Remembering the Greatest Third World Leader: Cuba's Dr Fidel Castro

One man who has won the admiration of the third world is Dr Fidel Castro. This bearded cigar smoking Cuban revolutionary is like a brand name. He stood up to the might of Uncle Sam and carved a niche of his own in world history. For the record he is the longest serving President of any country in the world. He retired in 2006 and handed over the reins to his brother Raul Castro. As on date the Castro brothers have ruled Cuba for 54 years and that is a record that will be difficult to emulate.

Coming to Power

Castro came to power in 1959 when he landed in Cuba with a band of revolutionaries. These revolutionaries moved towards Havana and the small group swelled to thousands as people en masse joined them with a one point aim to overthrow the American puppet Batista. This man fled and Castro came to the helm of affairs in Cuba.

The Americans initially supported but Castro, but they soon realized that Castro wanted to chart a separate path. He enforced socialism and targeted the American owned industries that controlled 90% of the Cuban economy. At that time the US decided that it would be better to get rid of Castro. Accordingly plans were hatched to overthrow Castro with the help of Cuban exiles, many of whom opposed Castro

The Bay of Pigs Invasion

The fledgling government now faced its first test in 1960 as the CIA launched an invasion with the help of Cuban exiles in the USA. Kennedy was the President at the time of the invasion, but the plans were drafted and approved earlier during the presidency of General Ike.

The invasion known as the Bay of Pigs invasion began with much fanfare with complete support from the CIA. The USA assumed that Castro would be overthrown easily. But it did not happen that way as the invasion got bogged down. The anticipated popular uprising against Castro did not take place and the Cuban exiles supported by the CIA were defeated. Tens were captured and many surrendered. The US and its citizens were surprised. It showed that Castro had a groundswell of support among the masses.

The 1962 Missile Crisis and the Quid Pro Quo

In 1962 the Cuban missile crisis erupted when the Soviet government started erecting missiles in Cuba. Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba and Nikita Khrushchev, the realist that he was agreed to dismantle the missiles. But a secret protocol included a quid pro quo that was agreed to by Kennedy. In this the USA agreed not to destabilize the Cuba regime. In addition as part of the deal the USA dismantled missiles from Turkey. This was a bitter pill for the USA and ensured the survival of the communist government in Cuba.

The US has honored this commitment till date. The result is that Castro remained in power and became a bone in the US throat. Thus despite all the touting of a US victory, Kennedy had to pay a heavy price for it in the shape of a communist government in Cuba. For Castro had embraced Marxism and communism was the de facto economic policy in Cuba.

Castro and Power

The US press and the so called free world regularly publicized ‘news’ of Castro’s atrocities. But independent observers were of the view that the people targeted were mostly the rich sugar barons who were in any case close to the US. Economically also the USA was hit as Castro nationalized all foreign companies. As the USA controlled 90% of Cuban economy, they were badly hit. But the agreement of Kennedy gave them no leeway to attack Castro.

Castro thus thrived and even talked of exporting his revolution to other South American countries. Here he failed as the conditions in Cuba could not be replicated in other South American countries.

Orderly Exit of Fidel Castro

Castro ruled till 2006 till his health failed him and he handed over the reins of power to his brother Raul Castro. Raul has been at the helm of affairs since then and in the 2013 party Congress announced that he would retire in 2018 as he is already 81. This is a magnificent gesture and an appreciation of ground realities as a successor in the 52 year old Miguel Diaz- Cannel is appointed first Vice President. An orderly succession is thus on the line. When Raul retires in 2018, the Castro brothers would have made history by ruling for 59 years. A wonderful achievement.

Last Word

American propaganda has failed to overthrow the Castro brothers, as even after the collapse of the Soviet Union Cuba has rolled ahead. The lot of the common man has improved beyond measure and an element of pride instituted in the third world. Dr. Fidel Castro’s place in world history is assured forever.

For the USA it has been a bitter pill to have a communist government in its own backyard. Unfortunately the secret protocol agreed by Kennedy with Nikita Khrushchev in 1962 tied the hands of successive American presidents.

For the third world Dr Fidel Castro is a shining light and remains a much respected figure in the Non Aligned movement. Perhaps there may never be another Fidel ever.

More by this Author


Comments 31 comments

alexsaez1983 3 years ago

I find your picture of Castro to be a bit biased. He isn't a hero, he's a murderous dictator. My father is Cuban, and he has nothing good to say about the economic and political conditions Castro brought. Say what you will about America and capitalism (I'm not even remotely right wing), but a capitalist economy - while quite flawed - is the lesser of the two evils when compared to communism (not socialism, COMMUNISM).

Also, flat-out denying that Castro is guilty of mass murder is the same as denying the Holocaust. The evidence is there. Simply ignoring it won't make it fit your beliefs.

I highly recommend a book for you called "The Black Book of Communism". It comes with a detailed statistical breakdown of death tolls among communist nations, as well as first-hand accounts of the conditions at Castro's "rehabilitation" camps (which one of my dad's friends was sent to for - get this - listening to an American radio station).


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Dear brother Alex, thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it , but I have written the view of Castro as to what the third and developing world feel about him. Even when the Indian Prime Minster Man Mohan Singh met Castro, he remarked that he was honored to be in the presence of one of the greatest leaders in the world.

Some excesses may have been committed , but his over all stamp on the world cannot be erased.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

Yes, his stamp on the world as creating a poverty-stricken country with draconian censorship laws, record high prostitution rates, dark age quality health care resources (except for the tourist hospitals, which get all the innovation) and routine persecution of blacks and homosexuals. There are actually some countries that would have him arrested for war crimes if he set foot on their soil.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Dear Alex, one swallow does not make a summer. However I appreciate your opinion. Have a look at the billions in the third world who look up to Castro as a great leader of the 20th century. A few people do not matter before billions.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

Are you saying a few people don't matter because the majority rules? So because more people like Castro, that makes him good? Well, Hitler had the majority support once, I guess that makes him good too. It's not about how many people know, it's about the truth. This is the truth about Castro. If the "billions" you allege love Castro, they love him as an illusion - the lie that seems to propagate from the super-extreme left.

But let's say for the sake of argument that the majority opinion is what matters. The majority of Cuba doesn't want Castro anymore. That's why my father was one of over 10,000 Cubans who desperately crowded into an embassy to escape the country a little over 30 years ago. Then let's not forget the people who risk their lives on makeshift boats. According to your logic, Castro isn't worthy of his people's support and thus anyone who favors him is in the wrong.

You say a few people don't matter before billions. Well, any self-respecting democratic country in the world - in addition to most of the population - see Castro for what he really is. So does the U.N. and other human rights organizations. Castro is a monster. Even if he did accomplish all those things he's worshiped for (which he didn't), that doesn't overshadow his crimes or his regime. Hitler did a lot of things to help Germany, but he deserves no praise because he was a tyrant unlike any in recent history.

I don't mean to come across as harsh, but I think it's a travesty that people out there actually think Castro is a hero.


pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 3 years ago from Pune( India)

Sir,

excesses and abuse of power is a part of any system whetted democratic and non-democratic so one can not undervalue ruler or regime there.

Fidel Castro was great leader and diamond of third world.

I am an Indian and having affection to this leader even though i am not a Communist.

I am not a crone of any ism but development of Cuba and upliftment of poors was done under Castro's leadership.

long live comrade Castro.

pramodgokhale


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thank you for your comment. I have already stated what I had to. Castro remains a great world leader and will go down as such in history


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thank you Promod. It's nice to know that you are part of the billions who know Fidel Castro as a great third world leader.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

Pram, I'm sorry but you're wrong.

From Human Rights Watch: "Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. The government of Raúl Castro *continues* to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile. Although the Cuban government released dozens of political prisoners on the condition that they leave the country, the government continues to sentence dissidents in closed, summary trials. The government has also relied increasingly upon arbitrary arrests and short-term detentions to restrict the basic rights of its critics, including the right to assemble and move freely."

As many as 33,000 people have been executed for simply voicing opposition. This doesn't count the ones who are worked to death in inhumane conditions. Both of you are so ignorant, it makes me want to cry. Castro does NOT deserve our praise.

And Pram, just because you have some skewed perception about Castro doesn't make it right. There was a lot of Indian propaganda about Osama Bin Laden being a great freedom-fighter, but that wasn't true either.

Pram, the "excesses and abuse of power" found in western democracies are nothing compared to those of communist countries. There is also accountability in the west. If a leader blatantly ignores a serious rule, he/she can be removed from office. Not the case with communism.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Dear Alex, Correction. Indians never claimed Osama was a freedom fighter. In fact India was hunting for him and other Islamic terrorists.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

MG, I'm not saying all of India felt that way, but there were people putting on plays depicting Bin Laden in a positive light.


Mklow1 3 years ago

I think the lasting impression of Cuban/Castro Communist will be one of failure. Merely "staying alive" does not constitute success and they are barely hanging on by a thread and only because of handouts from their allies. The turmoil in Venezuela will be the tipping point and after the Castro brothers are long gone and their knives are off the throats of the people, you will hear them sing a different tune.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

Thank you, Mklo1. Finally someone with a functioning brain cell and a grasp of reality joins the conversation. The author and his fellow commenter are so misinformed. This image of Castro is comparable to calling Hitler a great humanitarian who should be an inspiration to us all.


Mklow1 3 years ago

My family is also from Cuba, so I don't think that people without that kind of firsthand information can really grasp what is going on there.

There are always those that like to throw out that the majority in Cuba support Castro, but when one's well being is at stake, what do you expect. You will find a different tune once they leave the island.


pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 3 years ago from Pune( India)

Sir,

hypocrisy of USA was exposed again and again and they claim democracy and human rights confined to USA inside. It is not necessary to replicate US type democracy and capitalist system in other nations and such diktat are outdated and appropriate model of democracy or republic can be installed by local community and not by outsiders by force.

USA had funded military dictators across the globe and flourished their arms industry and tested their weapons and technologies.

They have no right to react what happens in other nations.

pramod gokhale


Mklow1 3 years ago

My friend, you confuse US actions with the question of whether Castro is a hero and Cuban communism is a success. Neither are correct no matter what actions the US took.

People at this Hub also seem to think that he did well considering Fulgencio Batista's regime was so evil. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Let me ask you this; Have you ever been to Cuba? I have.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

Pram, your moral equivalency argument is a weak red herring. Yes, the U.S. has done some terrible things to advance its own interests, and I certainly don't condone that. But to sit here and say that America is just as bad as Cuba (which indirectly means you admit to Castro's crimes) is completely false. Your opinion of Castro is completely disconnected from reality, and could only be true in a fantasy land. This Hub is a lie. It's a lie to your followers here and a lie to anyone who has the misfortune of coming across this piece.

You think Castro's such a successful leader? Then explain the insane prostitution rates, the malnutrition, the poverty. I already provided you with quotations from a reliable source attesting to the crimes of that regime. Are you just going to conveniently ignore that? Maybe you could toss some proof my way that contradicts the truth.

When my father left Cuba along with thousands of others, the American military scrambled to receive them, setting up tents and feeding military rations to the refugees. My father said it was the best food he'd eaten in decades. What does that say? Oh, and keep in mind that Castro and his friends lived like kings, eating whatever they wanted and laughing while their people suffered. That's the hypocrisy of communism.


Mklow1 3 years ago

Amen to that, brother!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

I appreciate your views. I have been to Cuba and have not noticed what you are writing, but you are entitled to your opinion


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Your comment is appreciated, but off mark. I have been to Cuba and seen the mass support of Castro. Its sad some Cuban want to deny the greatness of Castro


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Nice comment. Most of the Cuban opposing Castro are in US and many are propped by CIA. Can't forget the Bay of Pigs invasion launched by CIA with Cuban exiles as fodder.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

CIA has been trying to overthrow Castro. Yes, I have been to Cuba. Lovely place. Long live Castro


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

I appreciate your views, but never get worked up. Like Gandhi, the world is fine place, just because you don't agree with the hub does not make it a lie


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a long time ago. Things have changed. You say your visiting Cuba means you know the feelings of the general population. Did you survey them all? Are you not aware that they live in constant paranoia knowing secret police can be listening at any time, and that you yourself could very well be one?

"I have been to Cuba and have not noticed what you are writing, but you are entitled to your opinion." Oh, so you mean the government didn't freely show you the labour camps and prisons overflowing with sewage? Weird. That's on the tour. And the prostitutes didn't just walk up to you and say "hi, I'm a prostitute"? Strange. I guess all those human rights reports are wrong, because after all, you didn't see any of it.

Maybe you should ask the Cuban exiles living in Florida and throughout the world. See what they have to say and maybe you'd get some real perspective.

The facts that you state in your hub as they pertain to history are not lies, I'll grant you that. But the way you portray Castro is completely off base. I've quoted proof that he's a murder. If my father was here, he'd tell you about his neighbour that disappeared and the other that spent 6 months in a labour camp for listening to an American radio station.

"Yes, I have been to Cuba. Lovely place." Congratulations. You just gave money to a monster and his regime.

"Long live Castro". That's just disgusting. I feel sorry for you. I really do. Praising a monster is terrible, and you're spitting in the face of those who have suffered, continue to suffer or have died in that regime. I hope one day you get past your deluded biases and see people like Castro for what they really are.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thank you Alex. Its best to stop this discussion and say that we agree to disagree.


Mklow1 3 years ago

Alex,

That means that he will start deleting your comments like he did mine. Censorship is the way of the communist.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

What a bluff !! I haven't deleted a single content. I don't believe in it. Only I have better things to do than just keep discussing Castro.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore Author

What a bluff !! I haven't deleted a single content. I don't believe in it. Only I have better things to do than just keep discussing Castro.


alexsaez1983 3 years ago

MG, I understand the "agree to disagree" suggestion, otherwise you're right, this will go on forever.

That being said, the statements I made were not opinions. Saying that Cuba has high prostitution rates, oppression, torture, malnutrition and hypocrisy are facts. Quoting a legitimate source like "Human Rights Watch" isn't an opinion either. Even if what I said was wrong (which it isn't), you can't dismiss what I say as mere opinion.

Now, you saying Castro is a great leader, that's an opinion, just like what I say about him being a monster. The difference is, you haven't offered a shred of evidence to support your views. Not even your hub has anything to back it up. You simply took real historical facts and commented on them from a favourable point of view.

I've written hubs that generated strong reactions, but I never tried to suggest the discussion be closed. If you're going to make extreme statements like calling a monster a hero, be prepared to stand by those claims and back them up. Otherwise, don't make hubs like these.

I'm fine with not discussing this further, but just remember that the reason you want to quit defending your views is because you know you can't do it. I hope that in the future, you research before you come to a conclusion.


Mklow1 3 years ago

MG Singh said: "What a bluff !! I haven't deleted a single content. I don't believe in it. Only I have better things to do than just keep discussing Castro."

MG, now everyone can see what kind of person we are dealing with. All they have to do is go to my ACTIVITY and see I have an unapproved comment on this Hub. It was here before and now it isn't, so, what do you have to say about that? lol, I am curious to see what your response will be. I am sure this will be deleted, too.


Mklow1 3 years ago

Thank you for putting it back up

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working