Thursday, 21 February 2008

Fidel Castro: A Brief Analysis

Ever since Fidel Castro described himself as a Marxist-Leninist Communist in the early 1960s, a savage campaign was set in motion to topple his government. This campaign was initiated by the US administration and was subsequently supported by several other countries who were too scared to challenge the US.

Apart from the Bay of Pigs invasion and the countless CIA attempts to assassinate Castro, the latter has been subjected to a terrible demonisation campaign. The Cuban leader was often depicted in the capitalist media as the incarnation of evil. This technique of characterizing individuals as totally good or evil managed to influence millions of people around the world when talking about Fidel.

One of the most striking aspects of the anti-Castro criticisms is that they are frequently made by people who have never been to Cuba and have never talked to a substantial number of Cubans to learn more about day-to-day life in the country. Such critics tend to cite some human rights report as evidence that living in Cuba is tantamount to living in hell. It is true that certain people were imprisoned for trying to incite various individuals to overthrow the Cuban government; these people were normally being paid by organizations that were bent on bringing down the socialist administration. I believe that if the authorities in any part of the world discover that there are individuals who are being funded to engage in activities aimed at sabotaging a government’s work, the detention of such people is to be expected.

When discussing democracy and human rights, I have often argued that these issues cannot be analysed in a vacuum. The freedom of speech, to focus on one example, is never absolute. In some countries, if a person denies the occurrence of the Jewish holocaust, this is considered as a crime and legal action is taken against such an individual. In the US, if a person commits certain deeds, he/she loses the right to life given that the death penalty still exists in several states. In order to safeguard the interests of the prevalent sectors of a particular society, a number of rights are always restricted or denied.

Contrary to the lies spewed by many capitalists, Castro’s government was never a personal dictatorship. Indeed, when asked about the latter issue, Fidel said that Cuba has a dictatorship of the proletariat; not a one-man dictatorship. Quite understandably, this point is usually ignored by the Castro critics. In their attempts to demonise Fidel, most of them prefer to keep on saying that he is a mad dictator.

Once the masses have approved the dictatorship of the proletariat as the best way forward to construct a socialist society that wants to march onwards towards Communism, it is important to defend the gains made by the proletariat. History is rich with examples of how the capitalist class in various societies has always done its utmost to regain control whenever it was temporarily kept at bay. The brutal actions of the capitalist class to regain power were witnessed in Cuba ever since Castro came to power, in Guatemala in the 1950s, in Chile in 1973, and in Nicaragua during the 1980s. The gains of the working class are invariably reversed as long as the capitalist class is allowed to prosper.

There are many ways in which the gains of the working class can be safeguarded. Many Castro critics say that he sentenced many people who disagreed with him to death. To my knowledge, Castro has never condemned anyone to death simply because that person had different political beliefs. Virtually all the individuals who were shot during the period following the 1959 Revolution were former members of the Batista regime who had been involved in the torture and execution of countless Cubans. Trials were held for such individuals and many were condemned to death for their crimes. As in many other countries during the 1960s, the death penalty was still widely popular as a means of dealing with certain criminals in Cuba.

Since those days, as a result of massive changes in the way of thinking about crime and criminals, several countries have abolished the death penalty. Even in Cuba, Castro himself has encouraged attempts to find better alternatives to the death penalty. Of course, since this does not appeal to the Castro critics, it is never mentioned; depicting Fidel as a bloodthirsty man is more effective when trying to demonise him!

In most capitalist media reports about Cuba, a lot of attention is devoted to the Cubans who have risked their lives to get to the US. Sadly, such reports usually fail to dwell on the free education, health care, and housing that is available to the Cuban people; they prefer to focus on the relatively small number of Cubans who have attempted to get to the US after being seduced by the capitalist propaganda associated with the American Dream. These reports also normally avoid mentioning the fact that following several campaigns to indoctrinate various Cubans that the US is an earthly paradise, the ones who manage to land on US soil are able to apply for residency in the country. With so many people around the world being brainwashed that the US is a perfect country, I am not surprised by the fact that several individuals are seduced by such propaganda and risk their lives to go to live there. Mexico is a capitalist country; why is nobody advocating a change of government and calling the Mexican President an evil leader as thousands of Mexicans risk their lives every year to cross the US-Mexican border?

When a country has been subjected to countless terrorist acts including a devastating trade embargo lasting for more than four decades, it is not so hard to understand why that country’s economy is not doing extremely well. Rather than attempt to escape to another place, it is during such times that a country’s inhabitants should unite together in order to improve each other’s quality of life. Socialism is about collectivism; it is about caring for other human beings.

Throughout his years as a leader who enjoyed widespread support from the masses, Fidel Castro transformed Cuba from a country that was dominated by ignorance and in which the capitalist class trampled upon the members of the working class into a country that has understood that a society can only improve on a long-term basis if it embraces Socialism. Being human, he has made mistakes, but this does not mean that Socialism is evil or that it cannot work.



L-Imżebbel said...

Interesting analysis. I believe that Cuba at this stage needs to do a lot of Socialist rethinking to move forward. However, all reforms must be carried out in the context of the Socialist Revolution.


Red said...

Thanks a lot for the feedback!

The dilemma that Cuba will face upon Castro's demise is the extent to which it can protect itself from the efforts of various counterrevolutionaries who would like to install a bourgeois dictatorship in the country. Hopefully, Cuba will continue its march towards becoming a Communist society!

Anonymous said...

Interesting analysis. The US and so the "WEST" has never constructed itself from the "OTHER" in this case Cuba. Capitalism isn't the best form for humanity as the west has tended to believe. A few more years, we will begin to understand how capitalism is making a world less human and depleting the world's resources to oblivion. Why are we in such a "risk society" if capitalism is the best form for all humanity? I do not hope to enter into a debate about whether socialism is the best which will be just what I am doing against capitalism. Too much of anything is bad. We need, communism, socialism and capitalism across the globe to create the fine balance and stresses of both human and other resources of the world.

The inciting "clash of civilization" of Huntington is just another construction and unjustifiable illogical justification for the next 'cold war'.

The west must leave others alone to do their thing and care more about their own self-destruction.

Anonymous said...

what a democracy means? drugs, prostitutes, kill babys peoples, without free education and medicine, thats really true that children in Cuba they have a good childhood what can give America? have a look what was 50 years ago when in Cuba was Batista? will u comment it? it was great time? democracy?
Viva Fidel!VIVA COMUNISM! VIVA CUBA!!!I LOVE U FIDEL!!! U REAL COMANDANTE U are not lier like democra.....