Castro Dies

Many of you with closer ties to either diplomacy or Cuba/ns will have much more enlightened observations; here is Kimball’s.

Personal: I was talking to my brother when he saw the caption on his quieted television; we thought about our youths: when we were growing up, my parents hosted a wise older man, a Cuban psychiatrist who was in the process of certifying himself at the local hospital. He’d known Castro (their plantations had neighbored). He spoke to my mother’s reading club of why he had fled, foreseeing the future. But 50 years have passed; Dr. Jones is either very old or gone. I doubt he saw that far into the future – I can’t imagine his despair if he had.

30 thoughts on “Castro Dies”

  1. A friend and former partner of mine is a refugee. He was in school when “Papa Fidel” was in control. His parents sent him to Miami to stay with relatives until they could get out. He ended up in an orphanage for several years until they escaped. They came to California and he ended up graduating from Loyola U in Los Angeles. He applied to UC medical school in San Francisco and, when he had not heard for several months, he drove to San Francisco to ask about his application at the admissions office.

    I never asked him but I assume his grades were good enough that he expected to be admitted promptly.

    At the admission office, he was told his application was in “The Hispanic Committee,” as he was considered a Hispanic minority. This worried him, as it would me, since he had no idea what criteria might be used. He asked if his application could be considered as a white person, non-Hispanic applicant. They agreed and two weeks later he received his letter accepting him.

    H eventually married a very pretty red haired lady from Salt Lake City and they have a nice family. I had the pleasure of meeting his parents as they came to Thanksgiving dinner one time.

    We did not talk about Castro.

  2. Can someone please explain to me the reason for the adulation so many in the west have for this murderous tyrant?

  3. Castro now spends eternity with Fulgencio Batista. On the anniversary of the Elian Gonzalez rescue.

    On Facebook I posted this: “I have a challenge for Castro apologists: name ten freedoms Cubans have under the Castro government that blacks did not have under Jim Crow. The freedom to leave Jim Crow jurisdictions without getting shot does not count.”

  4. As I wrote upon my own small site:-

    A blood-stained dictator died this morning, head of a dictatorial regime which allowed no opposition, no discussion to its bloody plans for totalitarian domination of an island and its eleven-odd million inhabitants. The MSM, now bereft of one of its all time heroes, dignifies him with the title ‘Revolutionary Leader’, as well as The Man who defied the United States’. They laud his ‘leadership’, they attempt to dignify his decades of tyranny by stating and praising the Cuban Health Service; and praise the Education reforms put in place by this ‘Charismatic Leader’. They also salute the attempts by Barry Obama to help ‘normalise’ relations between USA and Cuba, but since that time, all that has happened is the exchange of Ambassadors, a few cruise liners visiting Havana, and very little else. Jeffery DeLaurentiis has been nominated for the Ambassadorship, but hell will freeze over before a Republican Congress will approve that fact.

    As Senator Marco Rubio, himself of Cuban origin, stated :- “This nomination should go nowhere until the Castro regime makes significant and irreversible progress in the areas of human rights and political freedom for the Cuban people, and until longstanding concerns about the Cuban regime’s theft of property and crimes against American citizens are addressed,”

    But even that statement bears little evidence of the truth regarding the multitude of death and devastation wrought by the Castro Revolution in the decades since they grabbed power from Batista. The long-time defenders of Castro’s Cuba, such as Ken Livingstone, cannot divorce themselves from their love affair with this blood-soaked tyrant, and admit that he was nothing else than a bloodthirsty megalomaniac. Instead we had Livingstone stating that he would rather live in Cuba than in a Brazilian dictatorship; and then goes waffling on about the great Education, and about the frigging Health Service in that demoralised and broken country.

    No mention, from the broadcasters, the tv and radio, of the ‘Firing Squad Wall’ and of the estimated 25,000 victims of the speedy Revolutionary Justice Courts; which consisted of some soldier stating ‘These are his crimes, I demand the Death Penalty’. Since the only ones carrying the rifles were Castro’s goons, the jury, if there was one; rubber stamped the ‘verdict’; and the only difference between Soviet Russia and Cuba is that the Cuban’s family wasn’t usually billed for the bullet that killed the ‘Anti-Revolutionary’! No mention of the Concentration Camps, the Re-Education Camps, and the forced labour camps. No mention of the 40,000-odd ‘Cuban Volunteers’ sent to fight alongside the Communists against the Unita uprising in Angola. NO mention of the blood removed from those about to be executed, and then sold abroad at $50.00 a pint.

    They have their heroes, and now he is dead!

  5. Guess who said this of Castro in 1959: no googling, now!

    “He seems to be sincere. He is either incredibly naive about communism or under communist discipline – my guess is the former … his ideas as to how to run a government or an economy are less developed than those of almost any figure I have met in 50 countries.”

  6. Trump’s responses were perfect. I have serious reservations about some of his foreign policy positions, but his reactions yesterday were a welcome breath of fresh air.

  7. Oh boy. He took your party island away, and deposed a brutal dictator. He took it from a Mafia associate and extremely corrupt man involved in selling Cuba down the river for his own benefit.

    One can see why America, the benefit of this and BTW the bloodiest entity on the planet, is somewhat butthurt.

    I will just cackle a little bit at your discomfort. You certainly deserve it.

  8. Really, Pengun? You would rather live in the Cuba of Castro than of Batista? Or is it that you would rather Cubans lived under Castro than Batista, so that you could enjoy from a safe distance your puerile fantasy of “revolution”?

  9. The fact is that Fidel is just Kim Jung Un–ridiculous fashion sense, awful public speaking skills consisting purely of endlessly repetitive hyperbolic denunciations of the USA, prison state–with the addition of beaches and a sexy psychopathic sidekick who all the pitiful Western Commie symps wanted to sleep with.

  10. I think the fact that so many leftists were attracted to Castro’s thug-sexiness explains much about modern leftists. They gave (and continue to give) the Cuban gangsters the benefit of doubt based mainly on the Castro regime’s cultivated radical chic image, disregarding or excusing its evil actions. But Kim? He has no game. Only buffoons and hard-core commies want to be seen with him.

  11. He took it from a Mafia associate and extremely corrupt man involved in selling Cuba down the river for his own benefit.

    You expose your ignorance of pre-Castro Cuba. It was the second most prosperous South American country.

    The left’s ignorance is exceeded only by its smugness. Far too many people get their history from “The Godfather.”

  12. Pennie could profit from reading this blog post from a retired FSO with years in south and central America.

    You won’t of course.

    Cuba, yes, was a dictatorship in 1959, when Castro took over. The country never successfully established a stable, honest, democratic political system. Cuba in 1959, however, was far, far from being the shabby hell that the left and popular media have portrayed. It was a country with a highly educated and entrepreneurial middle class, full of doctors, lawyers, writers, artists, engineers, businessmen, etc., and was a haven for political and economic refugees from Europe. Cuba was a net importer of migrants; Cuba had a standard of living higher than much of Europe and higher than any other Latin American country. In sum, Cuba had a promising future ahead of it, a future wiped out by nearly sixty years of brutal Castroite dictatorship.

    He promises a followup post.

    I have an item in my medical history book about a Cuban physician and his contribution to medicine.

  13. PenGun’s remark is what I’d expect from those leftie sorts who embrace a Saturday morning cartoon Manichean view of the world, one that holds that every major conflict is a fight between evil and good. They don’t consider that villains often war with other villains. This sort (like our wretched ex-Prez Jimmy Carter) looks at Batista or Somoza or the Shah and assumes that the insurgents must be the good guys, because Batista, Somoza and the Shah are bad guys. They don’t consider that the new boss turned out to be remarkably worse.

    In the specific case of Communism, way too many Westerners discount the level of evil involved in demolishing private commerce. Like this:

    Pressure cookers and rice steamers, essential tools of the Cuban kitchen, are the new weapons in Fidel Castro’s latest battle to reassert control over the nation’s economy.

    During a 5 1/2-hour speech broadcast on state TV, Castro said 100,000 pressure cookers would be made available each month – an announcement that underscored the communist country’s continued retreat toward greater political and economic centralism.

    The move “will do away with the rustic kitchen,” Castro told the Federation of Cuban Women on Tuesday night, saying the new cookers would use half the energy of the homemade ones they will replace.

    The program could wipe out what has become a popular, and in most cases legal, private business that uses molds to make pressure cookers from cheap aluminum. Although imported cookers are sold in stores for about $25 – more than the average Cuban earns in a month – homemade ones cost about $5.50.

    At subsidized prices, the government-distributed cookers will cost about the same as the homemade ones. And the government’s cookers can be paid for in monthly installments.

  14. Castro seemed to me to have been just a megalomaniac. Having seized power he had no ideology – principles, if you like – to tell him what to do with it. He slid into Communism, I suspect, because it offered the most promising route to continue to monopolise power, and to justify his abuse of it. That he ended up introducing a regime more vile than his predecessor’s seems pretty clear to me. Just as the Iraq Attack made Iraq worse, so the Cuban Revolution made Cuba worse. It’s the sort of thing that happens again and again.

  15. “Communism, I suspect, because it offered the most promising route to continue to monopolise power,”

    I think most communists have this as a motivation. The ideology is mostly adopted by fools but those who adopt it in the power game, probably know it doesn’t work.

  16. “At subsidized prices, the government-distributed cookers will cost about the same as the homemade ones.”

    I bet that the true cost of making these things as a government program actually exceeded their private-market cost, even after the huge economies of scale that were possible.

  17. Bill Brandt Says:
    November 27th, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Can someone please explain to me the reason for the adulation so many in the west have for this murderous tyrant?

    Leftists in the West dream of a system where the government has absolute power over the peasants, and they all assume that they will be the Commissar, the Obergruppenfuhrer, the Zampolit. Those positions are always oversubscribed, so they die screaming “if —– only knew!” just before the bullet to the back of the head, if they achieve their fantasy. But they are useful tools for the truly evil.

    Scratch a Leftist in whatever country, and you will find someone who hates freedom and cannot abide the concept of just leaving someone else alone.

  18. Trap questions for Fidelistas:
    Q. Cuba’s Life Expectancy is currently 4 years greater than Latin America’s Life Expectancy. Does this indicate that Fidel was a good steward for Cuba?
    A. Yes, of course.
    B. In the 1950s, Cuba’s Life Expectancy was 8 years greater than Latin America’s Life Expectancy. Does this indicate that Batista was a good steward for Cuba?
    A. Uh…….

    This points out several things. First, while the Cuba that Castro inherited had its problems, it was not the hellhole that Fidelistas claim it was. The Cuba that Castro inherited was relatively well off. Second, while Cuba has made improvements in Life Expectancy and thus in health care under the Castro regime, other countries have made similar or greater progress without imposing a totalitarian regime.

  19. A further factoid for Fidelistas. We are told of Cuba’s superior accomplishments in health under the Castro regime. These superior accomplishments would be compared to other countries, would they not? In 1960, Cuba ranked third in Life Expectancy in Latin America [Romance language speaking], behind Argentina and Uruguay. In 2014, Cuba ranked third in Life Expectancy in Latin America, behind Uruguay and Chile. [World Bank] If Cuba had superior accomplishments in health compared to other countries it wold have risen in rank, would it not? From 1960 to 2014, Life Expectancy increased 19 years in Latin America,and 15 years in Cuba. Why does Castro merit praise compared to other countries?

    While this article published in 1998 is somewhat dated, most of its conclusions are still valid: Renaissance and Decay: A Comparison of Socioeconomic Indicators in Pre-Castro and Current-Day Cuba.
    For example, consider the number of Cuban physicians and dentists before 1959, which compared very well with Europe and the United States:

    In terms of physicians and dentists per capita, Cuba ranked third in Latin America in 1957, behind only Uruguay and Argentina—both of which were more advanced than the United States in this measure. Cuba’s 128 physicians and dentists per 100,000 people in 1957 placed Cuba at the same level as the Netherlands, and ahead of the United Kingdom (122 per 100,000 people) and Finland (96) (UN 1960, pp. 569-573; UN 1979, pp. 67-188).

    No tropical country in 1957 had more physicians and dentists per capita than Cuba. Physician and dentist statistics indicate Castro inherited a country that, while it had its problems, was fairly advanced compared to most other countries.

    Renaissance and Decay mentioned milk production. Here is an update:
    From 1961 to 2013. Cuba’s milk production increased 68%.
    From 1961 to 2013. Latin America’s milk production increased 370%.
    Latin America’s milk production in 2013 was 4.7 times what it was in 1961.
    Cuba’s milk production in 2013 was 1.67 times what it was in 1961.
    The CIA wasn’t shooting Cuban milk cows. The embargo wasn’t killing Cuban milk production. Cuba’s abysmal record in milk production is a consequence of Castronomics.

    Current sugar production in Cuba is about one third of what it was in 1961. Renaissance and Decay, indeed.

    World Development Indicators Databank (World Bank)

  20. 1 observation & 2 quotes about why people are drawn to Castro, etc.:
    1) I know people who feel it is important to “give” to others even if it damages the recipient (that the “giving” is tainted if tested for results). Suspect they want to feel good about themselves without the self-examination, consciousness that is a part of any analysis of what happens.
    2) They identify with the powerful – they don’t think they will be the ones shot after their blood is drained but rather the ones that order the shooting. All of us would like a simplified world in which the gunman in white slays evil in black (I’ll admit I like some shows for the very fact they are allow me that vicarious pleasure. Of course, I’m well aware that they live on celluloid and the victims are stuntmen, not innocent men, women and children in Cuba or the Ukraine or . . ). Such communist rebellions offer power (uncertain, constantly on guard and paranoid, of course). Horowitz’s The Shadow Party quotes Soros’ desire in 1946: he told his father “I’d like to find out about Communism. I mean that’s where the power is. That’s what I want to know more about.” Of course, he was 16, but it was not an unperceptive observation. His father, however, sent him to London.
    3) In America, the power of the government is checked by the assumption of our “inalienable rights.” In Common Sense Nation, Curry contrasts Rousseau’s assumptions, taking form in the French Revolution after his death, “The stand their political leaders took on whether or not we have unalienable rights made a very consequential difference to the people of America and the people France. According to Rousseau,if the leaders decide that ‘it is expedient for the state’ that a citizen die, that citizen should die.” The power of those with such a vision is immense – indeed, in Cuba, the fish caught from the ocean were the state’s, were essentially Castro’s.

    The infiltration of so many petty committees and large federal departments by the left has often been in pursuit of power.

  21. Ginny…”They identify with the powerful”

    Ayn Rand wrote an interesting essay on ‘Attilla and the Witch Doctor,’ about the mutual affinity between thugs and a certain kind of intellectuals.

  22. I haven’t read Rand (did order the collection because it sounds interesting and you have led me to respect Rand from your comments here; I love amazon, where I think it is a penny plus shipping), but the reason many don’t want to be called “intellectuals” is (in part, I suspect) because they have seen intellectual bullying. (For the same reason that many women do not want to be known as feminists, having seen a good deal of bullying by those who categorize themselves that way.)

    I’ve always liked Lee’s definition of a gentleman: “The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which a gentleman an individual enjoys certain advantages over others, is a test of a true gentleman. The power [of] . . the educated over the unlettered, . . . even the clever over the silly . . . A true man of honor feels humbled himself, when he cannot help humbling others.” (Fischer again – but Liberty and Freedom). I liked it because, of course, we all are tempted by power – that one as well as others. And respecting others seems so central to the civil life, to the “bourgeois virtues.” I suspect some feel an affinity to thugs because that is who they are – and they are frustrated because that is a kind of power that is not always recognized nor are others always humbled before it.

    Anyway, another attraction of these horrible people is that they are giving the middle finger to the establishment – we all have a bit of that in us. The fact that they are repressive people who literally drain the blood from their critics and then sell it would seem to make them as beyond the pale in terms of about anything. But all my life I’ve known people who say they are communists just to shock their elders or the people they consider boring and middle class, etc.

  23. So much of modern politics is driven by the personal dramas of people who are mad at their parents or their church or at other authorities from their childhoods. Perhaps it was always like this, certainly it was for rulers, given the constancy of human nature, but nowadays govt is so big and intrusive that unprecedented numbers of unreflective people with axes to grind have opportunities to impose their views on other people.

  24. “modern politics is driven by the personal dramas of people who are mad at their parents or their church or at other authorities from their childhoods”: that’s probably been true for (at least) many decades. I used to enrage lefties by asking “is it your parents or your school that you hate?”

  25. Of course, children don’t have to deal with the consequences – and the police (while often young, see the Ohio university police example) are authorities and therefore parents) are always parents, who can be whined at as unfair but are also expected to clean up the messes.

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