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Fidel Castro: 1926 – 2016 November 26, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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“Soon I’ll be like all the others,” he said of his dead comrades. “The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without truce to obtain them.”

A man and a revolution with many contradictions and missteps but also some very real triumphs and achievements.

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1. roddy - November 26, 2016

A fighter to the last.

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2. EWI - November 26, 2016

RIP. Someone who fought the good fight for his people.

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3. WorldbyStorm - November 26, 2016

Generally the tone internationally is very positive of the tributes. Justin Trudeau’s was particularly interesting – I hadn’t realised his father and Castro were old friends.

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4. sonofstan - November 26, 2016

Here’s a curiosity: the intro to Errol Flynn’s last movie Cuban Rebel Girls – Flynn was sympathetic to Castro and the movie was an attempt to present a sympathetic dramatisation of the revolution to the US public.

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5. Joe - November 26, 2016

Born the same year as my mam and ‘Queen’ Elizabeth. Ma is still around. I’m hoping she’ll outlast Lizzie too but doubt she will.

I’ve never been to Cuba. A friend of mine, no socialist she, was there a few times though and loved it. I asked her about poverty, about stories I’d heard of people with very little, willing to sell anything they had, including their bodies, for dollars. She said she heard those criticisms too but she said funny that you don’t hear the people who make those criticisms of Cuba making any criticisms about all those other countries in the Caribbean and central America, friends of the USA and free market capitalism, where there is horrendous poverty and hunger and disgusting inequality between rich and poor.

Viva Fidel. Hasta la victoria siempre.

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6. lamentreat - November 26, 2016

Whatever else, a man of unbelievable will, courage and determination. At so many points in his younger life, he could have taken the easy option (a million times easier) to live the life of a wealthy Latin American. He didn’t, many times over, instead taking up – and keeping up – a struggle against absurd odds. And then to keep leading the country through the adversity it faced. Not saying he did everything right, but that alone is astonishing.

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7. Aonrud ⚘ - November 26, 2016

Good statement from Michael D.

http://www.president.ie/en/media-library/news-releases/statement-by-president-michael-d.-higgins-on-the-death-of-fidel-castro

I think he has finally driven the right-wingers on Twitter over the edge. Look at the responses to it:

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WorldbyStorm - November 26, 2016

What’s interesting is that for those of us who would acknowledge – as some have here, that there would be often deeply problematic aspects to the man and the situation there, conversely there’s little or no willingness to acknowledge in those tweets linked to above from the other side any positive aspects. I’ve always thought that Castro’s was a nationalist as much if not more than a socialist phenomenon. For better and worse.

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Aonrud ⚘ - November 26, 2016

It’s a lazy black and white really, isn’t it? Glen Greenwald has been responding to some similar complaints on Twitter by pointing to the response to King Abdullah’s death, which was fawning. It’s so easy to point to the examples of non-Left countries with the same problems that are unequivocally supported by the ‘West’, that the argument is just ridiculous.

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8. paulculloty82 - November 26, 2016

True, but while the standard of living may be higher than the rest of the Caribbean in terms of health, education, etc, can a true democrat excuse his treatment of political opponents and homosexuals, especially in the Island of Pines camp? Of course, the Communists may well win a legitimate election if one were held, but the same used to be said about Kadar and Franco, among others, and their legacies ultimately proved ephemeral.

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WorldbyStorm - November 26, 2016

Another major problem was the sheer tenacious hold for so long by the same cadre of people on power. I’ve made the point before, it’s as if Dev was still Taoiseach decades later, but of course even that wouldn’t be quite the same because at least it was possible to oust Dev (though one of the more positive aspects was the ultimate, but utterly belated, admission by Castro that the treatment of lgbt people was abysmal).

My own feeling is that that and the problems of political representation did much to damage the standing of the regime subsequently when even mild liberalisation might have allowed for a freer society both politically and culturally. What worries me as well is that they’ve yet to forge a clear path forward where the gains of the revolution can be sustained while allowing for a more flexible socio-political structure that addresses democratic deficits.

Part of the tragedy and problem was that so much happened at the height of the cold war. And blame can be apportioned to both the US and Soviet Union in that respect.

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RosencrantzisDead - November 26, 2016

Slight tangent, but I long for the day when people will criticise the likes of Steve Jobs for failing to have free and impartial elections (not based on some ridiculous property qualification) to decide who should comprise the management of Apple.

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9. oconnorlysaght - November 26, 2016

Fidel was a great socialist pioneer who maintained a workers’ republic in a small country for over fifty years without any foreign occupation army. How long his legacy will last I do not know: to be secure, the workers’ revolution must be extended internationally, as Fidel recognised when he tried to build his Tricontinental Movement. He failed in this, but I fancy the memory, at least, of his achievement will last longer than that of the achievements of Franco and Kadar.

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10. Pasionario - November 26, 2016

“I was still in prison when I first heard of the massive help which the Cuban international forces were giving to the people of Angola. The help was of such a scale that it was difficult for us to believe it, when the Angolans were under attack by the combined forces of South Africa, the FALA who were financed by the CIA, mercenaries, UNITA, and Zaire in 1975.
[…]
The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor. The defeat of the apartheid army served as an inspiration to the struggling people of South Africa. Without the defeat of Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been legalized. The defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale made it possible for me to be here with you today. Cuito Cuanavale marks the divide in the struggle for the liberation of southern Africa. Cuito Cuanavale marks an important step in the struggle to free the continent and our country of the scourge of apartheid.
[…]
Long live the Cuban Revolution! [Viva!] Long live Comrade Fidel Castro! [Viva!]”

Nelson Mandela, Havana, 26 July 1991

http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/castro/db/1991/19910726-1.html

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11. Alibaba - November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro & Cuba: my country, my party, right or wrong. His record as a champion of workers’ rights, of offering inspiration plus assistance to so many abroad and to do so against overwhelming odds remains unsurpassed. He died as a revolutionary socialist contributing as best he could to the struggles of working people. His legacy is a complicated landscape. Suffice to note the dogged clenching of power and to handing it to his brother eight years ago. Castro was a veritable icon of workers’ dignity and resistance. We best show our respect and admiration in learning from the lessons this heroic man gifted us with.

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12. C B - November 26, 2016

For anyone who hasn’t see it, this BBC4 documentary on Cuba’s role in the Congo and Angola is worth a look. Cuba, Africa, Revolution! also known as Cuba, an African Odyssey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jAJhvJOxzM&

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13. Eugene - November 27, 2016

http://monthlyreview.org/2010/04/01/how-to-visit-a-socialist-country/

This is an interesting piece first published in Monthly Review. Helps place the struggle to building socialism in Cuba in a clearer context and how to understand event in a clear dialectical materialist way.

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14. roddy - November 27, 2016

The most hostile anti Castro rhetoric I have heard so far just came from Stephen Donnelly on RTE. To think that just a few weeks ago this man was a leading “social democrat”.

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15. Gewerkschaftler - November 27, 2016

The Cuban revolution was a remarkable achievement of political will and astuteness. It seems that Fidel Castro’s strengths as a leader had a great deal to do with that. And the contribution of Cubans to anti-colonial struggles in Africa and South America was peerless.

I’ve never been to Cuba (my loss) – but the problems there seem connected with the difficulties of socialism in one country so close to the US, and the inherent problems thrown up by Leninist single party rule.

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Gewerkschaftler - November 27, 2016

And I forgot to mention the massive contribution of Cuban medical personnel to the well-being of working people in South America.

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16. CL - November 27, 2016

-Castro’s commitment to black Americans was shown early on, notably in 1960, when he came to New York City fresh from his leftist revolution in Cuba, and sat with Malcolm X in Harlem…
Cuba sent 25,000 troops to fight in Angola alongside factions opposing the old apartheid government of South Africa.
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/fidel-castro-unwavering-champion-racial-equality-article-1.2888264

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17. ar scáth a chéile - November 28, 2016

Had to laugh at Law Society’s Ken Murphy on the Mariane Finucane show telling us of concerned comment at the rugger match on Saturday over Micheal D’s tribute to Fidel. – really not helping break down stereotypes of the game – nor of solicitors.

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18. roddy - November 28, 2016

Whenever I think of Fidel ,I always recall an amusing little snippet from the popular TVseries “Minder”.Spiv Arthur Daly was offered some dodgy ” Cuban” cigars and on lighting one up ,he grimmaced and uttered the immortal line-“Havana’s not the same since CASTROL took over”! ( any motorheads among you will recall the famous “castrol GTX ” engine oil !)

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