A few Thoughts about Castro

Fidel Castro, in the course of about half a century, became an icon for people who would have liked to challenge America’s leading global role. And he was hated by many Americans. When I asked an otherwise friendly American friend (by letter, back then) in the early 1990s why the embargo was still in place, I got a long and angry answer, as if I had I had trespassed. And when I made some not-too-critical, but not really reverent remarks about Castro the other day, I got an angry answer, too. What you get in a conversation about Castro really depends on your interlocutor (and, of course, on your diplomatic skills).

What is frequently ignored however, is the Cuban people. It is true that fear, intimidation and human rights violations has helped to keep the Cuban Communist Party in power. so have state and party propaganda. Decades of getting the same stories told over and over and over again, in school, the media, and  arguably by Grandpa at home, won’t fail to leave  traces on most human harddisks.

Few political leaders of the 20th and – so far – 21st century trigger as strong emotions as Fidel Castro does. Castro is idolized, and demonized. And more frequently than not, peoples’ reactions to his memory depend on where they belong, or who they side with: America, China, or Russia, for example.

It would take biographic research to judge Castro and his rule. It would require reading one or two biographies, at least. The information that daily mass media offer won’t provide insights into how Cuba has endured, or profitted from, Castro rule since early 1959.

But you wouldn’t run into too many people without clear-cut opinions about Castro.

That’s why countries and civilizations can be surprising to outsiders (and even to insiders). Things happen, and they may appear to be unlogical or bizarre. But they happen for reasons – good or bad -, and the driving forces behind them aren’t necessarily idiocy.

To understand Castro’s rise to power, and the reasons as to why the Cuban Communist Party has been able to cement its dictatorship to this days, we would need to walk the Cuban streets of the 1940s and 1950s, not those of the 2010s.

Research – scientific or journalistic – needs to take us there.

5 Comments to “A few Thoughts about Castro”

  1. You should have a look at the debate between me and FOARP on his blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You can’t expect some words of fairness from a Thatcherite, when it comes to Castro, and you can’t expect some words of fairness from a Castroite, when it comes to Thatcher. The gap between the two sides is too deep and wide to bridge, at least among ordinary citizens.

    There may be exceptions, but probably very few only.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see what you’re saying. I don’t think FOARP is actually a Thatcherite though. More than anything he’s convinced anti-communist who hates dictatorships.


  4. I think FOARP isn’t just anti-communist. but a Thatcherite, too. He once wrote that

    → [f]or us,she was Adenauer and Brandt rolled into one. No other British leader since WW2 has done as much as she. I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t quote percentages as to right and wrong, but she got a lot that was right. Moreover, she was not a leader selected from the elite, we are unlikely to see her like in the present era.


    Whatever Castro symbolizes in FOARPs view, appears to come across as a threat to something much better than what they stand or stood for. Probably, his axis of evil runs from Lenin (then) to Corbyn (now).


  5. “I don’t think FOARP is actually a Thatcherite though”

    It would be fair to say that I am one.

    Liked by 1 person

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