What legacy does Fidel Castro leave?

I shot this photo of Fidel Castro marching for Elián González' return in the year 2000.
I shot this photo of Fidel Castro marching for Elián González’ return to Cuba, which finally occurred in June, 2000.

Tracey Eaton

HAVANA TIMES — Six years ago this month, I wondered if Fidel Castro’s health might have slipped after he wrote an extraordinarily brief column in Granma, the Communist Party newspaper (See “Fidel Castro’s 16 words“).

Rumors about Castro’s health have surfaced regularly, especially after he fell ill in 2006. And those rumors are flying once again.

One of these days, the rumors will be true – we’ll learn that Castro is gone.

What legacy does he leave? Any thoughts?

20 thoughts on “What legacy does Fidel Castro leave?

  • Washington still had slaves which is the point.
    Cubans have many rights we don’t have in the US.
    “Castro has a million slaves” Nonsense! The problem is Cuba was slave of the US before 1959.

  • Not a million. Washington did have some slaves. Which he freed upon his death.

    Fidel Castro, on the other hand, has 11 million slaves.

  • Ps- Didnt George Washington have like a million slaves. So much for a good example.

  • Everyone commenting is wrong wrong wrong as is always the case when it comes to Cuba. Fidel Castro has been an exceptionally great leader. The Cuban Revolution will continue long after he is gone. In the end Cuba’s power resides in the National Assembly and the National assembly is directly elected by the Cuban people. The National Assembly can vote Canel out. Remember his powers are limited. the only reason Fidel Castro was effective president of the Council of ministers is because he holds great prestige as the leader of the Revolution. Same goes for Raul to a certain extent. But once those two are gone, the National assembly will assert their power no matter who is the President of the council of ministers. I like how they compare Mandela to Fidel Castro. It was Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution who assisted the demise of the apartheid regime in South Africa by defeating their forces in the war in Angola. Although I admire Mandela, you can not compare him to Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro is in a league all on his own in terms of the success of a genuine revolution. Cuba is truly a great example to all nations in the world, especially small third world countries.

  • On that last point, well spoken that man!

  • A tragic and consice summary. Well said!

  • Castro will leave a stunning historical example of a magical moment in a nation’s history in which true hope, shinning so briefly, was lost to a hopeless narcisstic intoxicated by total power. It was a moment that called for a George Washington but got instead a Robert Mugabe. How Cuba and the Castro legacy would have been so different if Fidel had loved the nation more than hinself.

  • The legacy of a patriotic, stubborn, brave, intellectual, intelligent, with narcissistic traits man. That was Fidel Castro. And he will remained perpetual in history.

  • Don’t forget Colonel Alejandro Castro Espin, Raul’s only son, who commands the Ministry of the Interior State Secuity Force. Diaz-Canal will be a mere puppet of the Castro clan.

  • I wasn’t discussing the mechanisms of Cuba’s dynasty, I was merely observing that castro established a dynasty in Cuba [his dynasty]. That said, you say that Cuba has never had experience with dynastic leadership changes, so what do you call raul succeeding his brother fidel?

  • Contrary to what some naysayer commentators would say, the notion of the Castro family staying in power in Cuba is absolutely unlikely because Cuba never had experience with dynastic leadership changes and Raul Castro’s son in law, even if he remains in charge of Cuba’s state-owned company GAE S.A., has not though about succeeding Raul.
    If Raul Castro dies and Miguel Diaz-Canel ascends to power, he may want to remove some, if not all, generals, from positions as head of ETEC S.A., CIMEX, GAE S.A., et cetera. As I have repeatedly said before, the military oligarchy does not amount to a true oligarchy because the companies they lead have not been privatized, unlike in Russia, where the former KGB and military leaders renounced their military titles after becoming heads of the newly privatized companies in Russia.

  • No, it’s a country run by the castro family in conjunction with the military oligarchy and European multinationals. castro has destroyed the integrity of the nation by selling off Cuba’s patrimony at fire sale prices to the highest bidder.

  • You say:

    “The extreme right says that Castro made life for the Cuban people
    miserable by torturing, executing, and exiling his opponents, while
    robbing Cubans of substantial material wealth in the name of creating a
    socialist utopia”

    It’s not just the extreme right that says this, its impartial entities that have examined his many years in power. NGO’s like Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Frontiers, and even a report that was published several years ago by the Human Rights Commission of the UN confirm all of those things that you mention. What’s more, many of his victims have testified before the United Nations and in award winning documentaries like “Improper Conduct” where castro’s persecution of gays was documented in detail.

  • Point taken. It is said Mandela defended violence in 1985 when he was offered freedom as a means of protest and self-defense. He agreed to renounce violence upon his release in exchange for the dismantling of Apartheid. The Castros use violence to defend tyranny while Mandela used violence to defend and dismantle tyranny.

  • Good question. The narrative of the legacy Fidel leaves for Cuba from the extreme left and extreme right perspectives is very polarizing. The extreme left says Fidel eradicated illiteracy and made Cuba a role model for most countries in Africa, SE Asia, and Latin America. The extreme right says that Castro made life for the Cuban people miserable by torturing, executing, and exiling his opponents, while robbing Cubans of substantial material wealth in the name of creating a socialist utopia. But Cubans in the middle ground will say that even if Fidel wrecked his country’s economy by imposing draconian restrictions on economic opportunities for his people, he made Cuba a Shangri-La as regards medical and educational services, making Cuba a role model for other Third World countries.
    As I have noted before, not all leftists will consider Fidel Castro’s society a workers’ paradise. The Trotskyists see Fidel as a Stalinist rather than a true socialist, just as they see Che as Stalinist.
    Another aspect of Fidel’s legacy would be to all Third World leaders: if there’s economic inequality, do not rob hard-working citizens of all their material wealth or put the economy under complete control.

  • Well, at least he leaves a country which is not run and owned by the American multinational corporations.

  • Actually, Mandela did not renounce violence until after he was released after 28 years in prison. He was offered freedom several times if he would renounce violence. He refused.

    Other than that technical point, the rest of your post is true. Mandela did (eventually) renounce violence. The Castro’s never will.

  • Unlike Nelson Mandela, who renounced violence early in his career and led South Africa through its most difficult struggles by unifying whites and blacks, Fidel will leave a legacy of torture and violence against those who dared to oppose him. No doubt, his supporters will speak of his vision for mankind but his many detractors, will speak of the realities he wrought on the Cuban people. Anyone who speaks kindly of his 5 hour speeches without notes is certainly not the person forced to sit through that speech. Most Cubans will be sad at his passing and at the same time, most Cubans will be glad he’s gone. One thing is for sure, there will be one helluva party at the Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana.

  • His Legacy would be a manual of how NOT TO RUN A COUNTRY for the future generations of Cubans

  • He leaves a destroyed nation; corrupt, crumbling and criminal. Good riddance. I pray those Cubans who survive the disaster that has been the Castro Revolution will be able to rebuild something out of the rubble of the grande derumble that is Cuba today.

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