Category Archives: Death of Fidel Castro

Escape from Cuba: One woman shares her family’s incredible journey to find refuge in the United States

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Marta Richardson says that before Fidel Castro came into power, she was a “spoiled brat” living in Cuba.

“We had everything. We had food, clothes, church — nothing changed. Once that was gone, we missed it,” Marta says.

Marta says that life in Cuba after 1959, when Castro came into power, was ruled by fear.

“I remember being scared,” she says. “Nobody should live like that. Everywhere we went, we had to be afraid.”

Marta, now 70, was my Spanish teacher in high school. I’ll never forget the day she told the story of how she escaped Cuba and came to the United States. Her harrowing journey stuck with me and she was the first person I thought of when I learned of Fidel Castro’s death.

“I can’t be happy about somebody dying,” Marta says. “But I am happy for the Cuban people. Maybe now something can be resolved.”

Cuba, Castro and the U.S.

Fidel Castro’s recent death was, for many, a source of both hope and reflection. The leader of the Cuban Revolution, a group that overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Castro declared Cuba a one-party socialist country, transforming the country’s economy and international relations for generations.

Continue reading Escape from Cuba: One woman shares her family’s incredible journey to find refuge in the United States

Fidel Castro: The Homophobic Dictator and his Forced Labor Camps

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Fidel Castro passed away last week and many apparently have ignored the murderous tendencies of the perpetual dictator. Or, like Colombia‘s influential magazine Semana, they simply pardon him for being a Communist. The statements of this magazine, like those of dozens of media outlets that refused to call him “dictator” and dedicated themselves to using ridiculous phrases as “revolutionary leader”, leave a clear message: apparently when a murderer is from the left, the body count doesn’t matter. I quote from the Semana article: “He has been responsible for many deaths. However, it would be unfair to call him a murderer.”

We must not shy away from remember the level of evil of the man which Semana refers to as a “liberator.” Perhaps one of the most terrible events that occurred during his lifetime dictatorship, which continues even after his death, is the existence of forced labor camps, which are curiously missing from the documentaries of the romantic “bearded man” that are frequently shown on television these days.

UMAP, Military Units to Aid Production, was the term given to the forced labor camps in which more than 35,000 Cubans were enslaved. Those who were tortured by the “liberator” had to perform agricultural work from dawn to dusk. They had strict “output quotas” and those who did not meet the established requirements were punished; for example, they were deprived of food. Confined in barracks surrounded by electric fences, and treated as slaves, religious minorities, hippies, and homosexuals were “rehabilitated” by the dictator’s men.

As reported by one of the witnesses of the documentary “Conduct Impropia” directed by Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez, the forced labor camps essentially included three groups: homosexuals, religious minorities, and those accused of “improper conduct”, a category in which could be applied to anyone who ran afoul of the Castro brothers. Thus, in Cuba, you could not be gay, a Jehovah’s Witness, or have long hair and look like hippie, because you could be taken to a concentration camp.

The evidence of the horrific existence of homosexuals on the island is so overwhelming that even Fidel has admitted his culpability. “If anyone is responsible, it’s me,” he said in an interview, referring to the persecution of the homosexual community in Cuba. He has also stated that: “We have never believed that a homosexual can meet the conditions and requirements of conduct that allow us to consider him a true revolutionary.”

In spite of all of this, Fidel is called a “liberator”, and like Che Guevara, who shared Fidel’s anti-gay sentiments, the gay community is hesitant to condemn him. The left has been so skillful that they have even managed to associate the Cuban regime with the movement for gay rights. But nothing could be further from the truth. Communism’s greatest leaders, from Stalin to Kim Jong-un, have been overtly homophobic. In this regard the left’s rhetoric regarding “equality” and “liberty” is revealed to be completely hollow.

Left-wing groups who have participated in the struggles for equality before the law and tolerance of LGBTI groups seem to forget that leaders like Stalin, perhaps the most vicious murderer the world has ever seen, established laws against homosexuality that were introduced into the criminal codes of the Soviet republics. General repression of homosexuals is nothing new within Communist regimes.

Fidel’s personal disgust for and repudiation of homosexuals is well documented, yet behind the concentration camps where he sought to “rehabilitate” those he considered “deviants,” there is also an obvious economic interest. Like all Communists, the “revolutionary leader” always lived at the expense of the enslaved people. According to Forbes magazine, the dictator who allegedly worked tirelessly for the welfare of the poorest was among the 10 richest world leaders, accumulating a $900 million fortune in his lifetime.

The UMAP, the forced labor camps, were, of course, an important source of income, an unpaid labor force, something fundamentally necessary to a dictatorship that lives by enslaving Cubans. “The vital role of UMAP was not to kill civilians, but to harness the labor force of ‘social deviants’, without any concern for their human cost,” says Joseph Tahbaz in his study on gender repression on the island. The “liberator,” the eternal youth, the socialist romantic, was nothing more than a murderer of the worst kind with unbridled ambition.

Any decent person, who really examines the murderous nature of Fidel Castro, would condemn his actions. It is ironic to see Castro-loving LGTBI groups and leftist movements claim a sort of moral superiority, accusing those they call “neo-liberals” of being antiquated and reactionary, when they are defending the worst of dictators. If they really study the ideology of Fidel Castro, they will find a man who epitomized intolerance, disrespect for individual freedoms, fanaticism, and hatred. These are the values that he, in reality, represented.

Fidel Castro was a murderer, and his supposed good intentions now towards the gay community do little to compensate the victims of his dictatorship. He was a criminal of the worst kind, who famously placed the following sign above the labor camp’s entrance: “Work will make you men.” Seeing a homosexual defending Fidel Castro is as shameful and grotesque as seeing an African-American advocate for the Ku Klux Klan.

How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba

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The Washington Post, by Daniel Morcate

How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba.

He was a tyrant whose death should be welcomed by anyone who loves liberty.

The death of a dictator, not his final memorial, is — and should be — a happy occasion for the people who have suffered his rule. It’s why no one should celebrate the life of Fidel Castro when he is finally laid to rest Sunday.

Instead, we should mark the day reminding ourselves how Castro got the better of us, freedom-loving Cubans, and understanding that his death didn’t end his reign of terror.

Because we shouldn’t kid ourselves: Castro’s departure — long awaited by those of us in the Cuban diaspora, as well as those who still live in our island homeland, even if they’re not free to express it — won’t immediately bring the liberty, democracy and respect for basic human rights that all Cubans long for. Castro’s long convalescence, along with the political indifference of several key nations to his years of brutal tyranny, have, in part, allowed his despotic regime to exist for decades. Long before his death, Castro was afforded the resources he needed to assemble a form of institutionalized self-preservation, his family dynasty, which has existed by exercising its malevolent grip over Cubans in a way that rivals the power of any autocracy known throughout history.

Castro got the better of Cubans and, even in death, is a painful reminder to us that we haven’t found a way to break free of his rule. He knew how to cunningly enlist countrymen against each other as a way of holding on to power. And he never could have succeeded without the complicity of thousands of Cubans who spied on, accused, imprisoned, tortured and killed other Cubans. To wit, as the Miami Herald reported this week, Danielo “El Sexto” Maldonado, a “detained Cuban artist who mocked Castro’s death, ‘was badly beaten’ ” by Cuban government agents, according to his family. That kind of terror is Castro’s real legacy.

Throughout his cruel reign, Castro benefited from the tacit approval of democracies: He consistently enjoyed a parade of world leaders willing to visit Havana, including three papal visits. Starting in 1991, his regime was welcomed at the Ibero-American Summit. All reminders that the world community has not learned how to defend — with firmness and effectiveness — the values it espouses and represents.

All this, despite the fact that Castro backed numerous insurgencies designed to subvert governments that he deemed representative of spurious bourgeois interests. The democrats who went only as far as timidly suggesting a free market, a multiparty approach to governance, and a free press for Cuba? Castro simply saw them as weak.

And never having been effectively held accountable for his innumerable crimes, Castro’s long tenure sent a dangerous message to other aspiring dictators, particularly within our hemisphere. He had no shortage of disciples in Latin America, among them Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, whose design on clinging to power was cut short only by his own death. Others imitated Castro, with different degrees of fealty to his model: Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa were who they were, at least in part, because of Castro’s influence. Each sliver of recognition he got from legitimate democratic and religious leaders was a symbolic slap in the face of oppressed Cubans, further encouraging imitators and propagating Castro-style oppression throughout the Caribbean and South and Central America.

If Fidel Castro’s death does not soon lead to a global campaign in favor of liberty and democracy for Cuba, the old tyrant will have scored his first posthumous victory. The United States should lead this effort, even during the last days of Barack Obama’s presidency. Western leaders, including Obama, can and should use their leverage to demand specific concessions — freeing all political prisoners, legalizing opposition parties, allowing freedom of the press — from Castro’s brother, President Raúl Castro, in return for the benefits Cuba’s regime now reaps from diplomatic engagement.

The moment is appropriate and critical because it is the only way to open a door for free expression, and to demand meaningful changes on the island that improve the lives of all Cubans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ideology. In other words, Fidel Castro’s death is not an occasion to mourn. It’s an occasion to free Cuba.

The Fidel Castro Myth Debunked: The Death Of A Tyrant, Not A Hero

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Investor’s Business Daily

With Fidel Castro’s death at 90, the encomiums are rolling in, especially from what remains of the American Big Media. But in fact, Castro during his 58 years of dictatorship was an evil man, a communist who tortured, killed and imprisoned with no remorse, a tyrant who tore a once-beautiful country apart and sent its finest citizens into exile.

Yet, the media might as well have been going around with black arm bands following Castro’s death.

He was the “George Washington of his country,” said Jim Avila of ABC’s “Nightline.” He “will be revered” for bringing education, social services and health care to Cubans, gushed MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. CNN’s Martin Savidge hailed Castro for “racial integration.”

Elsewhere, in print, The New York Times recounted how he “dominated his country with strength and symbolism” — another way of saying he ruled through oppression and relentless propaganda.

Of course, all of these things are the kinds of lies and euphemisms used by left-leaning journalists to cover up for Castro’s many crimes against humanity. And it’s not limited to these few recent examples.

ABC’s talk-queen Barbara Walters had what amounted to a middle-aged school-girl crush on Fidel. Film maker Oliver Stone, perhaps styling himself a latter-day Hemingway, revered Fidel’s macho swagger and made a much-derided documentary about him, “Comandante.” And Michael Moore, in his film “Sicko,” swallowed Cuba’s propaganda about its health care system hook, line and sinker.

We could go on. The list is long.

What you won’t hear from any of these media mavens is that, at his death, Fidel Castro leaves a Cuba far worse off in almost every way than the one he took over in 1958.  His brother, Raul, who is 85, has been the actual power in the country since Castro fell seriously ill in 2006. Cuba has improved under him, but not much.

After taking power in 1958, the then-youthful revolutionary Fidel vowed that no Cuban mother would “shed a tear” over violence from then on. But once he consolidated power after defeating Cuba’s then-leader Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro set out on a course of extraordinary revolutionary violence.

He murdered thousands upon thousands. The late R.J. Rummel, a University of Hawaii professor who tracked mass-killings by governments around the world, estimated as many as 141,000 people were murdered by the Castro regime. And that was  just through 1987. Since then, of course, thousands more have been killed.

Genocide Watch says it “holds the Castro regime responsible for the death of thousands of people (executed and died trying to flee the regime).” Both Belgium and Castro’s homeland, Spain, have leveled genocide charges against the Jefe Maximo.

Sadly, Castro’s Cuba isn’t at all unusual for Communist regimes, as noted by Rummel. “Clearly, of all regimes, communist ones have been by far the greatest killer,” he said.

What’s especially galling is the suggestion — present in almost every story on Castro’s demise — that he took an impoverished, oppressed nation and turned it into a kind of socialist paradise, with education, social services and health care for all.

This is an utter and complete lie. But don’t take our word for it.

“One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class,” the Geneva-based International Labor Organization said in a 1957 report. “Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8 hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6%. In the U.S. the figure is 70%, in Switzerland 64%. 44% of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S.”

Remember, this is before the revolution.

Numbers taken from the most comprehensive global data base available — created by the late economist Angus Maddison — show that in 1958, real GDP per person was $2,406. At the time, that was second highest in Latin America. But by 2008, that had risen to just $3,764 a person, a mere 1.2% annual growth rate. Cuba has the worst economy in Latin America, outside Haiti and Nicaragua.

And much of that “growth” was due to massive subsidies from the former Soviet Union, which traded badly needed oil to Cuba for sugar at highly favorable exchange rates. Cuba’s growth was a mirage, although in recent years modest market based reforms have helped increase incomes for some Cubans.

Before the revolution, Cuba had the 13th-lowest infant mortality rate in the world. It was lower than France, Belgium and West Germany. Today, it ranks about 40th. That still looks respectable, until you consider how it was accomplished: Cuba has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. At the first sign of any trouble when a woman is carrying a baby, it is aborted — regardless of the parents’ wishes.

That’s why their infant mortality rate isn’t even worse.

But surely health care for all is a major accomplishment, right?

No. As has been noted in many other places, Cuba has three separate health care systems. One for paying customers from places like the U.S., who go to Cuba for discount treatments of cosmetic surgery and the like.

There’s another for Cuba’s ruling Communist elite, also a good system. This is the health care system visiting journalists are taken to see, and that they later glowingly report on.

But there’s still another system for the rest — the average Cubans. It is abysmal, and even that might understate how bad it is.

“Cubans are not even allowed to visit those (elite) facilities,” according to the Web site The Real Cuba. “Cubans who require medical attention must go to other hospitals, that lack the most minimum requirements needed to take care of their patients.”

It goes on: “In addition, most of these facilities are filthy and patients have to bring their own towels, bed sheets, pillows, or they would have to lay down on dirty bare mattresses stained with blood and other body fluids.”

As for doctors, well, they make an average of about $25 to $35 a month. Many have to work second jobs to make ends meet, using substandard equipment. Drug shortages are rife. As a result, one of Cuba’s ongoing problems is that doctors leave as soon as they can for other countries, where they can make a decent living.

The country has over 30,000 doctors working overseas officially. Why? Out of kindness? No. The Castro regime earns an estimated $2.5 billion a year in hard currency from doctors working elsewhere, which means Cuba’s poor must go without decent care or access to doctors.

As for “universal literacy,” please. Primary and secondary schools are little more than Marxist indoctrination centers, where students are taught only what the state wants them to know. That’s how they keep people quiet.

Then there’s  Cuba’s higher education, in which “universities are training centers for bureaucrats, totally disconnected from the needs of today’s world. To enter the best careers and the best universities, people must be related to the bureaucratic elites, and also demonstrate a deep ideological conviction,” notes Colombian journalist Vanesa Vallejo, of the PanAm Post, a Latin American news site.

Nor is it “free.” In fact, those who graduate from college must work for a number of years for the government at a substandard wage of $9 a month. They are in effect slave labor. As with most “free” things the socialists offer, the price is very high and nonnegotiable.

In sum, Castro took a healthy country and made it sick. Those who glorify him deserve the scorn they get for propagating such a longstanding lie.

“A less megalomaniacal ruler would have considered (Cuba’s pre-revolution economy) a golden goose landing in his lap,” wrote Humberto Fontova, a Cuban exile and author of “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.” “But Castro wrung its neck. He deliberately and methodically wrecked Latin America’s premier economy.”

How about race relations? By Cuba’s own estimates, roughly 36% of the country is black or “mixed.” Other estimates put it much higher, as high as 50%.

Nonetheless, a study five years ago by the online journal Socialism and Democracy found “black and mixed populations, on average, are concentrated in the worst housing conditions” and tend to work in lower-paying, manual-labor jobs.

We’ll save for a later date Castro’s many crimes and 58 years of silent war against the U.S.,  his allowing Soviet nuclear missiles on his soil in order to threaten the U.S., his repeated intervention in other countries, his assassinations, and his obscene theft of hundreds of millions of dollars of Cubans’ wealth to line his own pockets.

Suffice it to say, as Castro departs the scene for the last time,  he leaves a Cuba far worse off in almost every way than the one he took over in 1958.  Donald Trump, with his impeccable anti-PC skills, summed it up about right, calling Castro a “brutal dictator.”

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said in the statement. Exactly right.

Don’t believe Trump? OK, here’s Fidel’s daughter, in an interview with the Miami Herald, describing dear old dad: “When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” Alina Castro said. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant.”

Fidel’s brother, Raul, who is 85, has been the actual power in the country since Castro fell seriously ill in 2006. He’s done little better.

So, for now, though Fidel is dead, there is little hope of change. But one can hope that Cubans will one day throw off the yoke of communism and live as free human beings.

In the meantime, the American media should be deeply ashamed for lionizing and celebrating a cruel tyrant such as Fidel Castro.

Castro’s Funeral: In Lieu Of Flowers, Send Agents To Arrest The Rest Of The Dictators

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Investor’s Business Daily

A murderous tyrant died the day after Thanksgiving, but instead of giving thanks, the response from some in the civilized West has been to ignore Fidel Castro’s reign of terror and keep his propaganda alive. More than a few national leaders will even attend his funeral.

But in doing so, these “mourners” would self-identify as “leaders” who aren’t fit for the job. No honorable person would attend this barbarian’s funeral. The decent people of their countries should have every one of them arrested the moment they return home, as the local law allows.

On what charges? That would depend on the country. Certainly any government official from the U.S. who would attend should be charged with treason, an offense so serious that it is the only crime defined by the Constitution. One of its core elements is giving enemies of this country “aid and comfort.”

Of course the enemy of the U.S. in this instance is not the people of Cuba but the Castro regime that has committed some of the worst atrocities in our Hemisphere in history. Any American who would attend Castro’s funeral would be providing that regime with aid and comfort on the world stage.

The first national leader to be arrested should be Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – probably the most useful of all the idiots and certainly the most idiotic of them all. But he can’t be arrested for treason, since Canada’s treason law doesn’t apply to this case, and he might not even go anyway.

However, this witless pretender committed a crime against decency when he hailed Castro’s “dedication and love for the Cuban people.” He also called him a “remarkable” and “larger than life leader who served his people” and felt “deep sorrow” after learning of Castro’s death.

Predictably, because these points are always the last refuge of Castro apologists, Trudeau praised the “significant improvements” El Jefe made “to the education and health care of his island nation.”

Anyone who would actually believe the regime’s propaganda about near universal literacy deserves to be treated by the health care system that everyday Cubans have to endure. Halfway thinkers such as Michael Moore have promoted the Cuban health care system as a model.

And maybe it works well for a few top party members and moneyed travelers.

But the facilities the average Cuban is treated at are “filthy” clinics and hospitals where “patients have to bring their own towels, bed sheets, pillows, or they would have to lay down on dirty bare mattresses stained with blood and other body fluids.”

Rivaling Trudeau for useful idiocy is former President Carter. In a statement he said that he and wife Rosalynn shared their “sympathies with the Castro family” and remembered “fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”

It would be a surprise if Carter didn’t attend, given his love of dictators. If he goes to Havana, I suggest he just stay. Apparently it is his kind of country.

It’s unclear at this point if outgoing President Obama will travel to Castro’s funeral. Reports say he is “pondering” attending. If he goes, then he deserves the treatment that anyone who engages in treasonous behavior gets. Arrest him.

He should not be protected by the office he has shamed. Nor should Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry if either one or both is assigned to go. If they do, arrest them and their boss who gave them their orders.

If this sounds radical, remember that the political left certainly believes presidents can and should be arrested. Moveon.org even got a positive response to a petition demanding the arrests of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes.

For those who don’t believe the Castro regime to be an enemy of the U.S., consider this: Castro made an alliance with the Soviet Union, the Cold War enemy of America, and invited the belligerent communist state into our back yard.

The 1962 Cuban missile crisis that followed could have begun a nuclear war that would have claimed millions of U.S. civilian casualties. Never forget than Castro gangster Che Guevara was publicly in favor of using nuclear weapons on New York City. So was Fidel.

Naturally a snake basket of deplorable European leaders will attend. But that sort of foolishness should be expected from socialist Europeans who, as a class, are the least-sophisticated thinkers on Earth, though they try hard to position themselves as wise.

Expect Latin American despots Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela and others to also be there. And what an opportunity it could present. They could be in the same place at the same time, allowing agents from The Hague to arrest them all at once for the cruelty they’ve inflicted on the people of their countries.

In lieu of flowers, please send your oppressors to Havana where they can be scooped up and prosecuted for their crimes.

The Real Cuba in the News

Several newspapers, from the United Sates and other countries, have been quoting therealcuba.com  since the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The latest is the Daily Maverick, a newspaper in Johannesburg, South Africa:

A web page run by Cuban dissidents has a gallery of shocking photographs that claim to show what healthcare looks like in “the real Cuba”. Of course, such claims are equally hard to verify in a repressive communist state, and no doubt are cherry-picked to show the worst possible cases. However, in the absence of independent journalism, which is illegal in Cuba, there is no more reason to believe government propaganda, which invariably attempts to paint a glorious picture of revolution instead.”

Read the whole article here:

The Tyrant is Dead