Fidel Castro, 13Aug1926 to 25Nov2016

The unexamined life is not worth living. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz.

For over sixty years, from Argentina to Canada, there has been no leader of his stature and influence, and none so admired – except in the US and some of its supplicant dependents.Below a brief reference guide, a small sampling of reports and analyses of a remarkable life, life of a man who, among other things, drastically moved Cuba from notorious ‘whorehouse of the Caribbean’ to a country with the highest ranked educational and healthcare systems in the world. The country has, time and again, come to the assistance of countries in need; and it has done so, without the media glare and exaggerations that the US lavishes on its own meagre but ostentatious efforts, if the US is at all there, that is.

We have a report of how an indebted and respectful world responded to Castro’s death, in contrast with and repudiation of the US and its decades long treatment of that country, Developing world leaders pay respects to Castro, their champion during cold war  Select excerpts,

The death of Fidel Castro has prompted tributes and reflections from current and former leaders across the world and of all political stripes.

The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, urged revolutionaries everywhere to “continue his legacy and carry his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland”, while the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, tweeted: “A great man has gone. Fidel is dead. Long live Cuba! Long live Latin America!”

[…]

Michelle Bachelet, the president of Chile, offered her condolences over the death of “a leader for dignity and social justice in Cuba and Latin America”.

The Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, described Castro as “a friend of Mexico, [and the] promoter of a bilateral relationship based on respect, dialogue and solidarity”.

Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the president of El Salvador, tweeted in Spanish: “Fidel will live forever in the hearts of those of us who fight for justice, dignity and fraternity.”

[…]

The French president, François Hollande, condemned human rights abuses in Cuba, but paid tribute to the transformations Castro brought to a desperately poor country known primarily as a playground for wealthy Americans before he swept to power.

(As would be recalled, Michelle Bachelet and her father had been tortured by the US-supported dictator Augusto Pinochet.)

As essential context, RT reminds us of, Myriad ways CIA tried and failed to assassinate Fidel Castro  A teaser,

The father of the Cuban Revolution remains unbeaten by his foes even in death. We look over the most dramatic assassination plots on El Comandante – from character-assassinations by way of LSD, to Italian mobsters, tuberculosis wetsuit, and exploding cigar.

Duncan Campbell, in an article in The Guardian of 03Aug16, would enliven (?) us with, 638 ways to kill Castro  And no need to guess which country is the instigator.

His fame for puffing his cigars, until his doctors had sworn him off, would provide an opportunity to make his nemesis the butt of worldwide ridicule with this headline, Close but no cigar: how America failed to kill Fidel Castro As we learn,

From the famous exploding cigars to poison pills hidden in a cold-cream jar, the CIA and Cuban exile groups spent nearly 50 years devising ways to kill Fidel Castro. None of the plots, of course, succeeded but one of his loyal security men calculated that a total of 634 attempts, some ludicrous, some deadly serious, had been made on the life of El Comandante.

This is the US government. Not surprising if one looks at the widespread death and destruction meted out to innocent countries over at least the last half century.

As we continue to heap on the ridicule with the evidence, why not this headline from the Independent, Fidel Castro dies: From exploding cigars to poison, assassination attempts the Cuban leader is said to have survive, and this snippet,

Having the nerve to establish a socialist state on the doorstep of the US during the Cold War, he was the target of the CIA’s wrath for decades.

Cuban exiles, who fled the revolution and later the isolated country Cuba became, also lined up to take the life of ‘El Commandante’.

Castro’s former bodyguard, Fabian Escalante, claimed there had been 638 attempts on the leader’s life.

Dr Helen Yafee, writing in TeleSUR,  Comandante Fidel: Combatant to the End, provides some background into the the influence of  those who had fled to Florida, along with their self-seeking allies – with each of the corporate political duopoly desperate and self-debasing for those precious 29 seats of the electoral college of a corporate democracy,

It is these Cuban exiles, and their allies, who have dominated U.S. policy-making on Cuba – converting Cuba into a domestic political issue. They have established the paradigm for academic writing and commentary on Cuba, controlled the media narrative, and in general obstructed our ability to understand Cuba as a country, Fidel as a man, and socialism as an alternative development strategy. So none of us should be surprised that on his death, unlike Mandela, Fidel is not forgiven his “crimes,” but continues to be lambasted as a dictator, supposedly the oppressor of an entire nation.

Elsewhere, however and well beyond the shores of Cuba, millions in the world will mourn a leader they claimed as their own. The leader of a revolution which defeated a U.S.-backed invasion, who stood up to U.S. imperialism, who sent doctors, educators and development workers to the poorest regions on the earth – almost as soon as they were trained up for free in Cuba…

As for the malevolence of that exile group and its state-sponsored violence, we turn again to The Guardian, and a look at its archives of 08Oct76, Cuban exiles ‘bombed jet’

For the pat three months, Dr Castro’s opponents in the US have waged a terrorist campaign in the Caribbean against those who break bread with the Cuban leader.

[…]

At the same time as the Jamaica blast, the office of the Trinidad airline was bombed in Barbados and a mysterious fire in Guyana destroyed a large quantity of Cuban-supplied fishing equipment.

[…]

The exiles have never forgiven Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, and Jamaica for their recognition of Cuba four years ago which started the ball rolling towards last year’s lifting of the 11-year blockade of Cuba by the Organisation of American States. They were also incensed by the Anglo-Caribbean’s support and assistance to Cuba in its Angolan expedition.

Terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder? None of the culprits, resident in the US, have been charged with a crime. Indeed, some have received some of that country’s highest awards.

Political analyst and commentator, Tariq Ali, offers his perspective at the counterpunch blog on Fidel Castro’s life and influence, History Will be the Judge: Fidel Castro, 1926-2016

The world can only hope that, with the waning of US power and influence relative to China and Russia in particular, engagement rather than a policy death, destruction and destabilisation features more prominently in its dealing with countries. (The internet and alternative media now ensure some immediacy in the debunking of self-serving propaganda spread by US corporate media.)

For that nostalgic look, Fidel Castro: A Latin American Legend, we have a brief glance at his childhood, courtesy TeleSUR,

Fidel was born in 1926 during a period when then-President Gerardo Machado was cutting off the traditional elite from its long-held power and defending the island’s sovereignty from the United States

As a child, Fidel was sent to live in Santiago de Cuba, where he excelled more in sports than academia.

His youth was marked by turbulent politics: Fulgencio Batista became president in 1940 and ruled the country until 1944 before returning to power through a coup in 1952. With the blessing and material support of the United States, he ruled Cuba with an iron fist until 1959 in what even John F. Kennedy once referred to as “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression.”

And as we indulge in what most folk do when they socialise and reminisce, we look at our family photos, Fidel Castro: A Remarkable Life in 14 Pictures

As the old folk say, ¡Hasta siempre, Comandante! And with Cuba’s fame for its music, a melodious ¡Hasta luego!, with that nugget.

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