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Reflections on the Death of Fidel

Reflections on the Death of Fidel

Steve Wasserman

Nearly 60 years ago, Herbert Matthews of The New York Times interviewed a rebel-with-a-cause most people thought was dead. Matthews’ scoop in the tangled jungle of Cuba’s Sierra Maestra proved that the man was alive. His name (which in its entirety was but four syllables) would soon come to be known the world over. To his followers, the first two syllables would suffice: “Fi-del.”

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Well balanced article. Showed the good and the bad. A giant personality has left the world stage.


Fidel’s gifts to the Cuban people were free education, healthcare, food and shelter. Had he faltered, the oligarchy would have taken those away. These are not small things, but what gives all Cubans the freedom and security to sing and dance their lives away.

Direct Democracy


To bligh:

Agree !

Plato (no friend of democracy) thought a country would be best governed by a benevolent dictator, a person of great intelligence trained from childhood to govern with intelligence and justice. A person like Fidel Castro.

When we compare what US “democracy” delivered to us on November 8th with Fidel’s legacy, Plato’s thoughts might warrant our consideration.


This is an excellent article. It brought back memories.

  • In 1957, recovering from the horrors of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, I was posted to a school in Key West.
  • We got a short break and a buddy and I decided to spend it in Havana. I was shocked. At the time, Havana seemed to me to be a huge whorehouse and gambling den, filled with poor people selling themselves for survival. As you walked down a street, invitations were spoken through shutters of countless doors. You were besieged by lottery ticket salesmen and street beggars every time you stepped out of the hotel.
  • We were strolling around seeing the sights and walked up the front steps of some government building when we were surrounded by soldiers who seemed to be as willing to shoot us as to drive us back down the steps.
  • When we got back to the US, I began hearing and reading about a young revolutionary who was against Batista and all he stood for. Over the next couple of years, I read a lot about this Castro, and how he wanted to clean up Cuba and get rid of the mob, which felt it owned Cuba.
  • When I finally got out of the Navy, I seriously thought about joining up to fight with Castro, but had no idea as to how to go about it. I had just turned twenty-one and was trying to make a living, sneak in some schooling, and the dream of Cuba faded, though I often read of his exploits with great interest. I’ve often chuckled at the thought that I would probably have been shot by him for being not afraid to express my mind, and to argue with policies I didn’t agree with, but I always respected and admired him for his accomplishments and his courage in facing down powerful governments and institutions, many of whom wanted him dead.
  • I never realized that he was only eleven years older than me.
  • Vale, Fidel. You will live on in memory.

Nor could the Cuban revolution be exported, as Castro hoped, despite the exemplary work of tens of thousands of doctors and teachers in a score of countries. - Steve Wasserman

Mr. Wasserman, your comment reflects a poor knowledge of Latin America.

You overlooked:

  1. The socialist government of Salvador Allende in power until the US backed coup that brought in Pinochet.
  2. The New Jewel government in Grenada until the war criminal, Ronald Reagan, invaded.
  3. The Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua that succeeded in surviving Ronald Reagan’s illegal Contra insurgency.
  4. The socialist Frente Farabundo Marti of El Salvador that battled Ronald Reagan’s terrorist death squads.
  5. The socialist leaning government of Michael Manley in Jamaica.
  6. The socialist leaning government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti.
  7. The socialist government of Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela.
  8. The socialist leaning government of Evo Morales in Boliva.
  9. The socialist leaning government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador.
    11 - 15. The former socialist leaning governments of Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina, Lula and Rousseff in Brazil, Bachalet in Chile, Lugo in Paraguay, Mujica in Uruguay.

His early ideals of libertarian socialism are nowhere in evidence. Today it is abundantly clear that Castro was essentially a practical caudillo for whom power mattered above all else. - Steve Wasserman

Mr. Wasserman, are you aware of the growth in worker run cooperatives in Cuba?

See: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/16/cooperatives-becoming-bigger-part-of-cubas-reforms/


No mention of the horrible conditions of pre-revolutionary Cuba imposed by Batista (with US backing). It’s not merely about casinos and celebrities - poverty and illness were widespread and unrelieved by any government or corporate institutions, workers were treated brutally, union organisers were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Do you reckon this dictatorial regime had anything to do with the Cuban Revolution and its remarkable popularity? If so, you ought to mention it. If not, the mind boggles…

to say nothing of the Fidel’s and Cuba’s inspiration to thousands and millions of activists and progressive all over the world…