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Fidel Castro


Harry J.Dean
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It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.  Hopefully, there can be a fresh start, to some extent at least, for the Cuban people.  Ironic that Castro passed near Thanksgiving, and a few days after the anniversary of JFK's assassination. 

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This should be interesting, how its treated in the USA.

I have always been kind of split about what Castro did after the took power.  His excuse for not allowing free elections was, "Well, look at what happened to Arbenz."

Which is a pretty good argument I guess.  But did he really have to kill all of this people, like 400 of them?  Did he have to go along with the crazy scheme of Nikita K to import a first strike capability into Cuba?  Did he have to shoot down that U2 pilot thereby giving the hawks like Nitze a chance to push JFK against the wall?  Which Kennedy so admirably resisted.

OTOH, he did cooperate with JFK on the back channel and he did try to revive it with LBJ--although the new administration was not listening.

And I guess you could say that Eisenhower and Dulles did not exactly lay out the welcome mat to Fidel in the USA, as Talbot so nicely sketches in The Devil's Chessbaord.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Wow, wow, wow.  I just looked at the Daily Beast and this is what the headline was:

Fidel Castro Finally Dies, But His Apologists Live On
Cuba's communist dictator is finally dead. Good riddance. His apologists live on but they will look foolish in the rearview mirror of history.

It's amazing to me how horribly biased the MSM is. Granted Che, one of Castro's henchmen and who did his share of murdering Cuban citizens and became a cult hero with his photo all over the place, was no angel. 

Diplomacy goes both ways IMO. When Batista was overthrown - and thus all of the American interests there were nationalized - there went any sense of diplomacy from Washington.  And of course they used the "scourge" of Communism to get Americans to go along with it.

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Actually I don't think all parts of the MSM always gets everything wrong....the following is a pretty decent article.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/26/opinions/fidel-castro-promise-and-betrayal-garcia/index.html

There was much blame on both sides in our relations with Cuba and Eisenhower jumped behind Dulles's program to overthrow Castro eagerly and with little hesitation even though he had pledged to wait and see....that didn't happen.  Regardless of that, Jim's point about the executions is a good one. Castro immediately brutalized his revolution and with a nationalization program that went far beyond American interests and even Cuban agriculture - it literally chewed up the thriving middle class in Cuba. And Castro's public security measures were draconian; on the Stalinist model...all that was initiated well before the Bay of Pigs. I do think JFK could have moved Castro towards neutrality if he had been allowed to proceed with dialogs; whether Congress or the American public would have supported that is pretty questionable unless it involved a dramatic break from Russia.

Did the U.S. give Castro a real chance, no.  Did it throw away an opportunity to keep him out of the Soviet camp just as it had in Vietnam, yes.  Does that justify the executions, the economic brutality and the suppression of what could actually have been a truly democratic revolution, nope - not in my view.

 

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8 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

This should be interesting, how its treated in the USA.

I have always been kind of split about what Castro did after the took power.  His excuse for not allowing free elections was, "Well, look at what happened to Arbenz."

Which is a pretty good argument I guess.  But did he really have to kill all of this people, like 400 of them?  Did he have to go along with the crazy scheme of Nikita K to import a first strike capability into Cuba?  Did he have to shoot down that U2 pilot thereby giving the hawks like Nitze a chance to push JFK against the wall?  Which Kennedy so admirably resisted.

OTOH, he did cooperate with JFK on the back channel and he did try to revive it with LBJ--although the new administration was not listening.

And I guess you could say that Eisenhower and Dulles did not exactly lay out the welcome mat to Fidel in the USA, as Talbot so nicely sketches in The Devil's Chessbaord.

It seemed that when Castro came to power he held all the cards, and kept everyone jumping.  He was a loose cannon and nobody knew what to expect. The actions that he took during JFK's administration were consistently unpredictable.  It is very difficult, to my thinking, to give Castro any credit, except perhaps for managing to stay alive through all the assassination attempts and, apparently, not having a hand in the murder of JFK. 

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I've never believed nor I ever will that Castro plotted or was in on the plot to kill JFK. As Jeremy' link shows, it was one more way the US tried to make Castro the boogeyman down there.  But meanwhile, as the cover-up of Kennedy had already begun in earnest by our own government, Castro gave this incredibly prescient speech just five days after Kennedy was killed:

http://www.ctka.net/2016/castro-speech/fidel-castro-november-27-1963-speech.html

Although I don't agree with his entire analogy above, he had some great points while meanwhile, our own government was making things up like the ridiculous Single Bullet Theory

My favorite from above:

Who? Why? A gangster, a gambler, the owner of a night club, with nudity and all, known to be a playboy, a goon. He manages to position himself in front of the suspected murderer. An individual known to the whole police department for what he was: as a gambler, as the owner of immoral night clubs, as someone who was arrested by those same police. How then can that same police force then mistake him for a news reporter, given that all those officers knew him perfectly well? How can he be there, impersonating a journalist, and shoot the suspect just like that?

And what does he claim afterwards? The most ridiculous, the most absurd thing. This gambler, this vicious man, this gangster with a criminal record, he declares that he did what he did to prevent the President’s widow from having to go back to Dallas for the trial.
 

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22 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

This should be interesting, how its treated in the USA.

I have always been kind of split about what Castro did after the took power.  His excuse for not allowing free elections was, "Well, look at what happened to Arbenz."

Which is a pretty good argument I guess.  But did he really have to kill all of this people, like 400 of them?  Did he have to go along with the crazy scheme of Nikita K to import a first strike capability into Cuba?  Did he have to shoot down that U2 pilot thereby giving the hawks like Nitze a chance to push JFK against the wall?

 

Jim,

Don't be naive here. The vast majority of the "liquidated" were the brutal henchmen of Bastista's.  They tortured. raped, and killed many  as Batista's state security force.  It was state terrorism.  These guys were sub-human. Castro did what the French did with the Nazi collaborators after The Liberation of France  in 1944.  Revolutions are not white glove affairs.  Eggs get broken.  Reprisals take place.  Can you imagine the blood bath if a Cuban counter-revolution had been successful......  Look at what the CIA did to Salvador Allende and he was democratically elected.  Shoot, the Cuban Revolution was a sanitary affair compared to what happened in Algeria. 

As for Cuba's alliance with the Soviets, Castro though it necessary to deter another US invasion attempt.  The US set the precedent with first strike missiles in Turkey.  The Soviets were pissed.  Nikita was playing catch up.  It's the time of MAD, mutual assured destruction.  Castro was just a pawn in a much larger game.  Remember, Castro felt burnt by Nikita because he was left out of the loop during the negotiations that resolved the Crisis.

The bigger puzzle is how a rag-tag band of 300 irregulars defeated the much, much larger Batista force.  Talk about asymmetrical warfare.  This was off the chart.  This was the Latin American Thermopylae. 

 

 

 

 

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From the article: In March 1962, the head of Operation Mongoose, Brig. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale, the Kennedys' personal choice for the job, asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their views on top-secret plans to concoct a pretext for a military invasion of Cuba.

Those plans involved staging phony attacks against Americans and anti-Castro Cubans. They included what the documents call ''a 'Remember the Maine' incident.'' That slogan was shouted when the United States went to war against Spain in 1898, blaming Spain for sinking an American warship in Havana.

''We could blow up a US warship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,'' the memorandum said.

''We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,'' it continued. ''The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated).''

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/19/us/declassified-papers-show-anti-castro-ideas-proposed-to-kennedy.html

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IMO, Castro tried to go with us, and why wouldn't he? We were the premiere economic power in the world. He met directly through Nixon the Eisenhower, Dulles, multi national Industrial complex, who weren't going to give an inch on nationalization. IMO Castro probably  knew complete nationalization wasn't really practical and wouldn't have nationalized near as much as he did, but ultimately he was left no choice. There's no doubt in my mind, if things had been handled more carefully, there would have been no defection to the Soviet bloc, no Cuban Missile crisis, no assassinated President.

His actions after seizing control parallel many such revolutions of that time. He seized control decisively, brutally and repressively. Straight to the 3rd world Socialist model he forbid many Doctors, professionals and producers from leaving to countries where they could make a lot more money, and have a much higher standard of living, and thwarted incentive to the point that many of his reforms toward a Centralized economy never had a chance of working. That they continued these policies over the years except for very minor incremental market reform some attribute to Castro keeping the people down to ensure his complete control. Whatever the true intention, it didn't make a lot of sense.

His best legacy was that he provided for all the best education and health care system in Latin America.Though I've never been to Cuba,  I traveled extensively for months through Mexico and Central America in the 70's and 80's and with a few small exceptions there was extreme poverty, very little safety net, and great illiteracy.

Go to Honduras, ( particularly with the scourge of drug gangs)then go to Cuba, you might prefer Cuba. Go to Costa Rica, maybe not. If you're a wealthy industrialist, and you go to Cuba, you'd have to be eying that cheap, dirt poor economy and educated work force like a hawk. Like Trump in 1998.

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/10/14/donald-trump-cuban-embargo-castro-violated-florida-504059.html

 

 

Edited by Kirk Gallaway
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  • 1 month later...

Castro's testimony to the HSCA is worth reading. What is almost amusing is that you may detect that Castro is aghast when he is told that the HSCA's budget is $5 million dollars. He then asks if that is for just the assassination of JFK. He is told no, it is for the investigation of all the assassinations that they are investigating.

it's interesting that the Zapruder family was paid $15 million for ownership of Abraham's famous film.

What is sad is the role that racism has played in this long, crappy story. If Cuba and Puerto Rico were white and English speaking nations, long ago they would have been American states through an expanded concept of Manifest Destiny.

interview of Castro:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/jfkinfo/castro.htm

Edited by Michael Clark
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