Friday, January 30, 2015
A Line-by-Line Analysis of Fidel Castro's Statement on U.S.-Cuban Relations
In 2006, as a result of health issues which were incompatible with the time and effort required to fulfill my duties – which I myself assumed when I entered this University September 4, 1945, 70 years ago – I resigned from my official positions [how can anyone "resign" from a position that he did not hold legitimately?].
[So Fidel's "duties" began at age 18 when he matriculated at university, ironically, on the twelfth anniversary of the Sergeants' Revolution. It is not this anniversary, of course, which is celebrated in Cuba on that day, but Castro's assumption of his "duties" on his first day in college. What, exactly, were those "duties?" Certainly not the duty to work, which he has avoided all his life like the eternal niño bitongo that he is. At University, Fidel ran for president of the Student Union and lost, which taught him to loathe elections and the democratic process. There also he committed the first two murders attributed to him: both victims shot in the back. Most of his undergraduate life was spent outside the precincts of the University, where he rarely attended classes. His real apprenticeship was as a gangster, which is what Cubans called university students or ex-students who toted machine guns and belonged to so-called "revolutionary" organizations which vied for the patronage of then Presidents Grau and Prío, who allowed the rival groups to massacre each other but were always careful to reward the winners. The turf wars between these groups had turned Havana into a battle zone. It was to end this state of affairs that Batista toppled Prío in a bloodless coup, which was supported at first by a majority of Cubans. So, in effect, it was Castro and others thugs like him who paved the way for Batista's coup, not Batista's coup that paved the way for Castro. It is to the U.S. that Castro owes his rise to power in 1959 and his 49 years of personal rule, and to the U.S. also that his heirs will owe the perpetuation of the Castro dynasty].
I was not the son of a worker, or lacking in material or social resources for a relatively comfortable existence; I could say I miraculously escaped wealth.
[Fidel's father Angel did begin life as a laborer, and through his hard work and cunning — the cunning his son inherited from him — rose to a relatively comfortable position as a sub-contractor for United Fruit, stealing shamelessly from the Americans at every opportunity — another trait he passed on to Fidel — by moving property markers at night and other manner of dishonest dealing, until his holdings rivaled those of his employer in the area. He never handed a cent in wages to his laborers, but (against the law) paid them in script that was accepted only at his own store, where he charged exorbitant prices for shoddy goods and was not afraid to cut off his peons if they complained, leaving them with a worthless scrap of paper that wasn't honored anywhere else. Having impoverished his workers, he lent them small sums at uxorious rates and when they could not re-pay him demanded that they work for rations until the debt was discharged, which, of course, would be never. Those he entrapped and enslaved on his estate were Haitian migrants, who were never allowed to return to their own country or see their families again. Angel worked in cahoots with the Haitian consul in Oriente, who furnished the manpower. This man, named Louis Hypolyte Hibbert, was Fidel's godfather and guardian for two years (until his first wife's death allowed Angel to bring his mistress and illegitimate children to live in his house, which was built on stilts over the family pigsty).
Fidel's father did not lack material resources and he did his best to confer "social resources" on his son by sending him to Cuba's elite schools. But Fidel's refusal to work made him a constant drain on the family until his father finally cut him off. In fact, during Castro's incarceration for the Moncada attack, his wife and infant son were supported by a botella (no-show political sinecure) obtained for Marta by her brother with Batista's approval, Castro's family contributing nothing. (In a letter from jail, Castro excoriated his wife for accepting the botella, preferring that she and his son starve rather than accept Batista's largesse). No, Castro would not have had a "relatively comfortable existence" if he had persisted in his determination never to work. Fortunately for him, the Revolution provided him with the greatest botella in Cuban history. He didn't "miraculously escape wealth," he miraculously attained it, without exertion on his part, a marketable idea or any understanding of economics. Like his father, he made his money the old-fashioned way: he stole it].
Many years later, a richer [than himself] and undoubtedly very capable [unlike himself] U.S. citizen, with almost 100 billion dollars, stated – according to a news agency article published this past Thursday, January 22 – that the predominant system of production and distribution of wealth would, from generation to generation, make the poor rich.
[Maybe Castro should invite this man (whoever he is) to Cuba and have him instruct Raúl on how that's done. Fidel certainly couldn't figure it out in more than 50 years. He always knew how to make the rich poor; and the middle class poor; and the poor poorer. But to make the poor rich was never his area of expertise. It was easier to convince them that they would be poorer except for him].
Since the times of ancient Greece, during almost 3,000 years, the Greeks, without going very far, were brilliant in almost all activities: physics, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, art, science, politics, astronomy and other branches of human knowledge [the "3000 years" of continuous Greek brilliance is certainly debatable as is the Greeks' supremacy in certain of those spheres of human knowledge and achievement cited here, but my purpose is not to instruct Fidel on Classical Antiquity].
Greece, however, was a land in which slaves did the most difficult work in fields and cities, while the oligarchy devoted itself to writing and philosophizing, [This is so delicious that one almost wishes that Fidel were lucid enough to have actually written this line himself. Whoever ghosted for Castro was certainly thinking of Cuba's own slaves and their emeritus philosopher-king when he wrote it, although Fidel is certainly not as "Greek" in his predilections as is Raúl]. The first utopia was written precisely for them [this makes no sense. Maybe he means that the word "utopia" was invented by the Greeks, which would be wrong because it dates to Thomas More's book of the same name].
Observe carefully the realities of this well-known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don’t know what to do with it [income disparity is certainly a subject that Castro is well-qualified to pontificate about: he is an expert at making others "live on less than they need" while he and his henchmen have "so much that they don't know what to do with it" (philanthropy being left to the capitalists)].
Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants. Can this population increment be accommodated, in this way, over the next 100 years, and food, health, water and housing needs met, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made [this modern-day Malthus is predicting exactly what the Englishmen did 200 years ago: overpopulation will deplete the world's resources and lead to the extinction of mankind. Instead, as Castro points out, "the world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants." Some extinction!].
Well, setting aside these perplexing problems, it is astonishing to recall that the University of Havana, during the days when I entered this beloved, prestigious institution almost three fourths of a century ago, was the only one in Cuba. [Before the Revolution. Cuba had more university students per capita than did Great Britain (13.5 per 1000 inhabitants vs. 1.9 per 1000). Indeed, though the population of Great Britain in 1957 was 51.5 million and Cuba's 6.4 million, there were 86,500 students enrolled in Cuban universities as opposed to 96,128 in British universities. Cuba was also ahead of the U.S.S.R., Japan, France, Italy and Germany in the number of students attending institutions of higher learning (UNESCO Basic Facts and Figures, 1957-1958)].
Of course, fellow students and professors, we must remember that it is not just one now, but rather more than 50 institutions of higher learning distributed across the entire country.
[The University of Havana was not the only institution of higher learning in pre-Castro Cuba. There were also private Catholic and Masonic universities, which Castro confiscated and closed, in effect, creating a monopoly for the state institutions. Moreover, he invalidated all degrees granted by these private institutions, reducing, not increasing, the number of university graduates in Cuba. He did the same thing with degrees awarded by Havana University during 1956-1958 to penalize graduates who were attending university rather than fighting in the hills with him. He regarded their attendance at university as a "counter-revolutionary activity"].
When you invited me to participate in the launch of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of my admission to the University [why is there such a celebration? Do they also celebrate in Cuba the day that Fidel was potty-trained the first (1929) and second (2006) times?], which I was surprised to learn of, during days when I was very busy with various issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful [he's never been "relatively useful" at anything, let alone useful], I decided to take a break and devote several hours to recalling those years [this screed took him or his ghostwriter "several hours?"]
I am overwhelmed recalling that 70 years have passed [and that you are still here (if you are). Everybody is "overwhelmed" about that]. In reality, compañeros and compañeras, if I were to register again at this age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitation, that it would be to pursue scientific studies [the lack of a formal BS never stopped Fidel from engaging in scientific investigations as an amateur, which led to the destruction of Cuba's cattle industry, coffee industry, citrus industry, etc.]. I would say, like Guayasamín: "Leave a little light on for me" [I bet this has them in tears].
In those years, already influenced by Marx, [and to think that Castro denied it more times than any rooster has crowed!] I was able to understand more, and better, the strange, complex world in which it has befallen us to live. I may have harbored some illusions of the bourgeoisie [to which Fidel belonged], whose tentacles managed to entangle many students, when they possessed more passion than experience [as most 18-year olds do and as Fidel has all his life]. The topic would be long and interminable [indeed].
Another genius of revolutionary action, founder of the Communist Party, was Lenin. Thus I did not hesitate a second when during the Moncada trial, when they allowed me to attend, albeit just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high-ranking officials of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin [confident, no doubt, that the Cuban media would not report it, as they never did; and that the Batista officials wouldn't be believed, as in fact they weren't. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Fidel or anyone else in his group ever read Lenin except under compunction: as a writer he is completely unintelligible and the bitterest of pills, unlike Marx, who occasionally strikes off a memorable phrase or aphorism. Castro did read the Complete Works of Benito Mussolini, about whom Lenin said, "What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to victory in Italy." Mussolini, a more engaging writer than either Marx or Lenin, could explain the Marxist dialectic in language that even workingmen could understand. It is from him and no one else that Fidel made his first and only contact with theoretical Marxism. And if it is true, as he has affirmed elsewhere, that he became a Marxist at university, it could only have been through exposure to Mussolini's writings].
We didn’t talk about Mao Zedong, since the socialist revolution in China, inspired by the same principles, had not yet ended. I insist, nonetheless, that revolutionary ideas must always be on guard as humanity expands its knowledge [this makes no sense].
Nature teaches us that tens of billions of light years may have passed, and life in all of its expressions has always been subjected to an incredible combination of matter and radiation [neither does this: the candle must be ready to burn out. If this is indeed (as I suspect) a parody of Fidel's writing, it is far more caustic than my annotations].
A personal greeting between the Presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the distinguished, exemplary combatant against apartheid who had become friendly with Obama [but worshiped Fidel as his inspiration. Tell us now, Fidel, how much Mandela owes to you, which no amount of praise can ever repay, though Mandela laid it on with the proverbial trowel].
It is enough to indicate that, at that time, several years had passed since Cuban troops [serving as the Gurkhas of the Soviet Empire] had decisively defeated the racist South African army [only a propaganda "victory;" if Cuban troops had really defeated the South African army, the Soviets would have taken over the Horn of Africa] directed by the wealthy bourgeoisie, which had vast economic resources [though not so vast as those put at Cuba's disposal by the Soviet Union ]. This is a story of a conflict which has yet to be written [the story of the struggle against apartheid "has yet to be written" because in no account has Castro been accorded the central role which he thinks that he deserves].
South Africa, the government with the most financial resources on the continent, had nuclear weapons supplied by the racist state of Israel [yes, we know that Cuba was the sponsor of the 1973 U.N. Resolution declaring Zionism to be a form of racism, though the leaders of Israel seem to have forgotten it] as the result of an agreement between this party [what party?] and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized the delivery of devices for the use of such weapons [what devices and what weapons?] to attack Cuban and Angolan [Cubans get top-billing in an Angolan War?] forces defending the Popular Republic of Angola against racist troops attempting to occupy the country.
[What Castro appears to be saying is that Ronald Reagan wanted to use nuclear weapons provided by Israel to South Africa against the Cubans and Angolans. These Israeli nuclear weapons, apparently, would not work without special parts that the Americans alone could supply. Regardless of what Castro may believe were Reagan's intentions (and Castro is the worst judge), the fact remains that nuclear weapons were not used in Angola. The only one since 1945 to have urged the use of nuclear weapons against another country is Fidel Castro himself, who demanded that Khrushchev fire the Soviet missiles in Cuba against the United States, thereby precipitating World War III and, incidentally, turning the island of Cuba into the world's largest nuclear dump].
Thus peace negotiations were excluded while Angola was attacked by apartheid forces, with the best trained and equipped army on the African continent. [Clearly, the 350,000 Cuban mercenaries that were stationed in Angola over a 12-year period were there to promote peace negotiations]. In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution [quite right].
Continual efforts to liquidate the Popular Republic of Angola, to bleed the country systematically with the power of that well-equipped and -trained army, was what led to the Cuban decision to deliver a resounding blow to the racists at Cuito Cuanavale, the former NATO base which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs [it is well known that Fidel Castro directed the Cuban troops at Cuito Cuanavale from his bathtub in Havana].
That powerful country was obliged to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola, and an end to apartheid in South Africa [so Fidel was responsible for securing Angola's Marxist regime and ending apartheid in South Africa!].
The African continent was left free of nuclear weapons. Cuba was forced to face, for a second time, the threat of a nuclear attack [don't forget that it was Castro who put Cubans in the path of nuclear weapons in the first place].
Cuban internationalist troops withdrew from Africa with honor [all the "honor" that cannon fodder can muster. But it was not just the Cuban troops that were withdrawn from Angola after 12 years of fighting but also the bodies of Cubans killed there during the course of the war. No Cuban casualty from that war was brought home for burial until its conclusion. Castro didn't want Cubans to protest the war as Americans had when they saw planeloads of flag-draped coffins returning from Vietnam. So for twelve years, Cuban mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters were kept in the dark about the fate of their loved ones because it served the geopolitical interests of Castro's Soviet allies. There are infinite instances of Castro's disdain for the Cuban people, but I think this is the worst. And yet, he will still brag about it].
Then Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, [imposed by Castro's refusal to let the Cuban people be free even after losing the support of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc] which has already lasted for more than 20 years without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do [since Castro has never shared the privations imposed upon the Cuban people by his policies, not for 20 but for 56 years, there is no reason for him to raise the white flag. If he were the one doing the suffering and the dying, the flag of surrender would have been raised long ago. Now, of course, that flag will never be hoisted by him or his heirs because Barack Obama has surrendered unconditionally to him].
Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people’s exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.
[The real friends of Cuba know of Castro's deplorable conduct and it is not necessary for him to explain anything to us].
I do not trust the policy of the United States [nor should the United States trust the Castro regime], nor have I exchanged one word with them [noli me tangere], though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war [Castro will accept any capitulation as a "solution"]. Defending peace is the duty of all [people of good-will, which necessarily excludes the Castros]. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms [which have never guided the conduct of the Castro regime].
We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s peoples [if it is in the Castro dynasty's interest], and with those of our political adversaries [again, if it is in the Castro dynasty's interest]. This is what we are demanding for all [no, you are demanding a great deal more, including $1 trillion in reparations for the pain and suffering that you and your brother have inflicted on the hapless Cuban people].
The [unelected and unelectable] President of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded [rubber-stamped] by the [puppet] National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba [still the #1 party because it is the only one]. The grave dangers which today threaten humanity [to which Castro has contributed for 56 years] must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity [like appeasing tyrants and underwriting the persecution of their subjects, in accordance with the Obama Doctrine]. No country can be denied such a right [what right? To be unfree?].
In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle [for my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness, to the exclusion of everybody else's] to my last breath [which can't come soon enough, if it hasn't come already].
Fidel Castro Ruz
January 26, 2015