Jump to content
The Education Forum

Fidel Castro resigns


Michael Hogan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think America should talk with Cuba. They might be ready. For one, their economy is terrible. They're still driving around in cars from the '50's.

It is a myth that the Cubans only have cars built in the 1950s. Because of the US boycott they do have difficulty getting modern American cars. However, they have plenty of cars from other countries. The Skoda is the most popular car in Cuba.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think America should talk with Cuba. They might be ready. For one, their economy is terrible. They're still driving around in cars from the '50's.

It is a myth that the Cubans only have cars built in the 1950s. Because of the US boycott they do have difficulty getting modern American cars. However, they have plenty of cars from other countries. The Skoda is the most popular car in Cuba.

And how many people there can afford a Skoda?

Kathy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is being speculated that Castro is trying to influence the US elections. John McCain has made it clear that he is unwilling to enter into negotiations with Cuba. However, Barack Obama, is willing to talk to the Cuban government.

That is really interesting, and plausible, speculation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think America should talk with Cuba. They might be ready. For one, their economy is terrible. They're still driving around in cars from the '50's.

It is a myth that the Cubans only have cars built in the 1950s. Because of the US boycott they do have difficulty getting modern American cars. However, they have plenty of cars from other countries. The Skoda is the most popular car in Cuba.

And how many people there can afford a Skoda?

Kathy

Not many. Most people use motorised bikes. I was just making the point that most countries ignore the threats of Bush and export goods to Cuba. When I visited Cuba I had to go via Canada as the US would not let the aircraft go over its territory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two cheers for Castro, the world will miss him

by Sudheendra Kulkarni

The Sunday Express (India)

February 24, 2008

Man's brush with mortality is the moment that reminds him that everything in life must come to an end. Even the most enduring and acclaimed performer on the stage must know that the curtains would at some point come down, making the experience of the show a part of the viewers’ cherished memory. Last week saw the exit of one of the longest-serving, and also one of the most charismatic, heads of state. Fidel Castro, 81 and battling cancer for some time, announced that he would resign as president of Cuba. He remained at his country’s helm for 49 years — long enough for the epithet ‘Fidel Forever’ to gain currency both in Cuba and around the world. Truth is, nothing in life is forever....

.... Castro could not have escaped the rub-off effect of too close an association with the Soviet Union and its dictatorial form of government. As a result, he himself became a dictator. Suppression of inner-party dissent, press freedom and political opposition, and prevention of the evolution of democracy in Cuba thus became as much the legacy of Castro’s rule as its many fine achievements in education (Cuba has attained 100 per cent literacy and its free school education is better than America’s), free healthcare (Cuba has higher life expectancy than the US and an infant mortality rate comparable to the best in the world), sports (Cuba wins more medals in Olympics than most developing countries), culture (its music is world famous) and science (its R&D in biotechnology is world-class). That it could achieve all this in spite of a thoroughly unjustifiable economic embargo by that self-styled leader of the ‘Free World’, the US, is, indeed, creditable.

“History will absolve me,” Castro, imprisoned for his revolutionary activities in 1953, had once said in self-defence in one of the most celebrated courtroom speeches of all time. That was then. How will history judge him now? As in the case of many great personalities, the judgement will be mixed, but largely positive. The world will miss Fidel Castro. And so will India, whose true friend he was.

Full story: http://www.indianexpress.com/sunday/story/276414.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought that this article gives a balanced view of Castro. It is important to realize that Castro is first and foremost a nationalist. He only became a communist because of Eisenhower's reaction to his revolution. That is something JFK eventually grasped and that is why he was involved in negotiations with Castro via Jean Daniel and Lisa Howard in 1963. What JFK was trying to do was to prise Castro away from the communist camp.

The quote by Caleb McCarry is very significant and indicates why the election of Barack Obama is so important.

John Lee Anderson, The Guardian (20th February, 2008)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/22/cuba

Fidel seized power in January 1959; he went on to become the longest-serving political leader in the world, outlasting not only nine American presidents but his main ideological and financial sponsor, the Soviet Union, as well. Communism collapsed, but Fidel didn't.

Over the decades, Fidel has left his mark far beyond the shores of Cuba. From his early rupture with the United States, his embrace of socialism and his alliance with the Soviet Union - which led to the Bay of Pigs invasion and then to the Cuban missile crisis - to his long-term sponsorship of Marxist revolution in Latin America and Africa, Fidel's challenge to US hegemony abroad ultimately redefined the cold war.

Fidel's international political relevance may have dwindled since the days of superpower confrontation, but his very survival made him one of the world's elder statesmen, and also one of its most widely admired. The US trade embargo on Cuba - a bully-boy legacy of the cold war that is now 46 years old to the month and counting - has only added to Fidel's cheering section, as well as inspiring others to follow his "Mouse That Roared" example. Most prominent among them is Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, who has made it abundantly clear that he intends to emulate Fidel by vigorously defying US policies, in Venezuela and around the world.

At home in Cuba, meanwhile, Fidel's revolution has been a political, social and economic experiment that has arguably succeeded in some ways and failed disastrously in many others, guaranteeing that his domestic legacy will be both contentious and, perhaps, as long- lasting as his rule.

There are many Cubans who are genuinely devoted to Fidel and who dread the uncertainties his eventual death will bring. His younger brother, Raul, has quietly assumed his anointed role as Fidel's successor. This has already provided a sort of continuity, but Raul's age of 76 means that he will be only a transitional figure, and so Cuba's future remains an open question.

There are also many other Cubans who have dreamed for years of Fidel's demise, convinced that fate has dealt them a heavy hand by turning over their lives to this particularly obstinate, egocentric and durable man. Under Fidel, their lives have been spent in a kind of suffocating reality warp, a uniquely Cuban realm in which time simultaneously stands still and progresses, see-sawing among dramatic episodes linked inextricably to Fidel's whim and will. Because Fidel has always seen himself, his countrymen and Cuba itself as engaged in a heroic struggle - for socialism, against imperialism, in defence of national sovereignty and so on - it has been, somehow, so. Because of his constant exaltation of the Cuban humdrum as vital to the ongoing struggle for the survival of the revolution, there is a collective sense of significance to everyday life in Cuba.

In 2005, for instance, after Fidel launched a national energy-saving campaign, his government imported a huge quantity of Chinese pressure cookers and began to distribute them to Cubans at subsidised prices. Thereafter, Fidel gave speech after televised speech explaining Cuba's energy woes and arguing that the cookers' fuel efficiency made their purchase a virtual patriotic duty. It is hard to imagine anyone but Fidel being able to turn a kitchen appliance into an item of urgent national priority, but he managed it.

With similar degrees of passion dedicated by Fidel to everything from mosquito-eradication drives - "the battle against dengue" - to the battle to "preserve the conquests of socialism", daily existence came to feel at once portentous and, often, very desolate for Cubans, because skirmishes in the great revolution are endless and the perfect future never seems to arrive.

As Fidel has withdrawn, not only his loyalists miss him but, I suspect, his opponents too. With the eclipse of his era, so too passes the shared epic quality of their own lives, however much they have suffered. The next blow will be his death, and inevitably, the downsizing of history in Cuba and, perhaps, of Cuba itself. If for the last 49 years Fidel was Cuba, what will Cuba be without him?

Every Cuban understands that Fidel's resignation, even his death, will not necessarily end their nation's long stand-off with the United States and that, in one way or another, Cuba's future will be, as it has always been, shaped directly or indirectly by decisions made in Washington.

A couple of years ago, Caleb McCarry, the Bush administration's appointee to the post of "Cuba transition coordinator," told me that even if Raul Castro took steps to open up Cuba's economy, such as China has done, it wouldn't alter US policy toward Cuba. "Economic freedoms are important," said McCarry, "but there has to be political freedom too - multiparty democracy. Ultimately, that is what will help Cubans face the legacy of the dictatorship they've lived under and to define a future where reconciliation and freedom is possible. In other words, the solution is a genuine transition which returns sovereignty to the Cuban people, to allow them to decide who their leaders will be." In the absence of that, the administration would "continue to offer a real transition in Cuba, and we will remain firm with the regime".

Such open talk in Washington about promoting "regime change" strikes most of the Cubans I know, including Fidel's detractors, as gallingly interventionist. But this is nothing new; such talk is, in fact, as old as Cuba's nationhood, which was itself brought about by US intervention during the Spanish-American War. With Cuban independence came a mostly unbroken succession of pro-American regimes, some of them cravenly so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing for the Jamaica Gleaner, Hartley Neita writes:

History Will Absolve Castro: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/200.../cleisure4.html

Neita's bio: http://www.prsj.org/prsj.dti?page=bios/hartleyneita

Fantastic commentary.

"Education is free. Not just tuition, but all aspects of education. We are just about to return to free tuition.

Health care is free. We are about to introduce this here."

History will not absolve us unless, like Churchill, the guilty write it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought that this article gives a balanced view of Castro. It is important to realize that Castro is first and foremost a nationalist. He only became a communist because of Eisenhower's reaction to his revolution. That is something JFK eventually grasped and that is why he was involved in negotiations with Castro via Jean Daniel and Lisa Howard in 1963. What JFK was trying to do was to prise Castro away from the communist camp.

The quote by Caleb McCarry is very significant and indicates why the election of Barack Obama is so important.

...

Every Cuban understands that Fidel's resignation, even his death, will not necessarily end their nation's long stand-off with the United States and that, in one way or another, Cuba's future will be, as it has always been, shaped directly or indirectly by decisions made in Washington.

A couple of years ago, Caleb McCarry, the Bush administration's appointee to the post of "Cuba transition coordinator," told me that even if Raul Castro took steps to open up Cuba's economy, such as China has done, it wouldn't alter US policy toward Cuba. "Economic freedoms are important," said McCarry, "but there has to be political freedom too - multiparty democracy. Ultimately, that is what will help Cubans face the legacy of the dictatorship they've lived under and to define a future where reconciliation and freedom is possible. In other words, the solution is a genuine transition which returns sovereignty to the Cuban people, to allow them to decide who their leaders will be." In the absence of that, the administration would "continue to offer a real transition in Cuba, and we will remain firm with the regime".

Such open talk in Washington about promoting "regime change" strikes most of the Cubans I know, including Fidel's detractors, as gallingly interventionist. But this is nothing new; such talk is, in fact, as old as Cuba's nationhood, which was itself brought about by US intervention during the Spanish-American War. With Cuban independence came a mostly unbroken succession of pro-American regimes, some of them cravenly so.[/color]

In other words, until Cuba allows US style predatory capitalism with pillage and plunder privatization, the US will continue to ostracize Cuba.

Did I miss anything?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In other words, until Cuba allows US style predatory capitalism with pillage and plunder privatization, the US will continue to ostracize Cuba.

Did I miss anything?

It is true that the human rights situation in Cuba is poor. It is true that critics of Castro's government are imprisoned. I find this idea repulsive. However, the situation is far worse in China and those Middle-Eastern countries that Bush is currently so keen to support.

It is incorrect to describe Cuba as "undemocratic". Around 95% of Cubans vote in elections. What Cuba does not have is multiparty elections. This is not so different from the US/UK. We have a couple of parties that can rule us but they have very similiar policies. This includes support for the status quo. That is why both countries suffer from low turn-out rates in elections. In Cuba, the people vote for candidates rather than parties. In that sense, they have more power than we do and explains why a higher percentage of them vote in elections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...