Monday, February 18, 2008
CNN: Castro resigns
If, for some reason you are reading this on Monday night instead of watching TV, CNN is reporting that Fidel Castro has resigned as president of Cuba, with no further details yet.
Fidel is one of my heroes. Of course, I know I'm gonna get some crap for saying that - I've heard it all already!
I'm glad he'll get to rest and enjoy some retirement in his old age.
I went to Cuba in 1992. It was amazing...it helped me to "de-idealize" Cuba and see it more realistically. Of course, as a youngster I had imagined it was a "workers' paradise," which of course it isn't. There are plenty of contradictions and social problems, as there are in any society.
Yet I was also able to examine the role of the United States in perpetuating some of those problems, many of which stem from the siege mentality of a tiny country facing constant pressure and sabotage by the behemoth to the north.
All in all, I am so impressed with the revolutionary spirit that has persisted in Cuba, resisting capitalism and imperialism and continuing to struggle to take care of the basic human needs of its citizens, while continuing to send humanitarian aid to other third-world countries.
I think that, unfortunately, we have to admit that had Fidel been less controlling, the US would long since have undermined and toppled the revolution, as it has done in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, etc., and as it is now attempting to do in Venezuela and Bolivia, to name a couple of examples.
Que viva Fidel; que viva la revolucion; que viva la resistencia latinoamericana!
Awesome that you've been there!
I remember that when I was a kid, we heard on the news how Castro was advancing on the dictator, Fulgencio Batista, and then of course he was victorious. There was celebration, and I'm certain also that the US government supported Fidel at first.
As a kid, I didn't know that the US had backed Batista. All I heard was universal cheers that Castro had taken over the Cuban government. We had some Cuban immigrants in the neighborhood, and they were waving flags and quite happy about this.
At some point it turned around, and he became an evil Communist.
Somehow that didn't subtract from his achievement or the respect he had in New York City. Probably the fact that he was a Communist didn't bother many people, after all, NYC was and still is pretty diverse politically. The bad guys were still the fascists. Some of my relatives wouldn't buy anything made in Germany. Ever, they wouldn't relent. Communists hadn't killed anyone in death camps, they were benign.
My memory that Fidel was officially supported is pretty clear. I was very little then, but that's my memory.