By Jason Michael
As another Cold War is kicking off the former president of Cuba, the father of la Revolución, Fidel Castro, has died – one of the last remaining leaders of the US-Soviet stand-off. Trump welcomed this as the end of a brutal dictator, but what’s the truth?
“Mr. Castro brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, bedevilled 11 American presidents and briefly pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.” So runs the sub-header on Anthony DePalma’s New York Times article yesterday. Love him or hate him, Fidel Castro toppled the US-backed military junta of General Fulgencio Batista and saved Cuba from the fate that befell so many South and Latin American countries that became the subject of US interventionism. Nations like Chile and Colombia were brought to their knees by brutal military dictatorships, their people lost in the darkness of woeful human rights violations, and their economies reduced to rubble with the crude application of “disaster capitalism” – all funded and supported by the United States of America.
Fidel Castro is dead!—
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
In protecting Cuba from US imperial domination Castro guaranteed for the people of Cuba, despite politico-hegemonic US sanctions on the island, a welfare and healthcare system unparalleled – even today – in the whole of the Americas. His record was frequently that of a tyrant; often putting what he termed the “rights of humanity” before human rights:
Why should some people walk barefoot, so that others can travel in luxurious cars? Why should some live for thirty-five years, so that others can live for seventy years? Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not have a piece of bread. I speak on the behalf of the sick who have no medicine, of those whose rights to life and human dignity have been denied.
– Fidel Castro, UN General Assembly, 1979
Castro knew as well as we do now that failure on his part to defy the United States would have resulted in yet another invasion or a coup, resulting in the overthrow of his government and the swift application of the America’s nightmarish vision of “freedom and democracy” and “human rights.” The leftist revolutionaries of South and Latin America were well acquainted with the Monroe Doctrine of hemispheric domination by Uncle Sam. It meant terror campaigns by CIA funded paramilitary death squads, male and female genitalia wired to car batteries, and an endless cycle of political assassinations and civil war. “El Caballo” – as Castro was affectionately known – was indeed a tyrant, but given the alternatives he was more than likely the best possible option for Cuba.
DePalma’s imbecilic revisionist dream of Castro bringing the Cold War to the West and pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war is an insult to anyone who can read. Harry Truman’s attempts to contain the Soviet Union from 1947 – when Castro was a boy of 21 – brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, just as Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s present attempts to contain Putin’s Russia are reigniting an old enmity. The frost between the US and the USSR had nothing to do with Cuba or Fidel Castro; rather, Castro did what it took to keep the violent forces of the United States out of Cuba. Any strategist will tell us that, in the circumstances, he did the smart thing.
Now that Fidel is dead he can no longer be blamed for the United States’ renewed attempts to take us all back under the shadow of mushroom clouds. Our hope for Cuba now that he is gone is that this remarkable little island nation can find its way towards more freedom and true democracy on its own terms. God knows, the people of Cuba have suffered enough. Revolution has served them well, but now it is time for them to complete that revolution – undoubtedly stymied by the personality who held it together for so long – and gain for themselves the freedom they have always sought.
Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)