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Castro's failing health


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Fidel Castro and Cuba are inextricably woven into the fabric of research relating to the murder of President Kennedy.

Castro is the world’s third-longest serving head of state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and he has defied Washington and a US economic embargo for more than four decades. What are the factors that have allowed Castro to defy incalculable odds to remain in control for such a long time? What changes, if any, will there be to Cuba and Latin America if Castro passes?

I have often wondered if it is possible Castro has knowledge or proof of some extremely explosive, ultra-sensitive US intelligence activies that made removing him most problematic, if not impossible. Or if it was more simple than that; his presence in Cuba ultimately benefited the US both politically and economically.

Mike Hogan

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Fidel Castro and Cuba are inextricably woven into the fabric of research relating to the murder of President Kennedy.

Castro is the world’s third-longest serving head of state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and he has defied Washington and a US economic embargo for more than four decades. What are the factors that have allowed Castro to defy incalculable odds to remain in control for such a long time? What changes, if any, will there be to Cuba and Latin America if Castro passes?

I have often wondered if it is possible Castro has knowledge or proof of some extremely explosive, ultra-sensitive US intelligence activies that made removing him most problematic, if not impossible. Or if it was more simple than that; his presence in Cuba ultimately benefited the US both politically and economically.

Mike Hogan

From the FWIW Dept., I would imagine that your last paragraph contains a lot of fact, although they are facts which would certainly be hard to prove w/o government documents. Many people forget that besides war being hell, it is also a 'hell of a business.' I personally believe that Castro could tell a lot about 11/22/63 that he has not revealed at any other time. Fabian Escalante seems to be the one who speaks for the regime on the JFK Hit, although Castro has spoken about it, but only in a political context and when it is of benefit to himself. Although there are voluminous accounts of Cuban's 'fed up' with JFK's policies post BOP until DP, I am sure that it has not been a 'bed of roses' with succeeding administrations, excepting that of George H.W. Bush and son.

I also note with some surprise how the media is spinnning this [CNN 'Castro cedes power'] as if he were at death's door, seems like a lot of wishful thinking to me, but maybe they know something the rest of us don't. I certainly don't think Cuban policy would change much, even if Fidel died tommorrow, if Raul was firmly in control, on the other hand, just like Lebanon, I am sure there is much, much more going on behind the door, as it were.

Edited by Robert Howard
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I have often wondered if it is possible Castro has knowledge or proof of some extremely explosive, ultra-sensitive US intelligence activies that made removing him most problematic, if not impossible. Or if it was more simple than that; his presence in Cuba ultimately benefited the US both politically and economically.

I have thought the same. This could have been a factor in why LBJ decided not to invade Cuba after the assassination. We know for example that Castro's agents had infiltrated groups like Operation 40. They must have got evidence of the plots. If this is true, likely presidents to invade Cuba such as Reagan and Bush, must have been told of what Castro had on the US.

It is also important to understand that Castro is very popular with the Cuban people. I have been to the Soviet Union and China. The first was clearly about to be overthrown (it was two years later). China is another that is likely to go because of the extreme inequalities that exist between the masses and the elite. However, I found Castro very popular. Interestingly, the people did not seem to be scared of the government and openly criticized the failings of Castro.

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Fidel Castro and Cuba are inextricably woven into the fabric of research relating to the murder of President Kennedy.

Castro is the world’s third-longest serving head of state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and he has defied Washington and a US economic embargo for more than four decades. What are the factors that have allowed Castro to defy incalculable odds to remain in control for such a long time? What changes, if any, will there be to Cuba and Latin America if Castro passes?

I have often wondered if it is possible Castro has knowledge or proof of some extremely explosive, ultra-sensitive US intelligence activies that made removing him most problematic, if not impossible. Or if it was more simple than that; his presence in Cuba ultimately benefited the US both politically and economically.

Mike Hogan

I think that the stature of Castro was created by the US in all of its huffing and puffing and trying to overthrow him and re-install the US-Mafia-run thugocracy Castro overthrew. Castro was/is not perfect and I am not trying to defend all he is nor has done. Most, however, like to overlook what came before. I'd imagine from what I have researched that the Cuban Intelligence Service and Castro generally know the outlines of the JFK assassination, just as some of us do in this Forum....Cuba was not involved - except as a scapegoat. Castro's biggest mistake was not to hold free elections, but then the USA would have likely tried to manipulate them. [Just look at Haiti and so many other examples!] Now with the Castro era soon to end, I'm sure the CIA and the rightwing Cubans will try to fulfil their dream of a 'neocon-type' Cuba for the rich, and the poor in Cuba will soon be back to the plantations. I don't think the average Cuban will put up with that without a fight. We will soon see.

The poor in Cuba have long been off of the plantations. I guess it depends on what your definition of "poor" is.

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I have often wondered if it is possible Castro has knowledge or proof of some extremely explosive, ultra-sensitive US intelligence activies that made removing him most problematic, if not impossible. Or if it was more simple than that; his presence in Cuba ultimately benefited the US both politically and economically.

I have thought the same. This could have been a factor in why LBJ decided not to invade Cuba after the assassination. We know for example that Castro's agents had infiltrated groups like Operation 40. They must have got evidence of the plots. If this is true, likely presidents to invade Cuba such as Reagan and Bush, must have been told of what Castro had on the US.

It is also important to understand that Castro is very popular with the Cuban people. I have been to the Soviet Union and China. The first was clearly about to be overthrown (it was two years later). China is another that is likely to go because of the extreme inequalities that exist between the masses and the elite. However, I found Castro very popular. Interestingly, the people did not seem to be scared of the government and openly criticized the failings of Castro.

I have no doubt that G-2 looked into the assassination and quickly discovered who was behind it. This was information Fidel needed in case any serious attempts were made to implicate him. One of the reasons he has survived all these years is by being one step ahead of those who wish to bring him down.

Rolando Cubela and Castro below.

James

Edited by James Richards
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I have no doubt that G-2 looked into the assassination and quickly discovered who was behind it. This was information Fidel needed in case any serious attempts were made to implicate him. One of the reasons he has survived all these years is by being one step ahead of those who wish to bring him down.

James

Yes, The Cuban G-2 has always been rated as very effective and loyal and they no doubt have detailed information on the JFK Assassination. Since some of their agents likely penetrated some of the anti-Castro Cubans associated with the plot they might even have some very 'interesting' details not known - or proofs of things suspected only. They certainly have minutely detailed information on all the illegal and unethical attempts on the life of Castro and others - as well as many plans to takeover Cuba by the US. I wonder if in Casto's 'hand' of cards there is an 'ace' that has protected him.....we may never know..... I'd think it possible.

I think it is possible too, Peter.

Castro also had his finger on the pulse of what was happening in Latin America. He was well aware of what some Cuban citizens were doing in other countries; say like under the leadership of Trujillo. I submit an aspect of the Dallas plot came together outside of the United States taking advantage of certain personnel well known to the International Services of Information, the CIA and to G-2.

FWIW.

James

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It's a bit strange how Castro has managed to stay on top for so long. His popularity with his people might be the crucial factor. Also, the fact that more than half his reign encompassed the cold war period, with America more interested in building weapons superiority rather than direct confrontation with the USSR through invasion of its close ally. However, there's been a lot of wealthy people waiting for a long time to get back in, so maybe Castro does hold an Ace.

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One writer's take on Castro.....

For a Post-Castro Cuba, Castro Lite

by ANTHONY DePALMA

Published: August 6, 2006, New York Times

EVEN from his sickbed — or what delirious crowds in Miami last Monday had for a time believed was his deathbed — Fidel Castro was obsessed with how history would judge him. In a statement outlining a new provisional government headed by his brother Raúl, he exhorted Cubans to continue the long revolutionary struggle during his absence, repeating, as always, that “imperialism will never vanquish Cuba.”

With his bushy beard and his booming anti-American rhetoric, Mr. Castro, who turns 80 next Sunday, will linger in the Cuban imagination far into the future as a double image — one, the romantic revolutionary of 1958, promising Cuba equality, prosperity and independence; the other, the prisoner of a half-century of confrontation with the United States that kept Cuba from evolving in a way that could deliver on the promises.

Today, many experts say that any successor loyal to the Castro revolution may have to chip away at his legacy in order to save it. The Cuban people may revere his memory, but they will also demand change.

Hardliners within the regime remain. But rank-and-file soldiers, long deprived of promotions and mobility, will want the military to stop running hotels and resorts and return to the role of a traditional military. Small-scale entrepreneurs, who tasted free enterprise with their small restaurants and fruit stands, will want a freer economy. Intellectuals will want the state security apparatus dismantled. And the majority of Cubans — poor and powerless — will demand a chance for a better life than they’ve known under Fidel.

Cuba has survived all these years on the largesse of “padrones” who shared Fidel Castro’s disdain for Washington — first the Soviet Union with its sugar subsidies, now Venezuela with its cheap oil. But counting on such friends for the long term, rather than reforming Cuba’s economy and entering the global markets for trade and capital, seems a risky bet at best. And without Fidel Castro’s mythic presence to draw them, those friends might be tempted to wander.

Last week, as Mr. Castro lay in a hospital recovering from intestinal surgery, it seemed entirely possible that he would never retake the same tight-fisted control of the government, and that a long-awaited transition had begun.

But change will have to be done carefully. Most of the 11 million Cubans on the island today were born after Mr. Castro came to power and have known only his Communism. So despite the decrepit housing, the wasting food shortages and a repressive security system that can make a whispered complaint the basis of a jail sentence, Fidel Castro remains an admired figure to them. He has allowed no statues of himself, but his visage on posters, billboards, television and newspapers is as familiar to Cubans as the sky.

Every action that Raúl Castro, 75, or any other successor takes will be measured against a simple standard: Does it honor Fidel Castro’s popular legacy, or tear it down? One Cuba expert, Marifeli Pérez-Stable, a scholar at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, says that a successor will have to do both.

As a hero of the revolution himself, and a prominent figure since, Raúl Castro is one of the few people who could change the nation’s course. But even for him, it would not be easy.

Ms. Pérez-Stable says, for example, that any successor will face what she calls a straitjacket if they want to start reforming the economy. “Whatever is left of Fidel’s revolution,” she said, “will constrain the future of any successor.”

The most powerful constraints that remain are virulent anti-Americanism and a centralized economy run on an ideology that broke down long ago.

Mr. Castro used anti-Americanism to build his political power at home, his reputation in Latin America, and his strategic alliance with the Soviet Union during the cold war, as well as to form his current bonds with Venezula’s Hugo Chávez.

But the American embargo that followed the rebels’ triumph froze Cuba out of any hope of building a future based on trade with the biggest economy in the Americas.

Canada, Mexico and many other countries continued to do business with Cuba, asserting that the way to deal with Mr. Castro is to engage him, not isolate him. Appreciating his defiance of the economic giant in whose shadow they also lived, they kept trading with him even when he could not pay his bills.

But with Mr. Castro out of the picture, that degree of enthusiasm could easily dry up, leaving a potential successor with only more difficult options.

One option lies in China. Raúl Castro has visited there and expressed admiration for that nation’s ability to meld economic openings while preserving Communist power. It could be a model for Cuba, but ideological hard-liners in the government would strenuously object.

Cuba could continue to rely on Venezuela’s revolutionary solidarity and its oil, but that would leave Cuba at the mercy of Mr. Chávez — and dependent on his longevity in office.

Or, in what may be the most problematic solution, Cuba could accept some form of cooperation with the United States. But any Cuban leader who did that might be accused of making Fidel Castro turn in his grave.

Moreover, in recent years Mr. Castro has placed young “Fidelistas” in key political, ideological and economic positions within the government. They would try to keep a successor from straying too far from Mr. Castro’s devotion to the cause of anti-imperialism.

After all, Cuban resentment of the United States as an interventionist power predates Mr. Castro, just as his own anti-Americanism predated his Communism, and it was Mr. Castro’s titanic talent for getting under the skin of American presidents that made him a hero throughout much of the third world.

Even today, that popularity survives in large parts of Latin America — as reflected in the recent successes of Mr. Chávez in Venezuela and of Evo Morales in Bolivia — and it provides the most likely scenario for immediate support for a Castro loyalist to keep Cuba going.

In lands where free trade and open economies — the methods favored by Washington — have not delivered a better standard of living, attacking Washington is a popular political stand, and Mr. Castro’s own economic failures do not seem to matter. So continued support from Mr. Chávez, in particular, could give any successor a way to keep Cuba afloat without change for some time.

China, with its keen interest in Cuban nickel, could continue to develop its Cuban market ties at the same time.

But China also offers any successor of Fidel Castro a game plan for change and political survival.

In Beijing today — a city experiencing explosive growth based on China’s accommodation to the global market — a huge portrait of Mao still hovers over Tiananmen Square, and crowds throng Mao’s mausoleum. William Ratliff, a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution who is an expert on Cuba and China, said that despite the brutal repressions of Mao’s rule, most Chinese continue to admire him.

He said China’s ability to honor Mao, even as it tears down the economy he set in place, could provide a model for Cuba.

“Maybe Raul’s next trip to China should be to study image making,” Mr. Ratliff said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/06/weekinre...amp;oref=slogin

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But change will have to be done carefully. Most of the 11 million Cubans on the island today were born after Mr. Castro came to power and have known only his Communism. So despite the decrepit housing, the wasting food shortages and a repressive security system that can make a whispered complaint the basis of a jail sentence, Fidel Castro remains an admired figure to them. He has allowed no statues of himself, but his visage on posters, billboards, television and newspapers is as familiar to Cubans as the sky.

From my experience of talking to people living in Cuba it is the young who are more critical of Castro. They do not remember Cuba before Castro. The old remember the Cuba of military dictatorships that worked closely with the US government and the Mafia. The most popular thing about the revolution was the change in morality (a reduction in prostitution, gambling, drugs, bribery, etc.). One has to remember that Cuba in the 1950s was a very religious country.

The young only know a country with a welfare state. They take that for granted and demand political freedom. They are right to do so. However, they do not want a return to the kind of "freedom and democracy" that the US supported in Latin and Central America.

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Despite Castro's undemocratic failure to hold elections,

Uh oh. Here's comes the moral equivalency argument.

the Cuban people generally DO like him and are better off, generally, than they were under the US-fronted-Mafia-backed Batista thugocracy.

Yeah, all those people on makeshift rafts braving shark-infested waters are big fans of El Papi. I guess that also explains why so many non-Cubans are eager to get in. But hey, who needs freedom, democracy, and civil liberties when you have free healthcare, right? Batista is FDR compared to this a-hole.

Cubans have better general healthcare than do the average American.

Ha! You just knew that was coming! In Pete's demented mind, free healthcare is a fair tradeoff for 40 years of one-party fascist rule. FYI, Mussolini made the trains run on time. I guess that made him a great guy too.

The poverty of the country is IMO more an artifact of the US led embargo and other dirty tricks than the system of government.

So that would explain why Castro's net worth exceeds $900 million. Looks like he's weathered the embargo quite well. His impoverished and downtrodden countrymen? Well, they weren't as fortunate.

The Cubans also like the fact that Castro has stood up to the bully to the north.

No, that's why you and your US-hating buddies adore him. The international left will overlook oppression and economic looting at home if you market yourself as David to the American Goliath. The thousands killed by Castro over the years, the tens of thousands more who have died desperately seeking freedom in the U.S., the political prisoners, the torture, the imprisonment of librarians--all can be forgiven so long as you pose as the alternative to the American "hegemon."

I like Fidel in many ways, though wish he had found a way to be more democratic.

Did you like Stalin? Pol Pot? Khomeini? Mao? Saddam? What exactly are Fidel's redeeming characteristics? What exactly has prevented him from holding free, multi-party elections or granting freedom of the press?

IMO the US drove him into the hands of the USSR and further toward their system than he wanted.

He came to power promising democracy. He lied and subsequently brutalized and robbed his own country. Yet Pete wants to absolve all those sins and put it on Uncle Sam's tab.

In free elections, he would often have been re-elected, I believe.

Regrettably, he ain't dead yet. So what's stopping him? There is little doubt that, given a genuinely free electoral choice, the Cuban people would opt for a true democracy.

Anyway, in the next year or so he will likely exit stage right. I only hope the USA through the CIA doesn't impose upon Cuba the usual - as they do in Haiti and so many other countries. They will try.

I certainly hope we do. We're in the democracy-exporting business. You don't have the right to a communist xxxxhole in our hemisphere.

The Cuban people deserve better

"Deserve better"? Why? I thought Cuba was a worker's paradise??

...and an end to the blockade to economic growth and trade

Hell no. You lefties wanted sanctions on South Africa in order to spur human rights. Cuba is no different.

- but then we Americans deserve better than the fascists we now have ourselves

For those of you playing at home, Pete can't make one post without some sort of allusion to US "fascism." Cuba rounds up political prisoners, shuts down newspapers, and brutally suppresses dissent, yet somehow America is the police state. Go figure.

I live in Europe and many here go to Cuba for vacations.

No wonder you don't know xxxx about America or Cuba. Are you an ex-pat or a generic Euro weenie?

Americans are all but prohibited from going...out of fear of their seeing the truth there.

Yeah, I really want to see slums and rusted out Chevies from the 1950s. Peter thinks police states can't have sun and palm trees.

It is an island or potential weath and prosperity...if left to decide its own fate without el Norte dictating its fate or the return of the Mafia and Oligarchs that fled with Batista.

WSJ editorial: The standard apologetics for the sorry state of the Cuban economy begin from the premise that America, not socialism, is responsible for Cuba's travails. But Castro's personal financial success suggests that in fact substantial revenue is sluicing through the island. Even with the U.S. embargo in place, there's plenty of money to be made in Cuba. It's just that nearly all of it the income from exports of seafood, tobacco, sugar and nickel, not to mention Fidel's real-estate and pharmaceutical operations, goes to the ruling clique or to the military, bypassing the population. There are good reasons to question the embargo, but the notion that it is the source of all of Cuba's ills isn't one of them.

Those same Mafia and Oligarchs are now predominant here in the USA now.

"Here"? You don't even live here, you dummard. I do. And I know real fascism (and real morons) when I see it.

Edited by Brendan Slattery
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According to Google News at the time of writing, rumors of Castro's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Perhaps this is partly attributable to Cuba's rather superior public health system?

Viva Fidel!

:)B)

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