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Former Cuban Leader Fidel Castro Dies At 90

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Former Cuban Leader Fidel Castro Dies At 90

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Fidel Castro dead at age 90

HAVANA (Reuters) – Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday. He was 90.

A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that had struggled against colonial rule.

He had been in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He formally ceded power to his younger brother Raul Castro two years later.

Wearing a green military uniform, a somber Raul Castro, 85, appeared on state television on Friday night to announce his brother’s death.

“At 10.29 at night, the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died,” he said, without giving a cause of death.

“Ever onward, to victory,” he said, using the slogan of the Cuban revolution.

Tributes came in from allies, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who said “revolutionaries of the world must follow his legacy.”

Although Raul Castro always glorified his older brother, he has changed Cuba since taking over by introducing market-style economic reforms and agreeing with the United States in December 2014 to re-establish diplomatic ties and end decades of hostility.

Fidel Castro offered only lukewarm support for the deal, raising questions about whether he approved of ending hostilities with his longtime enemy. Some analysts believed his mere presence kept Raul from moving further and faster, while others saw him as either quietly supportive or increasingly irrelevant.

He did not meet Barack Obama when the latter visited Havana earlier this year, the first time a U.S. president had stepped foot on Cuban soil since 1928.

Days later, Castro wrote a scathing newspaper column condemning Obama’s “honey-coated” words and reminding Cubans of the many U.S. efforts to overthrow and weaken the Communist government.

The news of Castro’s death spread slowly among Friday night revelers on the streets of Havana. One famous club that was still open when word came in quickly closed.

Some residents reacted with sadness to the news.

“I’m very upset. Whatever you want to say, he is a public figure that the whole world respected and loved,” said Havana student Sariel Valdespino.

But in Miami, where many exiles from Castro’s Communist government live, a large crowd waving Cuban flags cheered, danced and banged on pots and pans.

Castro’s body will be cremated, according to his wishes. Cuba declared nine days of mourning, during which time the ashes will be taken to different parts of the country. A burial ceremony will be held on Dec. 4.

The bearded Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and ruled Cuba for 49 years with a mix of charisma and iron will, creating a one-party state and becoming a central figure in the Cold War.

He was demonized by the United States and its allies but admired by many leftists around the world, especially socialist revolutionaries in Latin America and Africa.

Nelson Mandela, once freed from prison in 1990, repeatedly thanked Castro for his firm efforts in helping to weaken apartheid.

In April, in a rare public appearance at the Communist Party conference, Fidel Castro shocked party apparatchiks by referring to his own imminent mortality.

“Soon I will be like all the rest. Our turn comes to all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain,” he said.

Castro was last seen by ordinary Cubans in photos showing him engaged in conversation with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang earlier this month.

Transforming Cuba from a playground for rich Americans into a symbol of resistance to Washington, Castro crossed swords with 10 U.S. presidents while in power, and outlasted nine of them.

He fended off a CIA-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 as well as countless assassination attempts.

His alliance with Moscow helped trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, a 13-day showdown with the United States that brought the world the closest it has been to nuclear war.

Wearing green military fatigues and chomping on cigars for many of his years in power, Castro was famous for long, fist-pounding speeches filled with blistering rhetoric, often aimed at the United States.

At home, he swept away capitalism and won support for bringing schools and hospitals to the poor. But he also created legions of enemies and critics, concentrated among the exiles in Miami who fled his rule and saw him as a ruthless tyrant.

“With Castro’s passing, some of the heat may go out of the antagonism between Cuba and the United States, and between Cuba and Miami, which would be good for everyone,” said William M. LeoGrande, co-author of a book on U.S.-Cuba relations.

However, it is not clear if U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump will continue to normalize relations with Cuba or revive tensions and fulfill a campaign promise to close the U.S. embassy in Havana once again.

Castro’s death – which would once have thrown a question mark over Cuba’s future – seems unlikely to trigger a crisis as Raul Castro is firmly ensconced in power.

In his final years, Fidel Castro no longer held leadership posts. He wrote newspaper commentaries on world affairs and occasionally met with foreign leaders but he lived in semi-seclusion.

Still, the passing of the man known to most Cubans as “El Comandante” – the commander – or simply “Fidel” leaves a huge void in the country he dominated for so long. It also underlines the generational change in Cuba’s communist leadership.

Raul Castro vows to step down when his term ends in 2018 and the Communist Party has elevated younger leaders to its Politburo, including 56-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is first vice-president and the heir apparent.

Others in their 50s include Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and economic reform czar Marino Murillo.

The reforms have led to more private enterprise and the lifting of some restrictions on personal freedoms but they aim to strengthen Communist Party rule, not weaken it.

A Jesuit-educated lawyer, Fidel Castro led the revolution that ousted U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista on Jan 1, 1959. Aged 32, he quickly took control of Cuba and sought to transform it into an egalitarian society.

His government improved the living conditions of the very poor, achieved health and literacy levels on a par with rich countries and rid Cuba of a powerful Mafia presence.

But he also tolerated little dissent, jailed opponents, seized private businesses and monopolized the media.

Castro’s opponents labeled him a dictator and hundreds of thousands fled the island.

“The dictator Fidel Castro has died, the cause of many deaths in Cuba, Latin American and Africa,” Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the island’s largest dissident group, the Patriotic Union of Cuba, said on Twitter.

Many dissidents settled in Florida, influencing U.S. policy toward Cuba and plotting Castro’s demise. Some even trained in the Florida swamps for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion.

But they could never dislodge him.

Castro claimed he survived or evaded hundreds of assassination attempts, including some conjured up by the CIA.

In 1962, the United States imposed a damaging trade embargo that Castro blamed for most of Cuba’s ills, using it to his advantage to rally patriotic fury.

Over the years, he expanded his influence by sending Cuban troops into far-away wars, including 350,000 to fight in Africa. They provided critical support to a left-wing government in Angola and contributed to the independence of Namibia in a war that helped end apartheid in South Africa.

He also won friends by sending tens of thousands of Cuban doctors abroad to treat the poor and bringing young people from developing countries to train them as physicians

Born on August 13, 1926, in Biran in eastern Cuba, Castro was the son of a Spanish immigrant who became a wealthy landowner.

Angry at social conditions and Batista’s dictatorship, Castro launched his revolution on July 26, 1953, with a failed assault on the Moncada barracks in the eastern city of Santiago.

“History will absolve me,” he declared during his trial for the attack.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was released in 1955 after a pardon that would come back to haunt Batista.

Castro went into exile in Mexico and prepared a small rebel army to fight Batista. It included Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who became his comrade-in-arms.

In December 1956, Castro and a rag-tag band of 81 followers sailed to Cuba aboard a badly overloaded yacht called “Granma”.

Only 12, including him, his brother and Guevara, escaped a government ambush when they landed in eastern Cuba.

Taking refuge in the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains, they built a guerrilla force of several thousand fighters who, along with urban rebel groups, defeated Batista’s military in just over two years.

Early in his rule, at the height of the Cold War, Castro allied Cuba to the Soviet Union, which protected the Caribbean island and was its principal benefactor for three decades.

The alliance brought in $4 billion worth of aid annually, including everything from oil to guns, but also provoked the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States discovered Soviet missiles on the island.

Convinced that the United States was about to invade Cuba, Castro urged the Soviets to launch a nuclear attack.

Cooler heads prevailed. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy agreed the Soviets would withdraw the missiles in return for a U.S. promise never to invade Cuba. The United States also secretly agreed to remove its nuclear missiles from Turkey.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, an isolated Cuba fell into an economic crisis that lasted for years and was known as the “special period”. Food, transport and basics such as soap were scarce and energy shortages led to frequent and long blackouts.

Castro undertook a series of tentative economic reforms to get through the crisis, including opening up to foreign tourism.

The economy improved when Venezuela’s late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who looked up to Castro as a hero, came to the rescue with cheap oil. Aid from communist-run China also helped, but Venezuelan support for Cuba has been scaled down since Chavez’s death in 2013.

Plagued by chronic economic problems, Cuba’s population of 11 million has endured years of hardship, although not the deep poverty, violent crime and government neglect of many other developing countries.

Cubans earn on average the equivalent of $20 a month and struggle to make ends meet even in an economy where education and health care are free and many basic goods and services are heavily subsidized.

For most Cubans, Castro has been the ubiquitous figure of their entire life.

Many still love him and share his faith in a communist future, and even some who abandoned their political belief still view him with respect.

“For everyone in Cuba and outside his death is very sad,” said Havana resident Luis Martinez. “It is very painful news.”

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Marc Frank; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Kieran Murray and Hugh Lawson)

IMAGE: Cuba’s President Fidel Castro gestures during a tour of Paris in this March 15, 1995 file photo.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files

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43 Comments

  1. mpjt16 November 26, 2016

    It is interesting to hear the media covering his death. When i was in savanna several years ago, we visited the US consulate. They said there were more people assigned there than at any other consulate in the world. They also said that trade was already happening. Chicken and apples were most prominently mentioned.
    Most interesting was a comment by a Cuban official that, while some capitalist changes were being made, they were hesitant to go too fast for fear of becoming like the Eastern block countries that saw massive corruption and oligarchs emerge from their too fast a change to a free market. Also, I was surprised to learn that any Cuban that came to the US received special treatment and was granted a green card immediately. No questions asked. Compare that illegal to one coming from Central America or Mexico.
    It was also a surprise that Cubans went back and forth from Florida regularly with huge quantities of consumer goods. Watching the baggage being removed I could see dozens of TVs and other scarce items.
    Everyone seemed to like the idea of change but they also seemed content with the pace of change. After fifty years of nothing, I guess a little seemed like a lot.
    For most, Castro was a huge improvement over Batista and his American backers. When we turned our back on Cuba, what option did they have besides Russia? The wealthy Cubans that raped the country under Batista ran to the US and then bought the US policy. Had we simply treated Cuba like we did most totalitarian governments in that era, things would be much different.

    Reply
    1. tomtype November 26, 2016

      Remember it also served Castro’s purposes to have the US be an threat than just a placit enemy. It never hurt him much if he occasionally poked the lion to make him roar. Just to remind the Cuban people;who was in charge and why.

      1. mpjt16 November 26, 2016

        Couldn’t agree more. It seems every country needs someone or thing to fear and revile. Makes the guys in power seem more necessary.

    2. johninPCFL November 26, 2016

      I found it ironic that NYC’s first responders to 911 had to go to Cuba for treatment when American medical treatment had driven them bankrupt.
      Where was Rudy? Why wasn’t he out raising money for their treatment?

      1. mpjt16 November 26, 2016

        Our history with Cuba has always sucked. First with the gangsters running the country with their puppet Batista then by being bought off by the wealthy Cubans who left in 1959/60. Certainly, Castro was a dictator but he might have been a dictator like Chang Kai Shek in Taiwan. Or the Saudis or the Shah of Iran or ……They didn’t have the political clout that the Cubans did. But we certainly pick and choose our dictators well.

    3. dbtheonly November 26, 2016

      Castro’s security state and apparatus are certainly no highlight.

      But

      Let the good a man does live on beyond him
      While the evil lies interred with his bones.

      (Probably made a hash of the quote)

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 26, 2016

    Another of numerous parallel chapters in the drama of human evolution has ended. Despite the disastrous consequences of communism, similar disasters happened under Batista, and the Spanish colonial powers before him. Cuba’s struggles with the colonialism of Spain mirrors that of early America in its defiance of Britain.
    America’s noble cause to fight tyranny has devolved to a tyranny similar in many ways to what Castro and Che Gueverra rebelled against—tyranny of the rich like Trump, right-wing billionaires who divert democracy for their own selfish ends, tyranny of Right Wing extremists, of racists elements like alt-right racists, Trumpists, religious bigotry, and excessive greed. Castro arose in defiance of the dictator Batista but succumbed to greed and the lure of power, just as partisan politicians in America eventually would do.
    It’s not unexpected that many so-called Christian Cubans in Miami and elsewhere in America, many of whom benefited financially from the corruption fostered by Batista, would in an anti-Christian manner react like savage idol-worshipers exulting in a man’s death.
    I took comfort knowing that Byron De La Beckwith, and other racists like him, left this world after finally being jailed for the cowardly murder of Medger Evers in Jackson, Miss. But I didn’t go out in the streets shouting with rapture or talk about it with anyone.

    Reply
    1. tomtype November 26, 2016

      Latin America and even much of the world aspired to be like America and its separation from Great Britain but lacked the special preparation of a churches who taught their members to not only question the government but ultimately even the church and its teachings. And they welcomed foreigners and following their own teachings welcomed their conversion into fellow citizens. And encouraged small businesses and farmers rather than big plantations with slaves. And they encouraged education, critical education, and focused on developing skilled tradesmen and on academic skills. So the whole population is educated and skeptical and critical. And the population is growing and growing wealthy as the common people keep their wealth working for themselves rather than a few powerful.
      Slavery was abolished last in Cuba meaning it was a drag on Cuba almost until it gained its independence. And Cuba was the last Latin American land to gain independence. Hardly auspicious. And for a long time the local belief persisted that the reason all those Capitalists wanted to control Cuba was that there were great natural wealth. It took the Russians extensive search for natural resources to finally dissuade Cubans of the truth.
      Castro trained a whole cadre of doctors and nurses and improved health on the island for the poor. But stuck with a primative agriculture and no natural resources and an increasing population Cuba could not mechanize its agriculture and employ everyone because there was no sector to absorb the displaced agricultural workers. And mechanization costs a lot of capital which was taken by the medical and education and overwhelmingly the huge military.

    2. Dominick Vila November 27, 2016

      Castro’s rule, and his legacy, will be determined by historians in years to come. Contrary to what many Americans believe, Fidel Castro enjoyed the support of most Cubans, in part because of his ability to implement one of the best healthcare and education systems in the world, and by his ability to keep the USA out of the internal affairs of that island-nation.
      He was hated by those who benefited during Batista’s dictatorship, and the widespread corruption fostered by the Mafia in that era. Obviously, he was also hated by those determined to establish a free, democratic, system of government. Having said that, he earned the respect of most Latin American countries, who envied his courage and ability to keep the U.S. government away from Cuba’s shores.
      President Obama’s decision to end the embargo that caused tremendous misery on the Cuban people, and that had the unintended consequence of turning Castro into a victim…and the USA into an imperialist bully, paved the way for better relations between the USA and Cuba, economic and business opportunities, and a higher standard of living for the Cuban people.
      As for the inability of so many Latin American countries to transition to a democratic political system, lets not forget which country condemned the wishes of the people in so many Central and South American countries, and Caribbean islands, because they wished to be governed by left of center governments…and supported far right dictatorships such as Trujillo’s, Somoza, Perez Jimenez, and so many others. Those days are long gone, but the memory of what happened, and the greed of companies like United Fruit in Central America, and oil companies in Venezuela, will only be forgiven by deeds, not threats or cheap rhetoric.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker November 26, 2016

    Back in 1960, we in our freshman high school year’s required reading was a wonderful book called, “Cuba, Castro and Communism.” The author was Edward S. Stein. It was perhaps one of the most enlightening books that showed how US imperialism had spread to Cuba and other Central American countries in a way that exploited not just their natural resources like sugar cane and tobacco, but it also showed how the US industrialists managed to become the most powerful in these countries.

    Prior to the Cuban Revolution, the Bush Dynasty owned 11 sugar plantations in Cuba and a half dozen tobacco plantations in the Dominican Republic. What these plantation mentality industrialists couldn’t get away with on US soil, they exploited in these countries. Always, it was broken promises by imperialist industrials, until these peoples woke up to the reality that every mouthful of food they ate was at the mercy of US industrialists after free or as near to free labor as once they enjoyed in the Confederate plantation days.

    Reply
    1. Box November 26, 2016

      Oh there are much better materials than that to read about this topic.

      On one hand, you had business, like the mafia-casinos in Cuba. And Firestone’s overthrow of Liberia to secure rubber for Ford tires, and Dole and Del Monte corruption against the Philippines for sugar and pineapple, and United Fruit in Central America, and DuPont and Union Carbide across the planet, and now Monsanto which is probably the worst of all. And Beatrice Foods who famously said 25 years ago they would eventually dominate all food on the planet so that they could decide what people eat. They compete with Nestle which also wants world domination of food.

      Oh, this needs its own paragraph, lets not forget T. Boone Pickens who just a few years ago announced he was buying up all water lands possible so that HE could decide who gets water, depending on how deep their wallet is. WATER? You take water, we all die in a week.

      OK….then on the other hand, you had the US govt itself overthrowing Central American govts, and did so also in Argentina–the whole govt itself, not simply a business sector in a country.

      NOW come to the point. Where is the protest of these things? Trump isnt the culprit of the above, an opposite sex loving real estate dealer from NYC, its Soros. You know what a corporate raider is, Soros is a country raider. He seeks out weak and unstable countries, shorts the currencies and brings the countries to their knees. You can hear him pridefully say that himself in the video “we found it! 60 Minutes….” He wants the USA. He wants Haiti. He almost got Russia and failed. He takes pride in his a-morality and says that his profits take precedence over social responsibility. See the vid before its gone. It had 2 million hits in its first week. YOUR enemy isnt Trump, MY enemy isnt Hillary, OUR enemy is Soros, Open Society, Quantum Fund. Do you know right now this moment Open Society is working to overthrow Malaysia? WE have to fight to the true enemies but understand first who they really are.

      Imperialism is a core problem or situation of every country with the horsepower to accomplish it, not only USA. In our case its called Manifest Destiny which half the country believes in. Its existed since 1776 and will never go away. In this sense its better to forget the topic and simply create the best life you can because time is too short. But if you want to fight, start by arresting Soros for treason and sedition because he is guilty of both.
      http://www.redflagnews.com/headlines-2016/george-soros-can-be-charged-with-treason-and-sedition

      1. dtgraham November 27, 2016

        I read your link, even though I pretty much knew beforehand what I was going to see. In the end, there’s really no hope for any nation who accepts this as legitimate news among roughly half of it’s population.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker November 27, 2016

          Box Brain is just that. No real intelligence. Just the same old dried out reshaping of truth and facts.

          What Boxie and his Frat Boys club didn’t bargain for is that they are now up against men richer than their Penthouse Teflon Don.

          1. dtgraham November 27, 2016

            That Redflag link was just wackaloon stuff. Pure nutball. How in the hell do you get to the point in life where this is making sense to you? Seriously. These guys on the right produce these loonytoon links like they’re revelations from the illuminati. They’re more like the ravings from crazytown.

          2. Eleanore Whitaker November 28, 2016

            DT…I was president of our Lion’s Club twice in 12 years. One of the duties was to create volunteer programs. One of those programs was at a former NJ mental hospital. We were told we had to create a monthly visiting program for the least mentally dangerous.

            I hated the idea of involving all of our members in that particular program only because I then believed there was no real value to the group. I was so wrong. It was an eyeful I will never forget.

            I saw and spoke with several of the mildly mentally ill on a regular basis. What I came away with was several things that are so like these right wingers:
            . narcissism
            . psycho sociopathic
            . reversed reality
            . inability to accept change

            The one young man I was charged with spending time with wore a heavy winter coat in the dead of winter. When I asked him why, he said, “It is hot out.” I didn’t get it until the psych nurse told me he had a reversed reality. So, if it was hot outside, he felt he should feel hot by wearing a thick coat.

            Sound familiar? The other thing I learned was how easy it is to slip into their mentally unbalanced dimension. While I may understand them, I dare not allow acceptance of their reversed reality world.

            Not to worry. Right now, they have the attitude they “won.” Yes. They won a New Yorker who is tougher than the cowboys, the corn pones or the mutton chops ever have been. New York City is the capital of real tough super tough people. They have to be. At any minute, another terror attack can happen. Yet, these are the most diverse nationalities in the country and they all stick together when the emergency calls for it. Then, there is no “white is might.”

          3. mpjt16 November 28, 2016

            These guys think The Onion is real news.

      2. Eleanore Whitaker November 27, 2016

        No there is NO BETTER material Box Brain. As for George Soros, here we have a numbnut like you bashing hell out of a man who as a Hungarian Jew managed to escape the Nazi and the Communists. When he and his parents came to the US, unlike you whose Daddy wiped your butt and handed you everything, he was penniless.

        George Soros according to all of the IRS tax records does something NO selfish right winger does, He donates 45% of his annual income to education and now $200 million to fight hateful SOBS like you.

        Your whorehouse Penthouse President Elect NEVER donates a dime that he doesn’t first dip his dirty mitts into.

        Your day is coming. Americans with any sense of honor are fed up with you liars always trying to avoid your own gross insecurities, massive failures and most of all, your inability to tell the truth.

        You may think you won with the Penthouse President Teflon Don. We know better.

        With his continued refusal to admit he cannot continue to use presidential influence to add more wealth to his empire, he draws closer and closer to impeachment before he even takes his oath of office.

        And the best part? Article II, Sec. 4 of the U.S. Constituition allows ANY citizen with proof of conflict of interest to go before the Supreme Court with their case.

        You and your doggie baggers are not going to lead men like Bill Gates, George Soros and other honorable Americans by the nose.

        They are richer than Trump and already are the NO. 1 donors to education and both Gates and Soros won’t suffer jerks like you and your classless, puke faced Teflon Don.

        This is one time you are pissing off men and women with money power who have more money than Teflon Don and will not EVER allow men like you to turn this country into your personal piggy banks.

      3. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

        I read the “news” and how they derived the article from the video is shear magic. The video is a well done piece of journalism offering insight into a very private man. Clearly, he knows his business is intended to make a profit for his investors. How does that differ from Trump, Romney, gates, Buffet, whoever the guy is that Trump appointed to his cabinet that is a money manager, etc. Business is intended to make a profit or it ceases to exist. Don knows that because his casinos failed four times sticking middle class workers with the losses. I don’t think Soros has declared bankruptcy ever. Don has used that as a means to enrich himself at the expense of other Americans. How exemplary that he can take advantage of laws that other failures like him have prompted as being “essential” for business. How do you get that he “wants Haiti” or Russia? He tried to help them. When does an offer of help become an attempt to subvert?
        You are a victim of BS news that happens to fit your paranoid perspective of the world. Good luck when all the predictions of doom and gloom do not come to pass and when Don’s prediction of “great” does not come to pass.

  4. FT66 November 26, 2016

    Am astonished to see people in Miami on TV celebrating the death of Fidel Castro. They only think if the leader put few behind the bars and die there is the only way of killing people. They don’t think about the leader denying millions of the Health Care they need and end up dying, is also another killing in a different way.

    Reply
  5. Jon November 26, 2016

    Trump has marveled at the approval ratings of leaders like Putin, Jung-on, and Castro and says it is proof they are great leaders adored by the citizens of their respective nations. He aspires to be a great leader adored by his citizens. While he shares many of their beliefs, there are important differences. One is the view of organized crime. Putin embraces it and Castro ended Mafia influence in Cuba. Trump shares Putin’s view. He has done business with the Mafia and has close ties to organized crime in Russia.

    Reply
    1. Hannajwalker November 27, 2016

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  6. AgLander November 26, 2016

    My condolences to Joe Conason, founder of National Memo and all 171 of his loyal readers at this site as they say goodbye to Communist dictator, Fidel Castro, whom they held in mythical status and god-like admiration.

    Although your hearts are heavy, please find solace in the fact that Cuba is still held under oppressive authoritarian control where even a simple desire by a Cuban citizen to move to another city (driving their 1950’s era cars) must first be approved by the government.

    My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    Peace and Love,

    Reply
    1. Otto T. Goat November 26, 2016

      Hilarious.

      1. I Am Helpy November 26, 2016

        I know you’re desperate, but I don’t think AgLander likes dudes.

        1. I Am Helpy November 26, 2016

          Well, other than his new daddy Putin.

    2. I Am Helpy November 26, 2016

      “Now back to being Putin’s new wife”.

  7. Box November 26, 2016

    Good riddens! Although I have to say its amazing that everyday of my life Castro was also in it. I never knew any time he wasnt there, the same feeling Thai people must have about their king who just died after serving 65 years as king. I was beginning to believe i would pass out of this life with Castro still there, someone who outlasted everyone. But good riddens to a true life destructor.

    Go see the video called “Cuba 2012, BBC Documentary” as it will open your eyes about the life, or lack thereof, we would have in USA if bernie/hillary/obama continued. A horrifying and unacceptable life.

    I grew up liking Che and Fidel for what their ideals were PRIOR to the overthrow of Cuba. See the movie, “The Motorcycle Diaries” as it gives a good glimpse into their old thinking. But after 1958 their good ideals evaporated and they went for the sheer power and nevermind the people who forever lived in misery and squalor. In public, Fidel always said “its all for the people!” but nobody shared in anything except nightmarish dreams.

    Fidel is no hero, just as Fat Boy Kim and Pol Pot are/were not. Those are feverish glutons whose principles literally destroyed life. Do you know why? Because progressive ideals do not work. Progressive ideals live and die in books and daydreams.

    Reply
    1. tomtype November 26, 2016

      I would agree that Castro became a ruthless dictator. And taking and keeping power rather than holding elections and abiding by the results, which are the true progressive way. So we do see Clinton and the Democrats doing exactly that. So I fail to see your faulty point that there is some relationship or that doing as they are supposed and also as the Republicans would and did do. So how is that any indication that progressive thought fails or is a failure. It does not follow.

      1. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

        Sadly, almost all of our politicians want to make their elected office their career. They want to be little dictators in their home state. And too many people are perfectly happy to re-elect them. That is, after they sell their soul to the highest bidder that will help them maintain their career. Pelosi and McConnell are the poster children for term limits. Come on Don, make this work. Newt threw it out there in 1994, then retracted quickly.

        1. tomtype November 27, 2016

          Why shouldn’t they? What a strange idea that persons doing an acceptable job for their employer should suddenly become be unable to continue doing a job. Not because they may not be physically handle the demands but because they did such a good job. Not because the boss is no longer satisfied but precisely because the boss is satisfied and wants to retain him.

          1. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

            What part of Congress is doing an acceptable job? There are plenty of competent and incompetent people out there. Term limits would get them out before they sell out. m I cynical about them? Absolutely. Think of what they say before an election then rate what they actually did. Hmmm?

          2. tomtype November 27, 2016

            They keep getting elected. And it is their constituents that actually are their employers. We have 437 actually bosses who are judging the worth and value of the individual’s competency and ability in some cases every two years, others less frequently. And you set yourself up to judge each of them without knowing or evaluating their individual contribution, only on the basis, dubious basis, of what the whole lot of them have managed to produce together, when the very system is designed to keep them from from producing very much.

          3. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

            Of course it is the constituents, and we deserve better. They may make all kinds of proposals when they are running but they are owned more and more by special interests as their seniority increases and they have more influence on various committees. It isn’t competency that positions them, it is seniority. Our congressman spends a huge amount of time raising money. That means the special interest’s lobbyists write the legislation. If you like that kind of thing, then term limits isn’t for you.

          4. tomtype November 27, 2016

            Except term limits has been found to have its own problems like no institutional memory, even greater influence by the lobbiests as the constantly new legislature has no experts only beginners, and a greater influence by partisan groups who provide the political support and funding rather than more senior politicians assuming internal leadership. If you prefer those even worse in practice practices. Didn’t think about it did you?

          5. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

            I have heard all those excuses. Guess who from? The politicians themselves. Certainly there is a learning curve but, regardless of how long they are in, no one will be an expert on all the issues. I doubt that Pelosi or McConnell are experts on much other than their special interests and how to manipulate the system. I doubt that the partisan groups could have any more influence than they have right now.
            To elaborate though, I think Congress and Senate pay should be substantially higher than it is now. Maybe the average of Fortune 500 CEOs? Elections should be publicly financed and laws like Citizens United abolished.
            Our Republican Congressman doesn’t believe the entire Republican caucus but he has no choice but to play along if he doesn’t want to get challenged in the primaries. I attribute much of the divisiveness to the need to play the party line for those “senior politicians”.

          6. tomtype November 27, 2016

            They aren’t all excuses. JUst saying that Term Limits are not a cure all. It has its own problems. And if you don’t examine the problems of both, you can never really know what is the better. And if you examine the real problems, you may yet discover a third way that solves more issues without bringing so many problems in its wake.
            Term Limits was an idea thought up by those who coulnd’t win elections on their own ideas. Because personality and experience and knowing the levers of power are also part of politics. So they decided to get rid of the better practioners, those who would keep winning, and thus allow their own losers a better chance. It may be the fact of their losers rather than the other winners that actually was the issue. So don’t encourage losers. How about we have better election districts, with better distribution of voters and interests, so that the elections do a better job.

          7. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

            I would like those things plus term limits.

          8. tomtype November 27, 2016

            Like those losers, eh?

          9. mpjt16 November 27, 2016

            The only “losers” I have ever heard proposing term limits are Newt and Don.

  8. dtgraham November 27, 2016

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement, expressing “deep sorrow” about the death of former Cuban president Fidel Castro. Trudeau acknowledged the late president was a controversial figure, but remembered him as a larger-than-life leader who made significant improvements to Cuba’s education and health-care systems.

    Trudeau’s statement:

    “It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”

    “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”. “I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother, President Raúl Castro, during my recent visit to Cuba. “On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”

    Personally, I have no problems with this at all…nor do Canadians. Canada has had full diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba since Castro came to power, and Pierre Trudeau did have a friendship with Fidel Castro. Cuba has formal relations with 160 nations and had Obama come along 40-50 years earlier, the U.S. relationship with Cuba would have been much different. It IS much different now…thanks to President Obama.

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