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...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, March 30, 2006

What Will Happen When Castro Dies

(Welcome Babalublog, and Kill Castro readers!)

N.B.: This March 2006 blogpost was linked by Michelle Malkin on 31 July 2006. If you've come from Michelle's blog, please click on "Sundries" above, since I will have photographs of Miami celebrations, all this week!

*PHOTO UPDATE* El Chou De La Calle Ocho, August 2, 2006

Commenter Benning alerted me to the startling news, being reported by many Latin American press outlets, that Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro Ruz, might have died today.

Now, you may think this is wishful thinking on the part of many people who hold very anti-Castrista views, but in fact, and rather interestingly, the rumours of his death are being reported by Indymedia.

I didn't know who they were, either, so I read the Spanish-language news link Benning sent me.

Publius Pundit has the story here.

The news, strangely, has been given by several news sites, among which the far-leftist Indymedia in Argentina, which quoted some Latin American media as having reported the news. The Cuban regime has immediately dismissed the claims.

Publius responds by opining:

I assume that the regime won’t let know about the dictator’s death as soon as he dies.

Indeed, they would not, and not just because that's the traditional modus operandi of all authoritarian, not to mention, Communist regimes.

Let me try to show you, based on educated guesses, what would happen when Fidel Castro dies.

The newswire Newsflash might look like this:

"It is being reported by Granma, the official Cuban news organ, that long-time Cuban President, Fidel Castro, 76, has died in his compound of El Laguito, in Havana, Cuba today.

His brother, General Raul Castro Ruz, is poised to succeed his brother as Comandante-en-Jefe of the Caribbean island nation.

Immediate response from the U.S. State Department is expected shortly.

The United States and Cuba have been embroiled in strategic deadlock since the late Cuban strongman took over the island, and declared himself a Marxist-Leninist, shortly after taking over, in 1959."

The Cuban Revolution has been both widely condemned, but also widely supported around the world.

It was seen by many as models of education, health care, and increased living standards of the Cuban people, since President Castro took over.

This kind of newsflash, especially by the AP, is both factual, but as ever with Mainstream Media, leaves the reader with a positive last statement, with which to ponder.

(Always pay attention to the very last statement in any news story, from any news media. The way they end a report, more often than not, reflects their world view)

It is always in poor taste to kick a man when he is down, and there is no situation more down than being dead, but many media always leave a subtle imprint of their views, based on whether they are Left or Right, on their news stories.

You can be sure that these newsflashes, and the subsequent obituaries which would derive from Fidel Castro's death, would be no different.

Depending on their ideological viewpoint, each news organisation will either completely ignore the tremendous evil this man had foisted on a nation of 10 million plus for almost 50 years, or to reduce their significance, by comparing the then and now, in as positive a light as they can.

The latter will include always mentioning the 99% literacy rates, and the free health care, his Socialist Revolution brought about.

No word about the lack of free elections during all this time; indeed, the fact this rich man's son, this ex-altar boy-turned lawyer-turned revolutionary, Fidel Castro has never once been elected to any position in Cuba, yet he, however, is the font of all power in his country.

They will not mention all the thousands and thousands of people he has imprisoned, nor the mock trials held to condemn his opponents to death, nor of the civil liberties he has taken away, such as freedoms of speech, assembly, association and religion, all these years.

The negative column is so bristling to capacity with infringements of the most basic kinds of liberties which most people not living in Communist dictatorships have, yet who are always prostesting they have little, or that that they are under siege by whatever current administration is in power.

If these self-same people had to endure EVEN ONE MOMENT of the very real lack of civil liberties Cubans have undergone these many years, they would find out how very lucky they truly are.

Of course, such people people are usually the ones who would not hesitate to bring out the negatives of entities or people whose ideological positions they very much disagree with, such as the paedophilia scandals during the reign of the late John Paul II, but who would mention haltingly the abuses by Fidel Castro...

...almost as if they suddenly rememebered that it is in extreme poor taste to rag on the dead, when they have just passed away.

I can guarantee you, GUARANTEE mind you, that the outrage and news media attention given to Fidel Castro's passing, will in no way shape, or form, compare to the vitriolic acid tongues immediately upon hearing of the death of General Augusto Pinochet, of Chile.

Being a lover of democracy, I am not partial at all to General Pinochet and what he did in his country, but I can tell you that I do not for a minute compare the two men, so that the bearded Cuban dictator comes up smelling of roses next to the Chilean.

As awful a time as many who suffered during Chile's dictatorship in the mid-70s to mid-80s had, it in NO WAY compares to the house-arrest of an entire people stuck in an island, have had in almost 47 years.

Almost as a rubric of comparison, today, Chile is a prosperous, stable democracy, who furthermore, has just elected its first woman, and Socialist president, Michelle Bachelet.

Contrast this to Cuba today, a country which is still is in the grips of one man's personal reign of horror, which ironically, his very death is the only thing preventing them from tearing down the cobwebs of Communism.

Yet these people would laud the one dictator, whilst heaping condemnation on the other for almost identical abuses.

THIS is what many of us who abhor Fidel Castro, ESPECIALLY hate about news media, or its like-minded advocates.

The implicit approval given a man, that despite his being worse than any hated figure of repression in South America, is still given a pass despite the almost half-century of proof to the contrary.

Finally, I can tell you what would happen in South Florida, in Chicago, in New Orleans, in all the places where Cubans have been exiled, because this man took away their country from them.


Glorious, happy, joyful, orgasmic, incredible chaos.

Waving Cuban flags! People outside of their cafecito bars! People dancing a conga in the streets, outside of Versailles.


Furthermore, I pledge to all who read this, that wherever I am, when I hear that Fidel Castro has died, I will head immediately to 8th Street, La Calle Ocho, and shout to the heavens, giving thanks that this person has finally died.

I may not even say much about it on the blog because at the end of the day, I don't like crowing about any man's death, even that of someone I consider a monster.

But nothing will prevent me from cheering the death of a madman with the people whose very existence in those dancing conga lines, owe directly to the life lived in their country, by one man, and one man only:

Fidel Freaking Castro.

UPDATE: It seems that the rumours have been disproven as he met in coucil with some OLADE represantives today, but no matter.

Death will not be robbed, one day.

GRAMMATICAL UPDATE: I have cleaned up the post for grammar, and even straightened out some of the more disjointed paragraphs, as I had composed this post on the run, whilst out shopping.

Benning has noted that a Cuban blogger he emailed has said that the news of Castro's death would spread like wildfire around the island, and that the phone lines to Miami, especially, would be ringing off the hook.

I had, of course, meant to mention this myself, as I can vouch for the people I know, who have discussed this imagined series of events in detail with me.

What that person said is 100% correct.

Cubans are huge chismeros (chisme = gossip), and though official word might be slow in coming, when Castro dies, you can bet the farm the phone lines would be melting from overuse, and there would be such an outpouring of hatred towards him by the people IN CUBA (hardly the hated Miami Mafia, which they sneer at), that news media will be caught completely off-guard.

You will see a scramble to interpret what you and I already know, out of common sense.

That no amount of improving literacy levels, or "free health care", could ever EVER make up for what this man has taken away:

Any and every freedom of choice you can think of.

P.S.: In case you cannot be with us in Calle Ocho, when the deal goes down, don't worry.

Turn on your local Univision or Telemundo channels, which are available to about 90% of all Americans, I have heard.

Especially the pro-Cuban-American Telemundo, will be covering the story in such a way, as to make everyone feel the elation, relief, and joy of Cuban exiles the world over.

Please note that this event will not mean that Cubans will, en masse, be re-emigrating to their countries, as some snidely might presume.

Although there are historic parallels to the White Russians, Cubans in South Florida, or the United States, won't have to wait for the death of a system, but only the death of a man, which by definition, is a shorter wait than the White Russians have had to endure.

Their proximity to the island, and the deep and abiding strength of their allegiance to their homeland, even in third or fourth generations now, will make it a given that some may see perhaps a partial return to Cuba, say as a second home, a possibility.

(Of course, many in South Florida, for example, are vastly jealous or fed up with Cubans here. Their tom-toms of "send them all back", will be heard loud and clear, just like during the aftermath of the Elian debacle, when racist epithets about Cubans flew from all mouths, "Anglo" and black alike...sadly)

What the death of Fidel Castro does mean, is that they can at least begin to forge a dialogue with their culture, lost through upheaval and uprooting, which you or I take for granted, in ours.

And from that situation, anything can happen.


  • It's okay, he's going to die one day soon. I wish on that day the sun would rise again for the Cuban people but the rotten infrastructure is populated by those happy to continue his ways and maybe worse. Or maybe better.
    On that day, I can just point to your post and say, there you go, that's how I feel.
    I knew you felt stong about this, I'm glad to see the strength in your words. Fidel is a walking pile of horse manure or Ben-Gay...

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Mar 30, 08:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Henry Gomez, at Cuban-American Pundits, and I emailed earlier today. I had asked if this was only a rumor. He replied: "Yes I'm quite sure there's nothing to it. If Castro were really dead there would be no way to contain the secret. Cubans are incredible gossips. Everyone on the island would know within hours and the phone lines to Miami would be burning up."

    I keep learning more and more about Cubans. I never knew they were gossips! LOL

    Castro will go to his reward sooner rather than later. We can dance then.

    By Blogger benning, at Thu Mar 30, 09:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, I am not going to try and justify anything that castro or any other "leader" of any of the nations in the communist block have done. I think they are all misguided and inherently evil.

    With the above disclaimer in place, I want to crap on our government............

    The USA practiced a strategy of engagment with the USSR for its entire communist lifetime, even allying with them in WW2. We (the USA) are in solidly in bed with Red China since Tricky Dick was in the White House. (After giving another evil man
    (Chang Ki Chek) the heave ho.

    And the USA has looked on the DPRK and Cuba as these "totally evil regimes" for their entire "lives."

    I'm not going to say anything nice about N. Korea, because there is nothing that can be said.

    Now my, granted outside looking in, take on that bit of history is this: How come we can be in bed with USSR and China, 2 regimes that I think of as being much worse in the human rights department that Cuba ever imagined being, but Cuba is a complete pariah? Complete trade embargo, illegal to visit, etc?

    But China has "Most Favored Nation" trade status?

    Again I want to make it clear that I don't look at Cuba as any sort of beacon for the world or nation to be envied.

    I just have always disliked the double standard the we (again the USA) practice with regard to the communist world.

    By Anonymous Jim, at Thu Mar 30, 11:36:00 pm GMT-5  

  • It's okay, he's going to die one day soon.


    I wish on that day the sun would rise again for the Cuban people but the rotten infrastructure is populated by those happy to continue his ways and maybe worse.

    That is possible, but I personally think not.

    It's difficult not to generalise here, but I believe that this continuation of a Communist state will not continue, either in its present manifestation, or even less, as something worse.

    Fidel Castro's position in Cuba, is analogous not to Stalin, for example, but to Hitler.

    When Stalin died, the Communist party and Russia's isolation, yet also military strength was such that his death didn't immediately bring about the collapse of Communist Russia.

    But though there was a war involved, the death of Adolf Hitler, whose brainchild National Socialism was, necessitated the collapse of Nazi Germany.

    As "charismatic" a leader Marshal Göring was, or ferociously manipulative a propagandist Goebbels was, there was no way those two could have kept up the manic Nazi rhetoric which Hitler embodied.

    Castro IS the Cuban Revolution.

    NONE of his henchman, especially not the ridiculous figure of his brother (who it has long been rumoured, is a homosexual -- a figure of fun to the macho-loving Cuban culture), Raul, who the average Cuban derides, almost openly...

    ...none of these people stand a chance.

    Castro, like many megalomaniacs, has made sure he has outlived his competitors, like Camilo Cienfuegos or even Che Guevara -- both men, he has been rumoured to have ordered killed.

    There just isn't anyone who has the personality to hold Cuba in a vice-grip, for as torturously long as he has.

    Or maybe better.
    On that day, I can just point to your post and say, there you go, that's how I feel.

    I'm glad to be of service. :)

    I knew you felt stong about this, I'm glad to see the strength in your words.

    I am not a particularly political person, Paul, as you and others may have noted.

    Sure, I do speak of the topic on occasion.

    And there is no doubt that my particular world view or philosophical slant, is manifest everywhere on my blog.

    But I don't bang all the time, about it.

    Yet, if there is one thing that defines me as a person, it is my hatred, even loathing, for all things Communist.

    Know that, and people know me well.

    Fidel is a walking pile of horse manure or Ben-Gay...

    I think Raul is Ben-Gay. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 31, 01:36:00 am GMT-5  

  • Henry Gomez, at Cuban-American Pundits, and I emailed earlier today.

    Thanks for the link and reference, once again, Benning! :)

    I too have gone to Henry's website, to let him know of this post.

    I had asked if this was only a rumor. He replied: "Yes I'm quite sure there's nothing to it. If Castro were really dead there would be no way to contain the secret. Cubans are incredible gossips. Everyone on the island would know within hours and the phone lines to Miami would be burning up."

    I hope you have since seen my update and tacit confirmation of what he said, Benning.

    100% true, on all accounts.

    I keep learning more and more about Cubans. I never knew they were gossips! LOL

    Gossips, BIG TIME.

    Especially the men. *ggg*

    Castro will go to his reward sooner rather than later. We can dance then.

    I was going to mention that Castro of course, doesn't believe in an afterlife, being a good, Communist atheist.

    But you know...

    I wonder if Castro does truly disbelieve in God.

    Well, let me rephrase that.

    I think he understands the need to disbelieve in God, because the Roman Catholic Church was a competing font of authority in Cuba, which he could not allow to stand.

    But this man was overwhelmed by the late Pope, when he visited Cuba.

    Though it is true that Castro is first and foremost, a believer in santeria (the voodoo "religion" of Cuba), I think the strength of his boyhood Catholicism will never entirely leave him.

    You know, Catholicism is a culture, as much as a belief in a Church built by Christ.

    It's easy to leave the latter.

    But the former, is difficult to shake off entirely.

    Long answer longer, I think despite everything, he is not like Sartre, his buddy -- who no doubt he will meet after he has gone to his "reward".


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 31, 01:56:00 am GMT-5  

  • I presume, Jim, you are not my buddy Jim from Illinois. No worries! Just making sure, is all. :)

    Now, to answer your questions, given my understanding of them.

    Now my, granted outside looking in, take on that bit of history is this: How come we can be in bed with USSR and China, 2 regimes that I think of as being much worse in the human rights department that Cuba ever imagined being, but Cuba is a complete pariah? Complete trade embargo, illegal to visit, etc?

    There are, of course, many reasons for this.

    Allow me to give shoot some ideas at you, for you to decide why this has happened.

    1- The United States is the hegemon of hegemons, in the post-World War II geopolitical world.

    The US posited itself, after the war, as the muscle which allowed the Free World to flourish.

    In doing so, it had to make pragmatic, and sometimes odious alliances, with all who would take this side of the argument, versus the Communist World.

    This is, of course, so basic to all our knowledge, as to seem redundant to mention it here, but it is important to note that in this argument.

    It's not that the US had the luxury of choosing their allies -- it's that in Realpolitik, you don't have a choice.

    2- People often mention the United States as an entity, rather than as a series of administrations, of vastly different compositions.

    Because the natural enemies of the United States were often one person, who ran a whole country, such as Mao in China, or Kim Il-Sung in North Korea (or indeed, Enver Hoxha in Albania, even), it escapes people's logic momentarily, that the United States did not have the same condition of unitary power.

    The Administrations from Roosevelt to Bush Jr. have ALL been very different in foreign policy scope, from each other.

    What one administration emphasised, the other might've cooled on.

    Even just because one Republican president did something, it did not follow that another Republican president would continue so to do.

    Or a Democrat, it goes without saying.

    The overall importance of fighting the Cold War might've been a thread which joined all these patchwork quilts of foreign policies together -- but each tailor had a very different idea of how the suit would look like at the end.

    Obviously, this lack of a single vision creates these inconsistencies, which are common to ALL democratic countries.

    3- The Communists are bound by an ideology, written down by Marx and Engels.

    The United States has no such ideological framework.

    Even the US Constitution is not a guide, like Das Kapital is to Marxists.

    Americans revere their constitution, but in a generalised way, not the blueprint DK is, which is part-historical guide, part political bible.

    It is almost reductive then, that Soviets and other Communists, would be less willing to compromise on their ultimate wish to transform the world into Communist spheres of influence, since that is the stated outcome of all capitalist societies.

    The United States was happy to encourage democracy, but equally, it could deal with those who were not democrats, because American administrations cared about the containment of Communism, not the spread of capitalism/freedom, first and foremost.

    Indeed, dictatorships and capitalism were not always at odds with each other.

    (Equally, there is no such thing as a Communist democracy. They are by definition, not mutually practical)

    But China has "Most Favored Nation" trade status?

    I despise Communist China, but please note that they are not a Communist country, the way they used to be in Mao's time.

    In fact, with the exception of their political hierarchy, they are in all but name, a capitalist society.

    What good would it do, to ignore the 500 pound gorilla China is, rather than to encourage it to keep on shedding the vestiges of their failed ideology?

    Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 31, 02:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • Benning, to answer your question about the Vitamina here, as I am about to drop off with sleep:

    It worked baby!! I'm almost 100% normal.

    And the Vitamin Guy gets a reprieve.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 31, 02:21:00 am GMT-5  

  • "In fact, with the exception of their political hierarchy, [China is] in all but name, a capitalist society."

    Yes and no. China is no longer communist in practice or really even in theory: Deng Xiaopeng made sure of that. But there's a name for a system that allows a facade of private property, but where the government nonetheless has its hands everywhere in the economy, and distracts the public from their lack of real freedom by constant appeals to fanatical expansionist nationalism (e.g., Taiwan, etc.) It's called "fascism."

    By Anonymous Dave J, at Fri Mar 31, 11:49:00 am GMT-5  

  • Victoria, I'll meet you in front of the window at Versailles!!!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Mar 31, 12:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • As of today (and probably for today only) I passionately and fervently support revolutionaries worldwide, but especially Hugo Chavez and his spiritual godfather Fidel

    (may he live long, and may Cuba prosper under his leadership)

    By Blogger XWL, at Sat Apr 01, 05:40:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Having not heard a tic from Vic lately, I hope she hasn't gone the (desired) way of Castro!

    Heal, Love, Heal!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Apr 01, 09:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria: What do you do when a health supplement salesman come knocking at your door?

    [wait for it].

    Go ahead and vitamin!

    Re: Castro. From your blog to God's ears.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sun Apr 02, 02:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • 1 AUGUST 2006 Update:

    At around midnight plus, our two Mayors (of Miami, and of Miami-Dade County), gave a press conference about the "Castro stepped down" situation.

    Would you believe it, they asked locals NOT to congregate in streets at this late hour, celebrating? :)

    My dears, this is like asking the sun not to rise, or the cafe con leches not to be drunk.

    It just ain't gonna happen.

    I went as close as I was able to, but by the time I arrived, at almost una y pico de la manana, the streets around Versailles were too packed for a spin.

    I headed back, but not without a kid grabbing me by the hand, as I steered away.

    He must've been about 8 or 9, but from the sweaty tears in his eyes, you'd think he had been exiled in 1959.

    What a wonderful day!

    Check on the main page, for more news, as it becomes available.

    Thanks for reading my predictions post, and I'll be checking this commentary section for your updated comments, all this week.

    Thanks for linking, Michelle!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Aug 01, 04:27:00 am GMT-4  

  • Castro may not be dead... yet. But this gut ache of his has awakened a people who have prayed for his agonizing death for years, and they think their prayers are about to be answered. I hope they are.

    As to why the US has paid more attention to Russia and China that to Cuba... it's like the difference between elephants and a gnat. One can step on you and hurt you, the other is a mere annoyance at worst, but easily ignored most of the time.

    ron (in So. CA)

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Aug 01, 07:29:00 am GMT-4  

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