by Jim Miles
November 28, 2016
Fidel Castro has had an enormous impact on the geopolitics of the
era in which I have lived, an era of increasing U.S. imperial
economic/military dominance of the globe.
As with all highly
influential leaders he has his avid followers and his keen
His legacy is somewhat more mixed, but in general, and
from an international globalist perspective, he accomplished more
positive than negative, in particular in light of the lifetime U.S.
embargo/sanctions against Cuba.
The latter is very interesting when considering
relationship with dictatorships/autocracies around the world.
killed off several millions of Southeast Asians and over 50 000 of
its own people during the Vietnam war, the U.S. is now actively
trading with the minimally communist Vietnamese government as if
nothing ever happened...
China, which is labeled a communist
dictatorship, is in effect an integral part of the U.S. economy,
without which the ordinary consumer citizen of the west would not be
able to buy so much cheap/inexpensive stuff for their entertainment.
Millions died in China, both as a result of western nations trying
to slice the country up into spheres of influence, and following
because of Mao's reactionary policies. 
Canada has taken a slightly different approach, never having cut
diplomatic relationships with Cuba and recognizing mainland China's
government in 1970, nine years before Nixon did for the U.S. U.S.
president elect Trump has called him a "brutal dictator" who has
"killed tens of thousands" (more like two thousand), imprisoned
political activists, and not allowed free speech.
There are many
detractors of Castro in Canada.
In consideration of what I have said
above he has been considerably less brutal than the U.S. in its
actions (generally supported by Canada) around the world in its
invented fights against communism and now terrorism.
All empires need enemies of the state in order to redirect the anger
of their own citizens outwards towards an evil other. Cuba
effectively serves that purpose for the western hemisphere - a
supposedly evil example standing up to the good empire.
agreed with Soviet Russia not to invade Cuba after the 1963 nuclear
standoff, but there certainly have been many other inept attempts to
do away with Castro, perhaps half-heartedly as that would remove the
evil other from the U.S.' back yard - Latin America.
Neither the U.S. nor Canada, of course, are concerned about
relationships with a country simply because they are a dictatorship.
Saudi Arabia is a prime example as it supports Sunni salafist
fanatics in a global 'outreach' program to defeat the infidels of
The CIA created Chilean dictatorship of
destroyed a relatively egalitarian society and imposed the
Washington consensus austerity on the country, at the cost of
thousands killed and tens of thousands tortured.
Neighboring Argentina in 1976 suffered a
similar CIA coup, with an estimated 30 000 "disappeared" thanks to
CIA meddling. 
In the same era, Cuba assisted Angola and Namibia in gaining their
independence while fighting the apartheid autocracy of South Africa,
the latter supported by the U.S. Farther north, Cuba helped Ethiopia
defeat the invading Somali army which again was supported by the
Obviously many of these wars had to do with the geopolitical
anti-communist days, but it reflects the U.S.' ongoing ambition to
destroy anything even remotely independent of its desires, and more,
to prevent a showcase for how anything slightly socialistic could be
Back to Cuba under embargo/sanctions:
it is considered
to be a 'bad' example of socialism because of its lack of
'modernity' - in other words lack of acceptance of the western
corporate power agenda for global hegemony.
Castro's foreign policy was obviously aligned against U.S. foreign
His domestic policies were the main point of antagonism.
First off, he got rid of the corrupt mafia related government of
Batista. Only later - when U.S. companies refused to be bought
out at the artificially low prices they themselves had set (for tax
purposes) - did he nationalize the companies.
egregious by U.S. standards was Castro's distribution of land to
hundreds of thousands of Cuban workers - not exactly a communist
collectivist action, but one that defied the big landowners such as
United Fruit (Chiquita - United Brands) whose employees were
essentially indentured serfs.
For all its problems following the revolution, Castro had several
large successes that seldom are viewed in western media.
one of the highest literacy rates in the world, more doctors per
capita, and a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Life
expectancy is slightly under that of the U.S., but can be accounted
for as the embargo limits/prohibits medical supplies entering Cuba.
It frequently is one of the first countries to offer medical aid to
disaster stricken areas, recently notable being Haiti.
One of its larger successes has been with agriculture. Long
supported with Soviet purchases of sugar and other agricultural
products, this collapsed along with the Soviet collapse.
succumb to western depredations, Castro allowed a limited free
enterprise system for agricultural practices, creating what should
be a model sustainable, healthy, environmentally friendly farm base.
Thus overall, Castro has had a positive impact on the world.
proved to be flexible yet resolute leader, he stood up to the power
and greed of corporate America, he created a society - that
while limited in its political expression - that is healthy
and well educated.
His steadfastness after the Soviet collapse
created a sustainable agricultural base - and his long term
survival allowed the U.S. to continue its illogical misinformed
hubristic rhetoric against a country that in no way threatened the
As demonstrated by U.S. policy/actions with China and Vietnam,
none of its actions against Cuba make any sense at all, and are
Castro's legacy will live on generally as a positive force for the
majority of the world.
Thank you to Pierre Trudeau for keeping
Canada open to Cuba (and China), and for Justin Trudeau for not
copying the hate inspired rhetoric of our southern neighbors, or
neocon U.S. sycophants.
 Perhaps a similar reaction as per Pol Pot in Laos - after
western destruction of civil society, the influence of rabid
anti-capitalist/western fanatics created their own domestic
Now that I think of it, the same scenario is what created
IS in Iraq and Syria.
 The list of U.S.-CIA interventions is a global phenomenon up to
and including the neonazi supported coup in Ukraine and the recent
destruction of Libya and Yemen as functioning societies.
Serbia was bombed into submission on the pretext of "human rights"
shown to be a falsehood later, but allowing the U.S. to separate
Kosovo from Serbia primarily to establish Camp Bondsteel, one of the
largest military bases.
Canada participated in all these destructive
activities in support of the U.S. corporate/military interests.
Fifty Truths about Fidel Castro
by Salim Lamrani
January 22, 2014
translation by Larry R.
November 28, 2016
from GlobalResearch Website
Original version in French
The historic leader of the Cuban
Revolution has forever marked the history of Cuba and Latin America,
making his country a symbol of dignity and resistance.
Fidel Castro was born
into a family of seven children on August 13, 1926, at Birán
in the current province of Holguín, from a union between
Angel Castro Argiz, a wealthy Spanish landowner from Galicia
and Cuban born Lina Ruz González.
At the age of seven, he was sent
to the city of Santiago de Cuba where lived with the teacher
who was to be responsible for his education.
abandoned him to his fate.
A year later, in January 1935,
he entered the religious school, Hermanos de La Salle,
as an intern.
In January 1938, after rebelling against the
authoritarianism of a teacher, he left the institution at
the age of eleven for Dolores College. From 1942 to 1945 he continued
his schooling in Havana with the Jesuits at Belen College.
After receiving high marks in his studies, his teacher,
Father Armando Llorente, wrote in the institution's
"He has distinguished
himself in all literary subjects. He has also been a
true athlete, an excellent and team-oriented player.
Always courageously and
proudly defending the college flag, he earned the
admiration and affection of all. He intends to
continue his studies in law and we have no doubt
that he will fill brilliantly the pages of his book
Despite having gone into exile
in Miami in 1961, following the tensions between the
revolutionary government and the Cuban Catholic church,
Father Llorente always retained fond memories of his former
Fidel Castro had jumped into a
river to save his teacher who was being carried away by the
In 1945, Fidel Castro entered
the University of Havana, where he began a law career.
Elected as Faculty of Law
delegate, he actively participated in demonstrations against
corruption in the government of President Ramón Grau San
He did not hesitate to publicly
denounce the armed gangs of
Alemán-Grau-Alsina), a group with links to
Max Lesnik, then
Secretary General of the Orthodox Youth group and a comrade
of Fidel Castro, recalls an episode:
"The committee '30
September' [created to fight against the armed
gangs] had decided to denounce the government and
the gangsters during the plenary session of the
More than 300 students
from various faculties thronged the hall to listen
to Fidel when someone shouted [...]: 'He, who speaks
too long, will speak for the last time'.
It was clear to whom the
threat was addressed. Fidel got up from his chair
and, with a firm and poised step, walked to the
center of the hall.
After requesting a
moment of silence in memory of the martyrs [...], he
began reading an official list of the names of all
gang members and the leaders of the Federation of
University Students who had received stipends from
In 1947, at the age of 22, Fidel
Castro participated with Juan Bosch, the future President of
the Dominican Republic, in an attempted landing at Cayo
Confite intended to overthrow the dictator Rafael Trujillo,
then supported by
the United States.
A year later, in 1948, he
participated in the Bogotazo popular uprising triggered by
the assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a
progressive political leader and presidential candidate in
After finishing his graduate
studies in law in 1950, Fidel Castro worked as a lawyer
until 1952, defending the poor, before entering politics.
Fidel Castro never militated for
the Popular Socialist Party (PSP), the communist party of
pre-revolutionary Cuba. Rather, he joined the Cuban
People's Party, also called the Orthodox Party, which had
been founded in 1947 by Eduardo Chibás.
Chibás' progressive Orthodox
Party program was based on several key elements:
achieved through the diversification of agricultural
the development of
the nationalization of
the fight against
the struggle for social
the defense of workers
Fidel Castro has expressed his
belief in the thinking of José Martí, of Chibás and
in anti-imperialism. A talented orator, he ran in the
parliamentary elections of 1952 as a candidate of the Cuban
On March 10, 1952, three months
before the presidential elections, General Fulgencio
Batista shattered the constitutional order by
overthrowing the government of Carlos Prio Socarrás.
He won the immediate support of
the United States, which officially recognized the new
Fidel Castro the lawyer filed a
complaint against Batista for breach of the constitutional
"If courts exist,
Batista should be punished, and if Batista is not
punished [...], how then can the court judge a
citizen for sedition or rebellion against a regime
that is both illegal and the product of unpunished
The Supreme Court, subservient
to the new regime, found his complaint to be inadmissible.
On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro
became head of an expedition of 131 men committed to
launching attacks against the Moncada barracks in Santiago
de Cuba, the second most important military fortress in the
country, and the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks in the
city of Bayamo.
The goal was to take control of
Santiago - the historical cradle of all revolutions - and
launch a call to rebellion throughout the country to
overthrow the dictator Batista.
The operation was a bloody
failure and many fighters - 55 in total - were murdered
after being brutally tortured by Batista's military, while
only six had been killed in combat.
Some managed to escape
thanks to the support of the local population.
Fidel Castro, captured a few
days later, owes his life to Sergeant Pedro Sarría, who
refused to follow the orders of his superiors and execute
the Moncada leader.
During his historic defense
entitled "History Will Absolve Me", Fidel Castro, defending
himself, denounced Batista's crimes and the misery in which
the Cuban people lived.
He presented his program for a
free Cuba, based on national sovereignty, economic
independence and social justice.
Sentenced to 15 years in prison,
Castro was released two years later in 1955, following an
amnesty granted by the Batista regime.
He then founded the
July 26 Movement (M 26-7) and announced his plan to continue
the fight against the military dictatorship before going
into exile in Mexico.
With a young doctor named
Ernesto Guevara, Fidel Castro organized the
Castro had no trouble convincing the young
Argentine who later recalled:
In August of 1955, Fidel Castro
published the first manifesto of the 26th of July Movement,
a document that included the main points he had made in his
"History Will Absolve Me" defense.
There is the question of,
social and economic
reforms that favor the underprivileged
gas and electrical
education and culture
government services to fight against corruption
In October 1955, in order to
raise funds for the expedition, Fidel Castro made a tour of
the United States where he met with Cuban exiles. The FBI
put the patriotic clubs that were founded in different
cities by 26-7 M under close surveillance.
On November 25, 1956, Fidel
Castro left from the port of Tuxpan, Mexico, aboard the
Granma, a boat designed to hold 25 people.
There were in total 82
revolutionaries aboard when it set sail for Cuba with the
aim to triggering a guerrilla war in the mountains of the
Due to climatic conditions, the
crossing was a nightmare. One member of the expedition
Juan Almeida, a member of the group and
future Commander of the Revolution, recalls the episode.
"Fidel told us the
following: 'As long as we have not saved him, we
will not move from here'.
Everyone was touched by
his words and it aroused our fighting spirit. We
felt that with this man, nobody would be abandoned.
Yet, it was jeopardizing the expedition.
was finally saved".
After a voyage that lasted seven
days, instead of the five that had been forecast, the troupe
landed on December 2, 1956 in what was, according to Raúl
Castro, "the worst swamp anyone had ever seen".
The revolutionaries were
dispersed by gunfire from Cuban aviation, and pursued by
some 2,000 of Batista's soldiers who had been waiting for
A few days later, in Cinco
Palmas, Fidel Castro rejoined his brother Raúl and ten other
members of the expedition.
The guerrilla war had begun. It
would last for 25 months.
In February 1957, the Herbert
Matthews interview with Fidel Castro appeared in the New
York Times, thereby permitting US and world public opinion
to discover the existence of a guerrilla force in Cuba.
Batista later admitted in his
memoirs that through this media coup "Castro was becoming a
Matthews, however, nuanced the
importance of his interview:
"No advertising, as
sensational as it might have been, would have made
any difference, if Fidel Castro had not been exactly
the man I described".
Despite official declarations of
neutrality in the Cuban conflict, the US provided political,
economic and military support to Batista, and opposed Fidel
Castro up to the final moments.
On December 23, 1958, one week
before the triumph of the Revolution, while Fulgencio
Batista's army was in disarray despite its superiority in
men and weapons, the 392nd meeting of the
National Security Council, with President Eisenhower in
attendance, took place.
Allen Dulles, the CIA
director, made the US position quite clear: "We must prevent
Despite the support of
the United States, his 20,000 soldiers and material superiority,
Batista could not defeat a guerrilla force comprised 300
armed men during the final offensive in the summer of 1958
that had gone on to mobilize more than 10,000 soldiers.
This "strategic victory"
demonstrated the military genius of Fidel Castro who had
anticipated and defeated the "End of Fidel" operation
launched by Batista.
On January 1, 1959, five years,
five months and five days after the July 26, 1953 attack on
the Moncada garrison, the Cuban Revolution emerged
During the formation of the
revolutionary government in January 1959, Fidel Castro was
appointed Minister of the Armed Forces.
He did not occupy the
presidency, which devolved on Judge Manuel Urrutia,
nor the post of Prime Minister, which went to the lawyer
José Miró Cardona.
In February 1959, Prime Minister
Cardona, opposed to economic and social reforms he
considered too radical (the land reform project, for
Manuel Urrutia then appointed
Fidel Castro to the position.
In July 1959, faced with the
opposition of President Urrutia, who refused further
reforms, Fidel Castro resigned as Prime Minister.
Huge popular demonstrations
broke out across Cuba, calling for the departure of Urrutia
and the return of Fidel Castro. The new President of the
Republic, Osvaldo Dorticós, then reappointed Fidel Castro
The U.S. immediately showed itself
hostile to Fidel Castro by welcoming the dignitaries of the
former regime, among whom were several war criminals who had
looted the national treasury and fled with some 424 million
Yet from the start, Fidel Castro
demonstrated his willingness to maintain good relations with
Nevertheless, during his first
visit to the United States in April 1959, President
Eisenhower refused to receive him and preferred to go
John F. Kennedy expressed his
regret about the incident:
In October 1959, pilots from the
US bombed Cuba and returned to Florida where they were
unmolested by authorities.
On October 21, 1959, a bomb
dropped on Havana left two dead and 45 wounded. The person
responsible for the crime, Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz, returned to
Miami. He was not questioned and Washington refused to
extradite him to Cuba.
In February 1960, Fidel Castro
drew closer to Moscow, acquiring Soviet weapons only after
the United States refused to provide the arsenal necessary
for the island's defense.
Washington also pressured Canada
and the European nations that had been approached by Cuba in
order to force Cuba to turn to the socialist bloc, thereby
justifying its own hostile policy toward Havana.
In March 1960, the Eisenhower
administration made a formal decision to overthrow Fidel
Castro. In total, the leader of the Cuban Revolution escaped
no fewer than 637 assassination attempts on his life.
In March 1960, the French ship
La Coubre, carrying weapons, was sabotaged by the CIA in the
port of Havana. More than one hundred persons
were left dead.
In his address in tribute to the victims,
Fidel Castro launched the slogan "Patria o Muerte" (Homeland
or Death) inspired by that of the French Revolution of 1793,
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death."
On April 16, 1961, following the
bombing of the main airports in the country by the CIA, a
prelude to the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro
proclaimed the "socialist" character of the Revolution.
Bay of Pigs invasion,
conducted by some 1400 exiles supported by the CIA, Fidel
Castro was to be found on the front lines of the battle. He
inflicted a severe defeat on the US by crushing the invaders
in 66 hours.
His popularity then skyrocketed
During the October 1962 missile
crisis, Soviet General Alexei Dementiev was at the
side of Fidel Castro.
He recounted in his memories:
"I spent the most
impressive moments of my life with Fidel. I was with
him most of the time.
There was a moment when
we considered that a military attack by the United
States was close at hand. Fidel made the decision to
sound the alarm.
Within hours, his people
were in combat position. Fidel's faith in his people
was impressive, as was the faith of his people and
of ourselves, Soviets, in him.
Fidel is, without any
question, one of the political and military geniuses
of the century".
In October 1965, the Cuban
Communist Party (PCC) replaced the United Party of the
Socialist Revolution (PURE) which had been created in 1962
(it, in turn, had replaced the Integrated Revolutionary
Organizations - ORI - created in 1961).
Fidel Castro was
appointed First Secretary.
In 1975, following the adoption
of the new Constitution, Fidel Castro was elected President
of the Republic for the first time. He would be re-elected
to this post up until 2006.
In 1988, from more than 20,000
kilometers away, Fidel Castro, in Havana, led the battle of
Cuito Cuanavale in Angola.
It was in this battle that the
Cuban and Angolan troops inflicted a crushing defeat on the
South African armed forces that had invaded Angola and
The historian Piero Gleijeses,
a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Washington,
efforts [allied with the apartheid regime], Cuba
changed the course of history in Southern Africa
The Cubans' prowess on
the battlefield and their virtuosity at the
negotiating table proved decisive in compelling
South Africa to accept Namibia's independence.
The victorious defense
of Cuito Cuanavale was the prelude to a campaign
that compelled the South African Defense Force (SADF)
to leave Angola. This victory had repercussions far
beyond the borders of Namibia".
A lucid observer of perestroika,
Fidel Castro, in a prescient speech given on July 26, 1989,
declared to the nation that should the Soviet Union
disappear, Cuba would resist and continue along the path of
In 1994, at the height of the
Special Period, he met
Hugo Chavez for the first
They formed a strong friendship
that lasted until the latter's death in 2013. According to
Fidel Castro, the Venezuelan president was "the best friend
the Cuban people ever had".
They set up a strategic
partnership with the creation in 2005 of the Bolivarian
Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which now includes
eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In 1998, Fidel Castro received
the visit to Havana of Pope John Paul II. The latter
demanded that "the world open up to Cuba and Cuba open up to
In 2002, former President of the
United States Jimmy Carter made a historic visit to Cuba.
spoke directly on live television:
"I did not come here to
interfere in Cuba's internal affairs, but rather to
extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people and
to offer a vision of the future for both countries
and for the Americas [...].
I want us to be friends
and to respect each other [...]. Since the US is the
most powerful of the two nations, it is for us to
make the first move".
In July 2006, following a
serious intestinal illness, Fidel Castro was forced to
retire from power. In accordance with the Constitution,
Vice-President Raúl Castro succeeded him.
In February 2008, Fidel Castro
permanently renounced any executive office. He has since
devoted himself to writing his memoirs and regularly
publishing articles under the caption "Reflections".
After a trip to Cuba in 2001,
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a historian and special advisor to
President Kennedy, raised the question of the cult of
"Fidel Castro does not
encourage the cult of personality.
In Havana it is
difficult to find a poster or even a post card with
a photo of Castro on it. The icon of Fidel's
revolution, visible everywhere, is Che Guevara".
Gabriel García Márquez,
Colombian writer and Nobel Prize in Literature, was a close
friend of Fidel Castro.
He drew up a brief profile that
"the absolute trust he
places in direct contact. His power is seduction. He
looks for problems where they are to be found. [...]
His patience is invincible. His discipline is
ironclad. The force of his imagination expands the
limits of the unexpected".
The triumph of the Cuban
Revolution on January 1, 1959, led by Fidel Castro, is the
most significant event in the history of twentieth century
While Fidel Castro may remain
one of the most controversial figures of that century, even
his fiercest critics acknowledge that he has made Cuba a
sovereign nation whose independence is respected
His country has made undeniable
social achievements in the fields of,
He will forever be the symbol of
national dignity, someone who is always aligned with the
oppressed and all those who fight for their emancipation...