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Castro’s Legacy

2016 November 26
by Ian Welsh

Castro has died at age 90.

Despite the squeals, the bottom line for Castro is that he improved the lives for the vast majority of Cubans. Even after Soviet aid was cut off, Cuba under Castro was able to recover. Cuba, like all nations, suppresses some political dissent, but it has a far smaller percentage of people imprisoned than the US, and those prisoners are treated far better than US prisoners. Human welfare statistics are high, including lifespan, infant mortality, education, and so on.

One can qualify Cuba’s success, but it is, overall, a success–especially when compared to most Latin and South American countries.

As for Castro himself, he outlived pretty much all his enemies and many of their children, and died in bed. Can’t ask for much more than that as a revolutionary leader.


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64 Responses
  1. V. Arnold permalink
    November 26, 2016

    RIP Commendante’ Fidel Castro.
    You never caved to the U.S. imperium…

  2. V. Arnold permalink
    November 26, 2016

    Reading the myriad news sites around the world is very telling.
    On the one hand Castro was a brutal despot; at the other end he is a hero.
    When one knows the genuine history of Castro, Cuba, and the U.S.s’ role; hero is certainly the more apt adjective.
    His role as a humanitarian is writ large in the world.

  3. Duder permalink
    November 26, 2016

    One of Fidel’s greatest and least noted accomplishment was the final decolonization of Africa. Without Cuba’s support Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia might still be colonies and South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia might still be under white apartheid rule. Cuba’s intervention was also almost purely pursued on ideological grounds rather than real politick or geopolitical raison d’etat. A genuinely heroic effort to advance human emancipation.

  4. hidflect permalink
    November 26, 2016

    Castro tried to embrace America after throwing out the dictator Batista but Eisenhower spurned him. Cuba was America’s to lose and they lost it.

  5. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Six lost decades, in which Cuba has fallen behind countries that were far poorer than it on the eve of the revolution. That includes Portugal, fercrissakes. Not to mention the political repression. These are objective facts. Some “success”.
    You people scare me as much as the alt right does.

  6. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 27, 2016

    Compared to nations in Latin America and South America, Cuba compares well on the stuff that actually matters. It’s childhood mortality rate is LOWER than America’s. Its life expectancy is .2 years less than America’s.

    And this while under a crippling sanctions regime. These stats are FAR better than they were before the revolution.

    People like you scare me more than the alt-right, because you’re unable to see beyond your own ideology. You don’t understand that GDP and so on don’t measure human welfare and that makes you blind to reality.

    (And I notice the attempt to use a European country which owes its economic development to the EU as your yardstick. No, the USSR buying Cuba’s sugar wasn’t as good, and ended a long time ago.)

  7. November 27, 2016

    He was a remarkable man and did an outstanding job keeping that country independent from U.S. interests. And they’re positioned in a precarious location and don’t have the raw power to militarily enforce their independence. But he managed the situation masterfully and did well for the majority of the people too. One of the greatest leaders of his era.

    Hugo Chavez was a great leader too that did right by his people for the most part.

    Z

  8. SnarkyShark permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Jib Halyard-
    Alt-right is the buzzword for a whole new attempt at political repression. Way to be on the cutting edge you tool.

  9. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I’m old enough to remember the Cuban Revolution as it happened and to recall what a heroic figure Castro was initially made out to be. The Batista regime was corrupt to the core, basically operating a gangster state aligned with Cuba’s wealthy elite against the people. Everyone knew it. His regime was a criminal enterprise covertly and overtly supported by the United States Government. It was neither the first nor the last of its kind in Latin America.

    I was too young to understand the political intrigues and intricacies of the Revolution and the US involvement in Cuba, but at some point, as Batista’s rule destabilized and the Revolutionaries took more and more advantage of the situation, US support of the ruling criminals in Havana diminished. When it was clear that the Batista regime could not survive the Revolution, Castro became a kind of rock star revolutionary for succeeding against all the odds as it were. The United States offered (perhaps faint) praise and an “open hand.”

    Castro and his Revolutionaries rejected it because they knew it was false. They knew how Batista and his gang had long been propped up by the US, and they saw no future for Cuba and the Cuban people under the thumb of the US a thumb they had been under since Cuba was wrested from the Spanish Empire at the turn of the century.

    The Revolutionaries aligned with the Soviet Union instead, and all hell broke loose. How many assassination attempts were launched from Langley? 90 or more? Every one failed. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a failure. The sanctions failed to overthrow the Revolution. In fact, everything the US did to disrupt and destroy the Cuban Revolution only seemed to serve to make it stronger. Even the Cuban Missile Crisis seemed to give a boost to the Revolution.

    Opponents of the Revolution were for the most part allowed to — even encouraged to — flee to Florida rather than being locked up or facing a firing squad, despite the myths of Castro’s bloody repression. Compared to other Revolutions, Castro’s victory was mild toward the anti-Revolutionaries and did not lead to wholesale extermination of the foes of the Revolution.

    The demonization of Castro always had absurd elements which he and his cohorts in Havana took full advantage of. For decades and decades they took joy in taunting their nemeses in Washington.

    I remember Castro as a hero in the eyes of at least some Americans for a brief moment after the Revolution overthrew Batista. He has remained a hero in the eyes of many Latin Americans and other oppressed peoples around the world for standing up to — and surviving — the unending US efforts to kill or overthrow him and to return Cuba to the rule of the gangsters.

    He demonstrated, for all to see, the limits of Empire right at the doorstep of said Empire.

  10. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 27, 2016

    @Jib: You might be interested in this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_theory

  11. V. Arnold permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Ché Pasa
    November 27, 2016

    Holy shit, you just jogged my memory of that; yes, I remember Castro was hailed by the U.S. until he aligned with the Soviet Union.
    And yes; all hell broke loose from there.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for that blast from the past.
    We must be close to the same age; going on 72 here…
    Cheers

  12. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    So where are the waves of immigrants trying to get into the Cuban Utopia?

  13. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    And another thing: Castro may have overthrown a nasty dictator, but how could he have claimed any legitimacy to take his place? Where was the consent of the governed?

  14. Robert Dudek permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Cuba doesn’t need mass immigration. It is a relatively small land mass and mountainous to boot. Running a largely agrarian society with the population it has and the land available for cultivation is very difficult if you are not heavily export oriented.

  15. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Again, where are the huddled masses trying to get into Cuba? I didn’t ask what Cuba wanted, I asked how many people consider it a desirable place to to live.

  16. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 27, 2016

    What does that have to do with anything? Cuba’s a better place to live than many, and a worse one than many, it isn’t an immigration magnet. What it isn’t is some horrible dystopia, or not better off than it was under Batista. I didn’t claim it was utopia, or the place people go because they have a chance to get rich there.

    The numbers, however, say that Cuba’s a pretty decent place to live, at least if you want to live a reasonably long, healthy life and not die in childbirth, etc..

    I didn’t defend Castro on democratic grounds, nor would I. He’s certainly no worse than the Chinese communist party or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or… well, many many other countries, on those grounds.

    What he isn’t is an American ally, nor does he give lip service to capitalism, so certain people froth at the mouth about him.

    I can admit Cuba and Castro’s flaws easily enough. Not a free state, higher incarceration than it should be, economy could be better. But human welfare stats there are pretty good and Castro did make his people better off.

    So chill, and learn how to say “good in some ways, bad in others, but I can’t stand dictators” or whatever it is. Fair enough. Dictators are bad. Some dictators, however, are worse than others and democracy is only one of many things important to human welfare.

  17. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Castro had no more legitimacy than his predecessor. How is that so hard to grasp?

  18. Peter VE permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Jib Halyard, does a President who lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college, have legitimacy? How about a President installed by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court? How about a President who lost both the popular vote and the electoral college, but disenfranchised a large part of the electorate in return for the Presidency?
    Most of your sort are fastened to the port side. Based on your comments here, I should have thought you would be more properly a main halyard…

  19. November 27, 2016

    Cuba always seemed like a makeshift “do-it-yourself” type of culture to me

  20. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Thanks, you guys. This has really helped my propagandized mind.

    I admit, V. Arnold, that I haven’t studied the genuine history of Castro, Cuba, or the US’s role. There are still many, many things that I don’t know or understand since I can’t possibly know everything at once, but isn’t gitmo in Cuba? What dots am I not connecting? Whose history do I need to know now?

    Oh, and why is it not closed down yet? I’m afraid I’m still confused about many things.

  21. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Peter VE, was this a post about Trump?
    I am most emphatically not among his supporters.
    However, we are talking about Pinochet, er Castro, here…

  22. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Dear Jib, No one in their right mind actually supports Trump, you fool. The motto is: #ANYONEbutHER. Trump has already shown himself but, at least he’s not HER.

    Disclaimer: I’ll probably get negative feedback for saying such.

  23. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    No one likes sailing, by the way, nor it’s lingo.

  24. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    November 27, 2016

    What, no disclaimer that Castro was “a profoundly evil man”? I guess we can overlook firing squads and extra-judicial killings as long as they only number in the thousands, and the guy implementing them has the right political ideology.

  25. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    blizzardofoz, say what now? Which side of the fence are coming down on? Honestly, I think you’re full of shit. Just a guess.

  26. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Oh, I think I see what you’re saying, OZ. I guess we can overlook firing squads and extra-judicial killings as long as they only number in the thousands, and the guy implementing them has the right political ideology.

    You don’t understand your own U S of A. That must make you a dumbass.

    Please watch as I judge righteous judgement.

  27. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    (As we all can do. GAWL!)

  28. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Having just witnessed the right elect a caudillo in the United States, we are now being treated to the unedifying spectacle of the left rolling itself in shit to sing the praises of yet another caudillo. I need a drink…

  29. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 27, 2016

    If the Clintons are even half as evil and half as powerful as you lot think they are, why aren’t all of you in jail or dead?

  30. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Jib, hey go take a drink and then shut up. That would be nice. …so boring…

  31. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Ivory, sweet Ivory. Just give it time. So, you tell me. Propaganda, or not?

    You would love a Bill Clinton first gentleman? This is not a Dean Koontz novel?

    Whatcha got?

  32. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I wonder what caudillo means. Not really, I’m lying.

  33. Jib Halyard permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Boring? Sure. And I like my leaders that way too., thanks.

  34. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I like myself that way too. You’re welcome.

  35. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I don’t quite understand Tsisageya’s questions.

    Meanwhile, SnarkyShark above is right, but for the wrong reason.

    Indeed, “alt-right” is a wrong term, because it is too euphemistic.

    If you couple with a goat, you are not an “alt-farmer”, you are a pervert.

    Likewise, if you spout Nazi rhetoric and give Nazi salutes, you are not an “alt-rightist”, you are… 😉

  36. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    So, why isn’t gitmo closed down now? I do notice that no one answers that question.

  37. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Jib, if I read you correctly, you might enjoy this site:

    https://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/

  38. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    How could you not understand my question? I was plain and clear.

  39. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I see that Ivory Bill has latched onto the NAZI word without actually making any sense.

    Nice. Let’s all show ourselves.

  40. tsisageya permalink
    November 27, 2016

    If I misunderstand, I apologize.

  41. V. Arnold permalink
    November 27, 2016

    Why are you morons feeding that jackass troll jib halyard?
    Get a fucking life.

  42. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 27, 2016

    I don’t know what Tsisageya is asking as being or not being propaganda.

    I have never read a Dean Koontz novel, so I don’t know how to make a comparison. I barely know who Koontz is–but then, a popular novelist is probably not worth reading, anyway.

    OK, Tsi asked one I can answer: I wouldn’t mind Big Dog as First Gent at all–but of course, if I believed the 25 Years of Smears, then I would think he and his wife were Mr. & Mrs. Beelzebub.

  43. Richard permalink
    November 28, 2016

    1. OK, Castro has done some good things and plenty of bad things for Cuba, but how do you jump from that to “Chavez is great!” In what aspects have Chavez/Maduro improved Venezuela?

    2. You hate Clinton, ergo put in to power a vindictive con man who’s almost certain to be more dangerous to the health of the US? Yeah, I don’t follow that logic.

  44. V. Arnold permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Richard
    November 28, 2016

    And just where is the logic in your gleaming generalities? Anybody can claim A has done good things and bad things and B has no qualities: Like what for instance?

    Clinton is a proven Harpy, war hawk and Russophobe.
    Trump is a clown, but may improve relations with the second most powerful country on this planet.
    Unlikely Trump will start a shooting war with Russia.
    Given the only choices this election cycle were shit sandwiches; I with held my consent.

  45. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 28, 2016

    @V. Arnold

    Bueno.

    I think Castro will be seen as a pivotal figure of the 20th Century. If not THE pivotal figure. His ability to checkmate the Empire time and again and to keep the Revolution going and on track for all those years is startling, practically unprecedented. How he was able to do it will be studied for generations. It’s the Cuban people who really deserve credit, though. Fidel may have been their charismatic spokesman and theorist, but they did the work of the Revolution, and they are the ones who kept it together through thick and thin.

    The notion that Fidel was some kind of bloody maniac is simply false. If it were true, South Florida would not be a Cuban-criminal-state colony today. In a way, I think it was a brilliant tactic to encourage the Old Order and refusniks to migrate to and colonize Florida the way they’ve done. Let the Norte Americanos deal with them. Yikes.

    The only problem is that they’ve been able to fester and ferment for all these years in Florida, and they’ve got the Reconquista bug up their bottoms. “Santiago!!!” I hope the Revolutionaries have a plan for dealing with it. They seem to be able to take whatever comes their way so far.

    At least for now, the word being retailed is that nothing much will change in the relationship between Cuba and the US; the openings achieved under Obama will not be reversed by Trump — no matter what he said on the campaign. But who knows?

    The Florida exiles will never stop baying for blood.

  46. V. Arnold permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Ché Pasa
    November 28, 2016

    Bueno.
    Good post Che Pasa; agree on all points.
    Yep, Cuba’s worst, colonized in Florida. Keep em there.
    Castro’s humanitarian efforts were instrumental in ending apartheid, not to forget Cuba has exported more doctors to more countries than the rest of the world combined.
    Volumes will be written about Castro’s influence in making Cubans among the happiest people in the world and among the best educated. A free education thru a university Phd.
    I do hope you’re correct re: Trump and Cuba. Raul is no fool and is well aware of U.S. duplicity in its foreign affairs. He did after all, fight with his brother, from the beginning.
    They need to buddy up with Russia and China asap.

  47. November 28, 2016

    I will celebrate a different death day – good day Oldman, and goodbye Mrs. Calabash wherever you are.

  48. SnarkyShark permalink
    November 28, 2016

    “Meanwhile, SnarkyShark above is right, but for the wrong reason.”

    Reasons don’t mean shit. All the fuckwits that got Iraq so very wrong say the same thing. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Fuck the reasons or intentions. What we should do is ignore all the asshats who are always wrong but have best of intentions.

    We used to be on the same sheet of rolling papers there Ivory Bill, but Killary is so bad and so corrupt that only someone akin to a cultist could still be pining for her.

  49. SnarkyShark permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Sorry Ivory Bill, got my threads mixed up. You were slagging me because I pointed out that Jib was complaining about political Repression while dabbling in it himself. And somehow I was right but wrong. Color me confused.

  50. SnarkyShark permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Likewise, if you spout Nazi rhetoric and give Nazi salutes, you are not an “alt-rightist”, you are…

    Half my Liberal/socialist/left websites that I read made the “list”. If you dont see the NAZI implications in this bullshit enemy of the state/status quo blacklist then I cant help you.

  51. Synoia permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Long Live the BRICCS.

    Decide for yourself the second C. Perhaps we should rename Cuba, Kuba?

    Long live the BRICKS?

    I was ABC in the last election. Anyone But Clinton. However I live in CA, and CA was solidly behind Clinton, way Behind because our vote does not matter. Please take you blame for Trump to the unemployed white workers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.

    I’m still ABC, and I believe in NB – No Bush. I’m not yet will to play No Trump, although No Trump does provide the highest score (result).

    I cannot play Oligarch – I have insufficient funds for the deposit to play the game. I’d like to play Swiss Democracy, but I am reminded that the Mother of Parliaments (the UK), practices dictatorship by Parliament.

  52. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 28, 2016

    “Please take your blame for Trump to the unemployed white workers…”

    Don’t blame Bubba and Bobbie Sue for this.

  53. Richard permalink
    November 28, 2016

    V Arnold:
    I don’t know where in the world you are, but I care a lot about the effect Trump will have on the US internally as well. The federal government under Hillary would not have pushed to decrease civil rights, human rights, and voting rights for minorities. All indications are that civil rights, human rights, and voting rights for minorities in the US will decrease due to Trump. The only question is whether it is a reversible amount or a tragic amount.

    SnarkySnark:
    Have you looked at Trump’s history? What reason do you have for believing that Trump won’t exceed Hillary’s corruption by an order of magnitude and raise governmental dysfunction and corruption in the US to the level we see in Brazil or Argentina?
    His entire life as been about enriching himself and ripping people off and never about helping others. Do you disagree with that statement?

  54. V. Arnold permalink
    November 28, 2016

    Richard
    November 28, 2016

    With all due respect; you and I might as well be speaking past each other in different languages.
    My language is that of history; which obviously, you do not know.
    The Clintons (yes plural) are neo-cons who have seen to it our freedoms have been taken away. And it’s ongoing as I type thse words.
    I really see no purpose in continuing a discussion; you lack the language.

  55. ProNewerDeal permalink
    November 28, 2016

    This IBW guy’s take is to insist that social democracy policies, & their advocates (citizens & politicians like Sanders & Stein) are “Far Left” “Unicorny”, & that these “Far Left” are similar to actual Far Right fascists because “Horseshoe Theory”. IBW ignores that social democracy policies been proven effective in the world’s best nations like Canada & Denmark AND have majoritarian support of USians as per the poll done by PCCC/boldprogressives dot org – e.g. this implies that IBW concludes a majority of USians are Unicorny Far-Lefty.

    Furthermore, IBW is a cultist or at least HilllaryBot for his Dear Leader HClinton. IBW assumes any policy criticism of neoliberal right-winger HClinton is sexist or a right-wing; exactly how 0bamabots labeled any policy criticism of 0bama is racist.

  56. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    November 28, 2016

    IBW ignores that social democracy policies been proven effective in the world’s best nations like Canada & Denmark AND have majoritarian support of USians as per the poll done by PCCC/boldprogressives dot org

    Social democracy in the USA would be a fine thing, but fat chance it will happen in my lifetime.

    PND observes how members of the White American Booboisie respond to questions in a poll.

    I observe how members of the White American Booboisie actually vote, and have been voting, for all too long.

    White American Boobs will say, sometimes, that they would like social democracy–until the operatives of the Right remind them that enacting social democracy will mean that those N-people will get some of the benefits.

    At that point, their enthusiasm for social democracy evaporates faster than an icicle dropped into an active blast furnace.

    My people are thatmean and stupid. They are a stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears.

    I wonder what foul and grave sins I committed in a previous life, that the Ascended Madoka condemned me to be reborn into such a self-destructively stupid and evil lot as the White American Booboisie, with no realistic hope of escaping that wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  57. Richard permalink
    November 29, 2016

    V Arnold:
    If you had planned to
    1. Show off your arrogance.
    2. Show off your inability to persuade others
    Then congratulations!

    You have succeeded.

  58. Richard permalink
    November 29, 2016

    V Arnold:
    I’m also going to hazard a guess that you’re not a minority.

    It takes either a special kind of mental blindness or white privilege to not see that Trump will be much worse for American minorities than the Clintons were to any group of Americans.

  59. V. Arnold permalink
    November 29, 2016

    Richard
    November 29, 2016

    My dear Richard; I’m not here to persuade anybody of anything.
    My pleasure is to engage informed people; of which you are not.
    That is not my fault; take responsibility for your own shortcomings.
    You’re a bit of a scoundrel, accusing me of arrogance when you can’t even
    maintain a conversation, because you don’t know history, in which it follows, you do not know the subject at hand.
    Cheers

  60. Herman permalink
    November 30, 2016

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

    You are right. That is a big thing part of it. A lot of people on the Left may not like this but I do think there is a strong argument that it is much easier to build a social democracy or socialism in a homogeneous country than a multiracial one like the United States. Castro’s Cuba was perhaps as successful as it was precisely because it was a one-party state and forced state socialism on the people. Same for the Soviet Union.

    Robert Putnam, who is a liberal, even noted that diversity perhaps reduces social capital and solidarity.

    See: http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/

    But then again maybe it is not about race. Maybe Americans are just unusually mean and would not want to have social democracy for anyone no matter their race. Americans really love to punch down. It is socially acceptable to hate poor people in America. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

  61. Richard permalink
    November 30, 2016

    V Arnold:

    Actually, I do know history. Mostly likely more than you.
    I see that you have no better response than name-calling, which really says more about your character than anything else.

  62. tsisageya1 permalink
    November 30, 2016

    How could anyone not know what I was asking? I am so clear. What is confusing about it all?

  63. tsisageya1 permalink
    November 30, 2016

    But, my actual question was: Why is gitmo still in existance, O fucking BAMA?

    You lying asshole.

  64. tsisageya1 permalink
    November 30, 2016

    Have I made myself clear now?

Comments are closed.