What Has Died in Cuba with Fidel Castro’s Death?

By Haroldo Dilla Alfonso

El líder de la Revolución cubana, Fidel Castro Ruz (I), asiste a la sesión final del 7mo. Congreso de la organización partidista, en el Palacio de las Convenciones, en La Habana, el 19 de abril de 2016. ACN FOTO/Omara GARCÍA MEDEROS/sdl
Fidel Castro at the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in April, 2016. Photo: Omara García Mederos/ACN

HAVANA TIMES — Fidel Castro has passed away. And with him the last poster of the 20th century’s great revolutions has fallen off the wall of History.

I don’t mean to say that I share the dreamlike desire of conservatives throughout history when it comes to the end of a revolution. These will continue to take place while – and here I’m reminded of Brecht – human hope exists in the face of dead end streets. Nor does it mean that it casts aside violence as a path, because violence is practiced everyday – physically or symbolically – sometimes by the market, sometimes by the government, and sometimes by a infinite number of dormant domination in everyday life. That microphysics of power which seduces us so.

However, I do believe that Fidel Castro symbolized a kind of revolutionary and headstrong Jacobean change, whose achievements were never compensated with their immense human cost. He belonged to a century were heroes captivated people’s hearts riding horses and armed to their teeth – Pancho Villa, Trotsky, Mao, Giap, Guevara – and not this era where icons – Mandela, Ghandi, Luther King, Malala, Mujica – seem to be more interested in modest and gradual but long-lasting change. As if they were choosing these interstitial strategies that Olin Wright insisted were the paths for the future. As if, whether they knew it or not, they were dusting off that Gramsci saying: before a class is dominant, it needs to be ruling.

Although his eulogists are striving to display him as a contemporary Marxist thinker, the truth is that he was never this. Marxism, a Western intellectual product, was too emancipatory and libertarian in his view. He was, of course, an accomplished and effective ideologist who used Marxism as a pretext. However, among his sources, there was nothing more than a few techniques taken from its most totalitarian version: Leninism. This is where he stole the idea of having a single party system, so-called democratic centralism and other dressings which enabled him to create an advantageous relationship with the Soviet Bloc for over two decades. He took the most important things from other places: manipulation of the masses from populist autocracy; the art of winning over representatives from his Jesuit professors; gangster techniques to deal with hostile enemies from his university years.

His legacy is practical. After half a century leading the Cuban State, Fidel Castro will be recognized as the architect of a strong justice-seeking project. The social programs he funded produced an unprecedented social movement in the country. And the resulting creation of a “human capital” force which remains today the guarantee that the national economy will take off and the reason behind its emigres’ success.

In economic terms, his half century in power was a disaster which was underpinned by foreign subsidies, which Cuban society paid for greatly when the Soviet Bloc fell in 1990.  He handled the economy like a string of expensive fancies that began with the dehydrating 10 Million Ton Sugar Harvest in 1970, but his headstrong nature also made a wise decision: Cuba entering an elite club of cutting-edge technology in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Fidel Castro is a crucial figure when it comes to explaining global geopolitics in the second half of the 20th century. The Revolution that forced the US to consider Latin America as something else but a backyard, and which reformulated the framework of its hemispheric relations. Which certainly led to monstrosities such as the invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 or Operation Condor-, but also the Alliance for Progress and other further advanced reforming projects, like the symptomatically named Revolution in Freedom by Chile’s Christian Democratic Party.

The emergence of all kinds of alternative projects – from military nationalism to the so-called “20th century socialist movements” – are inexplicable without going back in some way or another to the presence of Fidel Castro in the politics of the Americas.  There’s no need to explain his impact in Africa. However, like everything else in life, there aren’t any unambiguous results and it must be recognized that much of his international success was achieved at the expense of a large sum of resources and human lives, which were sometimes set aside for military odysseys which, in name of his global revolution, ended up strengthening corrupt and bloody satraps.

Believing that Castrism will end with Fidel Castro’s death – like I hear and read in the flood of opinions which are poured into the shadow of the Comandante’s sarcophagus – is doubly wrong.

Castrism as a political project – an authoritarian system which controls every aspect of life and asks for its subjects’ fervent support – has been dying out for quite some time now, even Fidel Castro becoming extinct in the government’s leadership. What his washed out brother Raul is doing is managing the process of transforming the post-revolutionary elite into the new bourgeoisie, especially high-ranking military men and close technocrats. It had been some time now that Fidel Castro was a capricious and irritable old man who explained how to cook black beans, who shouted out against Obama, who suggested that moringa was the answer to saving the global environment, who gave his opinion about the Neanderthal´s past adventures, among many other ramblings that came from his senile loquacity. Ever since his convalescent withdrawal, he never gave up on talking to a world that only he imagined was listening, as populist autocrats, the real ones, never retire.

Instead, if we talk about Castrism as a political tradition, it has very little to do with Fidel. Castrism didn’t found the extremist and authoritarian nationalist tradition in Cuban history, but it did sanctify it. It existed beforehand – hidden or explicit – and it will continue to exist. This is Cuban society’s greatest challenge.

When China’s Chou En Lai was asked his opinion about the French Revolution in 1974, he said that it was too recent of an event to give his opinion about. I think there are more than enough reasons to do so with Fidel Castro. Nothing will be able to excuse him of the terrible liability with regard to the lack of freedom and democracy in Cuba, the division of society and the mass expropriation of émigré’s civil rights, the irresponsible way in which he played with US hostility and the economic disaster that he led the country into.

Every Cuban has paid a price for his megalomania, and the lives of a couple of generations at least were affected by the charm of his slogans, paying prices that were way too high for one life. However, no judgement can leave out a very simple fact: he captivated the imagination of entire generations who had benefited from a revolution that ended a long time ago, but still survives as a political system.

Raul Castro, his voice choked up with emotion and his chronic lack of charisma, announced some grand funeral celebrations. I imagine that his remains will be placed in Revolution Square, and that Cubans will parade before them. Some voluntarily and others “mobilized” by all of the institutions that make up Cuban society, which increasingly suffer greater setbacks.

The great Cuban writer Lichi Diego once said that one of the Cuban people’s flaws was their reluctance to let go of the past. It’s not about forgetting, as taking the past into account prevents you from banging your head against the same wall. But you do have to overcome it, which is the best way to remember. I hope Cuban society will be able to do this and advance towards a Republic and democratic future which shouldn´t leave out the historic burden of an intense and contradictory process which has left its inevitable mark in national history for those of us who live in this century which – along with us – is aging.

74 thoughts on “What Has Died in Cuba with Fidel Castro’s Death?

  • December 1, 2016 at 10:08 am

    This transition of power is a very pivotal point in Cuban history. Although it might not feel like it for you all, Cuba just might be one of the most stable latin American countries if not the most. Your advances in education, medical care, and environmental preservation places you in a powerful position to be a strong Latin presence that is very much needed.
    As Central and South America fell to powerful nations exploitive and damaging business practice, Cuba has remained relatively intact.
    As someone looking in, I will never fully understand your situation. But following the U.S model of globalization will guarantee corporations destroying your way of life, siphoning your resources, and stripping the country of all it’s beauty.
    I hope that in Cuba there is some sense that encompasses that harsh reality. If I can plant a seed in some way a greater way to enter the world stage and participate in globalization is to follow the Japanese model.
    The similarities are impressive; both are islands off the coast of bigger and more powerful nations. Both have strong cultural and traditional values, and have some of the most talented and brightest ready to control their own destinies.
    Japan has capitalized on their resources, and have succeeded in this global society. Cuba can too, if they withstand western influence and maintain control over their country and not fall under the power of larger “bully” countries. Reading some of these blogs, it seems that European influence is having a negative affect in the way of prostitution and corruption in the way of tourism.
    Beware of being too reliant on this form of income. Although it provides short term gains, it will not be in Cuba’s best interests in the long run.

  • December 1, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Yes the US was involved as was the USSR. Realistically what did you expect the US to do after the Cuban missile crisis was over? Should they have said “Let bygones be bygones and let’s be friendly towards each other?” Somehow I think that would not have been a correct response. What Cuba turned out to be was as much the fault of Castro as it was the US & Soviet Union. No country or government is perfect. Not the US, not the USSR and not
    Cuba. Castro seemed obsessed with being the “bad boy”. It didn’t have to be such an antagonistic relationship.He made an entire
    country pay for it. His legacy is now and will forever be of an
    oppressive corrupt dictator. It’s such a shame he let his ego get in the way of his county’s greatness.

  • December 1, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Propaganda is the only recourse for a scoundrel! Fidel and Che will live on in the hearts and minds of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans all over the world while a handful of European elites and racist yanks would continue to suffer the two giants of modern history in their nightmares!

  • November 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Your comment has a couple of spelling errors. It should read:

    “Fidel Castro was a very ruthless man who was willing to kill for his power.”

    You’re welcome.

  • November 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    The mourning will be very short lived. The reason for the mourning is because Trump and his people will have to resurrect a dead country.

  • November 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

    The Cuban economy is in the last 10 years may have been mishandled then so has virtually every country in the world’s.
    In November 2004 Bush introduced sanctions banning the trading of the $US in commerce with Cuba. I May 2005 he tightened sanctions to completely
    Cuba recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 17.10%of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2012. Government Debt to GDP was at a record low of 14.80% in 2006. in Cuba averaged 18.19% from 2006 until 2012, reaching an all time high of 21.10% in 2010 due to the failure of the sugar Harvest. The Government Debt to GDP remained around 17% to date.
    The USA Government Debt is currently running at between $US66 trillion and $US 67trillion over 100% deficit per GDP, that’s 2 times over bankrupt.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I love my land and as for these idiot leaders, they do not lead me . . .. I view the world from a lens unlike others . . .it’s really not about money for me . . . .France took over Canada, Spain over Mexico and South America and then the British took the USA. It has been going on for longer than words have been written. When one learns to love the land and those that will follow in our footsteps, then man will know what worth really is.

    There will always be something new ($$$$$$) to sell which means another country will start a war with that one in order to get it, that’s shortsighted and every country that follows it becomes history.

  • November 28, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I expect that will be followed by a period of mourning when Presidential nominee Trump takes office. The similarity of personality to Fidel Castro is quite remarkable.

  • November 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    As some people I knew in Cuba fled to the US taking very substantial risks in the process and two of whom following becoming US citizens returned to visit their families in Cuba, I am able to refute your statement.
    Jose changed pesos to CUC’s ouside the Cadeca in our town purchasing CUC for 25 pesos and selling pesos for CUC’s for 24 pesos. On that narrow marging, he not only existed but saved. Eventually he managed to get to San Martin where he hopped a ship to Miami.
    Yelena was a school teacher receiving almost $350 a year in pay and with 2 children to support. She took a contract with the Cuban regime to teach in Venezuela. When there, she bought a false passport and went to the Dominican Republic. They jailed her for a month for having a false passport and then released her on the condition that she left the country – she did, going to Puerto Rica which also jailed her. Eventually an american family in Puerto Rica helped her to get to Orlando. I knew both these people before they fled and have met both of them since they became Americans and visited the families. Yelena is now hoping to get her two children to the US.
    Your statement Robert that those who flee Cuba are “capitalist bourgeoisie” reflects your absorbing Castro regime communist rhetoric and propaganda.
    Neither Jose or Yelena were alive in 1959. They were born and raised in the time of the Castro dictatorship. so were the young people from Candaleria whose terrible experience which resulted in half of them dying which was reported and discussed on these very pages this year.
    My home is in Cuba, I know what I am writing about – mine are not the views of innocent or ignorant temporary tourists. So, what are your views based upon? Have you ever lived in a communist state? Speak up!

  • November 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Fidel Castro:

    “There is often talk of human rights, but it is also necessary to talk of the rights of humanity. Why should some people walk barefoot, so that others can travel in luxurious cars? Why should some live for thirty-five years, so that others can live for seventy years? Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not have a piece of bread. I speak on the behalf of the sick who have no medicine, of those whose rights to life and human dignity have been denied.”

  • November 28, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Fidel Castro … an evil man. Humanity is improved with his passing. Want to celebrate him? Look at the 2,000,000 who fled his rule. Can the seas bring up the dead who tried to escape him? Look at a filthy collapsing infrastructure of mass poverty we call Cuba today. Did life really improve with the confiscation of the wealth of the upper classes and foreign companies? Sure more can now read, but what do they read that is not censored? He took the richest country of Central America and made its currency worthless. Rights of assembly, speech, press, religion and unionization were brutally eliminated. I propose if you mourn this monster you are either critically uninformed or were a beneficiary of his terror. The world became a brighter place once Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Castro left it.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:22 am

    That’s completely bogus — “most of the people living in hunger without work” is just propaganda. Cuba was one of the best educated nations in the region, and already had a good health care system, though it was far from perfect and there were glaring disparities in wealth. But your attempt to claim that practically everyone was living hand-to-mouth in wretched poverty and unemployment is ridiculous.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:19 am

    An argument which casts native populations as the helpless pawns and victims of outside forces is flawed from the start. It’s naive Manichean conspiracy mongering, not a serious political view.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Racism is always odious and your rant about “whites” (as if there were even biological races in the first place, mind you, which is not true and easily verified by studying evolutionary biology) is self-defeating.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:15 am

    That’s a caricature of the rest of Latin America, although it’s quite correct that the United States has engaged in some completely illegal interventions in the region, some of them cloaked in secrecy and never ratified by the Congress. All of the good or evil is not on just one side, that’s undeniable.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Who is “they,” and how would that “silence” anyone? The path towards provisional truth is to engage in free debate and discussion, and Americans (and Cubans who are allowed to actually state their own views free from punishment!) have little difficulty in proving that international terrorism poses a real threat in numerous nations. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Anyone who thinks there is no useful, functional, legal definition of terrorism has never done any research into the issues. And anyone who thinks the difference between an act of terrorism and justifiable use of force somehow depends on their own ideas, is indistinguishable from a nihilist, a completely amoral solipsist. Try reading The Possessed (sometimes translated as The Devils) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky — his depiction of the plotting revolutionaries and their slide into terrorism is highly instructive.

  • November 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Nidal you ought to have written:
    Viva Fidel Castro muerto!

  • November 28, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire! Poor Cuba was deceived into believing that the revolution was in pursuit of liberty from dictatorship and instead had one dictator replaced by another.

  • November 28, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Good Idea!
    My home is in Cuba, I am married to a Cuban am related to over 60 Cubans (la familia) and spend the majority of my time in Cuba. In consequence my contributions to Havana Times are intermittent as I cannot access the Internet (great British invention – thanks to Tim Berners-Lee) when at home. I am originally a Scot, have visited over thirty countries and lived in five. I wrote a book ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’ which has been published and can be found on the web. I detest dictators be they of left or right.
    So there is a start Martyn!

  • November 28, 2016 at 2:48 am

    I’m not going to bore everybody by answering all your points one by one, but Cuban revolutionary actions commenced against Spain. Cespedes, Agramonte, Marti and Maceo all fought the Spanish who responded by sending General Weyler who invented concentration camps. I would not defend the history of the US related to Cuba.
    I would answer your second point by pointing out that the Cuban economy is like all the infrastructure crumbling – and not merely due to the embargo, but total incompetent policies and management – hundreds of thousands of acres reverting to bush – sugar production down to under 15% over 25 years.
    Thirdly you are making a totally unsubstantiated statement by saying that every family has a university educated person. I personally know families where that is not correct.
    The health care system is reasonably good compared with that of the many other countries that have national medical systems -which started in 1948 in the UK – the US lags way behind with millions having no system.
    Cuba does not even rank in the top twenty in infant mortality – and remember that Canada is in the Western Hemisphere – but the US although spending currently some 17.1% of its GDP on health services (highest figure in the world) is some 3% worse than Cuba.
    You omit to say that medical services are commercialized by Cuba providing contracted services for which it charges other countries with some 30,000 doctors working in other countries and similarly with education although Cuba is currently short of teachers.
    Other countries made major contribution to the collapse of apartheid – the embargo and sports exclusion.
    Doctors from several other countries were in Africa battling ebola prior to Cuba which only sent its medical people there in October. The country which sent the largest number of people to battle ebola was the US. Also, don’t forget the immense contribution made to health in Africa by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    Yes, Cuba had military involvement in thirteen other countries including providing troops to aid Syria’s al-Asad when Syria attacked Israel – have you noticed that because they lost, Cuba does not celebrate the anniversary of that event?
    The Cuban Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) charges other countries for the education provided and claims to have trained 20,000 doctors from 123 countries since 1998.it endeavors to impress foreign students by providing ELAM with new yellow Yutong coaches whilst Cubans themselves have to use pre-revolution converted trucks.
    I hope that the above suffices to demonstrate that your views although interesting, reflect regime propaganda, not the reality of life for the Cuban people or adherence to fact!

  • November 28, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Just as Hitler, Stalin and Mao live on as similarly qualified symbols!

  • November 28, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Hi Flying Eagle!
    To answer your first question, Henry V. at the Battle of Agincourt.
    Just a gentle reminder that the world comprises much much more than just the US. The Bloods are dual Canadian/US citizens and one of my sons-in-law is a Canadian Cree. But that is just in North America. The white man produced Isaac Newton, Gallileo and Winston Churchill, although he did have North American Indian blood through his mother. So it isn’t all bad or dumb! Also, Christ perhaps qualified as being white.
    I have known really stupid people and really smart people of various races. Racism is not only a white problem – Idi Amin was a prime example of being a racist and he was black!

  • November 28, 2016 at 1:51 am

    THIS IS BIG NEWS! As one who lives in Cuba I had not previously understood that the conditions represent prosperity. I thought that with average incomes of $20.68 per month and pensions of $8, with ration cards and with the CDR spying on every block in every village, town and city and with anyone criticizing the Castro family regime being jailed, that Cuba is repressed by dictatorship. But you say that thanks to Fidel Castro, Cuba has prospered. I must tell my neighbours to count their good fortune, because currently their view is entirely contrary to yours.

  • November 27, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    “Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; eternal vigilance is the price of human decency.” Aldous Huxley

    My hope for the people of Cuba, Eternal Viligance.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    The problem is that humanism and the market are deeply in conflict– and neither Castro’s Cuba nor the US have the answer to that 21st century dilemma. also hawaii is an unfortunate analogy, as it was another territory like Cuba seized in 1890s by US and taken over by American corporations, local system of government forced out until eventually it became a state.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Fidel is a GIANT among men. His legacy will live on! Trump will die and be forgotten in TIME.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    HIs country should have taken him up on that offer in 1960 !

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Those who fled are traitors. They fled to the enemy. Fidel Castro was a dictator for the the corrupt rich. Cuba prospered once the filthy criminals returned home to the US.

  • November 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    ”……whose achievements were never compensated with their immense human cost.”
    You are half right. So, lets examine the achievements of the Cuban Revolution.
    First, the emancipation of the Cuban State as a vassal of United States Imperialism.
    Second, the nationalization and Cubanization of the economy.
    Third, a world class educated population boasting a university educated person en every family.
    Fourth, a world class health care system accessible to all Cubans at no cost.
    Fifth, the lowest infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere rivaling Scandinavian countries
    Sixth, a life expectancy equalling and often exceeding the Untied States.
    Seventh, the elimination of extreme poverty
    Eighth, the most per capita doctors in the world, twice the United States.
    Ninth, Instrumental in the demise and collapse of Apartheid South Africa.
    Tenth, the defense and protection of the newly independent Angola
    Eleventh, since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Cuba has sent over 50,000 doctors to Africa.
    Twelfth, sent 300 doctors to Africa and eliminated scourge of Ebola when no one else wanted to go.
    Thirteenth, Sent troops to Ethiopia to repel US backed Somali invasion.
    Fourteenth, has provided scholarships, 15,000, to poor students of the world to study medicine in Cuba
    Fifteen, Cuba sent medical missions throughout the world to treat the people of natural disasters treating millions of people and saving millions of lives.

    You cannot hide your disdain of the Cuban Revolution and is vast achievements. No country in the world has done more to improve the lot of the poorest people of the world than Fidel Castro.

  • November 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Well, almost. But you have a few words backwards. He was a man who was willing for his country to die for him. As it did, economically, politically, socially and most importantly, in terms of human rights.

  • November 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Must be tough being in America right now. Especially with your views. I agree, mostly. Except to say that, overall, the US steals from other countries. What it gives back in aid is a pittance by comparison. Trillions of dollars are taken out of Africa every year by multinationals, and this robbery was enabled by the US Government. Canada is no better either, and Europe started the whole plunder racket off.

  • November 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Not to defend an autocracy like Catsro’s but we’re kidding ourselves if we dont recognize that representative democracy in the west is a carefully constructed fraud that props up the myth and illusion that people have a hand in how theyre governed when the truth is quite otherwise. There’s only one status quo.

  • November 27, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    You fail to mention America’s part in all of this. I think Cuba, and Castro’s time in power, would be different were it not for the American boot on Cuba’s neck for the last 50 years. It was always clear to me that Cuba would not return to being an American brothel and casino (the banana republic model embraced by America’s allies in the region) under Castro. For that I admire Fidel. I wish there were a few more Americans here in America who were not so interested in being prostitutes in corporately-owned “brothels”.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    You too shall one day stand before him….Good luck to you sir.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    An Excellent Articulate Article, I am British and was married to a Cubano living in the UK, I have spent a lot of time in Cuba, 30 visits since 1996, I have many Cuban friends, many of whom regard me as family. I wish the commentators had the cajones to also declare their origins and residence before they unleash there comments it would provide a much more balanced view of the comments, How about it Circles, make us commentators declare?

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    He had the guts to stand up to USA. For decades. escaped multiple attempts on his life. Vietnam also did the same and survived. This shows the might of the small country against all odds.He made health care affordable to all. cubans in Cuba live longer than cubans outside. He trained doctors from rural areas and made them give health care to their own people. They paid almost nothing to school and training! Cuba trained thousands of doctors for South American countries. Hope now US Cuba relations improve and Cuba becomes like Hawaii, a great destination for Americans to visit. communism is dead. Humanism and market economy is the rule. we wish all the best for Cuba in coming years. A era has ended.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Had the island been “prosperous” as Tony says the revolution would never have happened; It took hold because most of the people were living in hunger without work. Even working cutting down sugar canes from dawn to late afternoon was not enough. The only people doing well were people close to Batista. Revolutions don’t happen because people want to die, they happen because people don’t have a life to loose.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Very intelligent and nuanced article, thank you for writing down the middle.

    Given the recent Trump outcome, my question is whether we Americans like authoritarian rulers or not? I get confused depending on the era we are living in

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    shhhh be careful…they will say you hate America in order to silence you

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Yes, now that he is dead. Some people make life better and easier for everyone once they pass away. That is the case with Fidel Castro.

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I whole heatedly agree with you Brews Pine, I remember my wife being scolded by her grandmother for criticising Fidel Castro, she was sitting in a wheel chair had 1 leg amputated at the knee and only one eye all as a result of not receiving medicine for diabetes as a young girl. She said in Spanish of course “you know nothing, you do not know how bad life was working for nothing in the sugar cane fields, If it was not for Fidel I would be dead and we would not have any of the things we have, you work in the hotel, you earn good money, you have a good education, and I get my medicine. You know nothing never let me hear you speak like that again”
    The path for the future of Cuba is a precarious journey, we all ready see the wealthy vultures hovering around Cuba waiting to swoop in and strip it of its resources or even at worst turn it back into a toilet for the U.S.A. back to a satellite country run/ruined by the U.S.A. under a Baptista style corrupt regime. That certainly is what Trump wants. The Miami Cubans have the same aim, to come back and splash the cash. This is the worst scenario as the minute basic equality of living goes out of the window Cuba will just be another Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, a 3rd world country where the rich get richer at the expense of the poor who get poorer even more so than the are now. My hope is for a controlled development of true democracy that is not ruled by consumerism and an obscenely rich and corrupt elite few.

  • November 27, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Cuba is better with Fidel as a past historical figure. Time to move on.

  • November 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Revolutions and warrior revolutionaries are mighty, Mao was too. But that is the simple part and few revolutionaries make good visionaries. History is full of their nightmares after the smoke clears, often replacing thoughtfulness with incompetent oppressive ideology or before long just another dictatorship. Most revolutionaries should be honored and retired. Castro brought widespread literacy and at least decrepit healthcare, to his credit, but oppression and backwardness too.
    For visionaries you need earnest, honest, decent and practical people, two very different skill sets. Look to China and Russia to as lessons on unwinding a dysfunctional communist economy and to Singapore and South Korea as paternalistic capitalisms for that new way. Make note of their mistakes too, allowing corruption and decimating socialist support. Look to North Korea and Stalin for how communism can be defrauded to justify a cruel parasitic monarchy or Venezuela for a system that just doesn’t work, resulting in oppression and agony.

    Look to the U.S. Constitution that weaves two basic impulses: all people want to be as free as possible but power is dangerous, so give just enough to a leader to govern, those checks and balances, in the U.S. where only the legislature can impose taxes, can override a veto, can impeach, etc. and with an independent court as the unchallengable referee between the two. That works for people here, but there is universal support for that system, for an honest vote and an outrage for corruption, it may need to be different for Cuba. In fact probably the very best antidote is to invite Cuban-Americans back for their input.
    Good luck with a peaceful transition to a more prosperous and free Cuba.

  • November 27, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Cuba is like Russia .. not a democracy, never has been a democracy, never will be.

    Castro was merely 1 dictator replacing another.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:45 am

    He can explain everything to God……Good luck……..

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:41 am

    “fallen off the wall of history”? isn’t that the only place we see him now?

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:39 am

    As an American who is old enough to have lived through the Cuban missile crisis, I want to say that the world is a better place without this person in it. I can still remember all the civil defense drills at my grammar school that described how we could survive a nuclear blast. It terrified me for many years after. To think that this lunatic nearly started WWIII and risked complete nuclear annihilation of several continents of people to satisfy his lust for power and to prove how tough he was to the world. How can anyone say that Cuba is a great place? Other than a few advances in socialized medicine what has Cuba offered the world? How has Cuba contributed to the betterment of mankind? It is lost in the past & will forever be a poster child for all the failed communistic experiments across the world. One can only hope that his brother will have the sense to let the reigns of power go and let the people of Cuba into the 21st century.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:35 am

    What a horrible article, justifying all the death and destruction presumably caused by Castro, He obviously had a mega maniacal personality, claiming to have guided revolution in Africa. Never heard one African quoting Castro or calling him a mentor. His only claim to fame was the ability to use deadly force to control other people and create a propaganda machine that Hitler would have liked. He in fact resembled Hitler in politics (not war) more that these Marxist writers the article mentions. Cuba will rise up and liberate itself in the next decade, much like China and Russia,

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Everyone is infinitely valuable, even Fidel Castro.

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:26 am

    comandante is dead comandante is alive long live the comandante
    How many times in human history where a thousand men add up to nothing and how many times one man add up to a thousand
    Viva Fidel Castro

  • November 27, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Interesting perspective on Castro.

    The important look into the future will be how Cuba can rid itself of the anachronistic Raul and his bunch and progress to a representative government. With 70 years of dictatorship, there cannot be any infrastructure for elections and leadership.

    Worse, many other countries are now jostling for positions of power and determined to form a government that is pseudo-colonial to their economic benefit. The United States has honored our Cuban Americans by powerful positions in government. China is a single-party government with plenty of cash.

    The goal is “Cuba for Cubans”. The fear is that dictatorships never give up easily after decades of enriching their buddies and living large. But give up they must.

    Tengo confianza en al pueblo Cubano.

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:47 am

    What was the purpose of the Revolution?
    To make Castro, a permanent president and to make Cuba a land of people continuously repressed by dictatorial regimes?
    Or to finally rescue the country from the desperate condition of tenant farming (with 85% of arable land rented by farmer under constant threat of eviction and more than half owned by foreign investors), bring industries to this island that it had always been lacking, bring the unemployment up from 20% to full employment of it’s 1959 5,5000,000 population, provide safe and sanitary housing with electricity for more than half of it’s population, and provide an education including the skills of reading writing and arithmetic to it’s entire population but especially it’s children each with a promise of higher education among other necessary improvements?
    It appears that prior to the revolution the cities were controlled by gangsters who were running casinos and hotels devoted to entertaining mostly rich American tourists while the arable lands were mostly controlled by foreign sugar, fruit and tobacco interests!
    Now that Fidel Castro has passed, does the benefits of the reforms end and Cuba return to the excessive corruptions dominated by foreign interests of the past prior to the revolution or shall the Cuban people finally rise up to take the reins of the government and judiciously partner with outside investors to make this country a free, democratic republic, with great abundance and prosperity for all Cubans?

    I hope the latter!
    Free Cuba Now!

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Fidel Castro, he used people to glorify himself and in return he gave them decades of repression, hunger, and basketfuls of empty promises.

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Fidel was an enigma full of contradictions, but he was also the only national leader able to stand against Western colonialism and imperialism for half a century – and improve the quality of life for his people in the process.

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Putin reaching for Trump’s Olympic Versailles chandelier which is the culture and science vision to uplift mankind. In the end mankind will return to the sanity and the Light which is going to truly uplift mankind and bring in Heaven on Earth. Atheism misses that with the fallen angel perspective.

  • November 27, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Of course they do. They were the capitalist bourgeoisie and those who benefited from the corruption of the Batista regime and its Mafioso partners.

    And they were among those who tried to overthrow or assassinate Fidel for decades and colluded with the CIA to assassinate JFK.

  • November 27, 2016 at 5:30 am

    The next big celebration here in the U.S. will be when 0bama leaves office. Only it will be more wide spread.

  • November 27, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Yawn, please name one leader who is on the front lines of any war???? Just one and I am not talking about photo ops . . .The true cowards are the ones who kill others because some idiot POTUS said it was in our (USA) best interest.

    These people are the least educated and ignorant class we have. America said it was good to kill others and give those countries trillions while we ignore America because that would be charity if we spent that money here in America. Why these idiots fight to give people who hate us money and advocate for themselves as if they are special is a disgrace, a disgrace that these idiot soldiers and their supporters call, “Patriots.” LMFAO.

    I built hospitals, water treatment plants, dentist offices, fire stations, police stations, prisons, from kindergarten to collage campuses, top secret military installations etc. . . . WE (I) DID MORE FOR AMERICA THAN YOU IDIOTS WHO WENT TO IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, SYRIA, LIBYA, SOUTH AFRICA, ETC . . .. AND I AM PROUD OF THAT. NOTHING YOU SAY WILL CHANGE THAT.

    The white man is absolutely without a doubt the dumbest race ever to walk upon the earth. They would kill their mother for oil and diamonds, lust for gold and poison their fellow man for the almighty $$$. . .absolutely no “HONOR!!!!!!” or understanding of what is truly important in life.

    Money is only what you think it is, just look at india, one day the 500 and 1000 rupee was worth something, then the president says that money is no good. 86% of all money declared useless.

  • November 27, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Nothing has died. Castro lives on as a symbol of Cuba.

  • November 27, 2016 at 2:45 am

    I don’t agree with everything every politician does in office, I have a
    lot of respect for Fidel, as for counting dead, 1,353,000 died in
    Vietnam, but they don’t call that brutal. I won’t go into details about
    how our western world kills with impunity, yet we label Castro and Duterte, because they don’t kiss western ass.

    Like an old honest vet said, the difference between a liberating force and terrorists, is simply the side your on.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:47 am

    There is a lack of logical thought in this article. You are not free yet, so I guess you have to write this way, if you want to slip in a few mild critiiques of your employers. Cubans have to be so careful, or they will be jailed or killed, or just fired.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:39 am

    An excellent and balanced article.

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:10 am


  • November 27, 2016 at 12:57 am

    I guess the First Amendment isn’t honor in Little Havana. Their special! They can kill presidents and Republicans wouldn’t blink an eye.

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:51 am

    We do have a fist amendment, patriots?

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Ah some sanity at last!

  • November 27, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Sanity! How refreshing. There’s hope after all.

  • November 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Castro was an assassin once he gained power. Before that he was a coward who hid behind his collaborators and let them be slaughtered while he hid and was finally captured and then pardoned by Batista for political reasons. On the 26th of July when his people were being slaughtered by Batista he was in hiding and then he had the gonads to declare the 26th of July movement as the revolutionary movement. Thousands died in the firing squads after he took power. Thousands died trying escape the hell he had created in an otherwise prosperous progressive country. He was never willing to die. He was a coward and a bully. The myth must die with the man.

  • November 26, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Millions of Cubans who’ve fled to Florida tell a slightly different story about Castro…

  • November 26, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Good, balanced piece of journalism.

  • November 26, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Fidel Castro was a very brave man who was willing to die for his country.

  • November 26, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Very good and well written article.

Comments are closed.