The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

“You, my dear comrade, embodied humanity’s struggle for a free, dignified life; a life free from exploitation, a life full of love” (The Vincentian newspaper, Friday, December 2, 2016).

This is the first sentence of a staff commentary titled “Dear Fidel” in the oldest weekly in St. Vincent and Grenadines, a fawning tribute that could have well have been composed by the editorial board of Granma, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.

The words “dignity” and “dignified” occur seven times in this short essay, testimony to the fact that our Caribbean civilisation has always been characterised by a generalised inferiority complex — a sense of self and nation that says we are inferior to others in wealth, culture, achievements, status, influence, respect, power, and a host of other traits. Fidel Castro was seen as challenging this engrained sense of inadequacy, hence his veneration for over 50 years throughout our region, indeed throughout the Third World.

In short, it was not so much what he did for or to his own people — his economic failings and miserable human rights record which, among other things, lead to one-fifth of the population fleeing to the United States, are all too well known — but rather (as the remainder of the Vincentian newspaper article clearly shows) his willingness to stand up to the most powerful nation the world has ever known, the United States of America, which is the real source of his lionisation among people of all political persuasions.

Though this sentiment is understandable in our small and insecure country where a search for dignity has even lead to revenge murders among scores of young men in recent years, it does not give leave to the Vincentian newspaper to rewrite history.

The most outrageous of many outrageous statements in their sycophantic tribute to Cuba’s strongman is that, “We know, comrade, you stood for world peace, for a nuclear arms-free world.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Castro was first and foremost a compulsive and ruthless warmonger. A violent overthrow of the government in his own country in 1959, followed by the execution of hundreds of its supporters, interference in the Congo crisis in 1965, fomenting an insurgency in Bolivia in 1967, fighting against Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, imperialistic military meddling in the civil war in Angola in 1975, combat assistance to Hanoi in the Vietnam conflict in the 1970s, military action against Somalia in their conflict with Ethiopia in 1977, and another round of battle in Angola in 1987-88.

Overall, as many as 5,000 Cuban troops died in Angola during the 1970s and 1980s, hardly a proud achievement for a small poor country eager to spread its communist paradise throughout the world using brute force. Hardly, the record of a “comrade who stood for world peace”.

Nor did Fidel Castro yearn for a “nuclear arms-free world.” On the contrary, in response to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961 by Cuban freedom fighters who had fled to the United States to escape the 1959 revolution, together with the presence of American ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Castro’s plea to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter its future harassment by the United States. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Castro in July 1962 and construction of a number of nuclear-armed missile launch facilities started later that summer.

When the United States learned about this they demanded their removal. After several days of tense negotiations with the Soviet Union the “Cuban missile crisis” was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the two major parties, both of which wanted to avoid a nuclear holocaust.

The Cuban disciple of Armageddon was outraged by this outcome.

Timothy Naftali, a University of Virginia professor and co-author of “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964,” describes why Khrushchev thought Castro, who had sent him a letter supporting a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States during those tense days in 1962, was a madman:

Ultimately, what the letter says is, ‘Nikita, if you have to use nuclear weapons against the United States to defend my country, and even if that means the Americans will retaliate by blowing up my country, do it for the sake of international socialism’”.

Castro went ballistic when he learned that Khrushchev had agreed to pull his missiles out of Cuba in exchange for America pulling their out of Italy and Turkey. He kicked in a wall and smashed a mirror, calling the Soviet leader “an asshole” and a “son of a bitch”.

This madman’s most lasting contribution to the world is to serve as a blueprint for today’s mad leaders such as Kim Jong-Un of North Korea to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State who constantly threaten to sacrifice their people and the rest of the world to achieve their fascist goals.

With a “dear Comrade” like that, the editorial board of the Vincentian newspaper – indeed, the entire civilised world — needs no enemies.

C. ben-David

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

7 replies on “Dear comrade Fidel was no friend of world peace”

  1. Hellooooo C ben-David. Do you know ANYTHING about Cuban history before Fidel Castro’s revolution. “A violent overthrow of the government of his country in 1959” indeed? You make it sound as if Cuba had a history of democratic government that was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959. Cuban history is anything but democratic.
    Cuba fought 10 years from 1868-78 against Spanish colonization, at the end of which Spain promised the island reform and more autonomy. This never happened. So there was another war of Independence 1895-98. The United States declared war on Spain, ostensibly to end European colonialization, but twhen the USA defeated Spain the treaty to end the war ceded to the USA all Spain’s claims to Cuba. Cuba finally became independent in 1902, but the USA retained the right (in the Platt Amendment) to intervene in Cuban affairs. The first president was Tomas Estrada Palma, but there was a rebellion against him, he resigned and the USA occupied Cuba. Jose Miguel Gomez who led the rebellion, was elected President (in elections supervised by the USA) in 1909, but was soon accused of corruption. In 1912 the US again occupied Cuba to put down black protests against discrimination. (Slavery was abolished in Cuba only in 1886 – long AFTER the US – 1861, or in the British colonies – 1834; apprenticeship ended1838)
    In 1924 Gerado Machado became president but ended up establishing a dictatorship. Machado was overthrown in a coup led be Fulgencio Batista, then an army sergeant. In 1944 Batista retired and was succeeded by Ramon San Martin. In 1952 Batista again seized power and in the words of the BBC (hardly a rabid left wing organization) “presided over an oppressive and corrupt regime” . The corruption included an economy run by crime groups from the USA (including the Mafia) who ran gambling, prostitution and drugs rackets – from which Batista and his supporters profited. Despite this Batista was supported by the USA (this was Cold War time – when corruption was preferable to socialism). In 1953 Castro led an unsuccessful revolt against Batista. Castro returned to Cuba in 1956 and established a guerilla operation in the Sierra Maestra. The USA finally withdrew military aid to Batista in 1958, and in 1959 Castro led his guerilla army to Havana. Batista fled to the USA. That was the “violent overthrow of the government of his own country in 1959” of which C ben-David speaks. Batista was a corrupt dictator, not a democratically elected president, and he was supported by the USA, which, when Cold War politics are not involved, is a fierce critic of third world corruption.
    One of Castro’s first moves, after taking control in Cuba, was to visit the USA. Then President Eisenhower refused to meet him. As I said this was Cold War politics. And yes, the Cubans went to the assistance of the Angolan government. But C ben-David fails to say that this was AFTER South Africa (Apartheid South Africa, not the post Apartheid version) was already involved in supporting UNITA. And so was the USA indirectly involved, since the USA was funding UNITA. This was again Cold War politics – the USSR was supporting the MPLA government. Why C.ben-David apparently thinks that the USA, the USSR and South Africa (and Brazil too) were not “interfering” in Angola I do not know. But apparently only Cuba was interfering!!!
    As for the Congo, I would suggest that you go to the US State department’s web site and read that Department’s own account of the turbulent history of the post independence Congo: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/congo-decolonization. As for the tragic history of the Congo under Belgian rule, the least said about that the better, but there are numerous histories of the cruelty and exploitation of that unfortunate country. Try Adam Hochschild _ King Leopold’s Ghost, which will give you an insight into why an anti-western movement (which in the Cold War years meant a socialist or communist movement) developed in the former Belgian Congo.
    The histories of countries like Cuba and the Congo tell a great deal about why a Castro would end up “intervening” in a country like the Congo where the USA, South Africa, the Brazil of the 1950/60s were already “aiding” (of course NOT “intervening”; the USA NEVER “intervenes”) one side in a post colonial conflict.

    1. Mr. Commissiong, It sounds to me like you rely too much on how you are being indoctrinated by the establishment, To include CNN, Fox, BBC, NPR, The Economist and many other “news” outlets. The same outlets that told of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and that Hillary Clinton had 80% of the vote, before the last election. It is often very difficult to find the truth because the well-paid media is everywhere and after the election in the USA, Obama and many others have declared war on the truth. I suggest you look at whatreallyhappened.com, Globalresearch.ca, Al Masdar news, or even inforwars. All of them are far more accurate than the BBC or the other fake news that has interests in keeping you fooled; so you will continue sending your money to them and your children into wars of corporate conquest based on lies. I know very little about Cuba. I do know that Castro had a good side and a bad side and Cuba is a victim of US imperialism just as Haiti still is, particularly from the Clintons. Will SVG be next for the Clinton Foundation?

  2. Dear Ms. Robinson Commissiong,

    Many thanks for your comments, none of which are relevant to one of my two points: to dispute the Vincentian newspaper’s specious claim that Castro was a man of peace. Much of what you write simply underscores my assertion that he was a man of war, even of what might be called “righteous war”. But let me address three your points in more detail:

    1. In an earlier piece, I said that the Batista regime needed to be overthrown by any means necessary, which implied a violent and bloody revolution as opposed to a peaceful transition via a democratic election. Indeed, in 1958 the United States had stopped all aid to Cuba, military and otherwise, and then asked Batista to step down, which he refused. Ironically, the lack of aid from the United States made it easy for Castro to overthrow the regime in 1959. Given its long and complex relation to Cuba, had Castro not overthrown the nasty Batista regime, the USA may well have invaded once again to do so. In short, Cuba has unfortunately had a history of colonialism or dictatorship throughout its history, Castro’s reign of terror being no exception.

    2. You say that Eisenhower refused to meet Castro but conveniently fail to mention that he sent his Vice President, Richard Nixon, to formally do this instead because he didn’t want to give one-on-one recognition from a US President to a man he feared was a closeted communist dictator, a well founded fear indeed. Nixon reported back that Castro needed careful watching. Six months later, influenced by Che Guevara and others, knowing that his rule might be a short one under democracy and capitalism, Castro repudiated his many earlier promises of free and fair elections and the support of free enterprise and turned his country into a puppet communist dependency of the Soviet Union, thereafter acting as its murderous Cold War proxy in conflicts in Latin America and Africa. None of this was because of the behaviour of the United States which was carefully and suspiciously watching on the sidelines when Castro jumped on the Marxist bandwagon.

    3. You introduce a big red herring: not once did I say or impute that only Cuba was warmongering around the globe. As everyone knows, from the end of the Second World War to the present, the world’s biggest warmongers have been the United States and the Soviet Union (and now Russia alone plus the Islamic jihadists). This does not negate one twit from saying that Cuba was a warmongering country from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, whether for good or evil, interfering in countries it had no calling with, except to do the bidding of its puppet masters in the Kremlin – again one of the two main points of my essay.

    Thank you, once more, for your interest in my writing.

  3. Nice going Pat Commissiong. Two other books on the Congo Experiences are:

    Congo, My Country by Patrice Lumumba, and
    Challenge of the Congo by Nkrumah

    Vin

  4. i don’t know a lot of history, but I have visited Cuba. Everyone makes about $20 a month. Doctors make a little more, street cleaners a little less. Virtually everyone works for the government. The US forgave Vietnam. It never forgave Cuba. Cuba can produce a lot of sugarcane, the most efficient source of biofuels, much better than corn, but the US refuses to deal with them. Cubans like their free healthcare, free education. Cuban musicians are guaranteed employment, which has led to some really great music. Cuba has trained many doctors from very poor countries. All in all Cuba has a pretty good historical record. It is similar to Norway, but very poor, and it’s safe. You can walk the streets at any time of day anywhere. There is virtually no disparity in income. You can’t do that in the US.

    1. Dear Chovil, do you honestly think that earning US$20 a month is wonderful, it’s pure slavery.

      Do you honestly think a doctor should be paid the same as a road sweeper.

      You say you don’t know a lot about history and then state “Cuba has a pretty good historical record” it has not.

      Cuba is nothing like Norway at all, in any way whatsoever in fact.

      You cannot walk the streets in complete safety as you state. There are street crimes in Cuba as there are street crimes anywhere else.

      Prostitutes are everywhere, because of ultra low slave wages women are forced to prostitute themselves to feed their families.

      Castro was little more than a gangster who ripped of Cuba and salted away billions in the bank he owns in London.

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