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Fidel Castro has died

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 pm, November 26th, 2016 - 175 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

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Fidel Castro has died aged 90.

The Guardian has this article:

Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, Cuban state television has announced, ending an era for the country and Latin America.

Live Fidel Castro: world reacts to death of Cuban leader – live updates
Brother Raúl Castro announces on Cuban state television that controversial revolutionary leader has died at age of 90

The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal and died late on Friday night after suffering a long battle with illness.

The announcement of Castro’s death on Friday was long expected, given the former president’s age and health problems, but when it came it was still a shock: the comandante – a figurehead for armed struggle across the developing world – was no more. It was news that friends and foes had long dreaded and yearned for respectively.

Castro’s younger brother Raul, who assumed the presidency of Cuba in 2006 after Fidel suffered a near-fatal intestinal ailment, announced the revolutionary leader’s death on television.

“The commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution died at 10.29pm tonight.”

He survived long enough to see Raul negotiate an opening with the outgoing US president, Barack Obama, in December 2014, when Washington and Havana announced they would move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961.

After outlasting nine occupants of the White House, he cautiously blessed the historic deal with his lifelong enemy in a letter published after a month-long silence.

The thaw in relations was crowned when Obama visted the island earlier this year. Castro did not meet Obama and days later wrote a scathing column condemning the US president’s “honey-coated” words and reminding Cubans of the many Americanefforts to overthrow and weaken the Communist government.

As in life, Castro was deeply divisive in death. The announcement of his death was greeted by thousands online with celebration and condemnation of the “cruel dictator” and his repressive regime.

Others mourned the passing of “a fighter of US imperialism” and a “charismatic icon”.

Cuba is a unique place with some weaknesses and problems but with other features that are outstanding.

RIP Fidel Castro.

175 comments on “Fidel Castro has died ”

  1. Morrissey 1

    As you would expect, the coverage on the Qatari dictatorship’s channel, Al Jazeera, has been almost uniformly disparaging, and deliberately misleading. One of its interviewees, a professor at Middlesex University, took issue with its rolling coverage of cheering right wing mobs in Miami. “In contrast to what your coverage suggests,” he told the anchor, “Little Havana represents a tiny proportion of Cuban sentiment. Most people are supportive of the normalisation of U.S.-Cuban relations.”

  2. david 2

    Apart from being poor dictatorship with legions of political prisoners, dynastic leadership, surveillance police state and no freedom of association; I hear it a great place.
    They have also ‘solved’ the obesity epidemic by periodic mass caloric restriction.

    Socialist paradise.

    • Morrissey 2.1

      You have nothing intelligent to offer. Why are you commenting?

      • Richard McGrath 2.1.1

        Do you seriously dispute David’s description of life in Cuba?

        • It’s highly simplistic at best, and yes, implies things that are wrong.

          It’s accurate to call Cuba a dictatorship with little freedom of association and freedom of religion. Some blame for that, however, lies with the fact that the US essentially bullied them into revoking freedom of association by sponsoring terrorists to perpetrate coups.

          Cuba is poor, but not due to its socialism or its dictatorship. That’s basically down entirely to the embargo. For a country with so little money, however, it’s worked miracles in medical care and education. If they continue to do well as relations with the US normalise, it could end up competing in certain metrics with the scandavian countries in the long term. (ie. many decades into the future)

          It’s reasonable to look at Cuba and say “it’s a pity that it’s a dictatorship, but they still managed to get a lot of things right anyway.” This is about as benevolent as authoritarian socialism gets. If they move away from authoritarianism but keep the socialism, I imagine there’s real promise for Cuba’s future.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            I love that you think the reason Cuban’s lives are generally pretty terrible is because Cuba can’t trade with the big bad capitalist nation to its immediate north. Cuba is able to trade freely with Most other countries if they wish. Why do they need to trade with the US for the prosperity? NZ didn’t in the past. We sent most if our surplus half way around the globe and still made enough to be regarded as wealthy.

            • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Where exactly did I say Cubans have terrible lives? I said they lived in a dictatorship that did amazing things with very little money, that had suffered under an embargo, and has great education and medical policies, and that their country was poor.

              What I did do was appropriately criticise the US for inflicting the very economic damage they predicted socialism would bring. It’s one thing to naturally grow an economy that exports to far-distant trading partners over time. It’s totally another to have a trading partner that dominates your local economy embargo you overnight for reasons of bloc-based realpolitik.

              I’m also incredibly cynical of the future chances of most nations, so me saying a Cuba with socialism but without authoritarianism has “real promise” is basically a glowing endorsement. If I thought we had the political rhetoric to sell it, I would be pretty enthusiastically behind the idea of a more democratic flavour of full-blown socialism (ie. little to no capital ownership) here at home.

    • Paul 2.2

      If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.
      Show some respect.

      • David 2.2.1

        We need to confront evil. Absolute power corrupted him absolutely.

        • Paul 2.2.1.1

          I sense you know nothing about the subject beyond the vitriol of the US media and its lackeys.
          You need to do some reading, sir.

        • Finn 2.2.1.2

          Some of his own brothers and sisters turned against him (Juanita fled to the US and got a small measure of fame out of it) because he refused to exempt their family farm from the new government’s land reform programme.

          That exemplifies the pro-Castro/anti-Castro divide perfectly. His opponents favoured corruption and the use of power for personal enrichment; he was willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of serving the people.

      • Richard McGrath 2.2.2

        Like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao before him, this mass murderer does not deserve our respect.

        • McFlock 2.2.2.1

          Only a libertarian would put that lot in the same league as Castro.

          • Richard McGrath 2.2.2.1.1

            Are you claiming Castro and his regime were not mass murderers? Please also explain the link you have made between libertarianism and my comparison of Castro with other mass murderers.

            • McFlock 2.2.2.1.1.1

              I suspect your politically distant perspective makes them all look alike.

              I also suspect that one or two individual US presidents are responsible for more Cuban deaths than Castro ever was – and also greater proportions of their own citizens being imprisoned or killed than Castro was.

              He wasn’t a puppy. He did kill people. He did create a secret police force. But then they really were out to get him and destroy his regime. And he did dramatically improve the lives of ordinary Cubans. Unlike hitler, stalin, etc.

              • Richard McGrath

                Pleased to see you acknowledge Castro’s murderous inclinations. Like you, I abhor the U.S. and other Western countries for locking up people convicted of victimless crimes such as possession of intoxicating substances. These people should be freed forthwith and the anti-pleasure laws that led to their incarceration abolished.

                • McFlock

                  I suppose the main problem I have with your list is that I’m pretty sure that if I were in their shoes, I’d not have followed the paths of hitler etc.

                  I’m not sure, in Castro’s circumstances, that I would have done things differently. But I am sure that I wouldn’t have done it as well as he did.

                  • Richard McGrath

                    Would you have outlawed independent trade unions?

                    • McFlock

                      Hmmm. I’m not much of a communist normally.

                      If I suspected that the “independent” trade unions were being funded by the CIA with the objective of disrupting infrastructure and development in order to create an existential threat to the independence of the nation? Quite possibly.

                      Hence my uncertainty.

              • wellfedweta

                No, he didn’t.

                http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/11/26/fidel-castros-economic-disaster-in-cuba/#5cb5e5a6668e

                Castro was an evil sod, who destroyed Cuba without any help from the US.

                • McFlock

                  The problem being that the economic policy followed, that of socialism, didn’t achieve the first thing that an economic policy is supposed to achieve: make the people richer.

                  erm – what? Fuck no.

                  Anyway, the article states that lots of countries have free healthcare and education. Not the US to that degree, but cool, whatever. And then the article says that per capita GDP in various similar nations hasgone ahead of cuba in 50 years. True.
                  Do Jamaica, Ecuador and Puerto Rico have free healthcare and education of the level of Cuba? Funnily enough, the article never asked that question…

                  • wellfedweta

                    Are you suggesting it is not the function of economic policy to make people richer?

                    • McFlock

                      No, it’s not.

                      The purpose of economic policy is to make the economic system as efficient at achieving its objectives as possible.

                      The objective of the economic system is to organise the distribution of scarce resources as efficiently and (if you’re not a sociopath) as equitably as possible, as reflected by the degree to which each individual has their hierarchy of need met.

                      Giving people more cash per capita is not the objective.

                      If A don’t spend half their income on healthcare and education, and their income is slightly more than half of that of their neighbours’ (B), but B do spend half their income on health and education, who is better off?

                    • Gosman

                      I think you are not really understanding economics. Economic growth is about getting more value out of the same amount of effort and resources. Hence we are far more wealthier than our ancestors who used to spend all their time and effort just meeting basic needs with little down time. Generally that is regarded as a good thing. However you seem to be thinking that so long as people are all striving as hard as each other for those necessities and don’t have massively different outcomes then that makes more sense. That is actually why people generally don’t like living under systems created to achieve this aim.

                    • McFlock

                      I think you’re sliding into a digression that’s well away from an article that neglected to mention whether the neighbours that were theoretically beating Cuba in providing for their people using a gdp/wage measure were also providing for their people with free healthcare and education.

                      And for someone who lectures others on whether they understand economics, it’s intriguing that you confuse a hierarchy of needs with “just meeting basic needs”.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “The purpose of economic policy is to make the economic system as efficient at achieving its objectives as possible.”

                      One of which is making people richer.

                      “Giving people more cash per capita is not the objective.”

                      There is no single objective. Having individuals get wealthier is surely one objective.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Surely”.

                      Sounds like reckons to me.

                    • wellfedweta

                      ” were also providing for their people with free healthcare and education.”

                      Who said these outcomes were an objective of an economic system? Have you considered that a better system could be increasing everyone’s income to a level where they can purchase their own healthcare and education to suit their individual needs? I’m not advocating that, per se, but I am pointing out that your argument is to a subjective definition.

                    • McFlock

                      Cash is a means to an end. It’s a means of exchange. It is without intrinsic use. It’s only utility comes from being able to be exchanged for things that are actually useful.

                      If those useful things are provided more efficiently without the individual needing cash, then the cash is useless. The individual is not made better off by having more cash, because the cash cannot be exchanged for things that the individual cannot get for free.

                      So an article that compares country A incomes with country B incomes and ignores the fact that A provides some individual needs to its citizens for free, that is only half of an article.

                      What’s the Jamaican HIV/AIDS rate? How much of their income do Puerto Ricans spend on things that Cubans get substantially subsidised or for free?

                    • Gosman

                      Cash is a store of value. Economic growth is essentially increasing the value (NB not price) of goods and services. Interestingly technology can both contribute to and mask economic development.

                      Crude oil prior to the 19th Century was not seen as particular useful and therefore had virtually zero value. After the introduction of the internal combustion engine the value of it shot up.

                      The cost of some items have hardly moved over the past few years such as Televisions. However the quality of the items have increased immeasurably. Therefore people may spend the same proportion of their income on the item now than they were 20 years ago but are getting better value.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “The individual is not made better off by having more cash, because the cash cannot be exchanged for things that the individual cannot get for free.”

                      If the individual cannot get things for free, they need cash. Your comment is illogical.

                      “How much of their income do Puerto Ricans spend on things that Cubans get substantially subsidised or for free?”

                      How much extra income do Puerto Rican’s get to purchase their own services that Cuban’s get for free? What is the quality of what Cuban’s get for free? You see getting free stuff isn’t a definitive quantitative or qualitative measure in and of itself. Then there’s the human rights abuses…

                    • McFlock

                      And if the government supplied those TVs or whatever else (at a substantial bulk discount) for free, cash is unneeded and even per capita GDP becomes a nonsensical measure. The only reason GDP contributions from the government purchase of the tvs is lower than the capitalist neighbours is because the bulk purchase provides better value to the citizens.

                      So, once again, the article demonstrated nothing.

                    • Gosman

                      What McFlock also fails to grasp is there is no such thing as ‘free stuff’. All the Cubans are doing is subsidising the actual cost via the mechanism of the central government. This can only be done if other areas of the economy are providing sufficient economic surplus that the government can take it away and use it elsewhere. The problem with centrally planned economies is that the government generally destroys the other sectors of the economy and therefore has less surplus to use. That is why Cuba cannot get vital drugs. The State can’t afford them. It has nothing to do with the US Embargo.

                    • McFlock

                      If those useful things are provided more efficiently without the individual needing cash, then the cash is useless. The individual is not made better off by having more cash, because the cash cannot be exchanged for things that the individual cannot get for free.

                      If the individual cannot get things for free, they need cash. Your comment is illogical.

                      yeah, it’s funny how comments loose their meaning when you only quote half of them.

                      “How much of their income do Puerto Ricans spend on things that Cubans get substantially subsidised or for free?”

                      How much extra income do Puerto Rican’s get to purchase their own services that Cuban’s get for free? What is the quality of what Cuban’s get for free? You see getting free stuff isn’t a definitive quantitative or qualitative measure in and of itself. Then there’s the human rights abuses…

                      Your article focussed almost solely on monetary comparisons with Cuba’s neighbours. My argument was that it needed to also consider the free benefits of living in Cuba, such as healthcare.

                      I never claimed “free stuff” (like a healthy life) was the definitive measure, just that they needed to be considered alongside capitalist measures like GDP. Your forbes link’s failure to consider anything beyond money meant that it in no way demonstrated your assertion that Castro “destroyed” Cuba.

                      Human rights abuses are discussed elsewhere in the thread.

                    • McFlock

                      What gosman fails to grasp is that his religious catechism is irrelevant to the fact that the forbes article focused solely on gdp while ignoring the fact that Cubans have longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, and a lower HIV/AIDS rate than all the countries forbes compared economically (as well as the USA).

                      So much for “destroyed”.

                    • wellfedweta

                      Hi McFlock

                      “My argument was that it needed to also consider the free benefits of living in Cuba, such as healthcare.”

                      I agree, a wide range of factors should be considered. Including the quality of the free health care, which in Cuba is crap. http://www.therealcuba.com/?page_id=77

                      ” it’s funny how comments loose their meaning when you only quote half of them.”

                      That’s dishonest. I quoted your full comment.

                      “Your forbes link’s failure to consider anything beyond money meant that it in no way demonstrated your assertion that Castro “destroyed” Cuba.”

                      The Forbes article touched on other issues besides just ‘money’. The reality is Castro’s communism wrecked Cuba in the same way socialist policies have wrecked so many nations across the planet. Giving out free stuff isn’t a measure of success. The west learned that lesson decades ago.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “And if the government supplied those TVs or whatever else (at a substantial bulk discount) for free…”

                      From where? Paid for by whom?

                    • McFlock

                      Including the quality of the free health care, which in Cuba is crap.

                      And yet, despite the crap healthcare and low GDP, Cubans live longer than panamanians, Ecuadoreans, and even yanks (just).

                      I quoted your full comment.

                      Well, except the preceding sentence. You know, the first half of the paragraph.

                      The Forbes article touched on other issues besides just ‘money’. The reality is Castro’s communism wrecked Cuba in the same way socialist policies have wrecked so many nations across the planet. Giving out free stuff isn’t a measure of success. The west learned that lesson decades ago.

                      Life expectancy and infant mortality are pretty good measures of success, however. Having a longer-lived, healthier population is a measure of success. If that’s the “free stuff” that’s provided, then more the better.

                      The forbes article only compared cuban gdp with other nations. Not the healthcare in those nations. All I’ve said is that the article should have provided a bigger picture than GDP.

                      As for your “realcuba” link… amazing how they get those stats while working in empty hospitals that look like that. Like, totally empty. No doctors, nurses or patients. No people at all to shoo the fiendish capitalist pigs away from the bad view. Pretty shoddy surveillance work for a totalitarian regime, that.

                    • McFlock

                      From where? Paid for by whom?

                      From government revenues, both taxation and (I suspect in the case of cuba) foreign revenue from government-run export businesses.

                      But provided cheaper and purchased in bulk, like pharmac.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “And yet, despite the crap healthcare and low GDP, Cubans live longer than panamanians, Ecuadoreans, and even yanks (just).”

                      Actually their life expentancy is below both Panama and the US.
                      http://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/life-expectancy-country.html

                    • wellfedweta

                      “From government revenues, both taxation and (I suspect in the case of cuba) foreign revenue from government-run export businesses.”

                      Employees in Cuba don’t pay income tax. Around 23% of workers are privately ‘self employed’, the rest are state employees. Cuba exports total 4.41bn, their imports 15.25bn. They are a net recipient of foreign aid. Their economy is a disaster, and is only kept alive by the suppression of living standards of their population, and because of past defaults on their international loans.

                      The ultimate irony of your bizarre lack of understanding of the Cuban economy (apart form the fact that you have chosen to comment at all) is that since 2011 Raul Castro has embarked on a course of action that is embracing aspects of market economics.

                      “In 2010, Fidel Castro, in agreement with Raúl Castro’s reformist sentiment, admitted that the Cuban model based on the old Soviet model of centralized planning was no longer sustainable. They encouraged the creation of a co-operative variant of socialism where the state plays a less active role in the economy and the formation of worker-owned co-operatives and self-employment enterprises.”
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Cuba

                      Cuba is yet another in a long list of nations that will be saved from socialism/communism by market economics.

                    • McFlock

                      I stand correctedish 🙂 – quickest link I’d found was world bank 2012ish on google.
                      That link was from CIA world factbook 2015. The WFB currently has Cuba a decimal ahead of panama, and a year behind the US. But a year ahead of Ecuador and years in front of Jamaica. Not bad for an economic wasteland.

                      Still, I’d forgotten about the WFB. Used to be a go-to reference for me ages ago, but it’s nice to see it again.

                    • joe90

                      If I may, infoplease use an estimate whereas the WHO appear to use an aggregate – putting Panama at 77.8, Cuba at 79.1 with the richest country on the planet a paltry 2 points ahead on 79.3 years.

                      http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/mbd/life_expectancy/atlas.html

                    • McFlock

                      @wellfedweta … 5:30 pm :

                      All irrelevant to the [in]validity of your forbes link.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “All irrelevant to the [in]validity of your forbes link.”

                      On the contrary. The material all supports the Forbes assertions. The Cuban economy was stuffed, and now they are looking to market economics to help them.

                    • McFlock

                      You might not want to get ahead of yourself – they’re not exactly looking for government size of 30% of gdp.

                      But isn’t it interesting how they began this slight relaxation ten years after the Cuban presidency changed, but only a year or so after the US presidency changed to someone with a more relaxed stance to Cuba.

                      Funny that. Almost as if some actions of the Cuban regime were a direct response to the actions and obsessions of the superpower that hated it.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “Almost as if some actions of the Cuban regime were a direct response to the actions and obsessions of the superpower that hated it.”

                      Perhaps, although I do think it is a stretch to blame the US for Cuba’s woes to the extent some do. Nevertheless, you make some good points. Thanks for the discussion, I enjoyed it.

                    • McFlock

                      yeah, the debate pottered along ok 🙂

          • david 2.2.2.1.2

            I wonder what kind of persons would justify killing of political prisoners? Estimates of 10-15 thousands killed by firing squad. If your ideology ables you to excuse these abuses of human rights, I dispair.

      • James 2.2.3

        You might want to go good at the thread when Maggie thatcher died on this site to see the levels of behaviour which are acceptable before calling for respect of Castro death.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      And, despite all that, it was still a better place than when the US supported dictatorship ran it.

      Oh, and look at how much our own government and that of the US is surveilling their citizens.

      And look at how the protesters against an unwanted oil pipeline are having their right to free-association denied them.

      Look at the increasing poverty in all of the Western capitalist nations.

      You know, the capitalist paradise of a few wealthy people and everyone else in abject deprivation.

      • David 2.3.1

        That’s low bar.
        A lot of places that were awful in the 1950 are much better now.

        Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, most of Eastern block Europe. They have done much better than Cuba considering the US influence you despise . In terms of democracy, freedoms, quality of life, health and education.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1.1

          It’s easy to put those gains down to “US influence”; ideas know no citizenship.

        • Paul 2.3.1.2

          Usually people show some respect when someone dies.
          There are words for people like you.

          • David 2.3.1.2.1

            I am sure you honour other despots when they die, like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam, Idi Amin etc.
            I believe in liberal democracy, i despise these despots. When Kim Jong Un dies, i will wait to hear your condolences.
            Castro was a despot. How do describe someone who holds onto power for most of their life, bans elections, prosecutes opponents. However lives in luxury themselves.
            Mourn him if you like. It’s telling of people’s values or lack of them. I would rather bury him than eulogise him.

            • Paul 2.3.1.2.1.1

              You really don’t know what you are talking about.

              • David

                In which aspects am i wrong?

                It is a totalitarian state. People have projected a romantic imagery of him which is so out keeping with reality.

                • Paul

                  You are clearly a troll.

                • McFlock

                  Well, yes it is a totalitarian state. But it also seems to be a regime that is, frankly, less corrupt than ours, and that does seem to have the practical welfare of its citizens as a core pronciple (as opposed to North Korea, Zimbabwe or Syria, for example).

                  By most accounts it’s better than the regime it replaced, and frankly it’s a debatable point as to how much of its policies were the result of having a hostile neighbour to the immediate north.

                  Would Cuba have been quite as totalitarian without invasions, crop burnings, and over 200 documented assassination attempts in the first couple of decades, all by the US (not to mention an extreme trade embargo)?

                  • Paul

                    We’re wasting our time on a troll.

                  • david

                    World corruption perceptions index
                    Denmark rank 1
                    NZ rank 4
                    Cuba rank 54
                    (transparency international)

                    Inconvenient facts

                    • Morrissey

                      New Zealand 4th? Even in the light of the shattering revelations in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics?

                      Transparency International may have done some commendable work at times, but ranking John Key’s New Zealand the fourth most transparent nation?!!?? Like the 13th cuckoo of a cuckoo clock, it casts doubt on all that went before.

                    • Quasimodo

                      How transparent is “Transparency International” ?

                  • Gosman

                    Less corrupt?!? You are aware that the Cuban State entered in to an agreement with the owners of an international resort that was opened up in Cuba. The company wanted to pay it’s workers more than the $20 USD per month that is the maximun (yes that is right maximum) wage. The Cuban government agreed to allow them to do so but so long as the money went via the state first. Do you think the workers get anywhere near the amount the company pays?

                    • McFlock

                      I have no idea. Probably not, but neither option would surprise me.

                      Many nations around the world have similar arrangements with reciprocal pension rates or UN peacekeeping payments: the other nation/organisation pays its rate to the government, the people doing the job receive the pay or pension at the local rate.

                      But I’m pretty sure that even if the workers only get $15 of every $20, that $5 didn’t go to Castro’s personal swiss bank account. Nor would the deputy secretary of whatever routinely get bags of cash from parking meters. That’s what I mean by “less corrupt”.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Is Cuba a tax haven that openly gives bribes to Saudi royalty?

                    • Gosman

                      It is strongly suspected of providing a safe haven to drug runners. Or is that sort of corruption okay in your book?

                    • McFlock

                      Strongly suspected. Nice.

                      If true, I’d be less ok with it if the cash was lining the harbourmaster’s pockets rather than paying for healthcare. If it’s simply a government revenue issue, I’m about as cool with it as I’m cool with NZ being a money-laundering haven with practically-opaque trust laws.

                    • Gosman

                      http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1008&context=csa

                      There is copious amounts of links in that document.

                      Certainly there is more evidence than you have in regard to NZ being regarded as a corrupt tax haven.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Regarded as”

                      No: is, or is not, insofar as the comparison with Cuba can be made. Nice try though.

                    • McFlock

                      Panama papers.

                    • Gosman

                      The Panama papers did not state the things you think they stated. They certainly did not point to NZ being a corrupt tax haven. The most they did was highlight some potential loopholes that could be exploited.

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      Yeah, the fact that the “loopholes” were being described in the internal documents of a law firm that specialised in tax evas-sorry “minimisation” in no way indicates that the “loopholes” described were being exploited for tax evas-sorry “minimisation”. /sarc

        • halfcrown 2.3.1.3

          “Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, most of Eastern block Europe. They have done much better than Cuba considering the US influence you despise . In terms of democracy, freedoms, quality of life, health and education.”

          I agree with you Castro was a despot, but to state that a lot of countries have benefited through America compared with Cuba “In terms of democracy, freedoms, quality of life, health and education.” is over simplistic and crap. America can’t sort out their own health care let alone helping other nations.

          One of the countries you claimed has benefited by America was Chile. Yeah right, the people of Chile did very well under Pinochet supported by America when he overthrew a democratically elected government. That was one of many depots supported by America. Pinochet really did advance the welfare in Chile, The first thing he did he got Friedman to change the economy to the neo rubbish we have today and Friedman did away with the pension and health schemes that were put in place by the socialist government of Allende. Apart from that Pinochet was a very caring person. /sarc, that is why thousands of young people, union officials and members of the opposition disappeared never to be found to this day, Also there are many a story by survivors of torture by Pinochet. Pinochet the lover boy of that other despot Thatcher.

          Guatemala is another good example of American charitable influence.

          Here’s a small snippet for your education.

          “Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected president of Guatemala, introduces land reform and seizes some idle lands of United Fruit– proposing to pay for them the value United Fruit claimed on its tax returns. The CIA organises a small force to overthrow him and begins training it in Honduras. When Arbenz naively asks for U.S. military help to meet this threat, he is refused; when he buys arms from Czechoslovakia it only proves he’s a Red.

          Quote from Life magazine at the time

          “Guatemala is “openly and diligently toiling to create a Communist state in Central America… only two hours’ bombing time from the Panama Canal.” –Life

          The CIA broadcasts reports detailing the imaginary advance of the “rebel army,” and provides planes to strafe the capital. The army refuses to defend Arbenz, who resigns. The U.S.’s hand-picked dictator, Carlos Castillo Armas, outlaws political parties, reduces the franchise, and establishes the death penalty for strikers, as well as undoing Arbenz’s land reform. Over 100,000 citizens are killed in the next 30 years of military rule.

          http://www.zompist.com/latam.html

          Your simplistic black-white argument mate does not stack up when you read some of the facts that have happened and still happening around the world by the good ole US of A. The biggest despot nation going.

      • Richard McGrath 2.3.2

        I beg to differ regarding the first sentence in your post above.

        Cubans have slipped from being internationally the eighth highest paid industrial workers and sixth highest paid farm workers in 1958, to 146th In 2014.

        http://www.therealcuba.com/?page_id=273

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.1

          Cuba Pre-1959: The Rise and Fall of a U.S. Backed Dictator with Links to the Mob

          Cuba was one of the last colonial possessions under Spanish rule just 90 miles south of Florida. As Spain’s Imperial power was in decline, Washington had imperial ambitions to expand its influence on Cuba. Cuba had the potential to produce unlimited profits for U.S. business interests. Even organized crime got into the picture when they became a major player in Cuba since the early 1930’s. The mafia controlled the gaming industry, prostitution and the drug trade in the U.S. mainland also had their sights on Cuba. The mafia managed to expand their operations to Cuba to avoid harassment from the U.S. government. Cuba was to be their base of operations as they were looking to expand into other Caribbean nations. During that time, Cuba was under the leadership of President Fulgencio Batista who had close political ties to Washington and its multinational corporations. Batista was also a good friend to organized crime. Cuba became a cesspool of corruption, illegal drugs and prostitution which became a playground (metaphorically speaking) for the rich and famous while the majority of ordinary Cubans lived in extreme poverty. This is an historical account of Cuba before 1959, a time period that explains why Cuba’s Revolution was a long time in the making.

          Reality differs from your delusion.

          • Richard McGrath 2.3.2.1.1

            The link I posted actually quantifies the situation – does yours?

            • McFlock 2.3.2.1.1.1

              the link you posted was a joke.

              • Richard McGrath

                A joke… because it doesn’t come from the lame stream media and bursts the bubbles of Castro sycophants?

                • A joke because it’s funny that you refer to actual journalists as “lamestream media,” then post a link to a political propaganda site as a factual reference.

              • North

                A joke certainly but also insulting trollwork. WTF is NationMaster anyway? Oh that’s right, it’s “a website that compiles all kind of statistics around the world”. Wow! I searched in vain for the “Who Are We?” button on the website. Nothing.

                And being so authoritative it has Samoa presumably Western Samoa) with a disposable income of $63.82. Annually apparently. That’s it. Nothing else. No consideration of what is universal in Samoa, viz. free access to land, and collectivism in action and spirit, as the patently obvious major factor in the overall wellbeing of the population.

                That there’s something innately valuable there is shown by the rumblings expressed against Tuilaepa’s suspected accommodation of international corporates and suspected furnishing to them of customary entilements.

                Frankly I trust my personal observations during several trips there, staying in ‘the village’ with the aiga rather than in hotels, than I trust the figures of “a website that compiles all kind of statistics around the world”.

                I saw no beggars in Samoa, nor did I see bunches of rag-tag kids running around the streets exploring rubbish bins. I saw no one without ultimate access to land.

                You’ve stamped yourself a willing victim of your own gullibility Thomas McGrath, in your search for vindication, any vindication no matter how obviously flakey, of your arrogant white culture predispositions. Then you troll it up to us. Have some respect man!

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.1.1.2

              No, it generalised and averaged out the misery that was abundant in Cuba under US supported dictators.

          • Agora 2.3.2.1.2

            .. it sounds like Sydney, today.

        • adam 2.3.2.2

          Wow, two opinion pieces with massive holes in them in a day Richard, sheesh dude.

          Getting into the realms of epic fail…

    • DoublePlusGood 2.4

      This article isn’t about the United States, it’s about Castro.

    • save nz 2.5

      Cuba has higher literacy and health care than NZ and the USA.

      We used to have it all in NZ between communism and capitalism with social democracy. After Muldoon bankrupted the country (and stole everyones superannuation schemes) we then got some idiot talking about trickle down…

      • david 2.5.1

        Would you rather fall sick in NZ or in Cuba? New Zealand has one the best health systems in the world.
        Literacy rates, yeah, really useful in a country with one of the lowest press freedoms and highest censorship. For those not in the know, I am talking about Cuba not NZ. Some of you live in a bubble.

        Ends doesn’t justify the means. Killing political prisoners, repression is not the price to pay for a civilised society (oxymoron). I hope these apologists for tyrants never take power in NZ. They will justify a police state and killings for their idealogy.

        • Colonial Viper 2.5.1.1

          1) NZ is severely under performing its potential due to neoliberalism.
          2) Castro was a dictator and crushed civil rights in his country.
          3) Cuba’s literacy and health statistics are unparalleled given how little money and resources that they have.
          4) NZ tolerates the kind of extreme wealth and poverty inequality between the top 10% and the bottom 10% that would never be tolerated in Cuba.

        • North 2.5.1.2

          “Would you rather fall sick in NZ or in Cuba?” Facile. Irrelevant to the discussion for its “Me Me Me” quality. Well not quality the good way. Let’s say its ‘character’.

        • save nz 2.5.1.3

          David – “Killing political prisoners, repression is not the price to pay for a civilised society (oxymoron)”

          – so what is your view on the US and their torture and assassination programme then?

          Or event their death penalty rates?

          Are you ready to concede that US is no longer a civilised society due to their human rights record?

      • Gosman 2.5.2

        And how does that help the Cubans who can’t afford or find necessities in life like essential drugs and food.

        • North 2.5.2.1

          Gosman you can do better than that…….what about some patsy figures to bolster your bullshit throwaway line ? And some other figures to throw light on “Cubans [sorry, Americans] who can’t afford or find necessities in life like essential drugs and food.” In Cuba [sorry, America], the greatest nation on Earth. With all its resources and wealth

  3. Pasupial 3

    Only the good die young.

  4. McFlock 5

    A complicated but massively influential person.

    He fought an evil, corrupt regime, and some would say he mimicked what he replaced.

    But then many of Cuba’s neighbours and similar nations around the world are a lotworse off than Cuba, from standard of living to healthcare. The “block captain” system has been criticised as big brother/commissar territory, but is intrinsic to their effective evacuations and civil defence measures during hurricanes – light years better than New Orleans. Similarly the compulsory HIV testing and segregation is extreme, but compare Cuba’s rate with Jamaica’s.

    Even many of his enemies had massive respect for him. I recall reading one thesis documenting his rise to power, and the author revealed, despite his best judgement, an admiration for Castro. The thesis was written for a US military officer training institution.

    And his longevity became a joke: my favourite being a story of the time Castro was visiting Ecuador. In the zoo there was a Galapagos tortoise that got Fidel’s interest. He asked what they ate, how active they were, whether they swam or laid eggs, that sort of thing. Then he asked how long they lived, and was told that one could live for as much as 200 years. “Ah”, said fidel, “that’s the problem with pets. As soon as you get used to having them around, they die”.

    • garibaldi 5.1

      Thank you McFlock. As to all the Castro haters on here I suggest they take their rose tinted pro USA Empire glasses off and ask themselves just what has the USA done with all their riches/wealth/power for the betterment of mankind. For example how good are the American health and education systems?
      I’m no Castro lover but I do give him credit for surviving against the USA onslaught for so many years and for daring to defy the all encompassing corrupt self serving Empire.

      • Rolfcopter 5.1.1

        I’m no Castro lover but I do give him credit for surviving against the USA onslaught for so many years and for daring to defy the all encompassing corrupt self serving Empire.

        …. by killing and torturing thousands of people needlessly.

        Finished it for you.

        Some hero you have there.

        • save nz 5.1.1.1

          Is torture more acceptable when the US do it?

          • Roflcopter 5.1.1.1.1

            Nice attempted diversion by an apologist for a mass murderer… well done you.

            • North 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Roflcopter………your pointed refusal to answer Save NZ’s question, coupled with your allegation of attempted distraction………that’s the real distraction here. How possibly can Castro be assessed without reference to the US and its fingers in the Cuban pie historically ? You might as well hold that what happens in Auckland or Hamilton has nothing to do with what happens in Hamilton or Auckland. Plainly stupid!

        • joe90 5.1.1.2

          by killing and torturing thousands of people needlessly.

          Do you think Cubans would have fared any better had the US backed regime of Fulgencio Batista prevailed?.

          The third, and perhaps most disastrous of our failures, was the decision to give stature and support to one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression. Fulgencio Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans in 7 years – a greater proportion of the Cuban population than the proportion of Americans who died in both World Wars, and he turned democratic Cuba into a complete police state – destroying every individual liberty.

          Yet, our aid to his regime, and the ineptness of our policies, enabled Batista to invoke the name of the United States in support of his reign of terror.

          Administration spokesmen publicly praised Batista – hailed him as a stanch ally and a good friend – at a time when Batista was murdering thousands, destroying the last vestiges of freedom, and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the Cuban people, and we failed to press for free elections.

          http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25660

        • save nz 5.1.1.3

          And at least he didn’t torture the parents and steal the babies (Argentina) or Australia (steal the Aboriginal babies).

          In short there is a lot about in history which is despicable. The idea of civilisation is not to be the strongest but to protect the weakest.

          I’m not sure in that context many of the countries in the world in particular the USA can be considered civilised any more.

  5. Richard McGrath 6

    Good riddance to a bloodthirsty tyrant. I had nothing good to say about him while he was alive; no reason to change now.

  6. Tiger Mountain 7

    what a pathetic display from the tory toadies upthread

    “200 million children will sleep outside tonight–not one of them Cuban”

    “Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty.”

  7. I guess we do owe him at least a little gratitude – his running of Cuba showed that it’s possible for a left-wing dictatorship to actually be a slight improvement over its right-wing predecessor, after decades of left-wing dictatorships being far worse than what they replaced. It’s not much, but it’s something.

    Otherwise, he does come in handy for demonstrating that left-wingers are as prone to making “but he made the trains run on time” arguments as right-wingers.

  8. James 9

    Cubans are finally free – Cubans celebrate his death.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/world/cubans-are-finally-free—celebrations-for-castros-death-2016112705

    But what would they know ay paul. They must must be reading the lame stream media as opposed to having actually lived there and escapes. (Oh hang on).

    They must be trolls as well huh?

  9. johnm 11

    History Will be the Judge: Fidel Castro, 1926-2016

    by Tariq Ali

    The popularity of the Revolution was there for all to see. Castro’s victory stunned the Americas. It soon became obvious that this was no ordinary event. Any doubts as to the Revolution’s intentions were dispelled by the First Declaration of Havana, Castro’s declaration of total Independence from the US made in public before a million people in Revolution Square. Washington reacted angrily and hastily, trying to cordon off the new regime from the rest of the continent.

    Socially the Cuban Revolution created an education system and health service that remain the envy of much of the neo-liberal world.

    History will be the final judge, but Fidel Castro has already been elevated by a vast number of Latin Americans to the plinth occupied by those great liberators Bolívar, San Martín, Sucre and José Martí.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/25/history-will-be-the-judge-fidel-castro-1926-2016/

  10. millsy 12

    World class health and education
    Access to arts and culture
    Quality public housing
    The only country in Latin America where women have access to abortion and birth control, and are sexually emancipated
    High literacy rates

    Cuba can be proud.

  11. johnm 13

    Fidel’s presence will be sorely missed by all who struggle for civilization and justice. Let the bourgeoisie rant, we must learn from his example and continue the struggle. I posted my thoughts — and his on my blog12.

    ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

    Cuba before the Cuban revolution misery, Cuba after the Cuban revolution beautiful, wonderful, special. What the Castro brothers, Ernesto Che Guevara, and all the brave courageous women, and men of the revolution were able to do for the Cuban people, and for all of Latin America, and around the world is something courageous, beautiful, special. Please check out Fidel Castro’s book, “My Life: A Spoken Autobiography,” enlightening.
    How dare the Cubans run their own country!

    The children of the children of the expatriated rich still bear a grudge and grind their axes. Watch out Cubans you are in the crosshairs for creative destruction.

    ” We do not need the (American) Empire to give us anything.”

    When Fidel kicked out the American Empire from his country, in 1959, Fidel was excoriated as a communist. Fidel cost the oligarch’s billions of $ in business losses. The US Empire came very close to a nuclear war with Russia which was only averted at the last minute by Kennedy and Khrushchev.

    What that tells me, is just how insane are the oligarchs about their losing their empire that they were willing to risk a nuclear confrontation with Russia over the Cuban revolution.

    Unfortunately, this same cabal of criminals are still in charge of the American Empire. And if that does not scare the hell out of you… nothing will!

    I was in high school during the fight to oust Batista and the Mafia and all the other corruption in Cuba. I had boyish dreams of going to fight for Fidel to help free his people. Instead I allowed myself to be drafted in 1967 to fight the Vietnamese in their own country and in their struggle for freedom. Oh how I wish instead of fighting for the Capitalist Pigs I could have fought against them! One of the great regrets of my life.

    Don’t forget it wasn’t only Castro and Cuba who won their fight against US imperialism but also the Vietnamese. Long live the struggle against the capitalist imperialism!

    From the NY Times, quoted in CD’s article above:

    After he embraced Communism, Washington portrayed him as a devil and a tyrant and repeatedly tried to remove him from power through an ill-fated invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an economic embargo that has lasted decades, assassination plots, and even bizarre plans to undercut his prestige by making his beard fall out.

    As usual, the vile capitalist press tells only half the story, leaving out the most important part and reversing the sequence of events.

    When Castro visited the US – NYC to be specific – in April 1959 he received a hero’s welcome. I watched it on TV. NYC went wild for him. We Americans were still proud of the role the US had played in “defeating fascism and making the world safe for democracy,” and we saw Castro’s overthrowing the corrupt dictator Batista and kicking the mafia out of Havana as of one piece with the tendency toward liberation.

    But the celebrations lasted only a few days. Castro was given an ultimatum by the powers that were in Washington at the time – you can keep your revolution but you must let the mob back into the casinos, back into the business of prostitution. Castro said no, very eloquently said no, cut the visit short and left.

    The US cut him off and “portrayed him as a devil and a tyrant” etc. THEN he turned to Russia, like the NY Times article states, after omitting the entire backstory and inverting the actual sequence of events.

    And the mob decided to move their money and their operations to Las Vegas, a rather quiet small town in the Nevada desert.

    http://commons.commondreams.org/t/cuban-revolutionary-fidel-castro-dead-at-90/33658/13

  12. johnm 14

    Guest Column–Washington Works To Overthrow Argentine Government
    The Stacks Are Loaded Against Reform In Latin America

    Washington cannot tolerate reformist governments in Central and South America. For example, Washington’s interferences in Honduras and overthrow of reformist governments are legendary. One of Obama’s first acts as President was to overthrow the government of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya was allied with reformist Venezuela president Hugo Chavez and, like Chavez, was portrayed as a dictator and a threat.

    Currently Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina are on Washington’s list of governments to be overthrown.

    Washington squelches reforms in order to protect the looting ability of US business interests. As US Marine General Smedley Butler said of his service in Central America, “I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/02/23/guest-column-washington-works-overthrow-argentine-government/

    • garibaldi 14.1

      Good one johnm. Of course all the righties prattle on about the ‘socialist nirvanas’ failing because of socialism itself when the main reason is a concerted,overwhelming, multifaceted ‘attack’ by the USA on the economy/govt of the country which dares to reject the demands of the USA.

      • North 14.1.1

        Succinct Garibaldi. Congratulations on capturing the stuff of it. The powerful avaricious neighbour sophisticatedly whining about decades-long resistance to its repeated attempts to burn your house down. And in doing so denies your humanity.

  13. I am in two minds about Castro’s death.

    On one hand he definitely lifted the living standards in Cuba by improving health, education and social welfare services – you have to give him credit for that.

    But on the other hand he hated freedom of expression and brutally repressed it. There are unfortunately good reasons for many Cubans being very happy to see the back of Castro.

  14. James 18

    I aware with interest the comments from key and little on his death.

  15. Dobby 19

    I spent 3 months in Cuba a few years ago and got to know quite a few locals. Most people I met were opposed to the Castro’s and many people I talked to had relatives that had drowned trying to escape to the US, and were struggling to get by as the average wage was around 25 USD per month.

    One guy I met begging with no arms was jailed for killing a horse for 10 years during the early 90’s when many Cubans were starving. He said he injected diesel into is arms so he could get transferred to a hospital so he would at least have a bed.

    I took another Cuban down to a wharf and the guard said no Cuban’s allowed, and quite a few locals asked me to help them leave Cuba. The island is basically a prison for Cubans.

    There was no internet for locals (that was slowly changing) and the Cuban newspaper was full of articles praising the revolution, Pravda style.

    I think most Cubans will be happy to see him go.

    • James 19.1

      I’m sorry. Your personal experiences differ from what Paul says. You therefore must be a troll.
      /sarc

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  16. RRM 20

    RIP Fidel Castro.

    I shall remember you as a RELATIVELY benign murdering communist despot, in that you only murdered a few tens of thousands of dissidents and bourgeois in order to cement your hold on power, at a time when most other communist despots were slaughtering millions.

    What a “legend”…

    • Enough is Enough 20.1

      +100

      Anyone who celebrates a leader who achieved his objectives through torture and murder makes me sick.

      It scares me that New Zealanders actually feel this way.

      For everything that is terrible and bad about peoples like Key, English, Brash, Douglas, Cullen, Richardson, Bolger….
      None of then did it by murdering their opponents

      • North 20.1.1

        It scares me that some people have no sense of time nor place nor the ever repeated roll-out of history where the rich rape the poor; as of ‘right’; some people righteously judge the apples of others’ reality against the oranges of their own. And accordingly talk crap.

        Never saying outright but necessarily implying that the Cuba of today would be better off under a 50 years plus continuation of the wildly corrupt, democracy-crushing Batista regime. It most certainly would not. It would be a cesspit, The people playthings and the country the ‘asset’ of the wealthy and organised crime only 90 miles away.

        The test is whether in 1959 an impoverished Cuban going by the name “Enough is Enough” would protest “Enough is Enough!” on seeing his 16 year old daughter full of dread and shame and pain, corralled by Miami mobsters into the slavery of prostitution. In order to ensure food on the family table,

        I hope my anticipation of your answer is correct Mr Enough is Enough. If not you lack humanity the deficit of which you snortingly complain about in Fidel Castro. Bottom line – “Snort!”

    • johnm 20.2

      US Has Killed More Than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-has-killed-more-than-20-million-people-in-37-victim-nations-since-world-war-ii/5492051

      ” when most other communist despots were slaughtering millions. ” Which despots were those?

      • johnm 20.2.1

        Western governments are running out of excuses. Since the Clinton regime, the accumulation of war crimes committed by Western governments exceed those of Nazi Germany. Millions of Muslims have been slaughtered, dislocated, and dispossessed in seven countries. Not a single Western war criminal has been held accountable.

        The despicable Washington Post is a prime apologist for these war criminals. The entire Western print and TV media is so heavily implicated in the worst war crimes in human history that, if justice ever happens, the presstitutes will stand in the dock with the Clintons, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Obama and their neocon operatives or handlers as the case may be.

        http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/27/the-western-war-on-truth-paul-craig-roberts/

      • Richard McGrath 20.2.2

        Which despots? Try Mao for a start.

      • Gosman 20.2.3

        That’s nonsense. The figures presupposes that ALL deaths in a conflict where the US may have some involvement (regardless of how large or small that involvement) are caused by the US.

  17. johnm 21

    Fidel Castro in Context

    The revolutionary’s achievements in the face of US meddling made him a powerful symbol of resistance against hegemony.
    by
    Belén Fernández

    There are, meanwhile, numerous freedoms Castro’s Cuba hasn’t skimped on. There’s much to be said, for example, for the freedom to exist without having to worry about access to food, shelter, healthcare, and education – all of which the Cuban state provides its residents.

    In a 2010 article about Cuba’s health-care system for the Independent, Nina Lakhani outlined how a “prevention-focused holistic model … has helped Cuba to achieve some of the world’s most enviable health improvements”.

    Despite spending a fraction of what the US was then spending per capita, Cuba enjoyed a lower infant mortality rate than its neighbour to the north – not to mention one of the highest ratios of doctors per capita in the world.

    In addition to popularising the fundamentally anti-human view of healthcare as a for-profit commodity, the US is also known for such things as rampant homelessness, a wildly disproportionate detention and incarceration rate for black people, a higher education system that harnesses learners with debilitating debt, and elementary schools that confiscate and throw out children’s lunches when their parents are behind on meal payments.

    That Cuba is able to provide basic necessities of life free of charge is to some extent proof that useful programmes are possible when a nation does not spend trillions of dollars on devastating wars.

    Instead of exporting catastrophe, Castro’s Cuba has focused on exporting doctors. The New York Times reported in 2009 that, “[i]n the 50 years since the revolution, Cuba has sent more than 185,000 health professionals on medical missions to at least 103 countries”.

    A Cuban doctor employed at a free health clinic in Venezuela once aptly remarked to me on the discrepancy between US and Cuban foreign policy: “We also fight in war zones, but to save lives”.

    Such achievements are all the more notable given that they have occurred within a context characterised by imperial predations, a punishing economic embargo, and politically influential, belligerent hysterics from the Cuban exile crowd headquartered in Florida, a mere 160 km from the Cuban coast.

    It is within this context that Fidel’s legacy must be analysed. And it is this context that grants him legitimacy as a symbol of resistance against hegemony.

    Despite sensational braying over the decades about the Cuban menace, Castro never posed a physical threat to the US. Rather, the danger always lay in the example he set, which exposed the possibility of challenging the pernicious self-declared US monopoly over human existence – and for which he merits remembrance as a hero.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/11/26/fidel-castro-context

    • Richard McGrath 21.1

      So allowing the Soviets to build nuclear weapons launch sites in Cuba was not a physical threat to the U.S.?

      • Barfly 21.1.1

        “So allowing the Soviets to build nuclear weapons launch sites in Cuba was not a physical threat to the U.S.?”

        So allowing the USA to build nuclear weapons launch sites in Turkey was not a physical threat to the Soviets?

  18. Henry Filth 22

    I wouldn’t like to be poor and sick.

    But if I was, I think I’d be better off in Havana than (say) Panama City.

    Or than in Detroit.

  19. Dale 23

    Can’t wait for Labour to ban unions,reintroduce anti gay laws,set up reeducation centres and gulags build new prisons for political descent oh and extra funding for all the ammunition they will need to execute all National voters.
    Fuck Castro!
    He was a pig!

    • North 23.1

      What a hoot Dale @ 23. Once again apples and oranges as to time, place, history, and being Cuban. “Just Just Just Juice Me! I feel ever so good and absolutely cloaked in decency when I sort out Evil from Good by conflating apples and oranges.”

  20. Tiger Mountain 24

    it appears many of you arseholes above have mistaken this site for Slateroil’s or perhaps something even worse

    Cuba never threatened the US militarily, it was the ideological front that gave 9 Presidents grief–Fidel was a leader that opposed US imperialism in word and deed and would not back down, he inspired the continent and beyond–Viva Castro!

  21. Sanctuary 25

    My experience of Cuba was an amazing country, blissfully free of advertising and materialist hype where people did indeed want to be free and to have more consumer choice – but not at any price. They were at once tired of isolation and poverty and proud of the achievements of the Cuban revolution.

    The trick for Cuba is to open up, try and raise EVERYONES wealth, introduce democracy and do it all without throwing away the successes of the revolution.

  22. johnm 26

    Reflections on the Death of Fidel
    by
    Steve Wasserman

    It was, of course, Castro’s extraordinary eloquence, strength of character and unyielding commitment to action that drew men and women alike to his side.

    Castro was, it appeared, a man determined to chart his own way.

    It is clear from the abundant public and private record, only some of which has come to light, that Castro always regarded himself as a radical visionary and nationalist whose politics were shaped more by the writings of Marti and Bolivar than by Marx and Lenin.

    In both private letters and public pronouncements, Castro disavowed terrorism as a tactic of revolutionary war.

    Castro imagined a different future. His true calling, he felt, was to do everything possible to escape the American orbit.

    Geography is fate. It was both Castro’s curse as well as his blessing that the U.S. was so near.

    It is perhaps hard at this remove to summon up the eros, the sheer vitality, of the revolution Castro made. The seduction of his flamboyant leadership, his spontaneity of spirit, was almost impossible to resist. He was virile, glamorous—in a word, sexy. He relied less on Marxist dogma than on photogenesis to capture the minds and hearts of millions. He was, as the late Marshall Frady once wrote, “an almost Tolstoyan figure in the profusion of his exuberance and imagination. Among all the premiers and statesmen over the globe, he was at least the one figure who seemed unquestionably, tumultuously alive.” Not only were Castro and his barbudos [bearded revolutionaries] better-looking than the corrupt politicians and gangsters they overthrew, they knew it, and it is easy to see, on the evidence of the many iconic photographs of the period, how it was that a “golden legend,” as the French philosopher Régis Debray once called it, arose.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/11/27/reflections-death-fidel

  23. johnm 27

    Ken Livingstone clashes with BBC anchor after hailing Fidel Castro as ‘beacon of light’
    FIDEL CASTRO has been hailed as a “giant of the 20th century” by Ken Livingstone during a fiery clash with a BBC radio host in which he hailed the former President

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/736760/Fidel-Castro-dead-Ken-Livingstone-clash-BBC-anchor-hailing-Cuban-president

  24. mary_a 28

    Despite the embargo, courtesy mainly of the US and Israel, Castro did manage to keep Cuba going. He gave American Big Brother the one finger salute, demonstrating a small nation could survive, without the interference of the US.

    Prior to the revolution, US puppet President Batista had Cuba operating as the whorehouse of the Caribbean, a filthy cesspit of vice and crime. Castro soon sorted that out and quickly. Only those who thrive(ed) in that sort of despicable environment are those who are celebrating his death!

    Although Fidel Castro was far from perfect, his lasting legacy will be the post revolution high literacy rate achieved through compulsory free education to all Cubans, along with an excellent free health care system. Enjoyment of culture was promoted and encouraged and again, free to all citizens. At least if nothing else, in this regard, Castro did something right by the people of Cuba.

    Now I dread to think what will become of Cuba, if the US is allowed to get it’s filthy corporate paws back on to the island nation once more!

    RIP Fidel Castro.

    • Gosman 28.1

      Why does Communism require a Capitalist country to economically develop?

      • Siobhan 28.1.1

        um, to trade with?? And not just America but any company that wishes to trade with America.

        “The embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (the “Torricelli Law”) and in 1996 by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act (known as the Helms–Burton Act) which penalizes foreign companies that do business in Cuba by preventing them from doing business in the U.S.”

        • Gosman 28.1.1.1

          Nonsense. Many countries trade with Cuba and have no problem trading with the US in return.

          • Siobhan 28.1.1.1.1

            Well of course. For starters Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both signed a provision allowing for a waiver of the law.

            The question was “Why does Communism require a Capitalist country to economically develop?” the answer is “for Trade”…and obviously anything that hinders or delays Trade is a problem. Cuba is not a large enough country to close itself off the way Russia and China did to varying degrees.

            I mean a US Trade Embargo isn’t exactly as helpful as a ‘Free Trade Agreement’ is it?? And look at the problems we have without those. So using your powers of imagination imagine if the US announced a full and very public and arguably vindictive trade embargo against us in NZ. You think that wouldn’t seriously dent our Economy in a variety of ways??

            • Gosman 28.1.1.1.1.1

              Do you know what the point of trade is Siobhan?

              • Siobhan

                Yes. Thank you for asking.
                Is there a particular point you are making??
                Are you suggesting a Communist Country doesn’t need to Trade with outside countries??
                If so, do you understand Trade??

          • Psycho Milt 28.1.1.1.2

            Many countries trade with Cuba and have no problem trading with the US in return.

            And I’m sure that if the US imposed an embargo on NZ and pressured other countries not to trade with us, many still would. Only an idiot would pretend it wouldn’t cause serious damage to our economy though.

            • Gosman 28.1.1.1.2.1

              Give me examples of a trade deal that the Cuban’s haven’t been able to do as a result of US pressure on other nations.

              Were you aware that Cuba is a member of the WTO and can take international trade disputes with nations through them. Therefore if you were correct why hasn’t Cuba taken up a dispute?

  25. johnm 29

    Fidel, Comrade, Red Salute
    in World — by Farooque Chowdhury — November 26, 2016

    Fidel, dear comrade, red salute.

    You embodied humanity’s struggle for a free, dignified life, a life free from exploitation, a life full of love and with flowering of humane living.

    You are alive in our struggle. You are alive in humanity’s struggle against all forms of exploitation, against all forms of bondage, all forms of indignity.

    Your stand made you friend and comrade of all struggling parts of humanity around the world. You wrote in April 15, 1954: “I am sure that all the people could be happy, and for them I would be ready to incur the hatred and ill will of a few thousand few individuals, including some of my relatives, half of my acquaintances, two-third of my professional colleagues, and four-fifths of my former school-mates.” [Fidel Castro, “Letters from prison, 1953-1955”, My Early Years, ed. Deborah Shnookal and Pedro Alvarez Tabio, Ocean Press, Melbourne, New York, 2005] A US intelligence report in the later part of the 1940s said about you: “[A] typical example of a young Cuban of a good background who, because of lack of parental education or real education, may soon become a fully-fledged gangster.” [Cited in Herbert Matthews, The Cuban Story] The imperialists considered you their arch enemy, a gangster. And to us, you are the hero, a bright star.

    Your stand made you enemy of the enemies of humanity – the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the forces that plot to pull back the planet to a position hostile to humanity. But they hatch plot after plot in futility as humanity never moves backward, as the planet never revolves in a path opposite to its forward moving journey, as history never repeats.

    Fidel, you embodied hopes and dreams of all of humanity. With your resolute stand and struggle for decades you held high all our dreams, aspirations and struggles.

    The red flag of struggle you unfurled was stained with blood of martyrs – lives laid for the cause of humanity, for the downtrodden, for the exploited, for the deprived. In July 1953, at the age of 26, you led your comrades in an assault on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba. It was a heroic journey you initiated. The journey continued for years, for decades.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/26/fidel-comrade-red-salute/

  26. johnm 30

    Meanwhile back in the Land of the Free. Where you’re free to die from homelessness,starvation and denied healthcare ’cause you got no money! The U$!

    Thanksgiving in Los Angeles: Widespread hunger and homelessness

    While over the Thanksgiving holiday in the US public officials posture as humanists and philanthropists and the media broadcasts hypocritical messages of good will, a closer look reveals a squalid picture of decay affecting wide layers of American society.

    The richest country on earth increasingly displays conditions that are typical of a third world country — homelessness, inequality, poverty, food insecurity and mental illness have become features of American life for millions. California, the richest state in the US, is the quintessential expression of this reality.

    Last August, 25,000 Californians signed a petition urging Governor Jerry Brown to declare a statewide emergency on homelessness. According to conservative figures, there are 115,000 homeless people in the state lacking basic human services.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/11/26/losa-n26.html

    JKey thinks the Sun shines out of the U$’s whatsit! TPPA and all the rest including making a 50mill pile working for their finance crooks! 🙁

  27. Gosman 31

    The defence of economically incompetent brutal despots like Fidel Castro is why the hard left is morally berefit and will unlikely gain enough support in Western democracies to take power.

  28. johnm 32

    Fidel Castro Ruz. His Legacy Will Live Forever

    Fidel’s passing occurs at a time of crisis and upheaval of the World capitalist system.

    The World is at a critical crossroads. At this juncture of our history, most progressive movements towards socialism have been destroyed and defeated through US led wars, military interventions, destabilization campaigns, coups d’etats.

    The socialist project in Cuba prevails despite the US economic blockade, CIA intelligence ops and dirty politics.

    Let us be under no illusions. Washington’s intent is not only to destroy and undermine the Cuban Revolution but also to erase the history of socialism.

    Fidel Lives.

    The battle against war and neoliberalism nonetheless prevails.
    For the concurrent demise of neoliberalism and militarization which destroy people’s lives,

    For the outright criminalization of America’s imperial wars,

    For a World of Social Justice with a true “responsibility to protect” our fellow human beings,

    Long Live Fidel Castro

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/fidel-castro-ruz-his-legacy-will-live-forever/5559030

  29. johnm 33

    Fidel Castro: Charismatic Revolutionary Leader Who Defied the Odds

    by Peter Mayo

    According to a 2006 WWF (World Wildlife Federation) report, Cuba is the only country in the world with sustainable development. It combined high human development standards (high literacy and health indexes) with a low ecological footprint; this includes the rate of electricity consumed and carbon dioxide emitted per capita. In making use of old cars and other products, which are made to function thanks to some superb mechanics and technicians, Castro’s Cuba has militated against the prevalent ‘consumer culture ideology’ of obsolescence with its devastating planetary effects.

    The link with the plight of Afro-Americans suggests that Castro and his collaborators were fully conscious of the existence of the ‘third world’ in the ‘first world.’ In 2004, Castro offered help to the ‘wretched and oppressed’ of the US. The oppressed Americans, on this occasion, were the impoverished of New Orleans.

    This occurred in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Castro offered to provide access to Cuba’s never ending supply of high quality doctors and health workers to assist those whose home and communities had been devastated by the storm. Some interpreted the humanitarian gesture as Castro’s ultimate insult to his mighty neighbour; and indeed US leaders must have regarded it so, promptly refusing the offer. This gesture was interpreted as signalling Cuba’s commitment to the global south, defined widely. Under Castro’s leadership, Cuba placed its educational and medical facilities at the service of not only its own people and celebrities but also the common people of Africa, Asia and many other parts of the world. There emerged a series of bilateral, trilateral or multilateral agreements in the context of South-to-South cooperation, which contrasted with the more global and dominant models of hierarchical North-South relations, often denounced for maintaining former colonies in a colonial bind. As an example of this ‘delinking’ process, Venezuelan oil at low prices and interest rates were exchanged, during the Chavez and Maduro years, for Cuban teachers, doctors and health workers.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/28/fidel-castro-charismatic-revolutionary-leader-who-defied-the-odds/

  30. Byd0nz 34

    The greedy capitalist cuban remnants
    In florida may rejoice
    But for the patriot Cubans of Cuba
    Still heed the words of his voice.
    Staunch till the last breath
    Socialism measured his worth
    And delivered equallity to the people
    True freedom from the day of their birth.
    So many attemps on his life
    The american presidents tried
    To kill the revolution but ha ha
    It was american presidents that died.
    Their inhuman sanctions all failed
    Cuba stands tall and proud
    Free from those Florida parasites
    That screem their hatred out loud.
    But for the working class of the world
    We rejoice in his achievement
    We embrace his communist truth
    And bow in berevement.

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  • Proactive Calendar Release – October 2021
    ...
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