Fidel Castro dies at 90

124 posts / 0 new
Last post
jjuares

kropotkin1951 wrote:

jjuares wrote:

I have no doubt that the government in Cuba has mass support. However, to have two brothers run the country with no method to affirm them in their position.

Under their system they are affirmed by the officials elected at the lower levels.  Sort of like voting for an MP and then they decide who is going to be the PM. On paper the people run as independents not for any political party including the Communist Party. 

CHAPTER X

SUPREME ORGANS OF PEOPLE’S POWER

ARTICLE 69

The National Assembly of People’s Power is the supreme organ of State power and represents and expresses the sovereign will of all the working people.

ARTICLE 70

The National Assembly of People’s Power is the only organ in the Republic invested with constituent and legislative authority.

ARTICLE 71 The National Assembly of the People’s Power is comprised of deputies elected through a free, direct, and secret ballot by the voters, in the proportion and according to the procedure that the law establishes.

ARTICLE 72 The National Assembly of People’s Power is elected for a period of five years. This period can only be extended by virtue of a resolution of the Assembly itself in the event of war or in the case of other exceptional circumstances that may impede the normal holding of elections and while such circumstances exist.

ARTICLE 73 The National Assembly of People’s Power, upon convening for a new legislature, elects from among its deputies its President, Vice President, and Secretary. The law regulates the manner and procedure whereby the Assembly convenes and holds that election.

 


The problem with constitutions isn't what they say but with the reality behind them. The Soviet constitution of 1936 guaranteed freedom of religion and the right of all the republics to secede. However, most scholars and historians would not agree those were real rights that could be a exercised. For example all the republics had an ethnic Russian occupying the vice president position and exercising real power. The Canadian constitution is another case in point. The PM is theoretically not much more than the " first among equals". But of course that really isn't true as the PM is one of the most powerful executives in any western democracy. For example their signature is required for any candidate running under their party's banner. If the PM does not want them as a candidate they are out. A power the US president doesnt have. So anyone reading our constituion to develop an idea of how our politics works would be surprised by reality. My reading of Cuba is that Castrohad levers not necessarily described within th constitution.

Unionist

jjuares wrote:
The Canadian constitution is another case in point. The PM is theoretically not much more than the " first among equals". But of course that really isn't true as the PM is one of the most powerful executives in any western democracy. For example their signature is required for any candidate running under their party's banner. If the PM does not want them as a candidate they are out. A power the US president doesnt have.

Of course, what you say about the PM is true of all registered parties. No candidate can run under a party banner without the signed approval of their party leader. This is not a feature of the PM's role as such.

Rev Pesky

Defining democracy is a funny and difficult thing. For instance, in the last US election, which party had a platform that included the end of using drones as killing machines around the world. It didn't even show up on the radar (pun intended), so if you were opposed to the practice of assassination by drone, you had no one to vote for. Remember the 'bi-partisan'  congress? What does that mean, exactly? It means both parties that make up the government agree on certain points, and the voter is denied a choice in the matter.

In Canada, if you wish to extend human rigfts to Palestinians, who do you vote for?

In most liberal democracies politics is a bit like USA television. 578 channels, but all you get is 'Friends' reruns.

jjuares

Unionist wrote:

jjuares wrote:
The Canadian constitution is another case in point. The PM is theoretically not much more than the " first among equals". But of course that really isn't true as the PM is one of the most powerful executives in any western democracy. For example their signature is required for any candidate running under their party's banner. If the PM does not want them as a candidate they are out. A power the US president doesnt have.

Of course, what you say about the PM is true of all registered parties. No candidate can run under a party banner without the signed approval of their party leader. This is not a feature of the PM's role as such.


Yes, you are right. I used the term PM rather than the name of the current office holder because it is a structural problem unconnected to whom ever holds the office at any particular time. As for your point that makes the problem worse in my opinion. That maeans every MP is dependent upon staying in the good graces of their leader. This makes Canadian democracy a top down affair in many ways.

Geoff

I just read Gerry Caplan's damning analysis of Castro in the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/fidel-castro-was-no-friend-of-socialism/article33073767/

He is more ferocious than most rightwing commentators I've read since Fidel's passing. Maybe Garry is contemplating a run for the Conservative leadership.

On the other hand, maybe he's trying to make the point the NDP was trying to make in last year's election: "Look, we're not radical. We're even more centrist than the Liberals."

Hi column seems very odd, given that he was one of the signatories to the article, written during the election campaign, criticizing the NDP. I think they call that sucking and blowing at the same time.

 

lagatta

Yes, that was even worse than Zoe Williams in the Guardian. The only difference is that many people have called her on it, especially her saying that those with good to say about Castro had no business berating (the toady and war criminal) Blair.

I've had lots of criticisms of Castro's Cuba over the year, from the Stalinist position on the Prague spring to the repression and discrimination of LGBT people there - which has been recanted, and now gay people have more rights and security there not only that in most other Caribbean countries but also than in much of the US - but his comment is mendacious denial of the continuing US (and other capitalist) war on the audacity of the Cuban people and the revolution they made in the shadow of their huge, militarized neigbhour.

A neighbour that, despite its wealth, denies the human right to healthcare to millions, allows police and white supremacists to kill people of colour with impunity, denies the right to organise unions and criminalizes abortion rights. These are also denials of democacy.

Unionist

jjuares wrote:
As for your point that makes the problem worse in my opinion. That maeans every MP is dependent upon staying in the good graces of their leader. This makes Canadian democracy a top down affair in many ways.

Agreed. And I won't reiterate the list of excellent activist candidates that have been unceremonially banned by the Liberal and NDP bureaucracies. It's shameful, and most importantly, it's undemocratic.

MegB

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I'd say his most impressive legacy is that his nation survived both the fall of the Soviet union and the US embargo... Without going where some other nations have in those circumstances.

And this:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/fidel-castro-anti-colon...

 

I agree. My mother always loved Fidel for standing up to American imperialism, successfully I might add. Paladin, none of us here are blind to the failures of  both Castro as an individual and his regime as a whole, but a great man has died. We should honour his astonishing achievements, while remembering his flaws.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

There seems to be two responses in global media. Either honouring a legendary revolutionary, or denouncing a "dictator". There's not much else.

Since I am such a fan of Eduardo Galeano, I'd like to repeat his remark about Fidel as someone whose enemies do not say that Cuba is one of the few countries that does not participate in the world cup of the doormat. For such a little, island country to be so, and to play such an enormous role in the world, as an example, despite the monstrous, and continuing, blockade, much is owed to this caballero, this Don Quixote, who, as Galeano also noted, always stood up for the losers.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Like any individual, they've done good and bad things throughout their life.   When Gerry Caplan's obit is written, we'll just make sure to remind everyone of his role in the purge of the left-wing Waffle movement from the NDP.

As for the legacy of Fidel Castro?   The mainstream media punditocracy (even its officially sanctioned "left wing") is no more qualified to comment on Castro's legacy than just about anyone who is posting here on this board.

 

 

 

Rev Pesky

Here is a more nuanced examination of Castro's response to the invasion of Czechoslovakia:

Fidel Castro’s Position on the Invasion and Occupation of Czechoslovakia

Quote:
What has happened to Fidel Castro’s speech of August 23 in which he supported the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact countries?

Is it being hailed by Moscow? Has the Soviet command tried to put a copy in the hands of every citizen of Czechoslovakia, the better to explain why foreign troops have been stationed in their country? Have the Czechoslovak communications media opened a public discussion of the questions it raises?

If the speech is not being widely circulated, has it at least been placed on the agenda for discussion at a governmental level, or among the leaders of the Communist parties of the “socialist camp”?

The truth is that even the Communist Party, U. S. A., one of the few pro-Moscow parties in the West to support the invasion wholeheartedly, has displayed an ambiguous attitude toward Castro’s speech. While utilizing the fact that Castro approved the action of the Warsaw Pact countries, the top CPUSA leaders have refrained from disseminating or discussing Castro’s speech as a whole.

...The intervention, in his opinion, “unquestionably entailed a violation of legal principles and international norms.” It “cannot be denied,” he contends, “that the sovereignty of the Czechoslovak State was violated.” To say otherwise would be “a fiction, an untruth. And the violation was, in fact, of a flagrant nature.”

“From a legal point of view, this cannot be justified. . . . Not the slightest trace of legality exists. Frankly, none whatever.”

...What Castro is saying here, with complete consistency, is that if you adopt the position that Czechoslovakia was about to fall like a ripe plum to capitalism, then you must draw certain conclusions about the attractive power of communism. How is it to be explained that capitalism has such an ideological grip on the people of Czechoslovakia? And not only after twenty years of living under a workers state in Czechoslovakia, but fifty-one years after the Russian October and ten years after the Cuban victory.

That’s capitalism in its death agony, too. A capitalism that has given the world two global conflicts, a major depression and any number of minor ones. It is a capitalism that has given the world fascism, and, in the case of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi occupation. A capitalism, moreover, that has already wiped out two cities with nuclear bombs and that threatens to destroy all mankind in a nuclear holocaust. A capitalism that has won universal hatred and contempt because of such aggressions as the current one in Vietnam. A capitalism that has aroused a mood of deep rebellion among the youth living under it. A capitalism which in the United States has touched off repeated explosions in the ghettos.

In the face of all this, the Kremlin is compelled to say—in deeds if not in words— that capitalism is more attractive to the people of Czechoslovakia than communism!

It is hard for Fidel Castro to accept that. It is hard for any revolutionist to accept it. Yet the conclusion is unavoidable if you admit the premise that the counterrevolutionary danger in Czechoslovakia was so great that foreign troops had to be sent in to crush it.

A completely opposite conclusion follows if the truth of the matter was that a political revolution was maturing in Czechoslovakia. For this signifies that instead of wanting to go back to capitalism, what the people of Czechoslovakia wanted was to go forward to socialist democracy. If that is the case, capitalism cannot possibly be restored in Czechoslovakia. The battle is with bureaucratism—the pattern of Stalinist bureaucratism imposed on the country from the outside.

Overall an excellent analysis of the Czechoslovakian invasion, and a pretty good exposition on the thinking of Fidel Castro.

jjuares

MegB wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I'd say his most impressive legacy is that his nation survived both the fall of the Soviet union and the US embargo... Without going where some other nations have in those circumstances.

And this:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/fidel-castro-anti-colon...

 

I agree. My mother always loved Fidel for standing up to American imperialism, successfully I might add. Paladin, none of us here are blind to the failures of  both Castro as an individual and his regime as a whole, but a great man has died. We should honour his astonishing achievements, while remembering his flaws.


The NDP ones upset me the most. Most of them seemed to be canned over the Mid East issues. The most annoying part of it was they seem to be reiterating both the UN and Canada's official stand: two state solution, withdrawl from the occupied territories and in some cases criticism of some roght wing elements in Israel who are in fact an impediment to any solution.

Unionist

Statement by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

[url=http://www.cupw.ca/en/fidel-has-left-us-our-friendship-cuban-people-unwa... Has Left Us, Our Friendship With the Cuban People is Unwavering[/url]

¡Hasta la victoria, Siempre!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I found the full text of the speech that Rev Pesky refers to above.

You'll find it here

It's kind of long and rambling, but at the same time quite interesting...kind of like Fidel Castro.

Castro clearly was no toady of Moscow.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If anyone is interested, Radio Havana Cuba's international radio service streams at the following link.    English is carried in the evening from 0100 to 0700 UTC  (8 PM to 2 AM Eastern Time)...other languages are used throughout the day.

Unfortunately, they stream in very "counter revolutionary" Windows Media format. Cry  Using a Microsoft Media Server URL.

But, you can copy and paste the following URL into VLC Media Player and it will work fine.

mmsh://media.enet.cu/radiohabanacubaidiomas?MSWMExt=.asf

Or, if you have a radio kicking around with shortwave coverage, it's pretty loud across the continent on 6.000 KHz. (6.0 MHz.) in the evenings.

They've been mostly reading obits from various leaders around the world along with excerpts from various speeches from Fidel.

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Dangerous Bias of the “Unbiased” About Fidel’s Cuba

Quote:
When I wrote an article on Cuba’s philosophical traditions, a left-wing friend, also a friend of Cuba, said I should acknowledge and address Cuba’s alleged human rights violations. Unless I did that I was presenting Fidel Castro as a “Messianic figure”. I am not being objective.

Ideas are Cuba’s best gift to the world. Fidel Castro expressed them, in deed, speech and theory. If I write about something Canada does well, should I discuss the residential school programs, or the suicide epidemic among youth (even in rich southern Ontario). These matter deeply to the country’s self-conception. Yet no one will accuse me of bias if I leave them out writing about philosophy in Canada.

In the case of Cuba, any positive reference, no matter what the topic, without equal space for Cuba’s human rights violations, is considered unfairly biased.

An excellent piece. All smug, caviar leftists take note.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

ikosmos wrote:

All smug, caviar leftists take note.

Why not call us limousine liberals while you're at it?

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
If I write about something Canada does well, should I discuss the residential school programs, or the suicide epidemic among youth (even in rich southern Ontario).

If you're writing about it at babble then you should probably play it safe, so, yes.

NDPP

Justin Trudeau Loses His Nerve, Skips Fidel Castro's Funeral: Walkom

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/11/30/justin-trudeau-los...

"Trudeau has allowed himself to be browbeaten by the usual suspects - anti-Communists posing as human rights warriors who can find no good in modern Cuba."

swallow swallow's picture

ikosmos wrote:

All smug, caviar leftists take note.

Who on this thread do you think is disagreeing with you? Or is this YET ANOTHER drive-by smear of other board participants? 

lagatta

Does tzatziki count as poor-person's caviar?

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

peanut butter maybe

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Fidel Castro: dictator or revolutionary? A necessary differentiation by someone who knew him

Quote:
Dictators are in power for themselves, while revolutionaries, most of whom are born into the upper class, take power for the Other. Their authoritarianism stems from the refusal of the 1% from which they emerge to share — as stunningly illustrated by those who are dancing in the streets of Miami, hoping to turn the clock back in the land they abandoned.

6079_Smith_W

montrealer58 wrote:

peanut butter maybe

taramsalata

Paladin1

 

Like the US spectrum? Terrorist - Moderate rebel.

swallow swallow's picture

All you people rejecting caviar are Russophobes! Boo-rah! Because freedom! 

lagatta

Funny, I meant taramasalata. Tzatziki has nothing to do with caviar, though I've often been served both as mezze. Odd how the brain can screw up, eh?

Swallow, it gets worse. Caviar can also be Iranian.

Unionist

lagatta wrote:

Swallow, it gets worse. Caviar can also be Iranian.

Ask questions when you place your order.

Caviar emptor.

kropotkin1951

lagatta wrote:

Swallow, it gets worse. Caviar can also be Iranian.

I would have said Iran if asked what is a caviar exporting country.  Crossword puzzles all think so.  

I prefer smoked salmon to caviar. I thought it was gross when I tried it at some banquet. But then there is no accounting for taste.  My wife and sister are busy making appies for a winter mixer at the Museum and the salmon pate is excellent. Is that too decadent for real progressives?

Mr. Magoo

Isn't caviar -- the real stuff -- treif?  Are you Jewsplaining again?

Quote:
Funny, I meant taramasalata.

OMG, taramasalata.  My wife and I had dinner with a friend from school many years ago, and she served taramasalata with little pitas as an appetizer.  I don't remember what the main course even was, but I remember that if it had tragically burned in the oven but they still had taramasalata and some pitas left I'd have been fine with that.

Not looking to disrupt this thread with food talk, but at the same time you can't just go reminding me about taramasalata like that. :)

lagatta

I don't like caviar either, at least not what little of it I've eaten. I prefer the cheap taramasalata. Once I was bumped up to first class on a flight to Paris (I was travelling to Italy to study there, on a scolarship) and chose the smoked trout over the caviar. While the food and wine were very good, unlike the usual airline swill, the best feature was the seating that became almost beds, and being able to sleep for a few hours.

As for Castro, I still haven't heard from my friends currently in Cuba, but that isn't surprising, as e-mail is not very dependable at the best of times. One is supposed to have arrived in Cuba for an event - a book fair, a cultural event or something similar, but I imagine that everything is topsy-turvy now. She will be staying with another friend who is a catlady - she rescues and fosters stray cats and kittens, and there are many. There is no cat food as such in Cuba - one has to make it from scraps of meat and other things. On the other hand, the vets do house calls! I haven't asked whether Cuba also sends vets on humanitarian missions - those are important, especially in terms of livestock and other farm animals.

jjuares

I have never had caviar. I guess I just don't travel with the right kind of people.

lagatta

I don't usually either. The plane upgrade was a fluke. Sometimes I've worked at posh stuff and had some of their crumbs.

You could buy a little jar of fairly "ordinary" caviar for not a lot of money, say at Eastern European shops. But better to spend the money on a good cheese, or if you eat meat or fish, some smoked trout or other fish. Caviar is among those foods and bevvies that are more about prestige than pleasure.

I've heard the term "Chardonnay socialist" as well. Probably from the US, because of the aversion to things with French names? Rather silly, as at the LCBO there is a magnum of quite decent cheap chardonnay from Chile for $13.95, that is, $7 a bottle: http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/produit/chardonnay-frontera-concha-y-toro/46584...

Of course it is a bit more expensive at the SAQ, though our monopoly has recently lowered prices a bit as it seems a lot of people were buying in Ontario...

Still no news from friends in Cuba. Will write again - a very short message, so as not to overload their system.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Liz Rowley, CP Canada leader wrote:
Comrade Fidel Castro and the struggle of the Cuban people to build socialism just 90 miles from the most powerful imperialist power on earth, lives on in the hearts and minds of billions of people, because the objectives of a classless society, a society built on the foundations of peace, democracy, environmental security and socialism, continue to be the inspiration for millions of people struggling for fundamental social change in their own countries, struggling to build a better future for themselves and their children.

Canadian Communists Salute Fidel

Unionist

You can leave messages at the [url=http://fidelcondolences.ca/]Online Condolence Book of the Cuban Embassy in Canada[/url].

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Correa's Moving Farewell to Fidel

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa wrote:
Those who die fighting for life cannot be called dead. Fidel will continue to live in the faces of the children who go to school, in the sick whose lives are saved, in the workers who own the fruits of their labors. In the most unequal continent in the world, you have left us the only country with zero childhood malnutrition, with a higher life expectancy,with 100% school enrollment, without a single child living on the street.

Our American faces new challenges. Perhaps bigger challenges than those you fought during 70 years of struggle. Today the people of our America are more united than ever. Never lying nor betraying your moral principles. Of this deep conviction, there is no force in the world capable of crushing the power of truth and ideas.

With you, Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz, with Camilo Cienfuegos, with Che, with Hugo Chavez Frias, we learned to believe in a new Latin American man, one capable of fighting through organization and awareness, the ongoing battle of liberating ideas that will build a just a peaceful world. It is for these ideas we will keep fighting, we promise!

Hasta la victoria siempre, commandante!

Doug Woodard

How Castro helped end Colombian conflict:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3878489

 

KenS

Rev Pesky wrote:

Here is a more nuanced examination of Castro's response to the invasion of Czechoslovakia:

Fidel Castro’s Position on the Invasion and Occupation of Czechoslovakia

Quote:
What has happened to Fidel Castro’s speech of August 23 in which he supported the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact countries?

....

Overall an excellent analysis of the Czechoslovakian invasion, and a pretty good exposition on the thinking of Fidel Castro.

I was living in Cuba at the time. Even then I thought the position was a rationalizing crock. (I guess that qualifies as "nuanced".) And I knew Party members that got shifty eyed and soft voiced when they would "expound" that position- albeit in simpler language than Fidel.

KenS

Venceremos!

And for the record, I got a hit in every at bat against Fidel. His team razzed him at my later at bats. Beaten by that skinny kid.

KenS

radiorahim wrote:

I found the full text of the speech that Rev Pesky refers to above.

You'll find it here

It's kind of long and rambling, but at the same time quite interesting...kind of like Fidel Castro.

Castro clearly was no toady of Moscow.

Not a toady. But a very willing tool.

Rev Pesky

KenS wrote:
...I was living in Cuba at the time. Even then I thought the position was a rationalizing crock. (I guess that qualifies as "nuanced".) And I knew Party members that got shifty eyed and soft voiced when they would "expound" that position- albeit in simpler language than Fidel.

If you had read my post you would see the 'nuanced' did not refer to Castro's position, it referred to the analysis of his position. May have to brush up on your comprehension skills...

 

KenS

The current analyis, and the position of Fidel and the CP at the time, looked indistinguishable to me. Hence my making no seperation.

Admittedly, I got bored. Maybe I will take another crack at it. But I will lay odds that my take is justified.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
And for the record, I got a hit in every at bat against Fidel.

Are you saying that you stood at home plate, bat in hand, while Fidel Castro pitched?

Not quarrelling here, just clarifying.  Because that would be pretty cool, indeed.

quizzical

kropotkin1951 wrote:
  My wife and sister are busy making appies for a winter mixer at the Museum and the salmon pate is excellent. Is that too decadent for real progressives?

nope.

my gma the life long CCFer and NDPer caught and smoked her own salmon then canned it. her pate is the best ever. it's a family staple still today.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Is that too decadent for real progressives?

Not if it's vegan.  Otherwise, whose side are you on??

lagatta

I have a CAT. Guess I can't be a true progressive, and neither can she.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It was reported (where, I forget?) that the central "Revolution Square" would be named after Commandante Fidel but, it was also reported (CBC) that Fidel objected to naming all sorts of objects after him, rejecting anything that smacked of the cult of personality, "right until the last hours of his life" (Raoul), and apparently his wish will be respected.

Of course, they could change the name of the country to "Fidel". hah.

KenS

I did indeed play against Fidel- 46 years ago. He always insisted on pitching, and he and the guards played a lot of games in those days. (Basketball was his sport when he was an athlete in university, in the US.)

He was still in great shape, but only threw fast balls, and I was a line drive hitter. We were getting thumped, but I got a hit every time I was up. Really scrawny kid, so after the first couple times his team was razzing him when I got up. He enjoyed it too, but was trying to get me out.

lagatta

Kudos to Fidel for refusing to have Revolution Square and other things named for himself.

No surprise that Margaret Wente wrote a particularly horrible piece on him... probably plagiarized as well.

KenS

I was thinking- I always assumed that Fidel just insisted on being the pitcher, because that was Fidel. Maybe. And maybe it was a security measure. Those guards were unobtrusive, and they never surrounded him, and they talked and joked, so you didn't think much about them.

But later on, when I was not even close to Fidel, I remembered my camera, and bolted to run for it. Even though I was running the opposite direction from Fidel, a guard was there to block me whn I got not very many steps. So maybe Fidel always pitched because then he would never be far from the guards. When their team was up, each guard only put down his AKs when they were batting or on base. And one or two always stayed behind when the rest of the team took to the field.

Trivia on a global or historical scale. But representative of how even in the context of the very real threats- and I was there when the last armed group of gusanos surfaced- Fidel did his utmost to not be removed.

Pages