Fidel Castro

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Young castro 2.jpg
Fidel Castro
Personal Life
Date & Place of Birth August 13, 1926
Birán, Oriente Province, Cuba
Parents Angel Castro y Argiz
Lina Ruz González
(out of wedlock)
Claimed religion Atheist
Education University of Havana
Spouse Mirta Diaz-Balart (1948–1955)

Dalia Soto del Valle (1980–present)

Children
Date & Place of Death 2006(approx.)
Manner of Death illness
Place of Burial
Dictatorial Career
Country Cuba
Military Service 26th of July Movement
(guerrilla organization)
Highest rank attained n/a
Political beliefs Socialism
Communism
Political party Communist Party of Cuba
Date of Dictatorship July, 1959
Wars started Cuban Revolution
Angolan Civil War
War in Mozambique
Ethiopian Guerilla War
Cuban Missile Crisis
Congo Crisis
El Salvadoran Guerilla War
Nicaraguan Civil War
Number of Deaths attributed 1,500,000 at home
500-100,000 in Angola

Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 - ~2006 ) was the brutal atheistic communist dictator of Cuba from 1959 to 2006. He has not been seen and heard publicly since July 2006, when he underwent surgery for a "sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding" in a communist hospital.[1] Engaging in liberal denial, communists in Cuba release grainy images of an apparently old man along with absurd quotes of Castro like this claim, "I don’t even remember what a headache feels like."[2]

He held the posts of prime minister (1959-1976) and president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers (1976-2006).[3] His oppressive rule lasted almost 50 years and killed scores of thousands. He has not been seen publicly since July 2006, when he underwent intestinal surgery, and is presumably no longer alive as of December 2009; the communists running Cuba have no incentive to risk challenge to their power by announcing that he passed away.[4] After a long absence from the public eye, he was purportedly shown in photographs in June of 2010, released by the Cuban State News Agency. In August 2010, the Associated Press had a story of a purported Castro speech to the Cuban parliament. [5] The fact remains there hasn't been a reputable, independent account of Castro being alive in nearly a year. Other authoritarian regimes, such as North Korea and Nazi Germany have engaged in "body-doubles" and actor/impersonators to hide the death or incapacitation of despots in the past. [6] [7] In April 2011, Castro allegedly stepped down as head of the Cuban communist Party, but it has not been confirmed that this was not a ruse. [8]


I think its time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers. Not too long ago two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a business man who had escaped from Castro. And in the midst of one of his stories, my friends turned to the other and said, ‘we don’t know how lucky we are.’ And the Cuban stopped and said, ‘How lucky YOU are, I had some place to escape to.’ In that sentence he told us the entire story of Cuba, and Castro. -- Ronald Reagan [9]


Contents

Early years of Castro

There is much that is not known of Castro's rural youth. However, it is generally conceded that his father was Ángel María Bautista Castro y Argiz and his mother Lina Ruz González. Official biographies are essentially hagiographies and the more extreme of his many detractors portray a wild and irregular life typical of a the worst element of his class. Castro has numerous siblings of various combination of parentage; for instance, it is widely believed that Raul Castro has the same mother but is not a son of Fidel Castro's father. The most accepted biography is that of Geyer 2002 [10] while a new series biographies by Norberto Fuentes (2004, and later),[11] a former propagandist for the Cuban Government, are attracting attention.

During his student years Fidel Castro was deeply involved in lethal violence.[12] This violence also extended overseas to his involvement in the 1948 Colombian Bogotazo.[13] [14] Castro was trained as a lawyer studying at the University of Havana. In 1953 he led the first of many assaults against the ruling military regime of general Fulgencio Batista. A 1953 attack against military barracks in Santiago de Cuba was a failure,[15] and Castro, alongside his brother Raul, was captured they, unlike a number of his companions, were spared irregular execution by intervention of Roman Catholic Church members. In a courtroom speech in his defense (heavily edited in published form, and titled "La Historia me absolverá", or "History will absolve me"), Castro outlined his plans for reforms, demanding a return to the 1940 constitution, the ending of corrupt practices and a more equal distribution of land. There was no formal death penalty in Cuba at the time. After three years of incarceration on the Isle of Youth (then Isle of Pines), both Castro brothers were released during an amnesty.

Upon release, the Castro brothers relocated to Mexico to avoid imminent reprisals from paramilitary groups affiliated with the Batista regime, lead by former communist and long time rival of Castro Roland Masferrer[16]. In Mexico Castro organized a group of revolutionaries to return to Cuba and overthrow Batista. They became known as the 26th of July movement. This group included the Argentinian Che Guevara. In December 1956 Castro and 81 others boarded the Granma yacht, sailed to eastern Cuba, and began the armed struggle against the current regime.

The landing was preceded in Santiago and the rest of Oriente Province by an armed rising of the 26 of July urban Militia, a non-communist organization, lead by Frank Pais.[17] In the mountains the guidance of the bandit Cresencio Perez, and and a few communist sleepers who had been placed in the Sierra for some time under the direction of stalinist agent Fabio Grobart was important. Some local guajiros in the remote Sierra Maestra region joined in to became the nucleus of the critical scouting and picketing force of Escopeteros who screened the better armed Castro main force. The support and guidance from revolutionary groups in the cities of Santiago, Havana, elsewhere in Cuba and overseas was critical. The support of the U.S. State Department, mediated by William Weiland (aka Guillermo Arturo Montenegro) was significant from the time of the Bogotazo, through the Bay of Pigs.[18]

By 1958, military attacks against Batista's army were having some success,[19] and the revolution was gaining national support. Castro maintained a position of diplomatic neutrality amongst various revolutionary factions, which included upper and middle class liberals, guajiros, and agricultural workers, communists and others, and hence was able to assume the position of director of the revolution. He was also largely successful in courting international support via astute and careful use of the media. Officials within the CIA and the United States government were divided over whether to support Castro. Some believed that Batista had become a liability, and that his overthrow was inevitable. Other officials feared the influence of known communists in Castro's camp including Guevara, though Castro himself repeatedly stressed that he himself was not a communist.

The revolution finally succeeded in late 1958, and on January 1st 1959, Batista left the country. Castro had chosen exiled leaders Manuel Urrutia Lleó and José Miró Cardona, both anti-communist liberals with good relations with the U.S., to head the new government. Castro himself became head of the new armed forces. However, the increasing presence of communists in the decision making process created an early split in the government. Castro and Urrutia both insisted publicly that they had relations with each other, but Urrutia and Miró resigned only months later, and Castro, with support from mass organizations, assumed the position of prime minister. Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, a former Commodore of the Cienfuegos Yacht Club became president and head of state.

In Power

The process of obtaining permanent power was dramatic, traumatic and bloody. From 1959 on, mass killings of dissidents were carried out as a matter of course by the infamous "firing squads." Immediately after the Communist take-over, some 2,500 army officers were rounded up and shot dead.[20] Che Guevara reportedly stayed up late into the night signing death warrants for defenseless "reactionaries." Tens of thousands were sent to concentration camps.[21] Desperate crowds of weeping daughters and shrieking mothers were clubbed with rifle butts as they pleaded for their family members to be spared. One of Castro's exiled opponents describes it this way:

"The Castro regime came to power by deception and terror, resulting in what can only be described as a state of war against the Cuban people. Executions, labor camps, forced re-locations and exile, and the imposition of a repressive military police force to exercise control over civilian society."[22]

As prime minister, and then president from 1976, Castro ruled the country in line with Stalinist policies, seizing private property and eliminating free speech and free press. He was infamous for his overly long speeches, often rambling on for hours, which can be seen as an example of Liberal style.

Castro, who had been in regular contact with the KGB since 1956 and who used Soviet arms during his guerilla war, welcomed the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba to deter an American attack. This decision precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis, a major confrontation in the Cold War that nearly resulted in the cataclysmic death of millions. According to Guevara: "If the [Soviet nuclear] rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York."[23] Nikita Khrushchev wrote that, according to Castro, "we needed to immediately deliver a nuclear missile strike against the United States… a proposal that placed the planet on the brink of extinction."[24] Fidel Castro admitted: "I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons."[25] On October 26, 1962, the USS Beale had tracked and dropped signaling depth charges (the size of hand grenades) on the B-59, a Soviet Project 641 (NATO designation Foxtrot) submarine which, unknown to the U.S., was armed with a 15 kiloton nuclear torpedo. Running out of air, the Soviet submarine was surrounded by American warships and desperately needed to surface. Captain Valentin Savitsky ordered his crew to prepare the use of a nuclear torpedo against the Americans, but crew member Vasili Arkhipov stepped in and quite literally saved the world.

In the aftermath of the crisis, the United States maintained a strict embargo on Cuba. As a result, Castro sought close ties with anti-American Communist states, and became dependant on aid from Moscow. He supplied massive amounts of military aid to North Korea and especially to North Vietnam, where Cuban forces allegedly helped torture American POWs during the Vietnam War.

Ever eager to make trouble, Castro dispatched Che to assist the Chinese-and Soviet-backed "Simbas" of Laurent Kabila in the Congo, who were "murdering, raping and munching (many were cannibals) their way through the defenseless Europeans still left in the recently abandoned Belgian colony."[26] The CIA fought a proxy war with Communist forces in the Congo, which descended into a complex maze of chaotic maneuverings and betrayals by several major world powers.

Castro, all the while maintaining an "anti-imperialist" political posture, would intervene extensively in the internal affairs of African nations through violence and war. Cuban military intervention to save the communist MPLA dictatorship in Angola from collapse led to decades of civil war that cost as many as 1 million lives.[27] Castro also dispatched Cuban troops to fight on behalf of the Communist dictatorship in Ethiopia, which killed 1.25 million people through massacre and forced starvation.[28]

Soviet and Cuban support for communist violence caused civil wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.[29] Support from the Cuban government was also given to terrorists from the PLO.[30]

Castro has repeatedly ordered acts of war against the United States. Beyond the missile crisis, Castro maintains a huge electronic espionage complex directed at U.S. shores, conducts research into biological warfare and sponsors international terrorist groups.[31] Cuban intelligence had ties with the Communist Lee Harvey Oswald, who later assassinated President John F. Kennedy.[32] In the seventies, Castro deliberately sent dozens of dangerous criminals to US shores;[33] he responded to overtures from President Bill Clinton by ordering a deadly attack on an American plane.[34]

On February 23, 1988, the Cuban poet Armando Valladares, who was a prisoner in the Cuban gulag for 22 years, addressed the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In his speech, he stated:

I recall when they kept me in a punishment cell, naked, with several fractures on one leg which never received medical care; today, those bones remain jammed up together and displaced. One of the regular drills among the guards was to stand on the steel mesh ceiling and throw at my face buckets full of urine and excrement. Mr. Chairman, I know the taste of the urine and the excrement of other men: That practice does not leave marks; marks are left by beatings with steel rods and by bayonet thrusts. My head is still covered with scars and you can feel the cracks. But, what can inflict more damage to human dignity, the urine and excrements thrown all over your face or a bayonet's blow? Which is the appropriate article for the discussion of this subject? Under which technical point does it fall? Under what batch of papers, numbers, lines and bars should we include this trampling of human dignity? The violation of human rights was not a matter of reports, of negotiated resolutions, of elegant and diplomatic rhetoric, for us it was a daily suffering. For me it meant eight thousand days of hunger, of systematic beatings, of hard labor, of solitary confinement, of cells with steel-planked windows and doors, of solitude. Eight thousand days of struggling to prove that I was a human being. Eight thousand days of proving that my spirit could triumph over exhaustion and pain. Eight thousand days of testing my religious convictions, my faith, of fighting the hate my atheist jailers were trying to instill in me with each bayonet thrust, fighting so that hate would not flourish in my heart. Eight thousand days of struggling so that I would not become like them, rejecting torture as a mean to fight, forcing myself to forgive, rejecting the thoughts of revenge, reprisal and cruelty.[35]

Castro's policies imposed poverty and slavery on millions.[36] In 1959, Cuba was the second richest country in Latin America; today, it is the second poorest.[37] Most pharmacies in Cuba do not even have aspirins.[38] Cuba is plagued with a humanitarian catastrophe involving massive and widespread malnutrition and lack of basic goods; death, suffering, and misery is the result.[39] The streets are now choked with scenes of starving peasants frantically pleading for food.[40] In September 2010, Castro admitted that "the Cuban model doesn't even work."[41]

Castro has been accused of genocide by Genocide Watch.[42] He has been sued for genocide in Belgium and Spain.[43]

The estimated number of deaths attributable to the Castro regime varies according to different sources—but not by much. The number of named, documented victims (with 2 or more sources) established by recent scholarship is 86,000, excluding an estimated minimum[44] of 16,282 deaths in war and combat, for a conservative total of 112,000.[45] R.J. Rummel, in his book Statistics of Democide estimates a range of 35-141,000 killed, which may underestimate the full toll by as much as 50%, since it only covers the years 1959-87.[46] The most comprehensive survey, by Armando Lago, puts the total at 116,730-119,730 killed.[47] The majority (85,000) of these deaths were caused by drowning; the firing squads account for some 30,000. Adding combat deaths to his calculations, we arrive at a total of some 136,000 Cubans killed by the Castro regime. Little effort has been made to calculate boat people deaths in recent years. Cuban exiles claim that as many as 200,000 have been murdered altogether.[48] The death toll from Cuban interventions abroad can be numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

Death and purported sightings

In August 2006, health problems led to the appointment of his younger brother, Raul, as temporarily president and head of the Communist Party in Cuba. Political analysts believe that the appointment marks the beginning of a transition designed to maintain Communist control over Cuba after Castro's death[49]. Castro's surgery was scheduled to repair a "sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding." [50]

Bonded by their hate for the United States and capitalism, Castro and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez created a close relationship. Both socialist countries have worked together on various political ventures.[51].

On May 1, 2007, Castro did not attend Cuba's annual celebration of May Day, leading many to believe that he had died. While Castro allegedly met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on February 25, 2010, [52] there is no independent confirmation that this was not in fact a body-double.

On February 18, 2006, communist Cuba publicly recognized that Fidel Castro was no longer President of the State Council and Commander in Chief.[53] He was succeeded by his brother, Raul Castro.

In September of 2011, it was reported that a Venezuelan reporter had interviewed Castro [54], but independent media have not confirmed that this was not actually a doppelganger standing in for the long-deceased Castro.

In February 2012 the mainstream media reported that Castro met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Predictably there have been no reports from the liberal media as to whether this was actually Castro or a lookalike [55].

In February 2013, Castro allegedly[56] addressed Cuba's National Assembly, giving support for younger leadership in Cuba [57]. The National Assembly went on to re-elect Castro’s 82-year-old brother Raul.

References

  1. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/latin_america/july-dec06/castro_08-01.html
  2. http://indonesiakatakami.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/fidel-castro-publishes-article-criticizing-health-rumors/
  3. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html#Govt
  4. State Secret: Is Castro Dead?, Brian Goodman, CBS News, September 22, 2009.
  5. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/08/06/cuba-state-tv-fidel-castro-attend-parliament-meeting-time-years-1415326051/?test=latestnews
  6. Kim Jong Il Body Doubles
  7. Hitler body-double
  8. http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=41125
  9. "A Time for Choosing" by Ronald Reagan
  10. Geyer, Georgie Anne 2002 Guerrilla Prince. Andrews McMeel Publishing Kansas City ISBN 0740720643
  11. Fuentes, Norberto 2004 La Autobiografia De Fidel Castro Editorial Planeta, Mexico D.F ISBN 8423336042, ISBN 9707490012
  12. Ros, Enrique 2003 Fidel Castro y El Gatillo Alegre: Sus A~nos Universitarios (Coleccion Cuba y Sus Jueces) Ediciones Universal Miami ISBN 1593880065
  13. Bowden, Mark 2002 Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw. Penguin ISBN-10 0142000957 ISBN-13 978-014200095 e,g Page 4: "... But the event had also attracted critics, leftist agitators, among them a young Cuban student leader named Fidel Castro. To them the fledgling OAS was a sop, a sellout, an alliance with the gringo imperialists of the north. … The young rebels like the twenty-one year old Castro anticipated a decade of revolution ..." Page 7: "... cities. Many policemen, devotees of the slain leader, joined the angry mobs in the streets, as did student revolutionaries like Castro. The leftists donned red armbands and tried to direct the crowd, ..." State Departments reports by William Wieland mention Rafael del Pino but oddly omit mention of Fidel Castro
  14. Davis, Jack Posted May 08, 2007 (accessed 6-2-08) The Bogotazo, CIA Archives https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/docs/v13i4a07p_0004.htm Central Intelligence Agency Posted May 08 2007 (accessed 6-2-08) https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/docs/v13i4a07p_0004.htm page 4 “There were many foreign radicals in Bogota at the time, to advertise their causes in the publicity extended to the Conference of American States. Fidel Castro, then 22 years old, happened to be one of them. Thorough investigations indicate that he played only a minor role. Castro subsequently reported that he tried to turn the mob into a revolutionary force, but was defeated by the onset of drunkenness and looting. The episode may have influenced his adoption in Cuba in the 1950s of a guerrilla strategy rather than one of revolution through urban disorders.”
  15. de la Cova, Antonio Rafael. 2007 The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution.. University of South Carolina Press ISBN-10: 1570036721 ISBN-13: 978-1570036729
  16. Masferrer, Marc, 2006 Rolando Masferrer, the man from Holguín http://marcmasferrer.typepad.com/uncommon_sense/2006/10/rolando_masferr.html and also http://www.cuban-exile.com/menu2/2rolando.html
  17. Alvarez, Jose 2008 Principio y Fin del Mito Fidelista. Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC Canada ISBN-10 1425154042 ISBN-13: 978-1425154042 http://www.amazon.com/Principio-fin-del-mito-fidelista/dp/1425154042 This is the most up to date description of the crucial role that the non-communist militia of Frank Pais played in the "War Against Batista." Without Frank Pais there would not have been a "Fidel Castro." This book describes in detail and with dispassionate analysis how Frank Pais supported the Castro effort and how he was betrayed, and killed. It is a sad and only too real description of the hijacking of the resistance against Batista by communist activists including Castro himself.
  18. Smith, Earl E.T. 1962 (last accessed 9-29-07) The Fourth Floor: An Account of the Castro Communist Revolution Random House ASIN: B000H5CT5M
  19. Bonachea, Ramon L and Marta San Martin 1974. The Cuban insurrection 1952-1959. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswik, New Jersey ISBN 0878555765
  20. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/4455-the-real-che-guevara.html
  21. Frank Calzon, Castro’s Gulag (Council for Inter-American Security, 1979).
  22. "Ziva" 6-8-08 Human Rights Advocacy and the Role of the Media. Babalublog http://www.babalublog.com/
  23. UPI, December 10, 1962.
  24. James G. Blight et al., Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis, and the Soviet Collapse (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), pp29.
  25. Ibid, pp. 252
  26. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/4455-the-real-che-guevara.html
  27. Médecins Sans Frontières, “Angola: An Alarming Nutritional Situation,” August 1999
  28. Washington Post, March 18, 1978 (Ethiopia intervention); New York Times, December 14, 1994 (Ethiopia death toll).
  29. Alberto R. Coll, “Soviet Arms and Central American Turmoil,” World Affairs, Summer 1985.
  30. Castro's Anti-Semitism and the PLO
  31. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/2802-starve-the-castro-regime-help-the-cuban-people
  32. htmlhttp://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=28091
  33. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/castro/peopleevents/e_exiles.html
  34. http://www.democracynow.org/2004/6/22/bill_clinton_loses_his_cool_in
  35. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/625-torture-in-castro-s-cuba.html
  36. Nick Eberstadt, The Poverty of Communism (Transaction Publishers, 1990), pp188, 196-206, 240-6.
  37. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/5404-castro-s-cuba-at-fifty-no-freedom-no-fish.html
  38. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/4402-aid-from-self-serving-autocrats.html
  39. http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/world/cuba/2538-bad-cuban-medicine.html
  40. Ibid.
  41. www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/fidel
  42. http://www.genocidewatch.org/
  43. http://www2.fiu.edu/~fcf/castrosuedgenocide.html
  44. http://www.cubaverdad.net/genocide.htm
  45. http://cubaarchive.org/home/
  46. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/POSTWWII.HTM
  47. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat6.htm#Cuba59
  48. http://www.therealcuba.com/
  49. The Washington Post, For Castro, a First Step In Calculated Transition
  50. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/latin_america/july-dec06/castro_08-01.html
  51. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166355,00.html
  52. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ghGthxqnYMWcICCnEkjH5ayqPamQD9E356IO1
  53. http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2008/02/19/nacional/artic10.html
  54. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/cubas-fidel-castro-breaks-long-silence-in-interview-with-venezuelan-television/2011/09/08/gIQA08FSCK_story.html
  55. Brazil's Rousseff meets with Fidel Castro in Cuba
  56. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3jqbsLvqXY
  57. http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114511:fidel-castro-backs-move-for-younger-leadership-in-cuba&catid=76:world&Itemid=560

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