Relativism and Castro 194

Anybody who, like myself, has devoted much of their life to African development, is bound to have acquired a bias towards Fidel Castro. Cuba played a crucial role in sustaining the liberation struggles throughout Southern Africa. If Castro had done nothing else, he would deserve warm remembrance for that. But much less well-known in Europe is Cuba’s extraordinary contribution to healthcare throughout Africa. Ghanaian, Togolese and Beninois villages and hospitals had excellent Cuban doctors, and I know part-Cuban families in each of those countries as a result. I am sure it was widespread across much of Africa, I just highlight that for which I can personally vouch. That a tiny island, itself a victim of colonialism and slavery, should be able to make a contribution to African healthcare that can without a stretch be mentioned in the same sentence as the aid efforts of the major western powers, is an incredible achievement.

It was of course the export of Cuba’s tremendous domestic achievement in healthcare and education, and some of the attempts these last 24 hours to belittle that have been pathetic.

But human rights are an absolute, and here there is no doubt that Castro’s record was not good. That he came to power in bloody revolution was not something for which I believe
Castro deserves blame. Nobody denies the dictator he opposed was vicious, and the organised crime and government nexus in Cuba pre-Castro was abhorrent. That people would die during a violent revolution was inevitable, that the immediate aftermath would be bloody, also inevitable. That a wealthy displaced class backed by the United States would attempt violent reversal, assassination, sanctions and every possible kind of political, economic and personal device to reverse the revolution was an act of political will. But against that background, could Castro have done more to inculcate basic human rights in Cuba? Yes, I believe he could and should have done.

I am open to the idea that revolutionary change requires revolutionary justice for a short period. The example of Egypt, back under an appalling military dictatorship, shows what happens when a decent leader like Morsi is too kind or timid to solidify revolutionary change by a wholesale clean-out of the corrupt justice system. But once things settle down, you have to restore order and proper process and genuine access to justice for ordinary people, even or especially against the ruling party. You have to leave space for people to express opposition and even organise politically against you. You cannot consider yourself as Nietzschean superman and decide that you know best for the people whatever they may think themselves or – and this is most pernicious – that commanding a majority entitles you to trample any minority. That the USA and its allies, by unremitting and extreme pressure and physical threat, played a counter-productive role in getting Castro to reform and respect human rights, is certain. But that still does not justify Castro’s domestic repression. He was wrong there, and another path was open – as demonstrated for example by Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, who seized power militarily and ruled as a revolutionary before he transitioned himself and his country successfully from dictatorship to democracy, without abandoning left-wing values.

So Castro is not faultless by any means. But on any objective measurement of his actions and behaviour against the accepted standards of western democracy, both Castro’s philosophy and his practice were much closer to Western standards than those of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who nobody could ever accuse of respect for democracy and human rights, and on whose death the British government flew its flags at half mast. The kind of armed struggle which King Abdullah covertly promoted was wahabbist jihadism, not African liberation. Yet he was officially honoured.

The highest figure I have seen attributed to Castro for deaths of political opponents is about 9,000, and it appears that includes people killed during the initial revolutionary fighting and in the Bay of Pigs invasion. I am entitled to criticise Castro for arrests, detentions, torture and political murders. Those who supported and assisted other dictatorships in Latin America which killed, tortured and harassed many more people than Castro, are not entitled to criticise Castro. That embraces most of the critics who are currently filling the news bulletins. The Imperialism and neo-Imperialism against which Castro stood, with undoubted personal courage, has been much more deadly than Castro, and infinitely more aggressive.


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194 thoughts on “Relativism and Castro

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  • Spanner Murphy

    Great synopsis of a world leader who did far more good than bad and as you say far better than the majority who we ‘support’

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Extremely sensible and balanced posting. Criticism of Castro is perfectly justified – he was neither angel nor demon – but it comes ill from people who condone and support or even fail to see much worse regimes that happen to be Western allies.

    I am reminded of Chomsky’s dictum regarding Grenada: the weaker the country that attempts to extricate itself from the international financial system, the more dangerous it is, because other countries with more resources may be tempted to do likewise. That is why Cuba is so hated and vilified: it does without the United States and its allies and it does all right anyway.

  • Macky

    “That embraces most of the critics who are currently filling the news ”

    Dogs can dance on the lion’s grave. But they can never be a lion.


    Pity you can’t get on to CNN or the BBC and blow their biased coverage out of the water. Thank you for summing up my own thoughts and feelings about Castro so succinctly. I would never argue that he was a man without faults or crimes to his name – but frankly who is? If you have unchecked power you will abuse it. All the US presidents during his time in power were probably as bad if not worse. If Castro killed 9000 how many did Reagan, Nixon, Kennedy, Clinton, Obama, Papa-Bush and Baby-Bush. Maybe Carter is the only US president with relatively clean hands.

    • bevin

      “Maybe Carter is the only US president with relatively clean hands…”
      And he was responsible for the US intervention on Afghanistan, employing wahhabi militias carrying out terrorist attacks against civilians as well as supporting the Shah as his regime deteriorated into sheer terrorism and much much more…

    • Mark Golding

      Sadly Craig does not acknowledge Fidel Castro and Apartheid.

      Castro said. “Why try to hide the fact that the apartheid regime, which made the people of Africa suffer so much and incensed the vast majority of all the nations in the world was the fruit of European colonialism and was converted into a nuclear power by the United States and Israel, which Cuba, a country who supported the Portuguese colonies in Africa that fought for their independence, condemned openly?”… He spoke the truth albeit I acquiesce and allow other to expose the dishonest fabrications that Cuba was acting as proxy to the Soviets in carrying out aggressions.

      My only comment discloses the so called benign President Carter who took the excuses of the apartheid regime at face value stating, “They’ve claimed to have withdrawn and have not left any South African troops in Angola. So we hope it’s just a transient strike in retaliation, and we hope it’s all over.” – Carter promptly opposed sanctions on South Africa after their troops massacred more than 1600 a refugee camp in Cassinga. But hey sanctions must be used to kill a million or more mostly children not impede South Africa, a racist ally helping Israel to test it’s weapons of mass destruction.

        • Mark Golding

          We remember Kief – Nelson Mandela tribute to Biko – 2002 Living, he was the spark that lit a veld fire across South Africa. His message to the youth and students was simple and clear: Black is Beautiful! Be proud of your Blackness! And with that he inspired our youth to shed themselves of the sense of inferiority they were born into as a result of more than three hundred years of white rule.’
          Mandela who said of Biko, “”They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.”

          Mandela’s pro Castro comments angered the American authorities and he was denied entry in Miami. Despite all the criticism and pressure Mandela continued his good relation with Fidel because they shared the same sense of political ideas of justice and liberty.

  • Resident Dissident

    “The highest figure I have seen attributed to Castro for deaths of political opponents is about 9,000”

    Not that it really matters but the Cuba Archive has identified over 10,000 named victims – Craig should know as a historian that given that restrictions of freedom of speech within Cuba the actual number of victims is likely to be considerably higher.

    Saying that King Abdullah was worse, just like the similar claims made for Pinochet on the previous thread, really is something of an irrelevance.

    • craig Post author

      It is relevant in this limited sense. That those who support or applaud Abdullah and Pinochet have no right to criticise Castro.

      • Macky

        “those who support or applaud Abdullah and Pinochet have no right to criticise Castro.”

        The full logical position would be to also include those that refuse to criticise their own Governments for supporting such people.

        • Resident Dissident

          Well I consider myself absolved on both accounts. Criticism of our own and other governments is one freedom that we all enjoy and long may it continue to be the case – unfortunately those that believe in revolutionary justice ( a stance more attributable to Walter Duranty than JS Mill) don’t.

          • Resident Dissident

            Do you really think that or does your sense of revolutionary justice just allow you to attribute whatever thoughts you like to a running dog such as myself?

          • Macky

            “Do you really think that”

            It’s not a matter of me merely thinking it, it’s undeniably true to anybody familiar with your posts here for any length of time, the record of your own comments condemns you; demonising leaders in the West cross-hairs seems to be your specialty, especially when NATO is gearing up for action against their countries; you may try to pretend that’s not propagandising for war, but you’ll only be fooling yourself; hell even when you are proved wrong like over Miloslavich, or the complete hell-hole that Libya has become, you are still not honest enough to admit that you were wrong.

      • Resident Dissident

        Well at least this scotches (is this use of the word racist or Scottish supremacist? If so apologies) the myth that the BBC doesn’t allow the expression of alternative views – although it does point out that the news presenter was not very well informed. If she had read a few AI and HRW reports beforehand she might have avoided the goldfish impressions. Walter Durranty actually lived in Moscow for many years as well so I daresay his reports can be taken as gospel as well (and are by some here).

      • Kempe

        She seems to have had the wool pulled well and truly over her eyes and it’s unfortunate that the interviewer wasn’t better prepared. It’s no good trying to brush aside human rights abuses by claiming that other nations were/are as bad or worse. During the 1960’s most civilised nations were trying to shake off anti-gay legislation from the previous century but it was during this period that Castro was introducing laws that sentenced gays and lesbians to hard labour in special prison camps.

        • Macky

          Ahem ! It wasn’t until 1967 that homosexuality was only partially decriminalisation ( “buggery and indecency between men” were still outlawed); full decriminalisation with parity to heterosexuality didn’t happen until 2003 !!

          • Kempe

            Gays and lesbians had to wait until 1979 in Cuba but the discrimination went on long after that. In 1971 homosexuality was declared to be incompatible with the revolution, boys considered effeminate were subjected to aversion therapy and gays and lesbians could expect to lose their jobs. Homophobia was never institutionalised that badly in the UK.

          • Macky

            @Kempe, “Gays and lesbians had to wait until 1979”

            “wait” ? Yet still ahead of the UK & US; your language betrays your agenda; for the rest of your comments, I suggest you read the article below in full.

            “Homosexuality, for example, was decriminalized in Cuba in 1979, which compares favorably to Scotland and Northern Ireland in the UK, where it was decriminalized in 1980 and 1982 respectively. Moreover, same-sex sexual activity was only made legal across the entire United States in 2003.”

            Read more:

  • Gloria Steemsonne

    Is it true that when JFK was so brutally assassinated he was in fact in the process of plotting a brutal assassination of Castro?

    • lysias

      It is not true. At the time JFK was assassinated, the CIA was indeed involved in one of its numerous assassination plots against Castro, but there is no evidence that JFK was privy to the plot. As a matter of fact, on the very day JFK was assassinated, an intermediary from JFK was meeting with Castro and furthering JFK’s secret efforts to negotiate a rapprochement with Castro. There are good reasons for believing the CIA was aware of the secret negotiations and that this was one of the reasons the CIA and the other members of the cabal decided JFK had to be eliminated.

    • Kief

      I can remember laughing out loud at the buffoons of CIA. They were so arrogant they operated much more in the open and truly came up with doltish solutions to the Dicktator. The best plot involved a poisoned or exploding cigar.

      But they went deeper and I don’t laugh anymore…that is until one of their drug planes goes down again.

      • Herbie

        They don’t usually have problems taking someone out.

        But they sure made quite a hullabaloo of this, didn’t they.

        All manner of bizarre and fanciful antics proposed.

        Makes you wonder, eh.

        If you didn’t already know.

  • Rob Royston

    You could not say a bad word against the Cubans in Africa, The locals never forget that they were there for them when they had nothing to give in return.
    They were in Equatorial Guinea when I went there sixteen years ago as their oil boom was beginning. Today there are hospitals and clinics from many nations as part of the accelerated development that oil has brought them.
    Of course, there were Russian military people there as well who had built large airport runways and mountain roads to Radar facilities which were all a big help for the Western oil companies when they arrived. I’ve never found out if the Cubans came in with the Russians or if they worked separately, it’s something I will have to ask my friends about.
    I worked with Africans who had been to Cuba for part of their education.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Think the number of deaths attributed to Castro’s people is inflated, especially when one thinks about his guerrilla war, Operation Mongoose and atrocities like blowing up La Coubra in Havana Harbor to kill him and his colleagues, the Bay of Pigs invasion just being a token force to trigger a counter revolution, allowing hundreds of thousands to leave, etc.

    Given the scope of Cuba’s problems, Castro was very lenient in dealing with his opponents

  • Phil the ex-frog

    Of course all empires claim they ‘develop’ the exploited savages. And of course the element of truth in this is always presented as some form of balance for the oppression by those without the stomach for the truth. That a bureaucrat of empire describes their work as ‘devotion’ is hilarious. I know, I know, you have since done charity work, which is entirely selfless and as unrelated to economic oppression as the bedding of poor women by rich men is to politics.

    Cuba is a police state and I hold no candle for Castro but you associating your ‘devotion’ with Castro has me reaching for the sick bucket.

    • Macky

      “Cuba is a police state”

      If nothing else watch the video I posted above.

      I leave you with this; Cuba’s biggest exports are not weapons of death & destruction, not even tobacco or rum, but doctors & teachers. Every time there is a tragedy they are also first on the scene to help, and none of these unpaid volunteers ever tries to escape from your “police state”, strange that no ?!

      • Resident Dissident

        I am sure Cuba has its equivalent of Intourist that shepherded this particular lady around. Yes they all were free to object to Castro but miraculously apart from one drunk, who was returned the next day from the cells, no one had any real complaints.

        From all the accounts I have heard from tourists to Cuba all the hotels visited by western tourists seem to have a full quota of prostitutes desperate for US dollars – the gullible here might wish to ask why this is so?

        • Macky

          Oh my God ! There are prostitutes in Cuba !!

          Just like in every country ! 😀

          You really must make your mind-up, either Castro was such an iron-ruling dictator that such things could not exist, or you imagine it was such a ideal utopia that reports of prostitution let it down from being so unique in the World ! 😀

          • Resident Dissident

            Who says iron ruling dictators don’t allow prostitution – in fact much of the evidence points to them using them for their own purposes.

          • Macky

            Just admit that your non point about prostitution is exactly that, a non point; shock horror, people indulge in sex for cash everywhere, why should Cuba be different ?!!

      • Kempe

        ” none of these unpaid volunteers ever tries to escape from your “police state”, strange that no ”

        Not really, they all doubtless have friends and family back home who would suffer as a consequence.

        • Macky

          “Not really, they all doubtless have friends and family back home who would suffer as a consequence.”

          Could theoretically be true, but that would be a deterrent consideration for all people seeking asylum from oppressive regimes, yet they still occur, so we should have had many such Cuban examples, but over the decades at all I don’t recall the MSM trumpeting such propaganda opportunities at all.

        • Kief

          Which is why she got along so well with St Ronaldus who decided that ‘ketchup’ qualified as a veggie in kid’s school lunches.

      • Herbie


        You’d kinda think that a leader who provided free and excellent education and healthcare would be alright.

        But no.

        It’s the US that provides fuck all for your tax dollars that is the goodly example that must be followed.


          • Herbie

            Free Healthcare and Education are easy to provide.

            Many willing people, when such vocation is respected.

            Europe and Britain showed that, coming out of the ruins of WWII.

            Castro showed it, and all that they went through.

            So why can’t the supposedly most advanced countries provide it.

            It’s not as if we’re not paying enough tax.

            I mean.

            How can a third world sugar plantation provide it.

            When highly taxed first world countries.

            Can not.

            Well, it’s because you can make money from it, you see.

            The Western world has decided that profit comes before humanity.

            And they’re sucking the emerging world in after them.

    • Phil the ex-frog

      Yes I know about the many achievements of Cuba. And I know the oppression in Cuba is incomparably less than in many countries. And maybe police state is not an ideal label. However, Cuba has a huge police force who explicitly concern themselves with non conformity. The cops are paid fantastically huge wages compared to everyone else. There are restrictions on internal and external travel for most Cubans. Enforced by travel permits, checked by the overpaid cops. Not the elites of course. They can travel all they like. Raoul was not raised to leader by popular consensus.

      Similarly, while applauding Cuban actions in Africa we should not entirely ignore the credible reports of massacres overseen by Cuban forces in Angola.

      We’ve been here upteem times before Macky. You feel any questioning of the enemies of US/NATO is to feed the forces of oppression we suffer under. Whereas I contend that without honest appraisal we will only ever jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

      • Macky

        You’ve answered yourself;

        “maybe police state is not an ideal label”

        “”without honest appraisal we will only ever jump out of the frying pan into the fire”

        Nobody is stating that Cuba under Castro was perfect, but ignoring the inevitable effect that 50 years of sanctions & sponsored sedition had, is just playing into the hands of apologists for imperialism.

          • Resident Dissident

            Thanks for that – those who have read their Orwell will also know that Spanish anarchists got it exactly right as well on the Marxist Leninists during the Spanish Civil War.

          • Macky

            Well you’ve pleased RD, that should tell you something ! 😀

            Anyhow I’ve read through that rather dated piece (for one Cubans have access to uncensored Internet now), and found it all over the place; at one place he states “the “lesser evil” or “lesser enemy” will not wash”, but then later states the he always tried to “persuade both (pro & anti-Castro) factions that the fight against the dictatorship had to be the priority”. So choosing a lesser evil over a greater one !; later when going on about non US sponsored resistance and dissent in Cuba, he states “it can be stated without any shadow of a doubt that this brand of dissent is the majority”, but a little later also admits, “The presence of anarchist groups on the island is something that we currently have no way of verifying “, so how can he be so sure about the former if he can’t even verify about the anarchists groups that he supports ?!!

            Also his use of the term “Caribbean Stalin” is very suspect, as it’s something that the Right Wing Miami Exiles always use, the people that he ideologically should be opposed to the most.

            Still he does get one thing right when he states, “it suits the US government very well to have Castro cracking down on those trying to escape from the island and for it to keep the Cuban people in check”, which ties-in with my point that any country up against US oppression & malice cannot survive without becoming authoritarian; You state that I “blame all oppression by Castro on the US” which is untrue, but I do state that States becoming authoritarian and leaders becoming paranoid when subject to US sponsored campaign of sedition is inevitable as night follows day, which is exactly why the US does it, so then it can point its hypocritical self-righteous finger at the resulting human rights violations; Castro is far from the only one caught in this scenario, you only have to think of Saddam & others to realize how effective this strategy really is.

            Evil rulers of course exist, but most know that they need to be as well behaved as possible, otherwise their people will turn against them en masse, and the US does all it can to provoke & force both evil rulers to do evil & good rulers to do bad, as it plays exactly into their hands.

            To ignore this and play along with the demonisation of leaders forced into this scenario, is like those useful idiots, but local & foreign, who were leading the cheerleading for overthrowing Saddam & Gadaffi, as now they bitterly regret that they aided the war-mongering that destroyed those countries.

          • Herbie


            No one quite gets what Orwell was trying to say, in Homage and Animal Farm, seemingly.

            He was saying a bit more than that the Communists weren’t all they pretended.

            He was saying something about their relations to the West.

    • lysias

      Without the police state measures, it is very likely that one of the CIA’s plots to assassinate Castro would have succeeded.

      • lysias

        Che Guevara was in Guatemala in 1954 at the time of the CIA coup that toppled Arbenz’s reformist government. Guevara ever after was of the opinion that it had been possible to topple Arbenz because he had been too tolerant of opponents.

  • Mick McNulty

    I’m not aware of anybody ever seeking political asylum from Cuba. I don’t mean the economic migrants whose families fled to Miami etc with much of Cuba’s wealth, whether from land exploitation or the hotels and casinos which laundered the mafia’s money. They’re no more political refugees than Richard Branson and Philip Green; the only difference is Cuba’s ex-pats could’t corrupt the political process back home unlike Branson and Green can and do. And that’s why they despised Castro, because he couldn’t be bought.

    It’s a bit rich western establishments calling Castro a brutal dictator when it isn’t from Castro Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are hiding, but their own proto-dictatorships which are shaping up rapidly to echo Adolf Hitler’s. Don’t we already have death panels?

    • Kempe

      Only the first wave of 100,000 or so migrants could be described as wealthy elite and they thought their exile was only temporary. Their wealth remained in Cuba where it was confiscated by the new regime, most of the other million plus Cubans currently living in the US left for political reasons.

        • Courtenay Barnett


          While at London University in the 1970s I met a third year Cuban student in my first year of reading economics and political science. He was the son of Batista’s Finance Minister. He told me his father’s story of being given options by Fidel of staying on as Finance Minister or going into exile. My meeting the Minister’s son confirmed which option he took. Seemed very comfortable and well provided for as I recall him. So, you are correct, they took their wealth with them and if they could, would have also taken all the real estate they could, if only they were able to get it on to the boat or a plane.

          • John Goss

            Thanks for the confirmation Courtney. It happens everywhere. When the communists took over in Romania they allowed King Michael to take all his wealth with him. However when communism came to an end and ‘democracy’ was installed a kangaroo court quickly despatched of Ceausescu and his wife shooting them in this supposed peaceful Christian country on Christmas Day. Communists are overall much more decent than capitalists – though there are good and bad in both.

        • Kempe

          Most of their wealth was land and property, particularly sugar plantations.

          Batista and his ministers fled Havana a week before Castro’s forces arrived so they were able to take a lot of moveable assets with them. The situation changed afterwards when everything was seized or nationalised.

  • Kief

    “I am open to the idea that revolutionary change requires revolutionary justice for a short period”

    Suspending civl law protections during civil disturbances is sometimes necessary to maintain some order.

    Sometimes it’s to protect the citizenry from revenge-seeking enemies looking to even the score, even though it has little to do with revolutionary goals.

    But most of the time it leads to slaughter of another kind….the illusion that civil rights exist at all.

    One things for sure, in a revolution there will be Blood.

  • Node

    That a tiny island [can] be mentioned in the same sentence as the aid efforts of the major western powers, is an incredible achievement.

    Would you give me an example of one of these Western aid efforts, please.

    • kailyard rules

      Well, here in Scotland we are told we would all be “skint” if it wasn’t for all the monetary “aid” sent up from the rUK. Does that count or do we file it under P for pish, as we do?

    • Courtenay Barnett


      The examples are numerous, with:-

      1. Cuban teachers and doctors working across Africa,

      2. Same in Latin America.

      3. Same in the Caribbean.

      4. Providing aid by building schools and hospitals on terms that the local government donates the land and Cuba supplies the materials and labour, then any technical assistance needed such as specialist teachers, nurses and doctors are provided until the local government is able to fill those skill sets from the native population. Then the Cubans either leave the country or find alternative employment if they wish to stay.

      5. No less a person than President Obama that Cuba had done excellent work for the Haitian people post the earthquake and also provided a very good model for provision of primary health care.

      Over to you!

    • Courtenay Barnett



      6. Providing scholarships to able students who want to study medicine and technical subjects at a Cuban university. These students are mostly from poorer families, so they have the intellectual ability but lack financial means.

  • El Sid

    And, throughout the MSM, no mention of the worst cases of the torture and abuse of political prisoners on the island of Cuba: Guantánamo.

    • Resident Dissident

      Could you support this with some evidence e.g. numbers – or don’t victims of revolutionary justice count?

        • Resident Dissident

          Already done that – but could you also type “castro’s prison camps” or “human rights under Castro” – it was you who was making the comparison. How many died in Guantanamo? How many opponents of Castro were shot?

    • Kief

      Well, considering the opposition to basic needs for the lower classes, they seem to court the shedding of blood. Or do you think Batista would resign upon request?

  • Anon1

    Can anyone explain how Corbyn’s praise of Castro is different from Thatchers praise of Pinochet?

    • MJ

      It’s difficult to make a serious case that Pinochet and Castro are comparable in any meaningful way.

    • Node

      “Can anyone explain how Corbyn’s praise of Castro is different from Thatchers praise of Pinochet?”

      You wouldn’t understand. It’s the difference between praising the ruthlessness of a mass-murdering regime, and praising the bravery and fortitude of the victims.

  • Kief

    Noting the public figure comparisons (castro/pinochet) I must say that nearly everyone has an asshole list.

    Assholes seem to be in the eye of the beholder, or maybe when it’s THEIR asshole, all is well with the World.

    Useful idiots have fabulous selective perception ability.

    • Herbie

      You’ll be glad then that all the Castros and their systems are dead and buried, ideologically speaking.

      It’s all Pinochets now.


      Bring on the Shockety shock Doctrine.

        • Herbie

          I thought your reply quite insane.

          I’m sure that’s why it was deleted.

          I ignored that and made another point about us not having much choice in how we are ruled, but with diversity in types of rule people could make their own choices about what they were happiest with.

          It really is immensely problematic for humanity should we all live under one system of finance and governance.

          Pity that was deleted.

    • Kief

      It seems this idea is a genuine threat to the comrades of dead-eyed soviet communism. Gawd. Do they really think this is a worthy stand? Apparently they are in sync with Assange and that’s all that matters to their simplistic and aged thinking.

  • RobG

    Your fourth paragraph says it all; and things don’t ‘settle down’ in nations that oppose American hegemony, particularly relatively small nations like Cuba, which had the full works thrown against it.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      Might we say – all idiots are idiots but some more idiotic than others; or

      One shout is as good as the content within the shouting.

      I think that without the shouting there can be good sense found in some of what people have to say – without shouting. At least the internet as a news source provides an opportunity to compare and contrast then decide for one’s self as distinct from being brain-washed by the MSM.

  • Republicofscotland

    “the British government flew its flags at half mast. The kind of armed struggle which King Abdullah covertly promoted was wahabbist jihadism, not African liberation. Yet he was officially honoured.”


    Indeed British governments have had no qualms in jumping into bed with ruthless dictators, Thatcher was particularly find of General Pinochet.

    I recall, that Castro, liked to talk, and that his speeches, were renowned for the length of time he took. Indeed I wonder if his 269 minute speech to the UN General Assembly in 1960, is still a record.

    Several prominent leaders have paid tribute to Castro, including, Indian PM Modi and Venezuela’s socialist president Maduro.

    Indeed in 1991, Nelson Mandel, praised Castro, for the awesome force that was the Cuban revolution.

    Though, Castro imprisoned thousands of political prisoners, and his summary courts sent many to the firing squads.

  • Aidworker1

    Great article Craig – reminds me there have been far more deaths in Israel in this period!

    • Phil the ex-frog

      You agree that Morsi was a decent leader who was too kind/timid to enforce the required revolutionary justice against the Egyptian military?

      • Kief

        You won’t get an answer. Just as I won’t be answered on my anti-dicktator posts.

        Consistency has become like common-sense….an oxymoron.

  • michael norton

    Authorities are investigating after a device exploded outside of a carabinieri barracks on the outskirts of Bologna,
    hours before Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was due to visit the city.

    Nobody was hurt in the blast, and Italian news agency ANSA reported 10 officers were sleeping inside the building at the time of the explosion.

    Renzi is campaigning a week before Italians vote on a referendum on constitutional reform, but it’s not clear if the blast is linked to the issue.

    Europe is no longer the haven of peace it once was, why would that be?

    • michael norton

      Renzi faces pressure to stay in office as ITALY referendum defeat looms
      ROME (Reuters) – When a handful of European leaders met Barack Obama in Berlin this month to say their goodbyes, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi informed the group that he may well lose power before the U.S. president.

      While Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, Renzi has promised to resign if he does not win a Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform, opening the way for renewed political instability in the eurozone’s third largest economy.

      falling like flies

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I read somewhere many years ago – I think it was in Paul Baran’s The Longer View: Essays Toward a Critique of Political Economy – something which I found very amusing. The land of Cuba was taken over by the state during the Cuban Revolution, and compensation was paid to the landowners. Compensation was paid at the land valuation amount that the landowners had themselves returned to previous governments for taxation purposes. That was vastly under the true value of the land, because the landowners had consistently undervalued the land in order to pay as little tax as possible. Funnily enough, they didn’t appreciate it when the state paid them at the rate they themselves had been valuing the land for years. J

  • Andrew

    Many commentators deploring Cuba’s human rights record don’t really give a damn about human rights. Castro’s cardinal sin was perfectly captured in The New York Times headline announcing his death:

    “Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader Who Defied U.S, Dies at 90”

    • Kief

      Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader Who Defied U.S, Dies at 90”

      Your summation makes my point exactly….all his enablers here only care about his opposition to the US.

      His Sainthood is assured but without the Pope’s blessing I am sorry to say… 🙂

        • Kief

          Is Parenti ‘here’? I see no erudite proponents on this site. I do see a lot of sycophants without anything in their guns but blanks.

          When the local Castro adepts recognize their ‘lesser weevil’ strategy for supporting dicktators has nothing but contradictions and ideological traps, then I will cease labeling them enablers of the status quo.

          • Macky

            It’s not only your language that doesn’t make much sense, your logic also leaves a lot to be desired.

          • Kief

            I can’t dumb it down any more. But I think that’s just an escape hatch for people who don’t wish to exercise their grey matter. It’s kind of like ‘lazy eye’.

  • RobG

    The Batista regime in Cuba was a sort of precursor to Thatcher and Reagan. It’s as though the neo-cons were trying to figure out what they could get away with in Britain and America.

    Sadly we all know how it’s turned out.

    Cue the trolls and useful idiots.

    Who, of course, will be telling us about ‘fake news’…

    If the western world manages to recover from this insane cult, there will have to be some kind of ‘truth and reconciliation’ for the swathes of total vermin who have gone along with it.

    • Why be ordinary?

      No it wasn’t. It had no meaningful foreign policy or indeed other policy agenda. It was simply a corrupt mess that Batista gave up on when he realized that he had enough money and didn’t need the aggravation

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