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Castro and the Colossus

Posted on Feb 19, 2008
Castro greets a crowd
AP photo / Javier Galeano

Cuba’s President Fidel Castro greets students in Pedernales in 2006 at a celebration of the anniversary of the July 26, 1953, attack on the Moncada barracks.

By Robert Scheer

The resignation of Fidel Castro is more promising for the burnishing of his legacy than the mostly septuagenarian Cuban hard-liners in Miami and their fawning allies in the Bush administration would like to believe. After all, Mao Tse-tung is still honored in communist China, the fastest-growing capitalist power in the world, and former KGB agent Vladimir Putin is, at least for now, a very popular elected Russian leader.

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Those hoping for a “freedom flotilla” of Cuban exiles returning to remake Havana in the image of 1959, threatening the very future of Las Vegas with legalized prostitution as well as gambling, are likely to be disappointed. Odds are that Castro’s successors, beginning with his rhetoric-weary brother, are likely to finally get serious, after decades of fitful starts and reversals, about ending the grip of a moribund statist economy. Reform leading significantly down the path of the Chinese model, or more appropriately that of Venezuela, which has thrown a lifeline to the ailing Cuban economy, is more likely than sudden upheaval.

But those changes will come too late to justify the suffering of the Cuban people for half a century at the hands of a revolutionary, as arrogant as he is idealistic, who witnessed his vision flounder on the rocks of an incredibly cynical U.S. policy. Prime responsibility for that suffering does go to the Colossus of the North, which in the pursuit of economic exploitation and Cold War paranoia consistently preferred Latin American dictatorships to serious experiments in popular rule and strangled the Cuban economy with an embargo in place for the almost five decades since Castro dared move against the U.S. corporations that claimed to own much of the island.

If Castro had attempted to listen to the better angels of his fervid imagination and pursued the path of democratic socialism rather than communist dictatorship, his effort most likely would have been subverted by the CIA, as was the case throughout the world, but it would have been an effort worth making. That was the promise of Castro’s famous Moncada speech, offered when he was a jailed young revolutionary dreaming of genuine populist power, and even he must have doubts as to whether, as he predicted back then, “history will absolve me” for the price paid in individual freedom for the revolution’s survival in power.         

Not that the United States was likely to easily accommodate any populist challenge, as has been shown by the hysterical reaction to Venezuela’s finally sharing some of the oil loot with the poor. The failure of Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution to provide a democratic socialist alternative was sealed by the decision of John F. Kennedy, that inexplicable hero of American liberalism, to invade an island that posed no threat to the United States. The U.S. had backed the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and the Kennedy administration even enlisted U.S. Mafia thugs, who had the run of Havana under Batista, in a failed attempt to assassinate Castro.


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Only months into his presidency, Kennedy ramped up the Cold War—which Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower had done his best to tamp down—by committing the United States to military confrontation on opposite ends of the world. In a subversion of Eisenhower’s decision not to send U.S. troops to Vietnam, Kennedy lied to the American public about the purpose of his decision to send “flood control” advisers to Saigon as well as the U.S. complicity in the death of Ngo Dinh Diem, the U.S. puppet once proclaimed the George Washington of Vietnam and then summarily murdered in a hit job overseen by Kennedy’s CIA operatives. And after Eisenhower resisted calls to overthrow Castro in reprisal for his nationalizing American-owned power grids, nickel mines and sugar plantations in Cuba, Kennedy, in the first months of his administration, ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Yes, the dumbest moves of the Cold War were authorized by a lionized Democratic president and accelerated by his successor, another grand Democrat, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Both, as the record of memoirs, academic research and, in Johnson’s case, White House tapes has proved, were motivated by a fear of appearing weaker on national security than their Republican rivals. It provides a cautionary tale in considering the current presidential sweepstakes.

How easy it is to claim to champion universal human rights when you exempt your own country from judgment. When did the U.S. ever care about human rights in Cuba, or anywhere else in Latin America before Castro, if those rights conflicted with the rape of the region’s resources? And what a mockery we have made of the cause of democratic rule when our president, twice elected by the people, has created one of the world’s most fearsome symbols of torture on the U.S. “liberated” territory of Guantanamo, Cuba.

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By ocjim, February 24, 2008 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

As much as we rebuke the partisan rule of BushCo, we need to recognize the continuing failures of American policy dating back to the the cold war era and the beginning of Castro rule. Most of these failures relate to unwillingness to do what is needed or what is right vs. what can be easily sold to the American public or what pleases large and powerful lobbies.

Cynical and even illegal policies are committed over and over again in American history, whether you’re talking about supporting an Iranian dictator, arming the contras, starving Cubans and Iraqis with our embargoes, assassinating supported leaders, etc.

Our leaders tend to delude themselves into believing that they are doing what is best. Little consideration is usually given to the people of other countries that we are hurting, whether starvation, murder, maiming, etc.

After the total absence of conscience with the Bush administration, our leaders need to evaluate each decision in terms of cost-benefit and not just in terms of money.

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By cyrena, February 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

No homeless, no hungry, and free medical.

Hurricanes? No problem. The state crews come out in advance, (per weather warnings). They move everybody up the mountains to the already long ago built shelters. (even their refrigerators). The hurricane passes. The waters subside, and the crews come back and move everybody back home.

What a deal.

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By PatrickHenry, February 23, 2008 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

I have advocated for many years that the U.S. resume free trade once again with Cuba.  Good cigars and rum, sugar would cost half of what it does now and wouldn’t need the subsidies going to that small Cuban voting block in Florida.  Cuba made overtures to us when Katrina hit by offering help in the form of doctors and their expertise of hurricane disaster relief which some idiot rejected.

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By Expat, February 23, 2008 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

^ There, we do all of the human rights violations we have accused Castro of lo all these years.  What a shinning example of freedom, human rights, and democracy we must be to the Cubans.  Castro must feel some measure of redemption from this.  We always measure the world through the lens of ourselves; that being the ignorant, provincial people we are.

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By mackTN, February 22, 2008 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

...because through a former marriage, I have Cubans in my family.  I understand their anger at Fidel, their feeling of loss and of being terrorized.  Old Fidel appears harmless, but young Fidel was a monster to a generation. 

But Cuba is not Iran.  We don’t fear Cuba just continue to punish it because it’s not a democracy.  Because it won’t allow us to use it as a playground and go in and build condos for the rich and famous? 

Does a country have to be a democracy?  If Cuba released its political prisoners and allowed individual freedom of expression without fear of repercussions, wouldn’t that be enough?  I would hate to see Cuba become another Great America.

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By Kiwi, February 22, 2008 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

So is China “invading” the US and other countries with incredibly cheap consumables and how long will it take for them to get here?

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By SteveL, February 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

The biggest economy on the planet, the United States goes after one of the smallest, Cuba and it worked.  What a non-surprise.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, February 22, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Yeeeaaahhh, but WE:
are Americans
are A Beacon of Hope for the rest of the world
are generous, altruistic
are the world leader in the spread of democracy
  throughout the rest of the world
are the richest country in the world
are Right
treat our citizens with kindness and respect
and, most of all, fight the terrorist Islamo-Fascist Muslims (over there so we don’t have to here. It’s hard work, but someone’s gotta do it)and
We can shoot dead satellites out of the sky ‘cause they might fall onto someone’s head and give them a boo-boo (a $30 million tetanus shot)
yada, yada, blah, blah

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By Frank Cajon, February 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Fidel Castro will probably be taught in our schools to have been a monster. A military dictator who threw dissidents in prison, condoned torture, and supported wars in which thousands of civilians were killed-and were ultimately doomed to failure. While I do not admire many of the things he did in a half century, I honestly think that every terrible thing ever done by this man combined pales by comparison to what has been done by George W Bush in the past 6 years. No contest.

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By xyzaffair, February 21, 2008 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
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You’re right.  Nixon had a hand in planning the invasion while he was Vice President.  (Eisenhower, by the way, never trusted him).  I believe Kennedy was talked into it, being assured it would go off flawlessly.  The planners were angry when he refused to authorize the use of U.S. airpower.  His lukewarm support for the invasion, and his subsequent promise that there would be no more invasion attempts, angered the militant Cuban exile community.  This may have been a factor in his assassination.

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By james kohfeld, February 21, 2008 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment
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While in Cuba a few years ago a friend was ridiculing the “free” elections held in the US.  In contrast, cubans campaigning for election to their assembly are not allowed to spend any money on their campaigns.  Furthermore, no homeless people were to be seen bacause everyone is required to have a place.  It was a relief not to be bombarded by capitalist propaganda 24/7.

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By CJ, February 21, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
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First question at this evening’s ostensible debate—from a Jorge Ramos—had to do with how one or the other would deal with Cuba under Raul. There was agreement on vagaries like liberty and freedom for the Cuban people before either candidate would enter into diplomatic relations. There was minimal mention (actually none) of the damage the U.S. has been wreaking on Cuba for about half a century. Not that parties to this evening’s debate have ever actually asked the Cuban people themselves what they might think about anything. But no matter, since for all candidates the “Cuban people” reside only in and around Miami, Florida. For all presidential candidates and most propagandized Americans, only Castros and political prisoners remain on the island called Cuba (where Guantanamo is located).

(They’ve not asked us either about what we might think about our own country, but are always ready to speak for us in our name. For them, Americans do indeed reside within confines of U.S. borders, if only in well-to-do neighborhoods and in media. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Wall Street pays the president-elect a visit. Even if Wall Street doesn’t, which they will, minority Republicans in Congress will block most all of president-elect’s proposals. So much for “change.”)

I couldn’t help but wonder if Obama and Clinton were talking about freedom FROM something, as opposed to freedom in the abstract; i.e., freedom FROM bankruptcy in the event an American develops a serious illness, or freedom to acquire an education like that all Cubans receive FREE of charge. Just to note two down-to-earth freedoms Cubans enjoy while Americans don’t.

Or did they mean only freedom to say whatever—kinda? For those out there being denied decent healthcare and an education, though certainly free to file for bankruptcy, remember that you can always eat your somewhat freer words (no doubt) for the nutritional content they contain. If any at all, more in Cuba, since Cubans on the whole are more literate than Americans. Thanks in no small part to “dictator” Fidel and bro, Raul, neither of whom brooked or would ever brook those who would return Cuba to another real-deal real dictator like Batista (who got there by coup in the first place) and Meyer Lansky too.

Granting Fidel some due for throwing out the bastards on behalf of poverty-stricken and illiterate Cubans, got to love him just a little. He outsmarted ten (?) U.S. presidents, not a one of whom ever led any kinda revolution at all, not even—rumor to the contrary—Ronnie Reagan, unless pretense to (abstract) freedom counts.

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By Alina M Lopez Marin, February 21, 2008 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Scher, I was under the impression that Kennedy did not authorize the Bay of Pigs invasion. While he was aware that people were training in Panama and in Florida he was not fully aware of the extent of the invasion until the Bay of Pigs invaders found themselves completely outnumbered by Castro’s forces in and around the Bay of Pigs. The rebels made constant requests for air strikes from the US which Kennedy perhaps wisely refused.

I recall my father stating that if the rebels would have succeeded in vanquishing the Cuban militias we would have to send another invasion to liberate the liberators. I suppose he did not have much faith on the exiled rebels that landed in the Bay of Pigs.

My analysis after 48 years since the date that I left Cuba with my parents is that Fidel has been by far the most stable dictator in this hemisphere. He has done whatever he wanted to do whenever he wanted to do it and has used the US and the Cuban exiles to serve his own ends. Fidel is probably one of the most wealthy people in the world and probably also the most bitter. Perhaps this is the reason why his intestines are slowly disintegrating. He has done a great deal of harm to many people including his own family. His sordid life is coming to an end that he truly deserves.

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By PatrickHenry, February 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. should have invaded Cuba with KFC, 7-11, McDonalds and Burger Kings 20 years ago and we would be there by now.

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By Gregorio, February 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

I visited Cuba in ‘99 to see what I could see.  I saw no heroic posters of a monomaniacal dictator whose presence was muted if anything; I saw no squalor, I saw clean streets and smiling people willing to share or help me out (I am wheelchair bound, yet I went alone); I saw public transportation taking people to the fields and factories, people who were not in tatters though they were not obese either; I saw beautiful buildings and homes in need of paint and repair; I saw lots of old autos and motorcycles with sidecars; I saw lots of tourists from Italy, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Canada; I saw unarmed police watching people who respected them because they were from the neighborhood and who called to them by their names (these police were helpful to me in a city without curb cutouts); I was treated gracefully by the docents at the Lenin Botanical Garden when I could not ride the tour bus, and one rode with me in a tsxi showing me everything there.

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By robby zuwadza, February 21, 2008 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment
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Robert Sheer is ignorant of some of the facts or is misrepresenting the Bay of Pigs Fiasco.  Kennedy got conned by the CIA and some advisors with their own agenda.  The whole operation was created during the Eisenhower Administration and was rehearsed for almost a year before Kennedy was elected. A double agent at CIA leaked it to Castro and when the going got tough, Kennedy chickened out and called off the air support that may have saved the day but would have blown CIA cover. Corporate America drove that operation just like it drove Vietnam and is now driving Iraq. Eisenhower had it right when he warned us to beware of the military-industrial complex, but his Administration was in charge when the Bay of Pigs fiasco was created. If there is no enemy readily at hand, you must create one!

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By brhorton, February 21, 2008 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Just think, when Cuba is free, i suspect that Havana will make Las Vegas look like Coney island.

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By Monish Chatterjee, February 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment
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Over 25 years ago, living in India, where a so-called Marxist government began running the state of West Bengal since the mid-1970s- I had highly negative views of communism (especially the Indian versions of it- the type my father, who spent time in British prison as a fighter for India’s freedom, absolutely abhorred), and, rather naively in retrospect, of socialism as well by association.

Looking back, I realize that the Anglo-American propaganda machine is one of Mankind’s most spectacular inventions. People in colonized and formerly brutalized countries throughout the world, and throughout modern history, are fed a regular ration (an overdose, actually) of the benevolence and greatness of this “democratic” and value-based Western capitalist model. This relentless propaganda, in conjunction of the looted and misbegotten wealth accumulated in the hands of their propaganda overlords (at the expense of millions, if not billions, of poor and helpless people the world over)- penetrates and permeates the psyche of people everywhere, especially the young.

As a result, we find many Indians, much like the Miami-Cubans that are rabidly anti-Castro, exhibit relentless contempt for their land and their people- and cannot praise the bright and shiny Land of the Free, Home of the Brave enough.

I have spent a long time in the U.S. now, and I must say that almost from the very beginning of my time here, my eyes were opened to the narrow, vicious bigotry of the capitalist world. I will never forget the racist and divisive efforts (led primarily by the R-party in the US Congress) in the early 1980s to not recognize MLK’s birthday as a national holiday. So much more has since followed right before my eyes- the Anglo-American alliance, working in cohesion, doing its utmost to undermine popular movements in nation after nation; propping up bogus, genocidal dictators across the world; torpedoing efforts of poorer nations to break out of debt by foisting oligarchic tools of profit such as the IMF and the World Bank; and, worst of all, in virtually every single year I can recall, DROPPING BOMBS AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION UPON ONE HAPLESS NATION AFTER ANOTHER. Quite a shining record, this- this bully nation, this greater by far extension of the bully in my fable.

I have equally witnessed the entrenched fabulist culture in the U.S. mistreating its own people- enormous prisons; limitless guns and other weapons of violence; disenfranchisement of minorities; relentless shoddy treatment of blacks and the poor; and, most lately, in these glorious Dubya years (which, thankfully, have done ONE good thing- exposed the deep corruption and murderous capacity of the American propaganda machine)- the decimating of the middle and working classes.

Placed against this self-appointed “Colossus,” as Mr. Scheer describes it (Goliath may be a slightly better description, however)- the valiant resistance offered by Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba, stands out as an exemplary model of human courage, determination and nobility. When the Machine does all it can to cripple you by embargoes and isolation- your failures cannot be judged at face value; your successes, on the other hand, are direct measures of your will to try and become a caring and fair-minded society. Until the world itself changes to one that cares for its poor and exploited, the odds will be stacked overwhelmingly against your success.

Compared with the belligerent US Presidents (except, to a certain extent, for Jimmy Carter), aided and propped by the mighty Machine- Fidel will live on in history as a David of absolutely legendary proportions. It does not surprise me the least that Ernest Hemingway, among so many other luminaries, befriended Fidel even as he led his rag-tag band of revolutionaries against Anglo-American and Euro-American tyranny. In the hall of human affairs, flaws and all, Fidel stands truly tall.

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By PatrickHenry, February 21, 2008 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Sharon has his lemmings too.

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By lilmamzer, February 21, 2008 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

“None of that is true of Cuba. “

That’s demonstrably false. Cuba has had tens of thousands of political prisoners over the years, persecuted for nothing more than daring to speak their minds and express beliefs contrary to the official party line.

No matter. Keep on wearing your Che t-shirts and attending the Code Pink rallies.

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By jleman, February 21, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Thank you for the kind words.
Before I joined the military right after high school, I had read 1984, Animal Farm and so forth; studied on my own about the recent history of SE Asia and had been able to understand some of what goes on in the world. Nothing compared to the actual events as my education continued and I could discern the differences between what people in power wanted the public to know, and witnessed some of what they wished the public to not know. And, as I found out, there was a vast difference between the military of my father, and the continuing military from Vietnam through to today. I’ve come to understand that the Law of the land has been and continues to be about rights of property over the rights of the common good and the communal rights of all. This falsehood is carried by a number of individuals who have formed groups and embedded themselves into government and elected themselves to positions of prestige and power. As they have created wealth for themselves, they have assumed the mantels of “conservatism” in that they wish to ‘conserve’ their gains. At this point in my life, I care little as to the morality of how they arrived at their positions of wealth and power but I do care about how they conduct themselves in this present world and circumstance, and as to their infliction of pain, death and suffering onto others. They usually have an understanding of the pyschology and workings of people. So, what would be a viable excuse for them to continue to operate in such an immature, juvenile manner in regard to making others suffer for their personal beliefs? Because they can?
One of the common topics denegrating Castro is that he used the Cubans of African descent to grab power and then dumped them just as all of the other despots had done. Most of this I’ve seen has come from the direction of those in the U.S. As it has been estimated, just to the north of Cuba, those claiming the high ground disenfranchised up to thirty thousand people of African descent in the 2000 election and more across the country in illegal election tactics such as caging and other skull duggery. Discrimination is still practiced against those of skin color not white across the U.S.
State generated propaganda has escalated over the last seven years and now the “free” media actively participates by either suppressing “news”, spinning it sideways, misreporting it and/or running programs deemed to sway those of unsuspecting mind.
There are those who have benefited under the Castro brothers and those which have known nothing of the older ways. To those that dream of returning to the old ways in Miami, dream on. If Fidel had been the monster made out to be, he should have just killed you, your family and confiscated your wealth. Look at what this country does when it invades a country. It takes your natural resources and leaves you with the mess to clean up. At least when the locust comes through, you can eat them as a source of protein. The greedy leave nothing.

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By lilmamzer, February 21, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

“I wonder how many jews (expat Israelis) there are in Cuba and their influence on that countrys government. “

Why stop there with your paranoid stupidity?

You should ask how many Jews are pulling strings in Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, North Korea, South Korea, Brazil, Luxembourg, etc. etc…..

Love your posts. Keep the bigoted conspiracy bullshit comedy coming.

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By Lincoln Bergman, February 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
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Quite disappointed in this short piece on Fidel, with a much more negative tone and less balanced view of the impact of the Cuban revolution than one might have expected from the author. For a still critical, brief, but more balanced and multifaceted view see, for example, this commentary on the Nation website at

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By xyzaffair, February 20, 2008 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment
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From what I have read, Kennedy was being lied to about the situation in Vietnam.  He was given optimistic reports about conditions, while more accurate information was given to Johnson.  Kennedy also said privately that he wanted to bring all troops home after he was re-elected in 1964, which, of course, didn’t happen.  I can’t say he was killed because of his private position, but there is evidence.

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By cyrena, February 20, 2008 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment


Great comments!! Thanks for pointing out these additional details, and making the connections.

And yes, while I agree with Robert Scheer that Fidel may have his own second thoughts from time to time, about how his populist vision became a dictatorship, I also agree that he was correct in his assessment towards our government.

Needless to say, our government created his direction toward that dictatorship more than anything else. That’s what happens when the powerful leave the weaker with no other options.

In the end, the people suffer, and yes the Cubans have. HOWEVER, from a reality standpoint, how much MORE have the Cuban people suffered, than a large portion of the US population?

I would say that in the past 7 years, the people of the US have been under a far more repressive dictatorship than Castro has even perpetrated.

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By lenny, February 20, 2008 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
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It was Ike, slippery Dick Nixon and Skull and Bonesman Richard Dale Drain of the CIA who were the architects of the Bay of Pigs disaster. JFK came on the scene after it was all set up and was assured that at the first sign of an invasion every Cuban would join in and US forces would not be needed. Unfortunately, Fidel had become fond of that obscure swamp and personally led the counterattack after previously rounding up all of the CIA funded counterrevolutionaries.

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By bud nathans, February 20, 2008 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
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I am a great admirer of Mr. Sheer’s writing.

Might I suggest that in future he adopt the modern pinyin system when citing Chinese words and names, and discard the antiquated Wade-Gilles system.

That is : Mao Zedong, rather than Mao Tze-Tong, etc.

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By jleman, February 20, 2008 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Love affair of the far left? Were you bringing up the love affair for Pinochet? Yes, that was a real love feist of Kissinger’s wasn’t it? More than one of my friends was on his Christmas wish list and had to leave Chile. Or, were you bringing up Negroponte and Latin American death squads? Or, was it Guatamala?

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By jleman, February 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Really? I’ll have to resort that, but thanks for the heads up.
As to who’s CIA? Over the years, I’ve questioned that.

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By PatrickHenry, February 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Good question,

I wonder how many jews (expat Israelis) there are in Cuba and their influence on that countrys government. 

I’ll bet Fidel doesn’t put up with Israeli bullshit either.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, February 20, 2008 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

I don’t hate the Commies.  Nor am I in love with capitalism.  It’s American to damn the Commies but I don’t believe that we have shown that capitalism is a reasonable alternative.  In fact, capitalism feeds the human penchant for greed, our country has so aptly demonstrated, and it looks more and more to me like capitalism, especially the American brand of it, may end up being the ruination of the world.

You see, there’s no end to it, and in order to protect American economic interests a/k/a, greed, around the globe, we have to spend 3/4 of a trillion$$ on a military.  That doesn’t seem all that great to me, not while so huge a percentage of Americans are living in poverty and they’re not even Commies.  Have you really thought all this through?  You seem close-minded, my amigo.

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By P. T., February 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Actually, the coup was shortly before JFK’s death.

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By P. T., February 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment


Cuban gulags?  Actually, I would close Guantanamo.  You have a Nazi-style love affair with imperialism and Zionist expansionism.

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By Jaded Prole, February 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lilmamzer, you sound more like a guzano by the post! You obviously are deluded by anti-Castro and anti-Communist jingoism. Also you are projecting when you post about “cult of personality” much less a gulag society.

Considering the constant attacks and pressure that have been put on Cuba by the US and your friends in Miami, it is amazing how free a society it is.

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By jleman, February 20, 2008 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

It should be noted that the CIA was under the control of LBJ at the time of Diem’s assassination. JFK had been deceased for a few years. While it is acknowledged that JFK started us down the road, LBJ really ramped up Vietnam. Being in the military from ‘65 through part of ‘69, I had privy to knowledge of buildups while politicians were speaking of troop drawdowns. The market would plunge on armament stocks and those in the know would buy. Plus, contractor misdeeds now are no different from then. Profits. Same as the problem of not having the run of Cuba.

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

“The Cuban Revolution would have accomplished nothing if it had allowed complete civil liberties.”

Oh, that’s perfect. The essence of the far-left love affair with authoritarian, totalitarian dictatorships and the squashing of individual freedoms under the jackboots of a military junta.

P.T., how many Cubans would you have ratted on to the secret police and sent to their deaths in the Cuban gulags?

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By jleman, February 20, 2008 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Unfortunately, I agree with you about the loss of civil liberties being necessary. Just the loss of Miami to the likes of the anti-castroites saddens me. Shortly after the Castro brothers succeeded in their revolution, there was an article in Life or Look magazine by a reporter who interviewed Fidel. Fidel stated that early on, they had sought help from the U.S. but had been turned down. The Batista regime was long termed debased by everyday Floridians for quite a while and none I knew ever traveled there. There were the reports that people would disappear, and no one did anything about it. Common knowledge had it as being run by the mafia and big money.
Now, we invade other countries and kill many innocents and have toppled other elected governments(Chile). And, while we embargo an island country off of our coast to try and bring down the rightful government by subjecting the islanders to extreme poverty, we curse the leader of said country as causing their hardship. Meanwhile, condemning that island for imprisoning reporters, we keep a prison on the same island and subject the inhabitants of the prison to torture and sham trials while declaring ourselves as models of freedom and democracy.
This is what we propose to spread to the rest of the world? If that be so, Castro was correct in his assessment towards our government.
It should be noted that Bush Sr. is said to have been the CIA officer in charge of arranging ships for the Bay of Pigs invasion? If that was the case,,,. This may be why Bush Jr. thought he could take Florida(through Miami) in an election if he could get rid of the black vote? Oh, and wasn’t another Bush governor of Florida at the same time? Hmm?

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

By ender, February 20 at 10:53 am

Where are you now ‘Lil?  Sitting in a COMMUNE, or KIBBUTZ on some Palestinians land in the West Bank?  Israel has been trying to deny it is a socialist nation propped up by $10-20billion per year in US aid.

$10-$20 billion per year? Are you sure that’s correct? Why not $80-$90 billion per year? Shit, Ender, let’s just make it an even Trillion dollars per year. smile

You should stop posing as an American and let every poster here know that you are either an Israeli citizen or an American traitor.

Come on ‘Lil, which is it?

What a xenophobic oddball you are. This is an article about Castro and here you are on a Jew-hunt again.

Quick, behind you!!! There’s a Jew!!!


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By P. T., February 20, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

The Cuban Revolution would have accomplished nothing if it had allowed complete civil liberties.  It would have all been for nothing.  U.S. imperialism and Cuban elites would have engaged in subversion and turned Cuba right back to the way it was before.

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By August West, February 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You don’t have a very good grasp of history. The Bay of Pigs invasion was in April, 1961.  The Cuban missile crisis was in October, 1962.  By the time Cuba agreed to stage Soviet nookyouler missiles [the phonetic spelling is out of respect to your hero-Decider], the United States had already staged an ill-fated invasion by Cuban exiles assisted by the CIA, engaged in a series of covert operations designed to destabilize or topple the Castro government, and had begun an economic boycott of Cuba in 1962.  I would submit that accepting Soviet missles was a reaction to aggression by the US&A;. 

I think Scheer generously gives Eisenhower a pass on the Bay of Pigs.  It was under his administration that the CIA began planning and training for the invasion.  Kennedy was only president for three months when the invasion was commenced, although he certainly had to give the go-ahead.  Eisenhower didn’t have a problem with toppling the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

All Americans should feel shame for our Cuban policy, which has deprived the island’s people of basic goods and medicines for nearly fifty years. A policy that could only make sense in the hysterical and collective madness of the cold war is now a tired and broken relic. What makes this policy particularly egregious today is that it is foisted on America by a small community of wealthy former Cubans who gained their riches exploiting local labor under the Batista regime. These people want their casinos and their sugar plantations back. More, they want their labor force of poor uneducated peasants back.

The average Cuban suffered at the hands of the wealthy under Batista, but they are still suffering, and at the same hands under Castro. As long as Florida remains a must-win state for Presidential candidates, our nation’s Cuban policy will be dictated to us by a handful of greedy anti Castrists, slavering to get back to the good old days.

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By ender, February 20, 2008 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Where are you now ‘Lil?  Sitting in a COMMUNE, or KIBBUTZ on some Palestinians land in the West Bank?  Israel has been trying to deny it is a socialist nation propped up by $10-20billion per year in US aid.  They even went so far as to declare they are not socialist a few years ago…which is odd in itself, but the numbers don’t lie. And the Likud definately doesn’t want to cut off the money from the US.

You should stop posing as an American and let every poster here know that you are either an Israeli citizen or an American traitor.

Come on ‘Lil, which is it?

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

“Your home nation of Israel is Socialist with the Likud party as your own CP.”

Ender? As in Dead-Ender? Yes.

FYI - your ignorance about Israel (and your intense bigotry) is showing. Likud is right-of-center and has worked to open up markets, not impose socialism, you MORON.

Please post more. You amuse me.

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By Jaded Prole, February 20, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ilmamzer is just parrotting the lies she has been fed. A “cult of personality” would have pictures of the leader everywhere, the leader having to be surrounded with armed guards in public, and an omnipresent, heavy-handed police state. None of that is true of Cuba.

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By ender, February 20, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Your home nation of Israel is Socialist with the Likud party as your own CP.  The only difference is the cult is ZIONISM.

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By GW=MCHammered, February 20, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And now the godless corporatists don’t want the word ‘Communist’ uttered. Why? Because they manufacture their cheap (and dangerous) products there then sell them overpriced to their Red-White-Blue centered American consumer. The corporatist’s excuse for no government allegiance is that they’re GLOBAL.

I’m not buying. Literally. They’re individual traitors plain and simple hoping to avoid accountability. And if our government continues to lapdog for corporatists, We The People Union must hold them all accountable beginning with a National Strike. Put a well-placed cog in their bent wheels of GREED then go after individuals straightaway.

Midlife Suicide Rises, Puzzling Researchers

(and no, Wall Street dot Gov ... ‘Puzzling Researchers’ is not a Dubai investment group)

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By RdV, February 20, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

and he prevailed.

What makes it so much better here? The healthcare?
The educational opportunities? The legacy of doctors they send out to do good in the world or our pharmeceutical corporations seeking the bottom line over the health of the world’s people?

  Must be that organic food that makes their life a suffering ordeal? You know, the food we can’t afford—or maybe their inability to visit the US…oh, that’s right, we can’t go to Cuba with all our liberty that the world is so envious of.

  Castro Bush…Castro Cheney…Castro Scalis and gang…Castro Wolfowitz, Pearle, Condoleeza Rumsfeld…not such a difficult choice after all.

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

“And we’re not even Commies.  Those dispicable, hateful, terrorist Commies. “

Look around you - this is <strike>Truth</strike>CrapDig. Home of dead-ender Commie losers.

And if you think Communism is so warm, fuzzy, and benevolent, go defect to North Korea. Do us all a favor.

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By Sarv, February 20, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Thank you Bob Scheer for just a little perspective on reality. Particularly I am nauseous at the sanctification of John F. Kennedy. A few timely facts, like those that you present, are salutary.

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By VillageElder, February 20, 2008 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

I remember Castro being here in the US of A.  He was quite the hero fighting against the corrupt Batista regime.  For a short while the country seemed to be for Castro—then the tables turned because Castro was against the prostitution, gambling and etc. which made Cuba a playground for the rich.  If that wasn’t bad enough he announced he was a communist after winning.  How could we have a country lead by godless communists in this hemisphere; particularly when we we lead by a group of godless corporatists.

The suffering of the Cuban people is the result of and the fault of americka’s leadership posturing against communism at the expense of the people living there.

We can talk about the Bay of Pigs some other time…

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By muldoon, February 20, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How much merchandise in our homes was made in communist (ooh, gasp) China? The Cold War is over, folks. One of the main reasons the US embargo has not been lifted is because there are a whole bunch of Cubans in Florida and our politicians don’t want to incur the wrath of the tail that wags the dog. Gee, would sure be nice if the bulk of the US citizenry had that kind of ability to influence US policy, wouldn’t it?

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A Khokar's avatar

By A Khokar, February 20, 2008 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

That neighbour is hell bound; from whose mischief, his neighbours are not safe.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, February 20, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

I may be naive although I didn’t vote for Bush.  But, maybe you’re wrong, too.  The US has a history of holding political prisoners and torturing them.  We even beat up dissidents on our streets.  So, I don’t buy into American self-rightousness nor into American political propaganda, such as that that got us into Iraq and probably will get us into Iran.

And we’re not even Commies.  Those dispicable, hateful, terrorist Commies.

Interesting he’s still alive.  How’s that, being out among the people as he so often has BEEN SHOWN TO BE?  The Cubans must be far better protectors of their despotic leaders than the Americans or they need to build a book depository or more balconies.

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By KISS, February 20, 2008 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Pointing out the fallacy of PT 109 hero John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who, in reality, was nothing more than a womanizing, partner in corporate rape and other criminal deeds. Tied to Giancana, through Judith Exner.
I well remember Fidel coming First to America asking for help for the Cuban people and the lap-dogs of Mafia and corporations turning him down and sneering at the crowds of enthusiastic Americans cheering Fidel…where else to get help, of course Russia. Again, as pointed out by Mr. Sheer, Amerika chose to support despot dictators than freedom and democracy. The rhetoric of the elected seldom matches their deeds. Mr. Castro was certainly a pain in the ass to those who deserved it.

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

“The adoring people in the picture have to be computer-generated; according to the US, everyone in Cuba hates the old Bastard.”

It’s called Cult of Personality, and it’s right out of the Dictator’s Manual. Hitler had one, Mussolini had one, Saddam Hussein had one, and Castro has one too. How naive can you be?

What you don’t see in that picture are the tens of thousands of political prisoners, jailed and tortured and murdered for defying the iron fist of Castro’s Communist dictatorship.

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By lilmamzer, February 20, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

“The adoring people in the picture have to be computer-generated; according to the US, everyone in Cuba hates the old Bastard.”

It’s called Cult of Personality, and it’s right out of the Dictator’s Manual. Hitler had one, Mussolini had one, Saddam Hussein had one, and Castro has one too. How naive can you be?

What you don’t see in that picture are the tens of thousands of political prisoners, jailed and tortured and murdered for defying the iron fist of Castro’s Communist dictatorship.

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By Tom Lee, February 20, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In Clark Clifford’s autobiography he speaks of a summons to Kennedy immediately after his election from Eisenhower to a private meeting at which he disclosed America’s illegal presence in Cambodia and plans for Vietnam as well as the planned and ready to go Bay of Pigs invasion that the retiring president urged Kennedy to proceed with. Clark Clifford was initially Kennedy’s legal counsel and if Kennedy hadn’t taken Clifford with him, no one would have known the Cuban invasion was one of the old general’s plans.

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By ender, February 20, 2008 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

of Castro.  Yes, the US blockade did more harm to the Cuban peoples for 50 years than Castro could manage.  But, look at the happy crowd appauding Fidel, they are all well dressed, smiling, AND OF OR EUROPEAN DESCENT.  The darker skinned decendants of slaves don’t fare so well.  He has not treated them much better than the European descendant Cuban Mafia pricks that now run Miami were treating them.  As usual, the human race is really a contest between bloodlines.

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By Frank, February 20, 2008 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

The failure of Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution to provide a democratic socialist alternative was sealed by the decision of John F. Kennedy, that inexplicable hero of American liberalism, to invade an island that posed no threat to the United States.

That ranks as one of the most naive statements I have ever read by Robert Scheer. A communist dictator willing to allow Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuban territory just off the Florida coast at the height of the cold war was no threat the the US?

Scheer, I really think you may be getting senile. Maybe it’s time to hang up your typewriter and start looking at retirement communities.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, February 20, 2008 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

I think you’re spot on. 

It’s not nice to defy the US of A.

Especially if you’re Commie.

The adoring people in the picture have to be computer-generated; according to the US, everyone in Cuba hates the old Bastard.

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By Jaded Prole, February 20, 2008 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

The ranting delusions and misguided hopes of the bourgeoisie continue here. No, Cuba is not going go the way of Eurosocialism. Cuba has far more structural democracy than Sheer would like to admit and Fidel will remain a beloved hero for what he has done and what he stands for. That the Cubans suffer is purely the responsibility of US aggression and support for terrorism against it. Still, they suffer far less than the citizens of most of the countries south of our border where neoliberalism and US backed tyranny have resulted in extreme poverty, violence and military dictatorships.

US relations with Cuba are bound up in the same anti-communism that distorts the views of many so-called liberal intellectuals. Rather than improving, in Cuba’s case, they are likely to remain the same and worsen towards Venezueala, Bolivia and other nations that seek to be free of us and take the path blazed by Castro.

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