10 ways Castro changed the world

Posted by Ian

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, wily old despotic goat, erstwhile law student and son of a sugar plantation owner, has announced he is retiring after 49 years. Here’s how he changed the world. 

1) By almost ending it. When the US discovered nuclear missile bases were being built in Cuba in 1962, President John F. Kennedy contrived a stand-off with the Soviet Union which almost led to the Third World War. Kennedy accused the Soviets of supplying Castro with weapons that would be targeted at US cities, and ordered a naval blockade of Cuba. Soviet ships set sail towards the island. For a few days the possibility of nuclear holocaust hung across the entire planet. Secret negotiations ultimately resulted in the the USSR turning their ships around. Superpower relations were never the same again.

2) Giving the giant US war machine its first taste of military defeat by a minnow. A year before the missile crisis, Kennedy mounted the Bay Of Pigs invasion: an attempt to overthrow Castro using a bunch of armed exiles. It failed. It was the first time post-war America had been routed by a lesser power – but not the last (see Vietnam).

3) Papering the walls of several million student halls of residence, along with fellow socialist and revolutionary terrorist Che Guevara.

4) Staying in power for 49 years: an incredible feat, far outranking all his fellow dictators past and present. Love him or loathe him, you could never ignore him.

5) Trying to reconcile communism with capitalism. In other words, having his cake and eating it. As a result Cuba has a higher life expectancy than the US, but endemic poverty.

6) Becoming the world’s most fashionable despot. Throughout his life a parade of celebrities have queued for an audience with the man, from Ernest Hemingway to Kate Moss, from Steven Spielberg to Naomi Campbell. Presumably they all looked the other way when being driven through Havana’s appalling slums. Diego Maradona, meanwhile, has a Castro tattoo on his leg.

7) Surviving the most demented campaign of assassination in world history. Over five decades the CIA has tried to kill Castro by, among other things, spraying a television studio with LSD, an exploding cigar, slipping poison powder into a pair of his boots, poisoning a scuba-diving wetsuit offered as a gift and blowing up a conch shell in one of the President’s favourite waters.

8) Continuing to inspire political change and upheaval even now, in Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina and most potently Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez has carved a role for himself as Castro-cheerleader-in-chief.

9) Fostering an incredible sense of cultural pride and identity among Cubans despite forcing them to live in a one-party state where opposition leaders are still summarily rounded up and thrown into jail. Perhaps entertainment is a form of escape. But perhaps Cuban music is also one of the greatest in the world.

10) Re-popularising the shell suit as *the* garment of choice among veteran world leaders.

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69 Responses to 10 ways Castro changed the world

  1. Bryan says:

    As a Grenadian, I am very much impressed by Castro. Maybe at 3 yrs old in 1983, I was to young to understand the impact Cuban-Grenada relations who have had on my life. The opportunity to pursue free higher education and part take in a the services of quality health care. I hail the successes of Fidel and trust that hopefully one day I will be as bold as he have been, to stand against all odds for what I believe in.

  2. shoresh says:

    what is sad in this case or in our world is being naive and thinking that we know everything because we\’ve read some history book. The history is written by the winner. I wont say that Che or Castro are the ideal leader but i wouldnt call them terrorists either, because then i have to compare them with greater terrorists, and the way the super powers raped, burned and demolished democracys around the world  makes both Che and castro freedom fighters rather then terrorists. The amount of ppl they\’ve killed cant even compare to amount the USA(for example) murderd to the sound of trumpets. The injustice that USA and other S powers created in our world should make you furious and not angry over the situation in Cuba. I Hope its not the old Cuba you want back. a playground for the US gov and the mob. You talk about poverty, and the prostitution? I\’ll talk about 50 years of embargo, US trying to bend them over like so many other South American and Carribbean countries. And tourists buying prostitute… tell me that thats not every countries problem, one of greates in Europe, a probloem that not even your country can solve it… whenever you\’r from. You talk about Thailand and Cuba like its a problem in only those countries, yes they do it because of poverty, cant think of a reason why they do it in westen countries……. so it cant really be all old poor Castros fault could it? at least its not orgenised as it is in other countries… there are no pimps and big mamas, not since the mab.
    The main point dear is not that you can say what you want on the net or else where but what you can do with it. and some of those whom used there right of speech for the right purpose were throughn in jail, last there jobs or get there articles cencered… not only in Cuba but also in our times  biggest leading (so called) "democraty". So lets not be hypocrats here,  "Democracy" , if it exist, is a privilege for rich countries. And for rich countries to continue to be rich they need to have everything… fruits, oil, weapon gas.. etc..wether its theres or somebody else\’s, they take it….. and belive me, it doesnt matter i its agains international laws, human rights, humanity… they take it and they dont care if its washed in blood. 
    Yes i rather leave in a country that doesn\’t clam to be a democracy rather a democratic country where the big brother is watching and I contribute to there hunt for terrorist, komunist, muslims or whatever its on the aganda. And no its pretty sad that your voice cant change the case,  and i dont think they went out asking for your voice for the nucks over japan, Vietnam war or Iraq war… or maybe they did actually very clear in the last two cases… but we all know what happend.
    So please get you self out there and travel and see, and stopp reading the propaganda your stuffed with. belive what you see.  
    The main point dear is that democracy is a

  3. Easton says:

    I am very surprised at some of the comments about Castro and Cuba. I am even more surprised at some of the comparisons of Cuba to Haiti, Jamaica and the USA. Cubans (excluding Castro\’s associates) are poor people with no control over their destine. If you can\’t select the people who should represent your intrest in your country, then what kind of life is that. In Jamaica, Haiti and the USA, if the leaders don\’t perform according to the wish of the people they will be voted out of office by the people. Unlike Cuba where you have a dictator who only quit after 49 years of destroying the country, because of old age and to make matters even more bizzar, he passed the dictatorship to his brother as if the country is a family estate being handed down to a succession of beneficiaries. The Cuban people are happy people because it\’s either that or be imprisoned or even risking their lives trying to escape to the USA in their small boats from a massive concentration camp where all ordinary citizens are inmates. Free the people of Cuba now. Visitors to Cuba don\’t understand because they are not living the life of Cubans as they are here today and gone tomorrow.

  4. john says:

    As an americian i find it hard to belive that people in the world think there is still this big us vs cuba thing.  Yea there is still embargos but the average americian could give a s**t about any country. The only reason americians care about iraq or afganistan is americian soilders are there. I am constantly beweildered by the fact that people actualy think cuba is the only country with free medicine and school
    look at malta
    they dont jail people for haveing an opinion, they dont buy nucular weapons to point at the worlds most dangerous and powerful country to get a rise out of it
    the country was never realy invaded by us troops so how could he claim victory?
    che was a terrorist and he inspires other terririst to this very day. the differece between the us and the rest of the world is simple. if you dont like the way things are your more than welcome to live some place else. you try to change things by electing those who share you views, you could run your self. or you could do what most of us do. sit and eat the big s**t sandwitch were given and accept it as part of life.
    I hope someone flies some planes into the uk or denmark or germany or russia that would be great
    the only reason no one has attaced russia like the us is they knoe russa will not hessitate to publicly shoot down a comercial ailiner as a warning.
    so basicly to all the world. wipe the sand out of your snatches and come up with solutions on how we a a race can come together instead of just talking s**t on the internet about stuff you will never say pubicly or are too pussy to do something about.
    JOHN MIller

  5. James says:

    Well John, the reason there is this big \’thing\’ about the U.S and Cuba is because it still is going on. America tries to bully itself across the world, and then when someone stands up and says "I don\’t like what your doing" you take a force of arms against them. The only analogy anyone can think of is that America is a bully picking on weaker countries, who then make excuses when they are genuinely beaten. Lets say you\’re right about the bay of pigs not being a real attack, lets turn to one that was, Vietnam. Rightly or wrongly as America may be perceived to be in even starting that war (and I know it was under the pretense of \’helping\’ France, something I think we can all agree on was a lie) America was still severely routed by the Vietnamese based on the fact that the country itself didn\’t want American soldiers or influence there, just like Cuba. Only in this instance the American Government, knowing an all-out attack would cause severe diplomatic unrest instead, in an incredibly underhand tactic, backed exiles to launch a military quo. You continue to state that the average American "could give a s**t about any country", and so if the American people don\’t care about these foreign countries then why did America even go to war? All you seem to be advocating is shutting up and just swallowing whatever the Government throws at you, how is that any different from what you are criticising?! You also claim Che to be a terrorist, based on what?! You denounce him for fighting for his beliefs and adjectively ignore the American Government celebrating the murder of thousands. America stomps around the world declaring that \’all must have democracy\’ and then undermine it\’s integrity with your own political machinations.Shoresh has the heart of it "what
    is sad in this case or in our world is being naive and thinking that we
    know everything because we\’ve read some history book. The history is
    written by the winner. I wont say that Che or Castro are the ideal
    leader but i wouldnt call them terrorists either, because then i have
    to compare them with greater terrorists, and the way the super powers
    raped, burned and demolished democracys around the world  makes both
    Che and castro freedom fighters rather then terrorists. The amount of
    ppl they\’ve killed cant even compare to amount the USA(for example)
    murderd to the sound of trumpets. The injustice that USA and other S
    powers created in our world should make you furious and not angry over
    the situation in Cuba".Remember who Castro replaced, what he\’s had to fight against and then consider what he\’s accomplished. He may not be ideal, but if it\’s a choice between the so-called \’democratic\’ America under Bush and the communist Cuba under Castro I know which way I\’d go.

  6. Val says:

    I hae every respect for the Maltese and think that Malta is a great place. However, I think you will have offended an awful lot of people with your comments about wanting to see a plane fly into the UK (presumably in context with 9/11)
    not only have we had our buses and underground blown up with the people on them – and the British lives are just as sacrosanct as American ones, but you obviously have forgotten about the constant terrorism we suffered from the IRA – funded largely by the Americans.
    I have every sympathy for anyone who has suffered losses through terrorism, whatever their nationality, including terrorism inflicted by so called democratic governments. However, the reason Americans (and this is only a generality as a nation, as I have no gripe with any individual, unless they make uneducated and arrogant remarks such as yours) are seen to be self-interested, is that unless it affects themselves, they dont see a problem.
    I have seen the appalling poverty in Cuba – but how much is that caused by castro? Certainly the Cubans I spoke to (who were very educated and, unusually, had travelled outside of their country, tell us that the majority of their povery is caused by the American embargo, which is as effective as a blockade. Only the increase in tourism, together with their medical drug production, is helping to bring some wealth back into the country.
    I dont ususally join in these dicussions, but your scant regards to all those English that have lost their lives to terrorism is an insult and offensive.

  7. Jarrod says:

    John you seem to be very defensive for a man who doesn\’t care, admittedly there are faults with cuba as in all countries but bear in mind that Cuba had managed to survive not only the USA\’s attempts to cripple it economically but the collapse of the USSR, still maintain one of the best health care systems in world. Yes you said places like Malta have free healthcare and education without obtaining nuclear weapons to \’get a rise\’, I\’m sure that is why they did it not to say defend themselves during the cold war against other countries like the US who had already proved itself willing to use nuclear force against those who opposed it.
    The fact of the matter is Cuba surived and to an extent limited by the US flourished, the population is for the most part happy and has a real sense of national pride whilst western countries populations become more and more apathetic, they are happier by far than when America and the mob ran it as a seedy den of vice. Its heath service is fantastic and it\’s average life expectancy is much higher than USA\’s and many of industries such as the tourist industry is really starting to come into itself. And yes poverty is a problem but then again before America starts making comments about the poverty in Cuba and problems of a similar nature the American populace should look in its own back yard and consider whether the millions of dollars spent on war exporting it\’s culture and own brand of ineffectual democracy around the world could be better spent on resolving huge problems with poverty in areas like new orleans, neglected by it\’s own government.
    As for wishing terrorist attacks upon other countries firstly that is a dispicable thing to say, secondly countries in every continent have suffered terrorist attacks,  Western Europe, Eastern European countries , African countries, middle eastern countries almost every country has been the victim of terrorist attacks, not neccesarily by alqueda but the London bombings were attributed to them, then theres constant bombing in israel and pakistan, african countries remain in civil war, kosovo now independant had massacres take place in schools not so long ago. I\’m not sure if your aware of any of that or whether the news of other countries plights do not make it onto your networks. Or why when talking about Cuba you bring up planes and terrorist attacks American has launched many discreet attacks and implemented no end of restrictions on Cuba not the other way around.

  8. Iain says:

    Well Done John
    You have just displayed the complete and utter ignorance which sadly is commonplace amongst most Americans. You are a proud race, but pride comes before a fall !
    Cuba has been marginalised by the USA for 49 years, and for whatever his failings Castro stood against it, and his people have generally speaking been fully behind his social programmes and focused on the welfare benefits, not personal gains. Society before individual. A premise which is totally missing in the West…
    It was interesting to note that speaking on behalf of Americans that you dont give a sh*t about anywhere but America, and that about sums up your administrations foreign policies. you went into Afghanistan to free up drug supplies which the Taliban had stopped, as your politicians quite like the populace to be too stoned to be able to vote inteligently, you went into Iraq to control oil supplies. You are totally self interested but there will be a change in world balance coming. the day the world stops trading oil in dollars your strength will fail. This is why USA wants to crush Iran, as they with support of Russia and China ( soon to be the largest user of Oil in the world) are keen to set up an oil trading centre outside of Opec which may well choose to trade in Euros.
    Interesting then that america is keen to sponsor puppet Tony Blair to become EU president to fight against the rise of the European Union and any developing world fiscal influence !.
    While Castro was in power, there was always the believe that not everyone would succumb to the seduction of the Consumer model, lets hope that someone comes along to fill the void. The USA knows the price of everything but sadly the value of nothing.
    Finally, your hope that attacks happen in Europe, well wake up you dimwit, stop analysing your own ass and realise that some major attrocities have happened in Europe, and also that in the 70\’s the United Kingdom suffered dreadful terrorist attacks in London, Birmingham, Guildford, Manchester and Brighton, much of it supported morally and financially from the USA…learn your history, once you Americans do so and stop trying to control the world then maybe the entire world may stop reviling everything the stars and stripes represents

  9. ian says:

    Did you turn your head away from the slums as you drove to your accomodation when you took that nice holiday in Jamaica, Ian?
    Or when you and your comfortably dressed-down media mates took that week off in Cancun?
    What a stupid thing to write.

  10. iLo says:

    I just came across the most ignorant and naive piece of pretentious journalism… your article. Let me make it clear, you might be a talented professional, but what you just wrote doesn\’t reflect your ability. Take your time and revise the objectivity of your point of view (and I suggest you start by visiting Cuba).

  11. Unknown says:

    i.Lo – I could not have put it better myself – thank you!

  12. Edward says:

    I can\’t answer every single load of rubbish in these comments so I will limit myself to the one at the bottom of the page as I saw this iin my browser.
    The writer said that Cubans lived longer.
    Although comparisons change from year to year the figures I have looked at show life expectancy slightly higher in the US.
    Also the great health service the writer speaks of actually is a whopping great $209 per year and is not very evenly spread.
    Yes Fidel is 81 years old as the writer points out but I would like to point out that that is 6 years higher than the average life expectancy for males in his country.  It was 7 years worse than that in 2002.
    A bad place to be born on many levels.  He has played an important role in making it that way.
    John Morley

  13. Chris Og says:

    Terrorism…… is only a word country\’s use to make a enemy for there people.  A reason for a war, a reason for angry.  An excuse, justifcation. A reason to give you peace of mind, while you drive your cars on the oil that is raping the world.
    The americans called terrorist anybody who opposes them, would gutanoma bay considered terroris,? Pananma canal terrorism?  It is a name which westernerns use to crimate people, races, polical opinons.
    Britain called the IRA terrorist, is a terrorist somebody who defends his rights of his people, who fights for the right to vote [NI1970\’S Roman Cath\’s voting was restricted.]
    The simple fact is human nature is a terrorist, an opportunitist.  We live on the oppression of others, We use the media to dull the the truth, to white wash.  Demoracy is the modern day form of slavery, its principals are corrupted by corrupted individuals.  Communism and Demoracy can never work, cause the human race is flawed.  Whoever has the power has control.  Simple

  14. Becky says:

    Why are Americans so touchy when it comes to criticism? Even the most intelligent Americans I encountered at University practically started crying when anything negative about their President- the imbecile that is George W. Bush- was mentioned. As for advocating terrorism on the UK or Europe, what an evil thing to suggest! Yes, the US has suffered terrorist attacks- so has most of the world at some point or another, check your history books John! I suggest John, that you go away and read some BOOKS and buy yourself a dictionary/ invest in spell check as I could barely read your childish, mispelled garbage. Oh and if America is so great, why the hell are you in Malta? Given the choice between Fidel and George, I would vote Cuba everytime. John, you are typical of the reason the rest of the world hates Americans! Grow up and get educated, before you upset any more people.

  15. Unknown says:

    These are simply ten facts about Castro. He didn\’t change the world and he didn\’t achieve much either.

  16. abdirahman Ibnu Osman says:

    Typically  fat cat from XSA.  making others look bad  to make them america look good.

  17. rob says:

    As with all communist dictators, they live the high life at the expense of the "workers" who live in poverty.. .. socialism ??? What a joke.. …

  18. Katie says:

    I know relatively little about Cuba or the work of Castro, Guevera or accomplices in changing the nation, and would like to know more. On reading this article I picked up a lot of strong opinion which detracted from the facts. From reading the comments I can see that I\’m not the only one who thinks this!
    If anyone reading this is from Cuba, or knows a lot on the subject, I\’d  be really interested in hearing from you, I\’d love to learn more about the (unbiased) history and changing political climate of the country.
    And by the way, John, have you ever hear the song "We Want Your Soul" by Adam Freeland? The lyric "America, you are free to do as we tell you" sprang to mind when I read your posting

  19. iLo says:

    Perhaps I could help you… I could offer you my knowledge of Cuban history and the country\’s objective reality, from a neutral and civilised point of view (I was born there – visit every year – and I also share British nationality). I have lived in both \’worlds\’ and have, what I would like to consider, the insight of a pragmatic human being, regardless of politics, articles like this one and comments like the ones below. I wouldn\’t spend my time on replying to any, directly, because it is good that everyone can voice their opinions (even as uneducated and offensive ones like John\’s). The main point is, in my modest opinion, the subject of this discussion has generated a negative platform for comment exchange, rather than delivering knowledge, which is always supposed to be based facts about history (after having looked at it from all relevant perspectives and before deciding to publish – rather than to write – something like this)… which makes this piece a sad representation of what I, personally, would like to read.

  20. ian says:

    I couldn\’t recommend anything about Cuba, though for anyone who thinks Hugo Chavez (\’the next Castro\’) is a dangerous buffoon, I would recommend the book The Chavez Code by US attorney Eva Golinger.See a truer picture, away from the Fox news and CIA En Espanol propaganda.Lots of CIA declassified docs and witness statements show how the Pentagon and US intel have set about trying to destabilise Venezuela – not in the 1950s but in the noughties.60 poeople were killed during the attempted coup in 2002.Most of them Chavez supporters.Of the anti Chavez supporters who died, all (as far as I\’m aware) were assassinated during a march in central Caracas by their \’own\’ side, in order to blame Chavez.Nasty, nasty stuff.It makes you wonder, if any kind of socialism is such an unnatural political state for a nation, why it would be necessary to topple a President who gets over 60% of the vote.Surely punishment enough would be that the whole thing would collapse of it\’s own accord and the people in question would beg for the introduction of unconstrained free market capitalism, does it not?They don\’t appear to be doing that in Cuba.
    Only the ex-pat rich who fled Castro.
    Also have a look at President Evo Morales of Bolivia, a country I have lived in, and a man who cut his own government\’s salary and abolished his own pension as he said leading his country was a duty.One of the great men of our time in my book.No question.
    You can also download John Pilger\’s excellent film The War On Democracy from Google Video and YouTube, where you will get a crash course in recent latin history (con y sin Cuba) to see a senior member of US intel claim that the rapes, torture and government toppling in which they indulged (anygovt. left of centre was and is a target) was not just necessary but justifiable.
    Start with that.

  21. ian says:

    The word poeople below should read \’people\’.
    I think John has influenced me subliminally.
    Perhaps he lowered my IQ.

  22. iLo says:

    LOL…… 🙂 I don\’t think John\’s influence is that profound…

  23. ian says:

    Don\’t underestimate John and his ilk.They are a force of natchur.

  24. michael says:

    What an idiot John is, he must be around 5 years of age with spelling and words like that? shows alot about the education system in america, he must have went to the same school as bush as they are both idiots!
    Fidel would be be better then bush in so many ways……UK..

  25. sara says:

    Hello All,
    everything everyone has said is true the person who wrote that is infact one sided however, i don\’t know much about the subject my self, but would like to learn more about it, my view as a history lover is that from a democratic view is he maybe surpressing the rights of the people,but, he is a well respected man and has had a great influnce on theworl, bein in power for 49 years is impressve nand very significant to world history, from a more neutral prospective, the people of cuba put him in power for a reason, he was a war hero and wasoffering them something more Than wat they were lready receiving, if theydin want him  power they wouldnt have let him take it
    anyone whois willing toteach me moe please get in toouch x

  26. Gemma says:

    John,u need to read Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.U need a wake up call and some home truths just like the vast majority of Americans.

  27. Richard says:

    Before Castro, Habana was regarded by many Americans as one big bor90dello. Castro\’s predecessor Batista was an unelected dictator, propped up by American mobsters. Some 80% of Cuban population was illiterate, the health service didn\’t exist. When Castro became the country\’s Prime Minister, he was intent on changing Cuba into a modern and democratic state. Knowing that he can\’t achieve his goals without a financial and political backing by US, in 1959 he came to visit President Eisenhower in Washington, but nstead of finding a helping helping hand he was ignored and marginalised. It was only after that debacle, that he decided to interfere with American interests in Cuba and subsequently, a year later to turn to other superpower for help. It was Nikita Chrushchev who urged Castro for permission to build the missile bases on the Cuba soil. The situation is not that dissimilar from the current US political pressure on two European countries bordering with Russia, to site the first line misile defences on their territory.
    As far as democracy and Cuba is concerned? The word Democracy is associated with the form of government, it has very little to do with individual freedoms. Democracy is a format based on the …. elected head of state, fully elected house of representatives, written constitution etc.  There is a first world country who\’s politicians often use the word democracy, or two words .. parliamentary democracy, without knowing the true meaning of the word(s), or perhaps it just that their ignorant electorate lets them get away with it.
    Yes Castro has influenced the world a little, largely in context of Central and South American politics. But as far Cubans are concerned, his revolution transfered Cubans into an educated nation with reasonable achievements in fields of medicine, chemistry and engineering.

  28. gareth says:

    Speaking of US sponsored terrorism historians actually calculate that the US has been responsible for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts around the world since the introduction of the Truman Doctrine\’s "Containment" of communism policy in 1947 after World War II. This has been acheived through proxy wars with the Soviet Union in which the US has utilized assassinations, proxy armies, dictators, secret terror cells, and direct military intervention. Many of those countries had no ties with the USSR, of funding. Their crime was that they just happened to have sussessful left wing popular movements. For a historical summary this see: http://http://www.countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htmhttp://http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Rogue_State_US/Rogue_State_Hx_US_Terror.htmlIn summary US proxy wars and interventions against leftist movements have resulted in the following deaths in the following countries:- Afghanistan 1979-89 (1-1.8 million deaths), Angola 1986 (300,000 to 750,000 deaths), Bolivia 1971-75 (400 deaths), Cambodia 1970’s (2.5 million deaths), Chile 1970-87 (3,000 deaths), Colombia 1960’s to present (67,000 deaths), Cuba 1961 (2,000-4,000 deaths), DRCongo 1960-present day (approx 3 million deaths), Dominican Republic 1965 (3,000 deaths), East Timor 1975 (200,000–700,000 deaths), El Salvador 1981-92 (75,000 deaths), Granada 1983 (277 deaths), Haiti 1957-86 (30,000-100,000 deaths), Honduras 1980’s (approx 400 deaths), Indonesia 1965 (500,000 – 1 million), Korea 1950 (1.8 – 4.5 million Koreans + 900,000 Chinese), Laos 1965-73 (200,000+ deaths), Nepal 1996-present day (8,000-12,000 deaths), Nicaragua 1981-1990 (25,000 deaths), Pakistan 1971 (3 million deaths), Panama 1986 (500-4,000 deaths), Paraguay, Philippines approx 1950-2000 (100,000 deaths), Operation Condor (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) 1975-1983 (13,000 deaths), Vietnam (5.1 million deaths – not including Cambodia and Laos) and Yugoslavia 1990-present day (107,000 deaths).If socialist nations are so inherently prone to failure then why has the US felt the need to spend $8 trillion dollars on its War on Communism and the Cold War requiring all this subversion, espionage, death squads and the brutal repression? As if thats not all bad enough, the US just can\’t stop terrorising people can it. see this:http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/torture/Thanks to the US for making the world a better place and for crushing democratic popular movements all over the world in order to secure its own imperialist interests, NOT. Thanks to Cuba and Castro for being the only place to so courageously resist this terror for so long and for setting an example to us all and a beacon of hope for progressive movements all over the world.

  29. Unknown says:

    What a wanker!
    Viva Castro and the Cuban revolution! you know nothing! you repeat like a sheep what the controlled media puts in your brain…
    we are happy and proud to be cubans, you stupid bastard…
    We have survived 49 years of oppression and embargos and we are doing very well, thank you.
    Get real my man… Those American bastards only have one thing in their minds: MONEY.  that\’s all that counts for them and they\’ll ripp your ass open if the knew you have a copper coin stucked in.
    Dios bendiga a Cuba y Dios bendiga a Fidel (dictador, opresor, asesino y todo lo que quieran) pero una cosa que Fidel nunca hizo fue entregar a Cuba.
    Viva Cuba! Viva la democracia del pueblo y para el pueblo! Viva Fidel! Viva Raul! Viva Ernesto!
    We have a country to fight for, a life and traditions to defend against the corrupt Americans… you have your comfortable coach and your LCD screen to watch your paid porno and waste your life…
    Change your mind…Open your eyes…

  30. miro says:

    Fidel Castro is a hero.
    He rid Cuba of Americans, and ever since has defied them. They, "the all mighty and always right!" can not forgive him for it.
    The world needs more Fidels.
    He alone used to stubb his cigar in the dirty Yankee arse and kiked it at the same time.
    Bemoan his retirement, and the death Che!!
    Viva Fidel.

  31. miro says:

    Cuba is a wonderful place thank to Fidel.
    Before him, it was an American bordello, heaving with gamblers, spivs, prostitutes and starving, illiterate people.
    Nowdays, the Cubans are the best educated, proud people in Latin America, teach and cure people, are some of the greatest, best true amateur sportsmen, musicians and artists and:
    Despite the ridiculous and poisonous yankee propaganda, and even more bizzare assasination attempts on Fidel, the wast majority of Cubans genuinely love, adore and admire him.
    They are not alone!
    The pitiful Florida Cubans can choke on they yankee coke, but will not dislodge Fidel, Raul and their great ideas and ideals that lasted 49 years and outlasted!! 10 American presidents!!
    Now there is a record to follow.

  32. Unknown says:

     It is incredible how ignorant some people are… Before Castro, Cuba was a little known colonial island where dishonest people would travel to in order to launder their dirty money in Cuba\’s various casinos, the vast majority of inhabitants were illiterate and basic social structures such as health-care and education for everyone were non-existent.  Today, Cuba has a higher percentage of literate people than countries such as the United States and Great Britain and has enough \’spare\’ doctors to be able to offer them out to other \’less developed\’ countries when they suffer natural disasters.  All this with Cuba having endured -and survived- almost 50 years of \’outrageous\’ trade embargo from it\’s US neighbour, I think that Fidel Castro will go down in history as one of the greatest men to have ever walked this planet. It\’s perhaps just a shame he wasn\’t born in the United States. Viva Fidel. This world needs more men like him.

  33. Unknown says:

    Castro is great because he has more brains than the simpleton president of the United States. watch this… click on the link…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjVzkc3ivCM

  34. Matt says:

    employment, but what is the wage. health care, but what is the quality. redevelopment, but what is the cost. and the fact remains that cuba couldnt exist without its two tiers of currency – us dollars for the tourist provides almost all of the capital in cuba. fidel was indeed a great man, but cuba has proved what marx said about communism to be ttrue – that it only works if theres a progression to mroe states adopting it. as it stand cuba is alone, a satelllite. and as for the trade embargo . communist states shouldnt, by the own rules, trade with capitalist states any way. music comes from hope, and hope comes from hardship.

  35. Matt says:

    employment, but what is the wage. health care, but what is the quality. redevelopment, but what is the cost. and the fact remains that cuba couldnt exist without its two tiers of currency – us dollars for the tourist provides almost all of the capital in cuba. fidel was indeed a great man, but cuba has proved what marx said about communism to be ttrue – that it only works if theres a progression to mroe states adopting it. as it stand cuba is alone, a satelllite. and as for the trade embargo . communist states shouldnt, by the own rules, trade with capitalist states any way. music comes from hope, and hope comes from hardship.

  36. ron says:

    one of the most biased articles i\’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.  It\’s easy for us to think that we live in a democracy with our unelected upper house, the aristocracy who gain their status by accident of birth and serve no useful purpose, politicians who have a lower credibility rating than a second hand car dealer, excessive taxation that we can do little about, lack of social welfare and appalling treatment of our elderly.  visit some of the slums in britain\’s major cities, look at growing knife and gun crime, binge drinking and drug taking in this country. look at the suicide rate among young men and ask why.  and remeber that the americans committed genecide against one culture and enslaved another to establish it\’s \’united states.\’  it is my contention that people in glass houses shouldn\’t throw stones.

  37. Eivind says:

    "Ian" must be an alias name of a president in a neighbouring country, just north of Cuba.

  38. James says:

    "It is my contention to no throw rocks in glass house", what exactly was your point here? All you\’ve done is list some of Britain\’s many short comings, you criticize our aristocracy for their accident of birth but they aren\’t allowed to vote and the house of lords has almost no effect on the country. Who exactly are you aiming this comment at?As for the quality of health care, wage of employment cost of redevelopment, I shall have to borrow from the afore-mentioned contention that those in glass houses shouldn\’t throw rocks.  Cuba to date has high quality medical care, just look on the internet and you\’ll find the reports http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/sep/12/film.health, where it details how the quality is kept high and the price low by the ethos that prevention is better than cure. You really should research before making these sorts of comments.

  39. Charlie says:

    chill out

  40. Henry says:

    Cuba is a racist country.they sell bloody awful images of black men and women all over Cuba. When I first saw these carvings I thought that there was a race of humans that only existed in Cuba. On many male toilets that I visited there was always a carving of a black male on the toilet door,not a nice carving so ugly I felt ashamed for Cuba .I also saw ashtrays made to look like black mens head with long open mouths ,paintings of black people that the only comparison that I can compare these things to is the images the Germans did of the jews during the time of the nazis.These images are sold the length and breadth of Cuba,in my mind the past fifty years has been a complete failure. I know that president Castro has said that he cant change the heart of his people he can how ever ban the production and sale of these offensive items,there are a lot of black people from Canada the UK America that visit Cuba I met many whilst I was in Cuba 07.One last thing when my wife and I landed in Cuba came through emigration there was some sort of medical station near where we exited guess who they called over[ right ]my wife and I.We are black .

  41. Unknown says:

    I don\’t think Fidel ever intended to become Communist in the begining but he was was pushed into a corner by the US who were just hugely peed off that someone was standing up to them and that Cuba wasn\’t going to become yet another one of their bannana republics. All supplies to Cuba were stopped from the US so the Communists saw an opportunity to supply them and obviously find a base near the US. Maybe if the USA would have let him run the country the way he wanted to which was for the good of his people and not for the good of the US economy history in Cuba would have been far different.

  42. Geordie says:

    The United States of America should keep their fingers out of all Latin American countries. They like to stir up trouble around the world, but it always seems to backfire on them. Leave the world alone America and stick to solving your own deficiencies.

  43. ian says:

    The US can\’t leave latin america alone – it subsidises it.
    The ideological arguments that attach themselves to their actions are spurious.
    Oh, and waaaaa?http://cid-d3f80a5fd0d41cb8.spaces.live.com/), you chill out, fuckwit.
    Go and watch Cribs or Transformers or something.Adults are talking.

  44. Patt says:

    Anyone who does not comply with American Ideals is classed by them as an enemy, Sudan was on the CIA payroll and was only blacklisted when he wouldn\’t comply anymore.  The only enemy the World has is the American Race, they will stop at nothing for world domination. Do not ever believe anything you read or hear from their tongues, I know you are playing the game of Devil\’s Advocate, is this so the Americans can trace respondents through their emails and classify us as enemies also! Well  c\’mon Rambo, Superman and the Terminator and \’Where the hell were all you American Superheroes when the Twin Towers was burning? I mean if the Americans think your all real, then you must be eh!

  45. Patt says:

    Sorry in my comment (121), I forgot to let the American Hitmen know, my name is Patt, I am a Scottish female, I live in Edinburgh and I am too cute to kill, but go ahead, because your killing us all anyway, country by country, so I\’d rather you do it now, rather than in time by your propaganda, after all, once you TAKE all the wealth from the land and sea rich countries on your side, I\’m sure you\’ll find an excuse to attack the British. God how I hate waiting!

  46. Rob says:

    the person goin on a huge rant about america is a stupid bitch. its easy to criticize america, but i bet u are unaware of its benifits to the world. ur assumptions are made out of ignorance and conspiracies. and no im not americas, just a british citizen with more sense than you

  47. Rob says:

    oh and to(no name)24 February 19:30(http://cid-6d30882905c6c4c8.spaces.live.com/)we do not live in a democracy, we have a monarchy. stupid prick

  48. jorge says:

    I just can\’t believe it that any little insect like " IAN" feels he\’s in tittle to insult people like CHE GUEVARA calling him "terrorist".
    But surely he\’s one of those who feels anoyed when he sees a poster of bush displaying the absolute truth …..The world\’s Number 1 terrorist"

  49. Unknown says:

    one person\’s terrorist is sombody else\’s freedom fighter…

  50. Dave says:

    Regarding some of the comments about dictatorships and us (supposed democtratic countries such as the US, UK etc…) being able to vote out our \’leaders\’ if we don\’t like what they do, how do people feel about 4 year reigns? Personally, I feel that there is a comparison to be drawn with the way the UK rail franchises work. The franchises are awarded (usually to friends of those in power at that time) for a ten year period. Anyone who uses the UK rail system for any length of time will know that it needs some serious investment – time and money. If it is true (as Connex claimed) that they would need to invest over 2 billion quid to get the rail system working adequetly in the S.E., then 10 years later the franchise is awarded to another \’friend\’, then they have effectively wasted that investment time and money and will not see a return on it. It\’s the same with 4 year \’franchises\’ in governments. Why put the country through hardships which may be needed to secure future stability, when it would not be you that reaps the benefits? With Castro being in power for so long there is a danger of corruption long term. There is also the possibilty of stability – which, from my limited knowledge, Cuba has. We cannot claim to have the same stability in the \’West\’. We enter into short term solutions (invade oil producing countries to ensure \’cheap\’ oil for ourselves, lower taxes at the expense of living conditions, higher taxes at the expense of living conditions, wildly fluctuating property markets, etc…) simply because we have short-term thinkers \’leading\’ our countries.  There are bad and good in both of these approaches. Capitilism doesn\’t work. Communism doesn\’t work – however, I think the left-wing way could work if ALL countries subscribed to it. Yes, there will always be greed, and a common ground needs to be found. Using Orwell\’s 1984 as a manual for running a country isn\’t it – that goes for Cuba, the UK and the US.

  51. J says:

    This an absurd and unfactual article. You omit the fact that nuclear weapons had already been placed in Turkey a year before the Cuban Missile Crisis, aimed at Western U.S.S.R cities including Moscow. You omit the fact the former Soviet Union had a no first strike policy unlike the the U.S and U.K. I am against nuclear weapons in all forms but the crisis has to be put into its proper historical context.
    To call Che Guevara a \’terrorist\’ in todays context is appalling. Castro won an election against former U.S backed dictator Bastista as leader of the Orthodox party before he was a socialist. Bastista declared that void and then with no democratic process available, Castro and Che led an armed struggle, which ultimately had the backing of the population.
    When the new Cuban constitution was written, it came back with hundreds of ammendments obtained in various street meetings held by ordinary people. Former President Castro has been elected throughtout his 49 year reign. The national assembly elects him. No country in the world has the monopoly on democracy but one should look at which group in society the U.S system benefits.
    As for the poverty, the Helms burton law which is an illegal trade sanction against Cuba by U.S, illegal under the U.N, has meant Cuba has had to exist on a shoe string economy. People would have more material goods if they could trade normally. But in a third world context working class people in Cuba are more free, healthy and educated than other places.
    Please write factual pieces
    P.s oh and Cuba is the only country to suggest having a world rapid reaction medical force of doctors and specialists to go to natural disaster spots, such as Katrina and Pakistan earthquakes. U.S and EU have refused the idea.

  52. Cara says:

    What others said re: "terrorist".
    Slums? I have actually been to Havana, clearly unlike the writer of this piece. There ARE no slums. Poverty?? No.
    Not having a widescreen TV and the latest trainers is NOT poverty. There is almost no homelessness in Cuba. No-one starves and everyone has free education and healthcare.

  53. robyn says:

    does anyone actually care if he lives or dies??

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    I admire Fidel Castro. Look at his resistance, struggles and love for his nation, who else match his character other than Nelson Mandela.
    Martin Luther the King, Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama are my role model.

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