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Fidel

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Finally, the embargo on Cuba achieves its objective. A policy success!

I’m sure Trump will, like Obama, work to make U.S./Cuba relations more rational as there’s not a dime’s worth of difference and all.

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  • howard

    i knew someone a little when i was young who was a couple years older than me (our parents were friends), and in the fall of 1969, after his sophomore year at college, he went to cuba as part of the venceremos brigade.

    those were different times….

  • wengler

    A 90-year old out of power for 8 years and South Florida is celebrating like it’s Mardi Gras. If Fidel Castro dying that way is losing, then I don’t know what victory looks like. He won.

    We lost, having to cater to this hard right group of exiles determining our elections from ‘voting for Elian’ to being Trump’s biggest bloc of brown supporters. And with an albeit geriatric Raul in there this group of undeportables isn’t going to get to go reclaim their imaginary Cuban estates any time soon.

    • Derelict

      With the object of their hate now dead, what will they do? For many of them–the Fanjul family in particular–America’s Cuban policies have been critical to their economic success. Relaxing any part of the embargo will be fought tooth and nail on whatever flimsy pretext can be brought to bear.

    • vic rattlehead

      Brown supporters? Oh no, my dear. Most of the first post-Revolution wave were whites from the upper middle class.

  • Manju

    I hope he burns in hell with Robert Byrd.

    • DrDick

      Sorry, but that spot is reserved for you.

      • ThrottleJockey

        That’s mean and uncalled for… Castro was every bit as bad as #TrumpFuhrer is going to be. Authoritarians, rather right or left, deserve hell.

  • IM

    He was a dictator, you know. All the romantics aside.

    Not that “exiles” fighting the death of a 90 year old as their great success are not somewhat pathetic.

    • Heron

      Yeah, no question. But so was Batista and the prominent Cuban exile families who backed him, now living in South Florida. He was no better, and neither were they(still aren’t, considering the practices common in Floridian Sugarcane production); it’s really one of those “a pox on both your houses” situations.

      • DrDick

        And Castro greatly improved the lives of most of his people, in contrast to Batista, who only enriched himself and his cronies, as well as the American Mafia.

        • Murc

          And Castro greatly improved the lives of most of his people

          Except for the folks he had murdered, of course. Their lives were not particularly improved.

          • ThrottleJockey

            You got to see the bigger picture Manju. The Tree of Liberty yearns to be watered…

          • vic rattlehead

            Members of my family too. I will give him some credit especially in the realm of healthcare and literacy but he was still a brutal dictator who tolerated no dissent.

          • DrDick

            He actually helped far more people than he killed or imprisoned. Yes, he was an authoritarian dictator and deeply flawed, but he was still better than the Bautitstas, Trujillos, DuValliers, Samozas, or any ot the dozens of right wing authoritarian dictators the US installed or supported throughout Latin America.

            • Murc

              He actually helped far more people than he killed or imprisoned.

              Well that makes it ALL better, doesn’t it!

              • DrDick

                No, it just makes him better than the US puppets in the world, but that is a very low bar. What is your problem with nuance?

            • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

              He actually helped far more people than he killed or imprisoned.

              Well, that seems to be about as low as a bar can be set. Did you mistype your response or something? This can’t be serious.

  • deptfordx

    “Can’t….. Rest….. Till. America Destroyed.”

    *Sees Trump Elected*

    “Well my work here is done.”

    • LWA

      Bravo!

      (meaning I’m stealing this)

    • DrDick

      I bow down before you!

    • With Russia’s involvement, no less.

  • pianomover
  • Simeon

    A great man. I will miss him.

    • ThrottleJockey

      What’s so great about him? Or worthy to be missed?

      I rather like Soledad O’Brien’s take:

      At the cost of dictatorship and killing your enemies and jailing those u don’t like and killing your economy. Quite a cost. https://t.co/d0OfHY9z08

      My mom on Castro: “Batista would only kill you. Castro would kill you, arrest your spouse, make it impossible for your parents to work…”

      • ThrottleJockey

        And this:

        Though Castro was also quite racist (my black relatives couldn’t visit my hotel) he was seen as embracing blacks in a way Batista didn’t https://t.co/3ELnQUc7HV

        @soledadobrien I myself (American, mixed race) was turned away from Cuban hotels.

  • efgoldman

    I’m sure Trump will, like Obama, work to make U.S./Cuba relations more rational

    Orange McRapey Shitweasel can’t even see rational from the penthouse of his tower, using powerful binoculars on a perfectly clear day.

    • Nobdy

      A) Powerful binoculars tend to be bulky and heavy. Are they mounted on some kind of tripod in your scenario? The most he could wrap his tiny little hands around would be some opera glasses, and even then he would need wrist straps.

      B) Why would Trump look OUTSIDE his tower? All the beautiful classy gold is on the inside.

    • N__B

      From the photos that keep getting published, it appears his (main) living room windows face east, towards Queens. “Using powerful binoculars on a perfectly clear day,” DJT can see the apartment I grew up in.

  • Nobdy

    I actually think that Cuba/U.S. relations will continue to normalize…so long as they break ground on the Trump Tower & Casino within the next year or so.

    Just one of the benefits of having a corrupt kleptocrat instead of an idealogue in power.

    There will never be another dictator like Fidel Castro. The modern world just won’t support it. He did a lot of horrible things but in the shadow of the greatest military in the history of the world he also held out on his tiny island and defeated them. And the medical services and some other infrastructure he built were truly remarkable. They don’t excuse his power abuses but they were remarkable.

    What happens in Cuba after Raul dies will be fascinating. Fortunately we have a smart responsible man at America’s helm to help Cuba manage the transition through a productive partnersh…

    Oh well. Havana was apparently a fun place for gringos when the mafia ran things before..

    • Steve LaBonne

      Beat me to it. Yup, the casino is coming, bank on it.

  • Bootsie

    He’s with Che now, getting beat with a baseball bat by Karl Marx in the afterlife along with every other successful communist revolutionary.

    • Simeon

      Fidel would probably beat Karl, since Fidel was actually a baseball player so he would be better at it.

      Idk why you think every successful revolutionary would be playing baseball up in heaven, though. Some of them might not care for the game.

      • Brett

        I remember reading some libertarian SF/alternate history nonsense where Fidel ended up as a baseball general manager for the MLB. Good times.

        • XTPD

          There was a Cracked photoplasty a few years back based on alternate histories, and one of the entries had Hitler being a founding surrealist and frequent Dalí collaborator.

          • Karen24

            My entry for alternative history parlor games was never killing Hitler but to buy all his painings and take him to New York for a very successful painting show.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Just think if we had done that to GW Bush we could’ve avoided the Iraq War!

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                + 1000

      • Colin Day

        Fidel would probably beat Karl, since Fidel was actually a baseball player so he would be better at it.

        Maybe not

        • Simeon

          There’s a photo of him playing baseball in your link.

          I didn’t actually make the claim your link debunks.

      • gmack

        Everyone knows that football (not American football of course, which is just the performance of industrialized alienation) is the true revolutionary-proletarian sport, unlike the individualizing activities Americans love.

        /end Marxist revolutionary font.

      • (((Hogan)))

        I don’t see how that’s relevant. Beating people with a bat hasn’t been an actual part of playing baseball since Ty Cobb retired.

  • LeeEsq

    The embargo was dumb but I do not get the resoect or admiration that Fidel Castro gets. He ended up as a typical life-long anti-democratic dictator. He ended up doing more damage than Batista simply by remaining in power for decades longer.

    • Dilan Esper

      Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss….

      Many great revolutionaries are terrible presidents (e.g., Mugabe, Yeltsin, etc.).

      But also, part of Castro’s charm is his anti-Americanism. Our Cuba policy is in many ways this country at its worst- pretending to care about human rights when our real beef was that it wasn’t our dictator in charge protecting the property of avaricious rich people and corporations. Castro surviving was a great big middle finger to a nation that richly deserved one.

      • LeeEsq

        Pre-Revolutionary Cuba was one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America even if it had some very severe problems.

        • Brett

          It had a very severe urban-rural divide on everything from income, to literacy, to infant mortality. You know how Erik once spoke about how pre-New Deal US farmers were essentially living in the 19th century? That’s what it was like for rural folks in Cuba, except they were largely landless workers instead of landowners. Think rural black sharecroppers in the South.

          Cuba was long overdue for major land reform, and had the US been smart and done what it promoted in South Korea and Japan (and tolerated in PRI-led Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s), the revolution might have never happened.

        • DrDick

          No, only a small group of Cubans were incredibly wealthy, most people lived in abject poverty with no rights.

      • ThrottleJockey

        With the election of Trump I hope you se see the problem with selecting middle fingers as leaders.

    • Brett

      What Dilan said. Castro overthrew your your stereotypical right-wing dictator in Cuba, and ran an openly leftist, openly-allied-with-the-Soviets regime less than 100 miles from the US shore. It was a giant middle-finger to the US, and so he got a warm welcome even in later times when most of the countries receiving him were democratic and moving towards capitalistic economies.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Ah yes the Cuban Missile Crisis was fun times.

        Anyone who likes electing giant middle fingers should take a long look at #TrumpFuhrer’s Trumpistas…and then take a look at themselves.

    • LWA

      I think Fidel mines the same territory back then as Trump does now.

      Giving pride to his people by sending a big eff you to their hated enemy, even if he himself is a bastard.

  • Karen24

    Well, he did outlive the stupid boycott.

  • LeeEsq

    Fidel Castro is to liberals as what Lee Kuan Yew is to conservatives.

    • XTPD

      Dr. Farls’ actually said Pinochet, but I feel your analogy is more apt.

      • LeeEsq

        Pinochet and Castro are weirdly personalized because they became symbols of hope and hatred in the Cold War.

      • Ronan

        Ive always wondered that about Pinochet. The reason, afaict, is because it’s always more about us than it is about the actual country in question. It’s the same dynamic as the Israel Palestine conflict, it enables left and right to fight domestic ideological/demographic/political battles by picking sides in a foreign conflict. Truth, context and perspective really has very little to do with it.

        • NeonTrotsky

          I got into an argument the other day with some dumb right-winger kid who was trying to defend the CONTRAS. This shit never ends.

        • LeeEsq

          Israel/Palestine also involves Jews, the ancient obsession of the Western world. Other ethnic conflicts like Sri Lanka or Tibet do not.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          The demonization of Pinochet is wierd because even controlling for ideology he was a far less murderous right wing Latin American dictator than the military juntas in Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Yet these regimes got far less hatred and still do from the left in the US and Western Europe than Chile’s did.

          The following numbers of murders by Latin American dictatorships are taken from Fredrick H Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism (London: Zed Books, 2004).

          El Salvador – 75,000 (p. 41)
          Guatemala – 200,000 (p. 45)
          Chile – 4,000 (p. 74).
          Argentina – 10,000-30,000 (p. 95).

          • Brett

            Pinochet overthrew a regime that’s become romanticized as the martyr of South America, the grand experiment that the US destroyed. The truth was . . . considerably different*, but he was definitely a military dictator that overthrew a democratically elected regime.

            * Allende’s Chile (and the subsequent overthrew) is the best argument as to why the US should stay the hell away from meddling in Venezuela.

          • XTPD

            I assume – and Farley’s said in the above link – that’s at least partially because Pinochet was supported by American right-wingers to an extent that the other Latin dictators never were (although I still think the direct comparison to Castro is faulty, as I don’t recall his regime being particularly murderous). For what it’s worth, I’ve heard Trujillo Molina used as the gold polonium standard by which other caudillos are judged – the “Red Skull” of Latin America, if you will.

          • DocAmazing

            Pinochet was responsible for an act of terrorism on US soil: the death by car bomb of Ronni Moffitt and Orlando Letelier in DC. Your tax dollars at work. Pinochet also had a network of concentration camps, the Colonias, that were very creative in their brutality. Not to take anything away from Blowtorch Bob D’Aubuisson or Efrain Rios-Montt, but Pinochet was on sick son of a bitch.

          • DrDick

            All of which were backed by the US.

      • Simeon

        I’m a Fidel fan, and I’m not all that down on LKY, really. I mean, I’d say my opinion of him is net negative, but only mildly so. He did a lot of good things.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Lee Juan Yew wasn’t a fifth as bad as Castro. Shot here was better than Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. And no worse than FDR for that matter. Not even a fucking comparison.

      • NewishLawyer

        “Lee Juan Yew”

        This is one of the most inspired typos ever!!

        Lee Kwan Yew was too one of a kind to merit any comparison to anyone else but I suspect that Lee’s analogy is this:

        Liberals: Castro was bad but you should compare him to what came before and then you will have sympathy for his revolution.

        Conservatives: Lee Kwan Yew was bad but look at what he was up against. Look at what he did for Singapore in turning it from a backwater to a first world nation!

        FWIW, my girlfriend is from Singapore. Her parents were born in the years after WWII and they had a huge rise in standards of living.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Yeah my opinion of him changed after I visited. If if family had grown up in Singapore’s public housing instead of Chicago’s we wouldn’t have considered ourselves poor. You can criticize his controls as authoritarian but he reduced hate crime and racial rebellion to a remarkable degree. That’s why I compare him to FDR who interned the Japanese and tolerated lynching and segregation.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Conservatives: Lee Kwan Yew was bad great and we would be lucky to have a Great Leader like that

    • pianomover

      If you want to compare dictators try Castro vs Duvalier. Education and health care as a right distribution of food and housing. Castro doesn’t seem so bad if you’re one of the toiling masses does he?

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      Fidel Castro is to liberals as what Lee Kuan Yew is to conservatives.

      Having been to Singapore twice, both during LKYs life, I’d have to say that this is a pretty bad analogy. LKY’s authoritarianism turned out to be of the soft variety. And unlike most dictators, he really was working toward (and achieved) a safe peaceful country.

      • XTPD

        I think Lee’s point is that for authoritarians, Castro & LKY were notable for a distinct lack of bloodlust – compared to their geographical/ideological contemporaries they appeared downright benevolent, and even by democratic standards their administrations weren’t especially dystopian. That renders them pussyish “family-friendly” enough that noting positives in an assessment of their careers isn’t automatically disqualifying.

      • Ahuitzotl

        yes, he’s the only example I can think of, of a relatively benign despot providing better government

  • Castro actually wanted to start a nuclear war with the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Fortunately the Russians didn’t find the idea very appealing.

  • Brett

    Good riddance. A revolution needed to happen in Cuba, but then he turned it into an authoritarian regime that was an anachronism heavily dependent on Soviet subsidies by the time the Soviet Union collapsed. Even the health care and education statistics aren’t as impressive when you consider that pre-Revolution Cuba already had some of the highest literacy and health statistics in Latin America, although I’ll give the regime its due for extending them into the rural population (it’s also one of their export industries – they send doctors abroad in Latin America to earn hard currency for the regime).

    A lot of blame gets put on the blockade for the country’s stagnation ath this point, but just about every other rich and poor country ignored the blockade with aplomb, with Europeans and Canadians setting up tourist operations in Cuba.

    About all I can say in defense of Castro is that a democratic government probably stood no chance in Cuba in the 1960s. The US wasn’t interested in promoting them, and would have undermined any successor government to Batista whether or not it was democratic. And he did kick the mobsters out.

    • medrawt

      I recently read Tim Weiner’s CIA history, and as cynical as I thought I was, it was hard not to come away with the impression that Dulles and his cronies set the tone for an agenda that looked at any government to the left of Franco with murderous suspicion. Without trying to be on some “Nixon was more liberal than Obama” bullshit, one is left to suspect that if Nixon had come to power in Argentina instead of the US, the CIA would’ve worried about his being a communist stooge and set about trying to undermine his government.

      • Brett

        It’s remarkable, too, when you consider that some of the regimes the US targeted weren’t doing reform any more radical than what Mexico (a US ally) did in the 1940s and 1950s, and what places like South Korea and Japan did after World War 2. I put most of the blame for that on Republicans and Eisenhower, and of course the rising anti-communist movement in the US in the 1950s (the progenitor for the modern movement conservatism).

        Granted, I can see how they might believe in the “Domino” theory after the one-two-three punch of China, Korea, and Cuba. China went communist and back-stopped the forces against the US in Korea, and Cuba backed leftist revolutionary efforts all over the world (particularly in Latin America and Africa, where they even sent troops).

    • DrDick

      While he was a dictator who ruthlessly eliminated opposition, he was also much better than any of the right wing dictators that proliferated in Latin America under the US and greatly improved the lives of most Cubans, who now have a comparable life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate than the US.

      • Brett

        He deserves some credit for the health care and education efforts, but like I said, he was building on a country that was comparatively strong on those to begin with (and of course, the US is exceptionally bad on these things compared to other rich countries). Nearly all of the communist countries outside of Africa did at least a decent job of promoting literacy and education, and had a few things they were good at amidst the overall mismanagement (the Soviets ran an excellent space program).

        • DrDick

          But where all the wealth was controlled by a small handful of families and the government was a wholly own subsidiary of the American Mafia.

    • Thom

      They send doctors to Africa as well.

  • N__B

    Semper Fidel.

  • Woodrowfan

    AHAH! That poison the CIA gave him in 63 finally kicked in. Need to work on the time-release aspect I guess.

  • Thom

    Hasta la victoria siempre. Or, as they say in the southern African countries whose revolutions he supported, a luta continua.

  • Yankee

    NYT: “Brought Cold War to Western Hemisphere”, fuck. me.

    • Thom

      Yeah, that was truly ridiculous. It is, at the least, a very odd understanding of the Cold War.

      • medrawt

        The ghosts of the Brothers Dulles demand that they get paid their due.

        • Ahuitzotl

          I have some buckets of rancid blood right here, where do they accept delivery?

  • keta

    Quick question, Scott:

    Do comments on this board sometimes disappear due to some platform hinkyness, or was my benign observation in this thread from earlier today (re: Trump claiming credit for Castro’s death) purposely nixed?

    I’ve never seen any comment of mine simply vanish like that. Any illumination, etc…

    • DrDick

      They will disappear if you have more than two links in them.

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