Monday, February 18, 2008

Curtain Call for Castro


Fidel Castro, the battle scarred aging warrior of the Western Hemisphere, whose legendary confrontations with the world's most powerful empires against his own third world island nation, is finally laying down his armor. After 49 years at the helm in Cuba, as one of the longest reigning leaders of the 20th century, surviving more than 600 assassination attempts and outlasting 9 US Presidents; Fidel Castro is walking towards the sunset until his last breath - in his own time and on his own terms.

Here is a revolutionary who challenged the exploitative US capitalist structure in
his country, seized their assets, shut down the operations of the organized criminals of America, instituted genuine land reform, provided quality education and health care to his people continuously, and neutralized the western propaganda machinery of protests and negative publicity; despite the forceful imposition of a 40 year economic embargo supported by nearly all countries of the globe - that practically starved the country and threatened to make Cuba an unlamented and forgotten graveyard. America was so incensed with Castro that it wanted him to bend, kneel and grovel for peace. Fidel Castro and the Cubans were steadfast and took their best shots head on, and remained proudly on their feet knowing that theirs was a moral victory.

Castro was a dictator with an iron hand, who embraced communism and stuck to a socialist economic model, up to the point where the world experienced its demise as an unworkable system. Faced with an economic embargo and the subsequent removal of Soviet support in the late 1980s, he resorted to stringent measures in dealing with protests from within, that crossed the line where civilized and humane treatment were replaced by oppression and abuse. Castro long suspected the US of fanning unrest through its agents in Cuba, noting the 261,000 people leaving between 1965-1973. To spite the US, he allowed 125,000 Cubans to leave for the US in 1980, including criminals from Cuban jails which brought a violent crime wave to Florida.

But these are political anomalies that the US can turn a blind eye to when it's convenient for their interests. Both China and Russia were communist dictatorships that were as oppressive, if not more iron fisted than Cuba; and yet trade between them flourished. What really riled the US was Castro's use of America's tactics on America itself. The US-backed NATO had planted missiles in Europe that could strike at the heart of Russia in a short time; Castro gave Russia the same opportunity, conditioned on buying its exports at a premium. The US sent its CIA agents to other countries to destabilize governments and install dictators; Castro exported his brand of revolution in South America; and headed the Non-Aligned Movement (against Soviet objections) that sent Cuban soldiers to train and beef-up the Angolan army.

Like life itself, Castro is a man of contradictions. He has won major battles, and he has also lost many, including the painful sight of his countrymen leaving for the land of his enemy. Since he deposed the dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Cuba has been in a crisis mode, and the country had to survive amidst hostile surroundings under increasing difficulties. In a crisis situation, the use of absolute authority trumps consensus or majority decision in order to maintain control of scant resources; and ensure portions for all. Castro fought under a democratic promise that he was unable to keep. Rather, events and his decisions because of it, kept his people in the dark about democracy; despite the achievements in social services and agriculture.

After 49 years, Fidel Castro may be viewed as a survivor, like the country he ruled. In hindsight, he was neither truly anti-American nor pro-Soviet Union, but simply pro-Cuba. He has remained a soldier in dress and in attitude, and will remain a soldier till his last breath. He said he needed to prepare the country for his absence, and he would not take new responsibilities that require physical mobility he can no longer provide. As a lifelong soldier, he said, "I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas".

At this late stage in his life, these ideas run the risk of being dismissed by the west as the ramblings of aging mad man.

Haaarrrwwwwk...Twoooooph...Ting!

8 comments:

iamsorceress said...

You have to hand it to the man. Such a man of honor is of a dying breed. His ways aren't perfect but indeed he simply is pro-Cuba and he lives by it the best way he knows how.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Iamsorceress,

He has no equal in America. They never found anyone to match against him, that's probably why they hate and vilified him so much.
--Durano, done!

Blogtommy said...

All done while basically in our back yard...that's the impressive part...Castro stepping down adds another destabilization factor to an already whacked out world balance...and to think even 20 years ago such a thing would be hailed as a victory in America....I'm not sure it is today.

Peace.........T

Kim said...

thanks for this detailed and revealing insight Durano...

a passionate ...patriotic...and committed leader....

one wonders what will become of the country now...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

I agree. If he stepped down in 1990, it would considered a victory. At this time, his stepping down to be replaced by his brother makes the situation uncertain. The x-factor here is Cuba's relationship with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela which was nurtured by Fidel. How much influence Chavez would have on Raul Castro in exchange for the oil is worth considering. Knowing the enmity between Chavez and America, his influence could make him the de facto successor of Castro in exporting revolutions, at least to the United States. That could be worrisome for the US. They could start another invasion... :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

Not everyone will look kindly on Castro, Kim; depending on what side of the political spectrum they're coming from, and/or from what country they emanate.

It's always a question of perspective, and I took Fidel's, but in a more balanced light.

America has no moral authority to continue the embargo and should lift this post haste. They lost this battle and should take defeat gracefully. Acting like sore losers puts them in bad light and adds to the legend of Castro.

Fidel can initiate ideas to take Cuba into the 21st century through globalization and the internet. Otherwise, stronger South American supporters make unduly influence it's affairs that could lead to more chaos and difficulties for Cubans.

Thanks for the visit. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Oops, that's "may" unduly influence...not "make"; my mind is moving faster than my fingers.

Tapline said...

Durano, good post....I can remember when Castro took over and was invited to the united states and treated like a hero. It didn't last long before he was courting the Soviet Union then missles were moved in and being assembled. Almost a war with Russia..We removed missles from Turkey they removed missles from Cuba. The Bay of Pigs was a CIA disaster for the Cubans trying to get back at Fidel. The people thaught they found a messiah, but they were mistaken. He ruled with an iron hand, I can't begin to count how many people died trying to get to Florida from Cuba, but the number is not small. Hero! I wouln't say so. I ramble....stay well.....