from 1952 till the early A. M. of January 1, 1959. That’s when the Batista-Mafia leaders hastily fled — to the nearby Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and, mostly, to the Mafia havens of South Florida and New Jersey. Even more amazing than the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, considering that the Batista-Mafia regime was supported by the U. S., is the survival of Revolutionary Cuba for all these decades, considering that the retrenched Batistianos-Mafiosi control the U. S. congressional laws related to Cuba. Revolutionary Cuba’s survival, I believe, has been sustained by the extremes of the transplanted Batistiano-Mafiosi leaders in the U. S. that, through two generations now, have unfairly assailed the Cubans on the island in the guise of “hurting Castro.” There are many episodes that substantiate that belief but, perhaps, the most flagrant occurred on Oct. 6, 1976, with the terrorist bombing of the civilian Cuban airliner, Cubana Flight 455. The perpetrators gleefully used the Miami media to mandate that “It’s the biggest blow yet against Castro!!” In my humble opinion, such things are the biggest reason the Castros came to power in 1959 and the biggest reason they remain in power in 2015. Moreover, I believe that the fact Americans from 1959 till today have been sufficiently cowered and propagandized not to object to such things as “The biggest blow yet against Castro!!” will also sustain the legacy of Fidel Castro long after his mortal, revolutionary life ends. Ignoring such things as the Batista-Mafia rule in Cuba, the fate of 73 innocents aboard Cubana Flight 455 and the decades of suffering by their friends and relatives, etc., may proselytize Americans, but not the less-propagandized democracy-lovers around the world. Proof of that, I think, is the 199-2 vote in the UN last month in which the U. S. again could get only one nation in the entire world, a small nation very dependent on untold billions of U. S. dollars, to support its Cuban policy.

  • November 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    My typo does not diminish the truth of my statement. How’s this quote from Che….”The negro is indolent and lazy…” Fortunately the historical record is replete with the quotes showing us the dangerous man Che really was

  • November 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm
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    I do have supreme confidence that ALL human beings deserve to be free. Freedom to choose one’s own destiny is what is best for Cubans. Do you disagree? Unfortunately, the Castro dictatorship has denied Cubans basic human rights to the Cuban people for 57 years. To assume that Cubans may very well prefer oppression over freedom is at best naive and at worst arrogant.

  • November 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm
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    I have formed my anti-CASTRO opinions from personal experience. Any similarity to Miami-based anti-CASTRO activists is purely coincidental. You are mistaken about what constitutes a San Francisco state of mind. We San Franciscans hate homophobic, tyrannical, totalitarians as much, if not more, than anybody else. Your comment could not be more wrong.

  • November 10, 2015 at 7:26 pm
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    That is the question Bob, if Cuban’s were given the right to decide which system they prefer what would be the outcome? I’ve met quite a few people who have been indoctrinated and quite happy. Not to offend anyone but my good friends from Salt Lake City are the happiest folk on earth. Try to counter, what I consider questionable beliefs, and they’ll debate you until you surrender. What I do know is what I’m reading from some reputable bloggers who live in the remote, but most populated areas of Cuba. Life is terrible with little or no passion for creativity and love for work. Food is bare minimum and in my mind that isn’t a luxury, that’s a necessity for living life. Would like to read what you’re seeing, if at all possible.

  • November 10, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    Moses, you are a real bootlicker to the hardliners in Miami. I know you stated in your previous posts that you live in San Francisco, which is a sanctuary for leftists with common sense. Having lived in both Miami and the SF Bay Area you would fit in much better in Miami. People with your viewpoint do not belong in San Francisco!

  • November 10, 2015 at 6:59 pm
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    Before you tell me how to think, learn how to spell “murderous”

  • November 10, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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    I don’t need to visit Miami to understand. I have lived in central Florida with our own share of Cubans for my entire life except when I am living in Cuba. And, I am old enough to have known Cubans in Florida before the Revolution up to recent arrivals. And, I know Cubans who once lived in the US and have returned to Cuba.

    Sociologists tell us that societies and cultures are interactive and changing any element has a ripple effect on other elements. Answers would be simple if we could just pick and choose elements from one culture to add to another without impacting anything else but that is not possible in the real world. I have tried to stress that I don’t believe we know what is best for everyone else. I understand you do have supreme confidence in your opinion that you know what is best for Cuba. We simply differ.

    Please do not worry about “this spoils your little getaway to paradise fantasies”. I can assure you of two things: 1) your views formed entirely removed from my real life situation will never spoil anything for me and 2) I have no fantasies, only real life experiences living in the US and in Cuba.

  • November 10, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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    I agree with you that the Castro offspring have no interest in hands-on leadership. Why should they? They have no doubt tucked away tens of millions of dollars in foreign accounts to keep them driving Ferraris and playing golf for the rest of their lives. When you start from the bottom, it is not hard to give the impression that the Cuban economy “seems to be taking off”. However, as a whole, the Cuban economy is at least a generation away from being self-sustaining. There is very little production for export and Cuban agriculture can’t even support Cuban demand. You seem to want to remain optimistic about Cuba’s future. I think it is more like putting lipstick on a pig.

  • November 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    Informed Consent: I live about 3-4 months a year in Cueto, Holguin. So I would say that I know some Cubans.

    Enthusiasm? It appears you classify everyone and every comment as either being totally on one side or the other. Apparently you perceive that because I do not express absolute adherence to your views that I must be as committed to the other side. Some of us try to be objective, even when our response is that we don’t know. Please reread my post.

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm
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    If you have included in that legacy, brutal murderer, racist, egomaniac and horrific personal hygiene, then Martin is well-served in his disgrace.

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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    What Cuban reality are you referring to? The collapsing buildings? The food shortages? The lack of political and personal freedoms. You have the luxury of referring to a Cuba that never existed and most certainly never will. Cubans are neither free nor independent. Shame on you.

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm
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    Ummmm. Will they be voted into office you think?

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm
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    I can tell you don’t know any Cubans. A few just landed in Miami Beach and they don’t seem to share your enthusiasm!

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    Which legacy is that? The merderous one. Perhapse if Martin was promoting nuclear war, you would approve

  • November 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm
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    Free and independant….for whom? Certainly not for the average Cuban who has no voice in the government. Certainly not those who long to access the same websites available to you, certainly not for those Cubans who want to voice their opposition to the Communist government. How do you define freedom. Certainly not as individual freedom.

  • November 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm
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    Yes, capitalism is coming back to Cuba, after the very same Fidel recognized that socialism did not work. His brother is quietly dismantling socialism, preparing the stage for his successor, while placing his relatives in all key positions of control in the economy and the military/ intelligence. The common Cubans? They will become the cheap labor for the capitalist enterprises of the today high Party members and tomorrow rich moguls, Russia and China style.

    Animal Farm anybody? Long live socialism!

  • November 10, 2015 at 9:56 am
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    More boilerplate venom from Guevara, who is so bitter that he can’t see the current Cuban reality, which diverges ever more from his static preconceptions. Yes, the Cuban Revolution has not turned out the way the “Generation of ’59” had envisioned. Nevertheless, they have laid the foundations for a truly free and independent Cuba. For once “History does NOT repeat itself,” and Cuba will NOT replay the role of Melos to the Athenian Empire (i.e. the U.S.). In the end, despite their many faults, History WILL absolve Fidel and Raul!

  • November 10, 2015 at 9:47 am
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    I’ll wager that his son will NOT receive the mantle of power next. Cuba is not the the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. I’d venture to say that it will be one of the technocrats in the leadership who are now in their 40’s, 50’s or early 60’s. This group is bright and pragmatic. The economy, both private and state, seems to be taking off, with all sorts of businesses opening, construction in progress, buildings being restored, etc.

  • November 10, 2015 at 8:53 am
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    Bob, there you go again with your “natives are happy as they are” narrative. This is simply not true. Just visit Miami to understand this. Cubans are just like Americans. They like everything we like and then some. When you visit Castros’ human zoo in Cuba, you obviously leave with the impression that a Walmart superstore and a Starbucks Coffee shop would simply not suit the Cuban ethos. WRONG! I guess this spoils your little getaway to paradise fantasies but this ain’t about you.

  • November 10, 2015 at 7:05 am
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    Sadly, from a blogger who cannot post because he’s living with his wife in the hinterland, and someone who has educated me, life is horrible! I thought differently based on what I’ve been reading about Havana and other major cities but outside of the major areas, there’s a very sad Cuba that has no motivating folk due to the system. Hopefully, things will get better for these great people who have little or no hope at this time. That’s what I’m getting from those who live there. The real kick is Castro’s son has plenty of time to play golf and apparently live the life of leisure. Average Cuban probably doesn’t know that, except perhaps Elio.

  • November 10, 2015 at 5:38 am
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    bjmack:You hit on a very key point when you ask who are we to know what is best for a country? I agree we do not know the answer. Granted there are some non-Cubans who are certain they know but their answer is simply “Everyone should be like us since we are best”. National pride is one thing. Believing everyone else in the world should be like us is something else.

    However you may have missed a key point when you state your life is luxury while implying Cubans are less so. Your metric is economic. While this metric applies to the US and to some extent Canada and Europe, it is not universally applicable. Some cultures may assign a higher priority to more basic quality of life factors. Cubans would like to have more money but cannot evaluate the trade offs necessary in their basic social structure. Similarly, some of us are envious of their social structure but cannot see what we would have to give up economically.

  • November 10, 2015 at 4:21 am
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    The answer is simple: shameful.

  • November 9, 2015 at 10:26 pm
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    Martin Guevarra is a disgrace to the legacy of his uncle.

  • November 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm
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    I want to know what is happening with the change US wise

  • November 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm
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    Hi love Havana and the people have friend in Havana but can not talk as they have no phones , HELP please , thanks douggie .

  • November 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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    I tend to agree with you however I just finished two Japanese sweet potatoes with expensive butter and my dog just had organic rice and chicken. Who am I to even think I know what’s best for anyone never mind a country. There are quite a few Cuban’s who actually like Castro and his longevity in office. The question then is if there was a free and fair election with data from both sides flowing freely what percentage of the Cuban population would vote more of the same? In short I cannot imagine anyone continuing with the present system based on what I interpret but perhaps I’m mistaken. As I stated, my life is luxury compared to the average Cuban and no, I am far from rich. That’s the US and I still think it’s the best overall way to run a show than anywhere else.

  • November 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm
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    I am sure a son will get the power next

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