The recent news of the illness of Cuban President Fidel Castro, has unleashed a ghoulish glee in Miami, and also in the White House. The spectacle of people dancing in the streets of Miami, at news of Fidel’s sickness was disgraceful.
Few of us who have grown up under the propaganda that passes for the corporate media have any real idea of either Castro’s or Cuba’s immense social accomplishments, while under the threat of U.S. invasion and destruction.
As a student of history, I’m often amazed at what we don’t know about other people, even those as close as Cuba. If Americans truly supported democracy, instead of dictatorships, the name Fidel Castro may never have become known to us. That’s because Castro, as a young man, newly graduated from law school, endeavored to run for the Cuban Senate as a “clean government” candidate. His platform opposed political repression and corruption, and how major Cuban institutions had been bought off by the U.S.-Mafia elites. He spoke out against vende-patrias (sell-outs) among the politicians, and also denounced the press because journalists were being bought with botellas (or bribes). He opposed the corruption of the dictatorship’s courts. Guess who the U.S. supported? The U.S. supported the dictator, Fulgencia Batista, a man who was legendary for his brutality and his corruption.
Given the legal challenge posed by the young Castro, his election was scuttled by the Batista regime, and Castro learned that there was no “legal” way to oppose the regime. The U.S. has always preferred its own brutal puppets to democrats, and has done so on every continent in the world. What we also don’t hear about, is the actions of the United States against Cuba, which can only be called terrorism. Under either “Operation Pluto”, “Operation Mongoose”, “Operation JM Wave”, the U.S. has bombed factories, plotted overthrow, planned and tried to carry out assassinations, worked with organized crime, destroyed crops and other crimes. The famous Church Committee reports unveiled several assassination attempts against Fidel, which were “coordinated with the Mafia dons Meyer Lansky, John Roselli, Sam Giancana, and Santo Trafficante”, all of whom owned businesses on the island. Before the Cuban Revolution, the island was called a “Mafia paradise”, for the Mafia leaders owned casinos, nightclubs, whorehouses, and also legitimate businesses, like banks, airlines, TV stations, and newspapers. For example, in one 8 month period alone, (in 1961) the CIA committed 5,780 acts of sabotage and terrorism against , including several attempts to assassinate, the Cuban president.
The U.S.-supported repression, brutality and corruption forced Fidel, and millions of other Cubans, to become revolutionaries, instead of democrats. And, once a revolutionary, it forced him to become an internationalist, supporting freedom struggles all around the world.
In late 1975, when armies of the racist regime of South Africa invaded Angola, it was that sent 18,000 troops to assist the beleaguered African state. By year’s end, Cuba’s 36,000 soldiers, with their Angolan allies, bested South Africa in the field, forcing them to retreat, for the first time in the history of apartheid. It was, Fidel would later say, an “African Giron”, a reference to Cuba’s battlefield victory over the United States in the Bay of Pigs . (The United States, of course, supported the South Africans, and several brutal terrorist armies, the FNLA, and UNITA).
While it may be true that Fidel is ailing, it’s also true that he, and the Revolution that he helped lead, has been a force for good in the world, on the side of the oppressed, not the oppressors. It has been on the side of freedom, not slavery.
Consider, if you will, how many people, in Vietnam, in Chile, in Argentina, in Iraq, in South Africa, in Palestine, have suffered needlessly, because of the actions, exploitation, support of dictators, secret wars of repression, by US presidents over these last 50 years.
How many assassinations, bombings, stolen elections, proxy wars, etc., etc., have been plotted in the dens of the White House against the peoples of the world?
So we join our Cuban friends in saying: !Viva Fidel! !Viva la Revolución Cubana! !Vencerémos!
[Source: Nieto, Clara. Masters of War: Latin America and Aggression ( New York : Seven Stories Press, 2003), pp. 33, 78-9, 217)]
Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal