Monday, May 21, 2007

48 Years Ago Today Fidel Castro Said:


In Leovigildo Ruiz's classic Diario de una traicion, 1959, which is a day to day account of everything that transpired in Cuba in that ominous year, we find Fidel Castro's words spoken during an appearance on television on May 21, 1959:

"La Revolución no es roja sino verde olivo. Entiendo que nuestra revolución no es capitalista ni comunista. Nuestra revolución es única en el mundo. A nuestra revolución llamamos humanista por sus métodos humanos, por los métodos democráticos y se diferencia del capitalismo porque no mata al hombre de hambre y al comunismo porque éste priva de sus libertades. En nuestra revolución no se a establecido ningún régimen de terror, ni se ha usado de guillotina contra nadie, como se hizo en la Revolución Francesa, donde se guillotinaron a los nobles y acabó guillotinando a todo el mundo allí." — Fidel Castro, 21 de mayo 1959

"Our Revolution is not red but olive green. As I understand it our revolution is neither capitalist nor communist. Our revolution is unique in the world. We call our revolution humanist because of its humane methods, its democratic methods, and because it differs from capitalism because it doesn't starve anyone and from communism because it doesn't deprive anyone of his freedom. Our revolution has not established a regime of terror, nor used the guillotine against anyone, as in the case of the French Revolution, where they started by guillotining the nobles and ended up guillotining everybody there." — Fidel Castro, May 21, 1959


Note first how Fidel Castro reduces the question of political ideology to a mere contrast of colors, which is the only distinction that even then existed between Communism and Castroism. Castro at that moment was not yet ready to wave the red flag in front of the Cuban people though the old Communists were already donning the olive green. Nor were the Cuban people themselves blind to Castro's forensic games. A popular joke of the day was that Castro's revolution was just like a watermelon — green on the outside and red on the inside. Indeed, with all the blood that he had shed in the first few months of his regime, dripping, literally, with blood as many of his henchmen were, fresh from wading through the pools of blood of the firing squads, it would have been difficult to ignore olive green's affinity for red. Whether the blood was being shed in the name of Communism or not, it was being shed in rivers. That should have been enough, but it was not.

Note also the cynicism of his "I understand" that the Revolution is neither capitalist nor Communist. His intention is to suggest that he is a mere instrument of the revolution who follows some pre-ordained course which has been laid out for it by historical forces and cannot be altered by him. This is yet another manifestation of his messianism, for Christ, too, followed a course which had been pre-ordained and could not be altered.

His megalomania is also on exhibit in his proclamation that his revolution was "unique in the world." There was nothing "unique" about Castro's revolution. It followed the pattern of all Communist revolutions and its historical antecedent, as with all Communist revolutions, was the French Revolution, the mother of all totalitarianisms of the left. That's what Castro was himself taught by the Spanish Jesuits who little knew that their lessons were taken to heart by their star pupil but not in the way that they intended.

In light of what has happened in the last 48 years, Castro's assertions about the "humane methods" and "democratic methods" of the revolution almost make one gag. Of course, on May 21, 1959, when Castro uttered these words, it was already evident to all (or should have been) that humane and democratic methods were never going to prevail in Cuba while Castro was in power.

A big alarm should have sounded — perhaps it did, but no one heeded it — when Castro equated capitalism to "starving people." This is a classic instance of displacement, because it is Communism, not capitalism, that purposefully and logistically starved more than one billion people in the 20th century. Even today, in fact, Communist China is in the throes of the greatest famine in its history, though the 70-floor buildings that its cities have been spouting lately like lotus blossoms conceal from view the terrible misery of the countryside.

Castro counterbalances the "starvation" of capitalism with Communism's denial of freedom. What he didn't say, however, and what, again, should have been obvious to all Cubans then, is that the denial of freedom was, from his perspective, a good thing if it infringed on his freedom to reign supreme. In fact, it was Communism's apparatus of repression which must first have attracted Castro to it.

He concludes with the statement that his revolution has not implemented a "regime of terror" on the island. Well, Castro has always had a penchant for denying the obvious and doubling his denials if he is challenged with the truth. But, of course, Castro knows that his "regime of terror" is comparable to the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. And he hastens, again, to make the only distinction that could be made between them. Cuba, you see, doesn't use the guillotine. The more important similitude that it also kills political prisoners by the thousands is ignored. The guillotine is obviously a vile instrument for killing but the paredón is not. He ends with the assertion that the French Revolution started by killing the nobles and ended by killing everybody, which is exactly what his Revolution did once it had disposed of the batistianos and those it accused of being "batistianos." In 1959 alone, 15,000 Cubans were sent to their deaths without any pretense of due process in a country that had abolished the death penalty in the 1940 Constitution, which had saved Castro's life in 1953 and which he had pledged to implement fully.

Why Cubans did not storm the television studies and lynch him right there and then will always remain a mystery.

10 comments:

Vana said...

Lies, Lies that's what the robolution is, one great big lie.
I'm gagging

Agustin Farinas said...

If Castro's lies would make his nose grow like Pinochio's did, any Cubans willing to walk the plank would have a bridge to safety and freedom in Florida. The world's biggest liar sits now ina hospital room concocting more lies and tall stories for Granma. If they were to give a Nobel Prize for lying, he would surely win by a longshot without a doubt.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Agustín:

But there is a Nobel Prize for Lying. It's called the Nobel Peace Prize. With laureates like Rigoberta Menchú, Roberto Pérez Esquival and Jimmy Carter, Castro would be the logical recipient of this year's award.

The Nobel Committee has always regretted not awarding Tolstoy the Nobel Prize for Literature or Peace. I'm sure they will not pass up their last chance to include Castro in their "'Honor' Roll." In fact, they can award Fidel the Nobel Prize for Literature too. Hasn't García-Márquez called him the greatest master of Spanish prose since the Golden Age, or some other foolishness?

Albert Quiroga said...

Perhaps a special award, the "Trotsky," should be created specially for fidel: One merciless pickax blow to the skull. Muerto el perro, se acabo la rabia.

And why more Cubans did not wonder about this guy after he intervened to reverse the revolutionary tribunal's acquittal of the Cuban Air Force pilots in 1959 will also forever remain a mystery...only explainable by reference to the Ostrich Method of dealing with politics which appears to have been all too prevalent in those days.

Wish I had a copy to share of a March 26, 1958 edition of the revolutionary rag-sheet these characters published in the Sierra - the front page contained a manifesto about all the great things the 26 of July boys were going to do for Cuba, for everyone's benefit, rich and poor alike. It seemed as if Jesus himself had written the piece; read this drivel a few years ago, shown to me by a friend whose father had preserved it. El papel aguanta todo.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Alberto:

You know, of course, that it was a Cuban who killed Trotsky at Stalin's orders. Il Postino's saintly Pablo Neruda, then an attaché at the Chilean embassy in Mexico City, was the coduit between the Cuban and Stalin. Neruda wrote an "Ode to Stalin" upon his death which compares him to the sun because Stalin too made all things grow, presumably Neruda's wallet too, unless he did it for love.

It was Neruda also, incidentally, who officially welcomed Batista to the University of Chile on his tour of South America in 1944 where he was hailed as the father of Latin American democracy for holding honest elections and turning power over to his political enemy (Grau).

Later, of course, Neruda would inscribe himself on the list of Castro's pseudo-intellectual catamites.

Agustin Farinas said...

Manuel,
I believe if my memory does not fail me, that it was Mr. Neruda also who told Pablo Picasso:
"Pablo nosotros siempre empeñados en defender regimenes bajo los cuales no podemos vivir" Of course Picasso's works were banned in the old USSR because they did not conform to the "Socialism realism" of the Stalin's epoch or even after wards during the tenure of the following leaders. What hipocrisy! I maybe illiterate by some people's standars, but I started to read " A 100 years of solitude" twice, once in Spanish and again in English and I could not get pass the first 20 pages. I found it very boring. And I personally find Garcia Marquez a
disgusting character, fawning over a tyrant, applauding his every utterance. For this Nobel prize winner writer to say that Castro is the greatest writer of Spanish prose is the height of obeisance, since according to people close to him, Castro cannot even pronounce his name correctly in Spanish. He calls him "Grabriel".But flunkies are like that. They have no self respect or shame.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Agustín:

García Márquez has actually restored a palace in Old Havana as his private residence there. About 200 people were evicted from this former solar/ to accommodate him. The palazzio was once the seat of one of Cuba's noble families but was abandoned when the neighborhood ceased to be chic and subdivided as a kind of "project" for the neediest Cubans.

There was a story in the news about 18th century wall murals having been discovered under layers of pre-revolutionary paint during restoration.

García-Márquez is a very poor imitation of Lezama Lima, Cuba's greatest novelist and the inventor of magical realism, who was hounded to death by the Castroites. García Márquez owes all his American success to a Cuban exile, his English-language translator Gregory Rabassa, as García Márquez has been honest enough to acknowledge, at least.

I may just post as part of "The Tellechea Archives" series any of a number of articles that I have written about the First-Sycophant.

Agustin Farinas said...

Manuel,
as I said previously, I could not get through 100 years of Solitude in either language. Maybe is because I do not like that type of novels and prefer something like Solzhenitsyn for example. I have all his books and recently in Buenos Aires I finally found the Gulag Archipielago Vol I and II for my wife in Spanish and she loved it. It was expensive as hell but well worth it since she cannot read in English. Anyone that has read that book and still find something worthwhile to defend about Communism has to be a complete idiot.Is a horror story at its best with a sequel of tragedies very well documented. But hey according to Harry (banana boat)Belafonte, Bush is the greatest tyrant in the history of world (quote). Not Stalin!! . What a complete buffon and a total idiot!! I notice how the socialists and communists do not like to talk about Stalin and prefer to call him an aberration of the system. I heard this petty excuse more tan once. They just don't get it, the freaking system is what is evil, perverse and wrong. But no, they still insist that it was not done right and that this new version will be better.(whatever version they are defending at the time)They refuse to admit the whole damn thing is perverse and murderous from the very time Lenin took power in 1917. The latest reencarnation (Hugo Chavez's)will work, they say. Every time we are confronted with this stupidity, my wife just tells them: "how many deaths are necesary for you socialists left wingers to see the truth? Aren't almost a 100 million human beings enough to convince you"

Vana said...

Manuel

I had no idea that a Cuban killed Trotsky, I knew he had been murdered in Mexico, but not at who's hand, wow read and learn.

Thank you

Agustin Farinas said...

Vana,
I think his mother was Cuban although I don't know where Ramon Mercader was born exactly but I think it maight have been in Spain. His mother Caridad Mercader was a life long communist, who was born in Oriente and became the lover of an assasin from the NKVD named Leonid Eitingon if my memory serves me right. He used several alias such as Jacson, Monard, etc while doing his dirty work for the NKVD but he used his mother's surname instead of his father's. After serving his 20 year sentence in Mexico, he was released in 1960 and flew to Cuba on his way to the Soviet Union where he was given the Hero of the Soviet Union medal for killing Trotsky. Later on he moved to Cuba and for several years lived there until his death. He is buried somewhere in Moscow near the Kremlin. The original plan for the assasination called for Caridad and Eitingon to wait for him in a car outside Trotsky's house to complete the dirty deed and then assist him in his escape. Somehow Trotsky screamed so loud when he was attacked with the ice pick, that he alerted his bodyguards who came and prevented Ramon from escaping with his mother and her lover. Ironically, many years later Caridad Mercader had a job with the Cuban Culture Section at the Embassy in Paris and she greeted Trotskites at the door when they visited the Embassy. Little did they know they were shaking hands with the woman who helped plan the assasination of their idol.