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Monday, February 25, 2008

FIDEL CASTRO'S LEGACY -- WILL HISTORY ABSOLVE HIM?

Now the Fidel Castro has officially stepped down as President of Cuba, the big question is whether history will absolve him. It's true that Castro has helped improved Cuba's health and education standards, but it is also true that Cuba was one of Latin America's most developed countries in 1959. According to the U.S. State Department, Cuba's 1959 statistics looked as good or better than today's (http://www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/14776.htm). Do you agree, or not?

69 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

Mr. Oppenheimer:
You summed up the Castro years evenhandedly, but maybe a little too evenhandedly. You note that the Cuban Archive "put the 4,073 Castro regime executions and 3,001 "extra-judicial" killings since 1959," but I've read elsewhere that the numbers are possibly much greater. The embargo did hurt Cuba, but what about the massive, and I mean massive, monetary and military support lavished upon the beautiful island gulag by the former Soviet Union? It wasn't the lack of US trade that turned Cuba into the hellhole it is now, it was paranoid, inept leadership that could not allow the free flow of information and people to and from the country. Why should the US trade with a “revolutionary” nation whose stated goal is to overthrow democratic governments?

Perhaps I quibble. But I have a question or two for you. When most informed people think of the late Latin American dictator Augusto Pinochet, the words "bastard, murderer, fascist" come to mind. So why is it that Castro is thought of fondly by a great many people in the West? Castro came into power more than a decade before Pinochet in a similar manner, Castro outlasted him in office by another 18 years, and Castro killed more innocent people than did the Chilean general, who died while under house arrest in a democratic Chile. Castro also had homosexuals, as well as other "deviants" and free thinkers, arrested and put in dungeons. I don't think even a creep like Pinochet was as energetic on that front. Fidel ruled by the same murderous methods, so why do celebrities and academics want to cuddle up to Abuelo Fidel and his good friend, Tio Hugo? Pinochet was virtually radioactive outside of his home country.

Tom Gelsinon

10:39 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Much of his legacy will depend on what happens to Cuba after Castro. I hope for the best, and then history will see that Castro has been nothing but an impediment to Cuban progress.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...history will see that Castro has been nothing but an impediment to Cuban progress.

That and the US economic embargo. In defiance of conventional wisdom but beholden to reason, the best thing that could happen loosening the Castro family's grip on that nation would be the flow of wealth to the island.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The three Gardenias was the movie that introduced me to Cuban history long ago but it still imprinted in my conscience. Cuba has improved since the last one in the things that matter to most. A Health system, envy of many and a literacy rate that puts to shame even non-third world countries. Cuba was rich only for the rich, the majority had nothing and that is why Castro is held in high regards to this day. lifting the embargo will help Cuba make the change all Cubans want, until that time things will pretty much go on as they have been for the last forty something years.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote:

Cuba has improved since the last one in the things that matter to most. A Health system, envy of many and a literacy rate that puts to shame even non-third world countries. Cuba was rich only for the rich, the majority had nothing and that is why Castro is held in high regards to this day. lifting the embargo will help Cuba make the change all Cubans want, until that time things will pretty much go on as they have been for the last forty something years.

Too right. In fact its literacy rate is hovering around 99%-100% (allowing 1% error).

To Tom Cuba isn't a hellhole since last i was there which was in 2002.

To Jeff when i read your blog i instantly thought of you being a yank. Your comments that without castro cuba would be great is incorrect. Cuba would still be in Bastita's control and you can add another 100000 deaths onto Castro's score if he had remained in power.

As for remarks in your other blogs about Israel being a terrorist state is bullshit. The state is jewish and what i have heard and seen i havent seen or heard of any Jews running around waving guns and grenades around and blowing themselves up, have you.

Lastly America will eventually lose the Iraq war unless their aircraft piolets can learn to aim better.

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