Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fidel Castro's Legacy

Fidel Castro has resigned as Cuban President dictator, officially handing command of the country to his brother Raul Castro. This is a good a time as any to review the legacy of this monster and Humberto Fontova provides an excellent summary. Following are some excerpts.

To start with Castro was never one to keep his peaceful promises:
Upon entering Havana on January 7, 1959, Cuba's new leader Fidel Castro broadcast that promise into a phalanx of microphones. "Cuban mothers let me assure you that I will solve all Cuba's problems without spilling a drop of blood." As the jubilant crowd erupted with joy, Castro continued. "Cuban mothers let me assure you that because of me you will never have to cry."

The following day, just below San Juan Hill in eastern Cuba, a bulldozer rumbled to a start, clanked into position, and started pushing dirt into a huge pit with blood pooling at the bottom from the still -twitching bodies of more than a hundred men and boys who'd been machine-gunned without trial on the Castro brothers' orders. Their wives and mothers wept hysterically from a nearby road.
The idea that the US immediately opposed him is a myth:
Former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, Earl T. Smith, during Congressional testimony in 1960, declared flatly: "We put Castro in power." He referred to the U.S. State Department and CIA's role in aiding, both morally and materially, the Castro rebels, to their pulling the rug out from under Batista with an arms embargo, and finally to the U.S. order that Batista vacate Cuba. Ambassador Smith knew something about these events because he personally delivered the messages to Batista, who was then denied exile in the U.S.

"Me and my staff were all Fidelistas," boasted Robert Reynolds, the CIA's "Caribbean Desk's specialist on the Cuban Revolution" from 1957-1960. The U.S. gave Castro's regime its official benediction more rapidly than it had recognized Batista's in 1952, and lavished it with $200 million in subsidies.
and finally the conditions in Cuba before the revolution were so disastrous as to justify Castro's takeover is another myth:
A UNESCO report on Cuba circa 1957 stated: "One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class.The U.S. Department of Commerce Guide for Businesses from 1956 stated: “Cuba is not an underdeveloped country." In 1958, that "impoverished Caribbean island" had a higher per capita income than Austria and Japan and Cuban industrial workers had the 8th highest wages in the world. Cuba also had the hemisphere’s lowest inflation rate and her peso was always equal in value with the U.S. dollar.

Cuba also had more doctors and dentists per capita than Britain and lower infant mortality than France and Germany the 13th lowest in the world, in fact. Today, Cuba's infant mortality rate despite the hemisphere's highest abortion rate which skews this figure downward is 34th from the top. So, relative to the rest of the world, Cuba's health care has worsened under Castro and a nation with a formerly massive influx of European immigrants needs machine guns, water cannons and Tiger sharks to keep it's people from fleeing. In 1958, 80 percent of Cubans were literate and Cuba spent the most per capita on public education of any nation in Latin America. In 1958, Cubans had the third highest protein consumption in Latin America, more Televisions per capita than any European nation and more autos per capita than Japan and half of Europe.
Read the whole thing.

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