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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  • bevin

    “Why do you write “BiBiCee”? Is it it a blend of “Bibi” and “BBC”?

    “If so, the implication that Israeli politicians dictate BBC output is hogwash, thus your phrase, just another incarnation of the jewish conspiracy trope, is simply more leftist antisemitism.”

    Phil you are falling into the same error as those who denounce any criticism of zionism as anti-semitism. The inference is not that the BBC is biassed towards Jews or even Israel but that it is biassed towards the fascist likudniks led by Bibi Netanyahu. In fact many Israelis regard their government’s policies as at best mistaken. They are among those who wish that the BBC would be more objective in its coverage of Israel and much more critical of the Likud Party line.
    I am surprised that you do not agree, Generally you take the position that it is necessary to be critical of government and that the weak deserve honest assessments of their actions. Why does this not apply to Palestinians? Why is the Israeli government to be protected from critics it, wrongly, claims are anti-semitic?

    • Phil Ex Frog

      No Bevin. I am not conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. You are failing to spot antisemitism.

      The BBC has many bias. It is bias towards oppressors all over the world. From UKIP to Congo to the board room of BAE. Plus a gazillion others. Why mention an Israeli politician? There was zero context. This elevates Israeli influence above all others and thus plays to the age old notion that the jews have a special influence. This is the thinking of those who promote the Jewish conspiracy. This is antisemitism.

  • Sharp Ears

    A nice tribute from Andre Vltchek writing from Vietnam.

    He quotes Trump.

    ‘While Cuba is mourning the departure of its great national hero, the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, is overjoyed:

    ‘Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights … I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.’

    Just to refresh readers’ memories: Brigade 2506 (Brigada Asalto 2506) was a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles/terrorists, formed in 1960. Its mission was the overthrow of the Cuban revolutionary government headed by Fidel Castro. It carried out the abortive Bay of Pigs Invasion landing on 17th April 1961.

    The scum that terrorized the Island is now celebrating in Miami and elsewhere. At the same time, the true friends of Cuba and Latin American revolutions have been in deep mourning.’

  • RobG

    And of course if you mention Podesta or pizza, etc, your post will probably be deleted, because the brave hearts are still too afraid to stand-up to these vermin.

    A message to the vermin: we’re coming for you.

  • Hieroglyph

    That Obama is a piece of work. Whining about human rights whilst simultaneously arming lunatics in the Middle East. Oh, and having a torture camp actually located in Cuba. I often wonder how these people manage to say what they do without laughing. They are laughing at us in private, for sure.

    I remain somewhat puzzled that the CIA, with their well-financed army of assassins, managed to miss Castro. Perhaps they weren’t that bothered.

    • lysias

      The fact that Castro and Guevara learned from the fall of Arbenz’s reformist government in Guatemala (Guevara was in Guatemala at the time) that a reformist government cannot survive without an extensive secret police probably had a lot to do with the failure of the CIA’s assassination plots. The extreme popularity of the Castro government in Cuba probably also had a lot to do with it.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Covert CIA plot to wait until Fidel Castro dies of old age successful’:

    ‘Langley, VA – A decades-long plot to get Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to pass away peacefully in his sleep has come to fruition, according to a statement from the CIA.

    “We are proud to announce that our 53 years of patience have finally paid off,” said CIA spokesperson Ryan Trimarchi. “It seems silly in retrospect, but when President Kennedy first approved the plan there were many detractors who said it would fail.”

    First hatched in 1963, so-called “Operation Sit-Back-And-Let-It-Happen” was one of many CIA plots intended to end the life of the Communist revolutionary and the only one to succeed. The mission’s completion was formally declared after Cuban State television announced Castro’s death at the age of 90.

    “It’s just a shame that JFK didn’t live to see it,” Trimarchi added. “Or Johnson. Or Nixon. Ditto Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. They all would’ve been real proud.”

    The CIA’s announcement has been met with praise by Cuban-Americans, including policy advocate Mauricio Diaz.

    “I give the CIA a lot of credit for being willing to play the long game in bringing down this oppressive dictator,” said the lobbyist and director of the Cuban Liberty PAC. “Until now no one in Cuba realized that ‘failures’ like the Bay of Pigs and all those assassination attempts were just a great cover for this master plan.”

    “Now all we need to do is wait 5 or 6 years for Raul to have an aneurysm and we can finally bring Democracy to the Cuban people,” added Diaz.

    The top secret plot is considered the longest continuous operation in CIA history. When the Cuban President outlived the operation’s initial target date of 2003, George W. Bush approved an additional 15 years of funding to send agents to hang around Havana. When Castro’s health led him to abdicate power in 2008, the CIA focused their efforts on deploying SR-71 Blackbirds daily to take pictures and confirm whether he was “still moving”.

    “Some felt the program was wasteful, but there’s no denying it didn’t work,” said Trimarchi.

    “And now, thanks to these efforts, Fidel Castro is no longer a threat to our democracy,” he concluded.’

    Seems the CIA are feeling the pinch, and have taken up moonlighting as ‘Stand-up Comedians’.

    So the 648 attempts on his life were simply decoys, to cover up the ‘Master Plan’?
    But I suspect they know full well what I and others strongly suspect – that he ‘contracted’ cancer via some CIA plot, as had first been envisioned in 1962/3. There can be little dispute that the cancer he seemed to survive must have had a tremendous effect upon his longevity and general health.

    • Kief

      Just out of curiosity, did you follow my comment above yours? You see, some people claim I am encrypted or something. It seems like a dodge if you take my meaning.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Kief November 27, 2016 at 23:08
        To be frank, no, I didn’t. I find it contemptible that someone makes fun of someone who has been brought for years with cancer.
        Perhaps you might not be at your best if you had been through what he has (and I suspect he ‘contracted’ cancer from teh Evil Empire’s’ agents to the north…

    • John Spencer-Davis

      “Seems the CIA are feeling the pinch, and have taken up moonlighting as ‘Stand-up Comedians’”

      Er, no, I doubt it. This site is a spoof.

  • Bruce Crichton

    There has been no liberation in Africa due to Castro, who was a murderous totalitarian.

    Your comments are relativist drivel and your Marxism is quite evident.

    You conveniently evade the genocide of the Soviet Union, Castro’s backers and pretend he did not share the same murderous ideology. You’d condemn modern-day Nazis but pretend communism is not the moral equivalent of National Socialism.

    • Britters191

      You are clearly in the grip of cognitive dissonance. Castro had to fight the power of the U.S. and the Mafia in order to free Cuba of the corruption they brought to the island, and it was inevitable that his grip had to be strong. Were it not, the Mafia would have returned to Cuba and all the filth that they bring with them. He was not perfect, but he brought much good both to Cuba and to Africa, and he had to turn to the USSR, because no other country would help him. And talking of murderous ideology, what about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria? How many innocent people have been murdered at the hands of the Americans solely to preserve the power of the petro-dollar and to ensure domination of the Middle East? Very many more than died at the hands of Castro…

  • Bruce Crichton

    There was no liberation in Africa due to Castro because he was a murderous totalitarian.

    Castro shared the same genocidal ideology as the Soviet Union, something you conveniently evade.

    You’d rightfully condemn modern-day Nazis but you pretend that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is not the moral equivalent of national socialism. Your comments are basic stupidity.

    • Dave Lawton

      “Castro shared the same genocidal ideology as the Soviet Union, something you conveniently evade.”

      If you are talking about the Cold War hypocrite Try and evade this.

      “A non-binding international tribunal at The Hague has found Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States were complicit in facilitating the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia.
      500,000 Indonesians killed in anti-communist purge at height of Cold War
      Report found Australia continued to back army despite knowing about the killings
      President Joko Widodo has refused to apologise for historic murders
      An estimated half a million people perished in what was one of the worst massacres of the 20th Century. The killings were triggered by a failed coup that led to the deaths of six army generals, followed by the mass targeting of communists.
      The International People’s Tribunal at The Hague has now ruled that Indonesia committed crimes against humanity, but the finding is non-binding and carries no legal weight.
      The judges found allegations of “cruel and unspeakable murders” and the “unjustifiable imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people without trial” was well founded.”'crimes-against-humanity'/7647274

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Dave Lawton November 28, 2016 at 01:57
        Actually it was five Nationalist Generals who were kidnapped and killed in a clssic ‘False Flag’ op, blamed on the ‘Communiists’, which led to the (US-planned) ascension of Suharto (who magically wasn”t ‘kidnaapped’, leaving him and his ‘Special Forces’ to use the ‘fake coup’ to unleash a massive bloodbath, and to take over from the Nationalist Sukarno.
        Tapol (the likely best source) concluded between 500,000 and 1,000,000 massacred in the aftermath.
        Suharto then went on to invade East Timor, followed by an extremely brutal and genocidal twenty-five year Occupation, which once again the West gave the Green Light to, and assisted Indonesia diplomatically and with arms transfers.
        Eventually Suharto slipped up; his troops brutal murder of mourners in a cemetery in East Timor was caught on film, and immortalized in John Pilger’s and David Munro’s film: Death of a Nation’:

        I was a member of Tapol (London) for many years, and campaigned for about sixteen years.

    • Paul Barbara

      Blimey! We’d better believe you, as you seem so sure you even paraphrase your comment; can’t we have it in triplicate, just to be 100% sure?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just cannot stomach the babble about Castro and Lady Thatcher.

    She chose to trigger a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War at Palme’s expense which would have increased us all if it gad not been for all the spying conducted in London, Washington and Stockholm by Moscow while Castro is seen as a totalitarian for trying to steer Cuba through the minefields that the Anglo-Americans repeatedly created.

  • giyane

    “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”.

    An Egyptian from Alexandria who I sat next to on a plane from Istanbul told me that Morsi wanted to be like Turkey’s Erdogan. This was before Erdogan became like a Saudi dictator. Morsi’s head of intelligence was Zawahiri’s brother and after Morsi came to power he spoke to the Al Qaida leader on his brother’s phone, promising allegiance by Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood’s political agenda for the Middle East, promising military action for the Salafist reversal of Islam.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is the Sinn Fein to the Saudi IRA. That message does not seem to have been grasped by Craig, possibly because of his great distaste for hierocracy. Salafism means restoring the religion to a historical point in time when it still carried baggage from the times of ignorance. The generation of Muslims who abandoned polytheism, female child live burial, slavery, and prejudice against women were a generation in Craig’s words: “I am open to the idea that revolutionary change requires revolutionary justice for a short period.” It is absolutely no criticism of the sahaba, i.e. the companions of the prophet SAW, may Allah be pleased with them, that certain ingrained habits were allowed to remain.

    A Yazidi lady commented on the Daesh: ” What century am I living in?” The Salafis make the spiritual error of confusing the conditions of the world at the3 start of Islam with the ways/Sunnah of the prophet SAW. This is like Edward Heath bringing back the concept of war-time and post-war rationing in the 3 day week. That was a particular solution for a particular time. Salafism is theologically and intellectually wrong. History is not example. It is just history, Morsi subscribed to the Salafi theological and intellectual error, and that was why several million protesters risked their lives to demonstrate his wrongness.

    So Craig, if you think that the homelessness of 20 million Syrians at the hands of Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi which Muhammad Mursi believed in was timidity or weakness, please think again. A Turkish diplomat has been mocking the Iraqi army for running away from Mosul after ISIS arrived from training camps in Jordan through Turkey. The commander in chief had been bribed by the Saudis to command his men not to resist them. Was that weakness or timidity on the part of the Iraqi army to follow orders , indirectly from Saudi Salafism? With the help of Israel and Jordan terrorist groups are attacking Syria at Quneitra. When will anyone in the British Foreign Office dare to admit that USUKIS funds and protects the revival of ignorance that is Saudi Salafism?

    The English people can see that Germany is leading the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi USUKIS Middle East regime change. The American people can see that Hillary Clinton did and was going to continue to do the same thing. It would never ever do for the political classes to take their fingers out of their pouts and admit that there was any connection between the revival of Islamic Ignorance and them.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ giyane November 28, 2016 at 02:51
      Many claim the Muslim Brotherhood was created by British Intelligence, but at the very least they were certainly used by the British:

      Israel invited the welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood into Gaza, where they set up Hamas, because they wanted to split and weaken the PLO:

      Morsi wanted to send masses of troops to Syria to fight the regime, whereas the new Regime in Egypt is sending aircraft to help Assad fight the rebels:

      • giyane

        “But some folks just have ingrowing blinkers!”

        For centuries the West has played the Muslims against eachother, divide and rule. The Muslims prefer the black and white stereotype West bad, Muslims good, to the reality that Muslims have sold their brothers, sisters, lands and faith for centuries and betrayed them for personal power and worldly reward.

        It appears to be an incurable disease created by the West by teaching them not to read the Qur’an, which Allah describes as a clear book, i.e. accessible to understanding and not to question their leaders, even though traditionally the leaders were open to questioning. Now we have Saudi Arabia bankrupting itself to bring every Muslim nation under its stupid tyrannical vision.

        A revert to Islam who is now regarded as a Salafist scholar Bilal Phillips states that it a Sunnah to cut off the tip of the clitoris. The Ibraheemic tradition for men is to cut off some excess skin of the foreskin.
        This job is now done not by knife but by a thread tightened on a tube inserted under the skin. However I would recommend that what is good for the gander would be excellent for the goose. Just the round bit at the end of the mad mulla’s member. No fuss , no pain, no tube, no lube, just the pure satisfaction of inventing nasty ideas to insert into Islam.

        And check out this nutcase:
        “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom.”

        No actually we as Muslims do not remotely reject the idea of freedom of speech and of freedom, but I can see why the idea might be attractive to NWO USUKIS neo-cons.

  • Michael Brand

    Should Castro’s crackdown on dissent be viewed through what happened to land reforming regimes such as Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran & Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Michael Brand November 28, 2016 at 03:30
      Exactly. But some folks just have ingrowing blinkers! The MSM is their Bible, and Bliar, Bushes (not burning yet, but they haven’t lost their chance!), Clintons, Pinochet, Batista, Nixon, Reagan, ‘Milk Snatcher’, Obama are their ‘Revolving Messiahs’ (or should that be ‘Revolting’?).

  • Old Mark

    Craig’s posting is really rather hit and miss at the moment, but this effort on Castro strikes precisely the right note- Castro and his embattled country have great achievements to their name at home in health and in maintaining high literacy levels,and abroad in their export of medical expertise to other struggling third world countries. However his role as a Soviet proxy in the cold war era can only be defended on the ground that he needed their economic support- and his human rights record wasn’t unblemished.

    However, give me Craig’s even handed assessment any day over the far right neocon/Foxnews bilge extruded by the likes of Bruce Crichton.

  • Phil Ex Frog

    Roll up, roll up ladies and Gentlemen of the Marxist-Leninist Left! Unburden your filthy US dollars. Pay Ernesto Geuvara, son of Che, thousands upon thousands to ride a motorbike in Cuba – a taste of revolution. Satisfaction guaranteed!

    On the other hand Geuvara’s grandson got run out of town for criticising the Cuban revolution as “anti-democratic because of the religious messianism of its leader” and daring to say shit like “persecution of homosexuals, hippies, free thinkers, trade unionists and poets” and the installation of “a socialist bourgeoisie…falsely proletarian”.

    Long live democracy! Long live Raul!

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just amazing that America’s anti-Castro residents are acting as if the CIA had just assassinated him when he has just finally died.

    His regime, like China’s after Mao’s death, will continue to exist, and all the potential POTUS will just have to learn to live with it.

    • Herbie

      Trump’s saying all sorts of things.

      And he’s keeping people guessing about his appointments.

      There’s an immense amount of game-playing in this transition.

      Not least with media.

      And the CFR crowd who are looking to influence him.

      Wouldn’t surprise me if he appointed Hillary to State.

      The world will breathe a sigh of relief, and everything will return to normal.

  • Blair paterson

    To try to run down Castros record on human rights compared to the USA is a joke just ask the red Indians or ask the aborigines and the mourais about Britain record on human rights and the diago Garcia islanders or Israel’s record in Palestine wrong is wrong in any mans book and don’t forget the aftermath of Culloden the highland clearances etc.,glass houses come to mind

  • Roderick

    Human Rights have seldom been a strong tradition of Government anywhere.

    One has to remember that Fidel Castro succeeded a President (Fulgencio Batista) who had in reality been appointed to office by the Florida Mafia, and not by the Cuban people. Such was the way with Cuba. It has had a long history of revolt and human rights abuses prior to the Castro government. Indeed Cubans fought for freedom from Spain – on and off in one form or another – for centuries. More recently for independence from the United States. An example of this historical lack of human rights: there is even a wall, by one of the fortresses in Havana, that apparently has the world record for the number of firing squad executions in one day – and all these abuses happened long before the Castro revolution.

    It has to be said that despite considerable opposition, the Cuban government has had some very significant accomplishments in the delivery of public goods (health care, education, as well as basic jobs, basic food and housing of the people etc.) that are not matched by other large Caribbean islands or Central American countries; nor do these other countries have human rights that are any better. Indeed I have seen real poverty on the streets of major Canadian and UK cities that I never saw in Cuba.

    Standing in the way of reconciliation with the United States are the Miami Cubans in exile. There the differences are not just about ideology and human rights, but about money. Those “in exile” believe that their (or their parents) houses, land and businesses were wrongly confiscated during the revolution and they would like their property back. I would not be optimistic that these money issues can be settled. I can’t see the Cuban government agreeing to this. On the other hand, the Miami Cubans also exercise considerable power since they hold the swing vote in a large marginal state (Florida) that often decides the US Presidential election.

    How one views the legacy of the Castro revolution/government I think depends on one’s position. Cubans are themselves polarized on this subject. I think the property issues will be very difficult to compromise on. One senses that this struggle will go on. One hopes that that there will be a reconciliation, but that is not the history of Cuba.

  • SA

    “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.”

    Morsi was not decent. He was a muslim brother an organisation that does not believe in democracy and that would have eventually changed Egypt to a conservative theocracy. Maybe a consideration should also be given that democracy in such conditions is easily subverted. Whether a return to military dictatorship in Egypt is the worse or better of two evils will remain an unanswered question for the time being.

  • Becky Cohen

    After reading about the way in which the Castro regime rounded up LGBT people (particularly transgender women and gender non-conforming people) into concentration camps, threw acid in their faces leaving them blind and sliced their breasts off I really don’t care very much how well he made the trains run on time:(

  • Becky Cohen

    That said, his main ‘achievement’ seems to be that he must be one of the very few people of all time who took on the mafia and won, screwed them over for their assets and lived to die at the ripe old age of 90 from natural causes. Since I’ve never heard of any other criminal who has managed to do this, that alone surely wins him a place in the Guinness Book of Records, eh?

  • Becky Cohen

    In order to create an efficient force to run his concentration camps, it turns out that he even attempted to recruit former SS veterans living in Latin America to train them. This came to light recently, after contemporary German intelligence of the 1960s compiled at a time when the German secret service were actively trying to track down Nazi war criminals hiding in Latin America were recently released. Little different from the Bolivian regime of the 1980s who successfully recruited the ‘Butcher of Lyon’ Klaus Barbie to run their police force.

    In direct contrast to Che Guevara, he may have been a philo-semite, but interestingly, Castro also targeted similar groups to those that the Third Reich picked on – Jehovah’s Witness and the disabled (many of whom he deported to the USA when the opportunity arose.) – further evidence in his mind that he saw disabled people as worth less than other human beings. I guess that these groups – along with LGBT people whom both he and Guevara similarly invoked Nazi terminology by referring to them as ‘worms’ – didn’t fit with the ideal of supposed national purity and perfection that his over-sized male ego was trying to create. I dunno, maybe Castro felt inadequate about the incongruity of his macho image and his squeaky little voice – hence the beard and the ridiculously large Grouch Marx style cigars. Talk about over-compensation! LOL:)

    • Kief

      You are wasting your breath on Old Guard members who think neither Castro or Assange can do wrong.

      It’s quite sad really….more so than Reagan Democrats or Blairites.

    • Macky

      Becky, I’m struck by your passion for LGBT issues, have you ever considered writing for some sort of NGO ?

      They also sometimes have a rather cavalier attitude with facts when trying to get their message across.

  • Dave

    Castro was the Mussolini of the Caribbean and survived because he had the backing of a super power and when Soviet Union fell Cuba avoided ‘humanitarian destruction to save lives’ because he hadn’t been painted as “anti-Semitic” and because the neo-cons were preoccupied in destroying the Middle-East. And because even the ‘Cuban exiles’ would have opposed the destruction of their country and have voting influence in a swing state.

  • Antony Goddard

    Fidel Castro has left a divisive legacy. During the Cold War I met a handful of Russians (Merchant Marine, Officials, etc) who were allowed limited foreign travel permission. Cuba was a favourite destination. It was a Carribean Holiday Paradise for all of these people.
    My own GP (General Practice Doctor) recently took a holiday in Cuba. Like me, she probably remembers a series of articles extolling Cuban medical care which appeared in “The Lancet” during 1993-94. The Lancet is a doctor’s journal, with a rather traditional conservative editorial board. It’s hardly a raving Militant Socialist style publication.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ Becky Cohen November 29, 2016 at 00:13
    ‘After reading about the way in which the Castro regime rounded up LGBT people (particularly transgender women and gender non-conforming people) into concentration camps, threw acid in their faces leaving them blind and sliced their breasts off I really don’t care very much how well he made the trains run on time’

    Would you be so kind as to give links for this ‘information’? Sounds kinda like anti-German propaganda where German soldiers were said to have thrown babies up in the air, and caught them on bayonets, and also dashed children’s heads against trees and walls.
    Or about Saddam’s ‘mobile Chemical Warfare Agent production trucks’ or the tons of Uranium ‘Yellow Cake’ his government had bought from Africa, or Saddam’s links to 9/11, or ‘British bases in Cyprus can be hit in 45 minutes, as can Israel and NATO members Turkey and Greece’, and Chagossians were just ‘migrant labourers’ and beaucoup other tripe.
    I think it’s called ‘Demonising the (alleged) enemy’.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    See that the staff of the Church Committee is trying to make amends for its shortcomings by calling on Obama to pardon Edward Snowden.

    Sure, the Committee exposed the covert government’s most obvious illegalities, like eavesdropping on people’s phone calls, and attempting to drive troublemakers to suicide, especially Martin Luther King, but there was no investigation of its mind-control efforts to create Manchurian Candidates.

    It didn’t even discover the financial records about it which John Marks managed to obtain, and carefully deciphered to write his block-busting book about it.

    Not only had the CIA learned how to make them but had also tried to use them in domestic assassinations.

    The Committee’s reputation is best remembered by claiming that the Agency couldn’t shoot straight when it came to assassinating troublemakers, especially Castro.

    While I have no objection to Snowden being pardoned, Chelsea Manning is more deserving.

  • Dave

    The problem is a normal local struggle for reform was projected on by outsiders to be part of some great international struggle between US and Soviet Union and the wonder about Cuba is it survived relatively speaking intact and should be judged in context of the conditions in Caribbean and South America and on what predated Castro.

    The dilemma about human rights is although we are in favour, we know that all countries to varying degrees are guilty and it becomes manipulation if one side says the other side is guilty beyond reasonable censure and if its clear the indignation shown by one side is a pretext to inflict human right abuses of their own.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t condemn human rights abuses abroad, because that helps safeguard it at home, but a genuine approach requires the carrot rather than the stick. Using sanctions and bombing to further human rights is a deliberate deceit and knowingly counterproductive and involves promoting a virtue to inflict a crime.

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