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Thread: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

  1. #1
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    Default Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Sad news for a great many people including yours truly. I read his and Che Guevera biographies way back in the 1960s. Was a believer. Till I read Koestler, and the Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

    All the same, it is heartening to see the huge amount of media coverage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidel_Castro
    We are all insane animals existing for a time on an obviously unfinished planet.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    It's been officially confirmed!

    Thus all which you call Sin, Destruction—in brief, Evil—that is my true element.

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    RIP Fidel

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Truly a full and fascinating life. RIP

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    I posted this elsewhere on this site a few years ago. Will have to dig out the book and read it again.




    Coming to this book I knew relatively little about Cuba beyond a superficial understanding of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the American blockade of the nation. This book as not aimed at someone like myself as it presumes a certain familiarity with the subject.

    However I found it to be a fascinating read, Fidel's pride, rightfully so, at Cuba's achievements such as the level of education in Cuba, the health services etc really shines through. These achievements following the revolution are perhaps even more impressive then the very acts of revolution themselves, the actual war to topple Fulgencio Batista. Castro's description of same as well as that of his fellow revolutionaries such as Che Guevara are compulsive reading.

    Castro's account of the Cuban missile crisis is fascinating as is his description of Cuba's actions on an international stage such as their interventions in Africa which helped topple apartheid, something to which I shall have to devote further study.

    Castro himself is a fascinating character, and this book is as close as most of us will ever get to speaking to the man. His account of his formative years is very valuable - he speaks of his childhood, his motivations, inspirations and heroes - what helped sculpt his political and social outlook. The picture which emerges is one of a dedicated, work obsessed, caring man of unshakable confidence and conviction in his work. His internationalist outlook, typified by Cuba's response of sending doctors to assist following various disasters, is particularly commendable.

    The format of the book is not that of a conventional biography but rather takes of the form of a marathon interview session, the translation is excellent and the narrative flows well.

    Unfortunately while there is much discussion in general terms of the social and economic reforms implemented by the socialist government (and the results of same) the book does not so much go into the specifics of same or rather what they meant for the ordinary man or woman behind the admittedly impressive statistics. But then again this is Castro's story.

    As I said at the outset of this review this book is ideal for someone looking to further their knowledge of Cuba and its socialist revolution - it is not an ideal starting point. However it has certainly whetted my appetite and the book is surely one which I will reread many times in the future as I become more familiar with the events, characters, politics and ideologies Castro offers his opinion on.

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Regarding Michael D's statement, I think it was was 99% spot on. However, I think his reference to human rights issues was a bit too weak. We should ackowledge the huge achievements of socialist Cuba without going into denial about the repressive aspects of it.

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Agreed. The achievement of universal literacy , world class health , housing is real and very commendable. But the restrictions on press freedom must be called out , likewise the poor treatment of gay people until the 80s. Without the sanctions and resultant stand off reforms would have come about years ago. Arguably the CIA made him a Third World icon. Now Trump is threatening to freeze relations again. He really is a product of the Cold War isn't he? It is his comfort zone.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Worker's Party of Ireland statement:


    Workers’ Party statement on the death of Comrade Fidel Castro

    fidel-castro-ruzIt is with a sense of deep sadness that the Workers’ Party of Ireland has learned of the death of Comrade Fidel Castro, former President of Cuba and Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution.

    Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was President of Cuba for forty nine years. After commanding the revolution which overthrew the dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1959, he held the title of Prime Minister until 1976 when he became President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. He became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in 1965 and led the transformation of Cuba into a revolutionary socialist republic. As President, Comrade Fidel held the position of Commandante of the Cuban military. After a period of ill health he resigned as President in February 2008.

    Prior to the revolution Cuba was effectively a U.S. colony, one of the many countries in Central America and the Caribbean where defiance of the US was unthinkable. Then, on 1st January 1959 the Cuban revolutionary forces, led by Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and others entered Havana and Santiago.

    The Cuban transition to socialism was rapid and extraordinary, establishing the sovereignty of the people over the land and its resources.By the end of the 1960s the new government had overhauled Cuban society in the interests of its people. Large industries and services were nationalised. Agrarian reform was introduced in which land was no longer a commodity and land speculation was abolished. These measures dealt an immense blow to imperialism and the capitalist class. The Cuban government introduced an exceptionally effective literacy campaign and the introduction of free public education at all levels. Free universal health care was introduced.

    At a time when U.S. hegemony predominated in the region and when progressive movements in Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala had been crushed, the Cuban Revolution became a beacon of hope throughout the continent and the world. When Fidel Castro visited Venezuela in January 1959 he was greet by overjoyed masses of people and Salvadore Allende, then a Chilean Senator, stated: “The Cuban Revolution does not belong only to you … we are dealing with the most significant movement ever to have occurred in the Americas.”



    Within months of the revolution the CIA began to arm terrorists and saboteurs inside Cuba. There was CIA-supervised bombing and incendiary raids piloted by Cubans based in the U.S. who were hostile to progress. In March 1960 Eisenhower called for the overthrow of Fidel Castro in favour of a regime “more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S.“, supporting “military operation on the island” and “development of an adequate paramilitary force outside of Cuba.” U.S. Intelligence reported that popular support for Castro was high, but the U.S. would determine the “true interests of the Cuban people.”

    In 1961,in addition to overt and covert terrorist attacks, Kennedy implemented a crushing embargo that effectively barred even food and medicine. The U.S. blockade against Cuba was strengthened over the decades and is the most enduring blockade in history. The punitive U.S. economic, commercial and financial sanctions against Cuba remain in place.

    The Cuban people, under the revolutionary leadership of Comrade Fidel Castro, resisted through the decades, all counter-revolutionary measures, paramilitary operations, clandestine subversion, attacks on agriculture, economic warfare involving the use of every possible device to weaken the economic life of Cuba, sabotage,assassination attempts against Fidel and the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. The U.S. and its allies had underestimated the strength of the Cuban Revolution and the resolve of the Cuban people, through their Communist Party, popular militia and revolutionary mass organisations, to defend their revolution.

    The Cuban Revolution defied all imperialist attempts at intervention and continued to construct a socialist society under the leadership of Fidel and the Communist Party of Cuba. We have witnessed the many achievements of the Cuban Revolution and the great social benefits to the Cuban people.

    Fidel also understood the true nature of socialist internationalism, a solidarity based not on mere words or self-interest but on a genuine ideological commitment to the international communist movement, to the anti-imperialist struggles of all those working to transform the world. From its sustained practical assistance and support for liberation struggles which included the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the provision of vital military assistance in Angola which involved real sacrifices and which dealt a decisive defeat on the military forces of the apartheid regime in South Africa, socialist Cuba, despite being a small country faced with an economic blockade, has, as part of its extraordinary achievements,constructed a global programme of extensive development aid and humanitarian assistance and has sent thousands of teachers, doctors and medical staff across the world.

    The death of Fidel Castro is a great loss to the Cuban people and to all humanity struggling for a better future.

    The Workers’ Party of Ireland, its membership and leadership, sends sincere condolences to the President and the people of Cuba and to the Communist Party of Cuba at this sad time. Fidel’s name will live on. His inspiration remains with us. We shall renew and strengthen our longstanding solidarity with the Cuban people and the Communist Party of Cuba. We shall redouble our efforts to end the unjust and criminal embargo/blockade.The Cuban Revolution has triumphed over many obstacles and will prevail.

    Long live the Cuban Revolution!

    Hasta la victoria siempre!



    We stand in sympathy and solidarity.



    Central Executive Committee

    Workers Party of Ireland
    From here: http://workersparty.ie/workers-party...-fidel-castro/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Statement from the Communist Party of Ireland:


    With profound regret the Communist Party of Ireland learns of the death of Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, out*stand*ing freedom-fighter and leader of the Cuban Revolution. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Cuban people on the loss of their leader, and we re*affirm our un*break*able solidarity with the Cuban Revo*lution. We join with commun*ists, social*ists and other demo*crats all over the world in declar*ing that we will do our utmost to prevent the forces of imperial*ism from carry*ing out their plans to over*throw the revo*lutionary govern*ment of Cuba.

    Tá brón ó chroí ar Pháirtí Cumannach na hÉireann faoi bhás an Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, sár*throdaire ar son na saoirse agus ceannaire Réabhlóid Chúba. Déanaimid comh*bhrón ó chroí le muintir Chúba ar chailleadh a gceannaire, agus ath*dhearbhaímid ár ndlúth*pháirtíocht dho*bhriste le Réabhlóid Chúba. Téimid i gcomhar le cumannaithe, le sóisialaithe agus le daonlathaithe eile ar fud an domhain i bhfógairt go ndéanfaimid ár ndícheall le cosc a chur ar phleananna fhórsaí an impiriúlachais rialtas réabhlóideach Chúba a bhriseadh.

    Neither Europe nor the United States will have the last word on the future of humanity. Condemn me. It does not matter. The peoples will have the last word. Eternal glory to those who have fallen during fifty years of struggle! Eternal glory to the people that turned its dreams into a reality! Venceremos!—Fidel Castro
    From their website here: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    WP reaction to attacks by some TDs on Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution:


    Workers’ Party slams TDs for nonsense attacks on Fidel Castro

    The Workers’ Party has hit back against a number of politicians and commentators who have criticised former Cuban President Fidel Castro who died on Friday.

    Workers’ Party North Inner City Councillor, Éilis Ryan, described the attacks on Fidel Castro as “the brainwashed rantings of people who knew nothing about the former Cuban leader other than what they were fed by a biased media”. Ryan said if those concerned bothered to educate themselves on Cuba they would know that Fidel Castro and his comrades have transformed Cuba from a US controlled criminal dictatorship into a beacon for human justice and decency.

    “Despite a 54 year embargo against Cuba which has prevented it from importing food and basic medicines in addition to technology and books, Cuba has not only transformed itself but has positively aided other countries in every corner of the world”.

    Jimmy Dignam, Dublin North-West representative, continued: “At present the political establishment in Ireland is in a state of panic over Brexit. Yet something far worse, a total embargo has been endured by Cuba for 54 years. The Cuban Revolution overthrew the wicked and immoral regime of the US backed dictator Batista. That the dictator and his entourage, in addition to the freebooters, criminals and profiteers fled Cuba and set up base in Florida is no secret. Are these the type of people Noel Rock and the others are calling victims?”

    Dignam stated that the hypocrisy of those accusing Cuba and Fidel Castro of human rights abuses is breathtaking. “These are the same people who knowingly turned a blind eye to US rendition flights and the transport of massive bombs through Shannon airport so that women and children can be obliterated in Iraq, Syria or half a dozen other countries.”

    Dignam concluded: “Cuba never bombed any of its neighbours. During Hurricane Katrina, Cuba was one of the first to offer practical aid to homeless people in the United States. Unlike Ireland, it has no shortage of doctors, and has been sending doctors to countries where they are most needed, to treat and care for the sick and the poor”.

    “The attacks on Fidel Castro are sick and petty. They come from those who laud the likes of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and condemn those who criticise these countries because of their trade with Ireland. Human Rights issues in such countries are quickly brushed aside with a whisper. They praise the Israel despite its ongoing slaughter of Palestinian people in their own homeland”.
    From here: http://workersparty.ie/workers-party...-fidel-castro/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Now he is up in heaven with Thatcher!
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Quote Originally Posted by Donal Og View Post
    Agreed. The achievement of universal literacy , world class health , housing is real and very commendable. But the restrictions on press freedom must be called out , likewise the poor treatment of gay people until the 80s. Without the sanctions and resultant stand off reforms would have come about years ago. Arguably the CIA made him a Third World icon. Now Trump is threatening to freeze relations again. He really is a product of the Cold War isn't he? It is his comfort zone.
    Hell of an achievement by Cuba's people to keep going with their social gains in the face of sanctions and at times lack of oil. Cuba's doctors didn't only give world class life expectancy to Cubans but travelled worldwide to help in emergencies - Haiti in particular comes to mind.

    Press freedom ? The western commercial press tells such a truncated and one dimensional version of what happens, there is no need for censorship here.

    If it wasn't for e-books, this for example would never have been published -- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/685170
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Hell of an achievement by Cuba's people to keep going with their social gains in the face of sanctions and at times lack of oil. Cuba's doctors didn't only give world class life expectancy to Cubans but travelled worldwide to help in emergencies - Haiti in particular comes to mind.

    Press freedom ? The western commercial press tells such a truncated and one dimensional version of what happens, there is no need for censorship here.

    If it wasn't for e-books, this for example would never have been published -- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/685170
    Gah, the ironing!

    The internet is a creation of capitalism. Well, actually, strictly speaking when you trace it right back, originally a creation of a branch of the US military industrial complex - but capitalism popularised the net and brought it to the masses - for better or worse.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Quote Originally Posted by pluralist View Post
    Gah, the ironing!

    The internet is a creation of capitalism. Well, actually, strictly speaking when you trace it right back, originally a creation of a branch of the US military industrial complex - but capitalism popularised the net and brought it to the masses - for better or worse.
    Its ironing all right.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fidel Castro 1926 -2016

    Led the way in ecologically sustainable agriculture while the rest of the western world, including ourselves, pump hormones and chemicals into food production with the results being ecosystem collapse and a whole lot of **** food.

    This article places Cuba's agricultural reforms in historical context by examining the evolution of Cuban agriculture from the colonial period until the present through the lens of food security and ecological sustainability. The article argues that Cuba, for most of its history, was food insecure and ecologically compromised as a consequence of its dependence on one agricultural commodity (sugar) to generate the bulk of foreign exchange revenues, its reliance on imports to satisfy domestic food needs, its dependence on one primary trading partner (initially Spain, subsequently the United States and the Soviet Union), and its adoption of capital-intensive, chemical-dependent agricultural production techniques. When the collapse of the socialist trading bloc in 1990 plunged the Cuba economy into a state of crisis, the Cuban government implemented as series of reforms that diversified Cuba's economic base, diversified the range of crops cultivated, prioritized domestic food production, and promoted organic and semi-organic farming techniques. The article concludes that these reforms enhanced food security and ecological sustainability, but questions whether they will survive the lifting of the U.S. economic embargo and the reintegration of Cuba into global trade and financial institutions.
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers....ract_id=987944

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