The Plastic Hippo

November 27, 2016

Home run

Filed under: History,Music,Politics,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 11:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,
Big hitter

Big hitter

The chances of Fidel Castro living to the ripe old age of 90 seemed rather slim given that the most powerful nation on earth has devoted considerable energy, resources and the best part of 60 years attempting to secure his removal and death.

However, the wily old dictator and tyrant managed to avoid the exploding cigars and the foot powder intended to make his beard fall out and escaped the best efforts of the CIA unlike Salvador Allende, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and possibly John F Kennedy. The botched Bay of Pigs invasion was batted away and the Cuban missile crisis saw the Soviet nukes publicly removed from Cuba and the American nukes secretly removed from Turkey. Castro outlived a long line of American presidents, a shorter line of Soviet and Russian leaders and an entire cast of South American pantomime villains from Pinochet to Chavez.

His detractors quite rightly talk of the disappeared, firing squads, a complete absence of democratic accountability and nostalgically yearn for the days when the Cuban people were basically serfs to a family of gangsters. His admirers point to full employment rights and fair pay, quality universal health care and free and comprehensive education. It might be best to ask the serfs which family of gangsters they prefer but do not mention the disappeared in Guantanamo Bay.

Given that sanctions, embargoes and blockades imposed by the United States has resulted in Cuba being under siege for 50 odd years and external support abruptly ending with the fall of the Soviet empire, small Cuba has done quite well for itself. It has even been able to afford foreign military adventures in the Middle East, Ogaden, Angola and elsewhere and has funded health and education across Africa and Central and South America. Cuba did as much if not more to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone than any other nation and unlike the UK, has not attempted to suspend or prosecute nurses who risked their lives to save total strangers.

With Castro finally dead, the media that despised him as a tyrant publish pictures of him with Khrushchev, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein and the media that regard him as a liberator publish pictures of him with the Pope and Nelson Mandela. For Cuban exiles, this Thanksgiving weekend must be particularly poignant in Miami`s Little Havana. It might just be the last one before the deportations start.

Setting aside the likes of Pol Pot and Idi Amin, Castro was no more a hero or villain than most other national leaders and although more flamboyant than the majority of elected and unelected crooks and tyrants, he performed one service to humanity that cannot be overlooked. As a tenacious thorn in the side of United States he offered at least a token opposition to corporate led superpower expansionism and, in his own way, presented an ideological barrier to Soviet bloc colonialism. In these strange days, now of all times we need leaders brave enough to stand up to the bullies throwing curved balls from the pitcher`s mound.

Así que buenas noches El Comandante y buenas noches a Ernesto. Duerme bien y dulces sueños hasta siempre.

Until forever…

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