“Fidel Castro has done some good things for his people.”
“Why that dirty commie Sanders!” comes the reaction “Why doesn’t he go live in Cuba!”
I’m with you, amigos. But that wasn’t a statement by Bernie Sanders. It was by Republican U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on April 6, 2001.
"Fidel Castro can look back on some unquestionable achievements. Under his rule, the impoverished Caribbean island has created health and education systems that would be the envy of far wealthier nations ... and there is near full literacy on the island."
“Good grief!” comes the reaction. “That Bernie Sanders is an absolutely SHAMELESS communist propagandist! Humberto! You oughta go on Fox News again and shred that propaganda!”
I’m with you again, amigos. But that little love note to Castro is again not from Bernie Sanders. It’s from The London Sunday Times in August 2006. The Times, by the way, is Britain’s oldest, most prestigious and highest circulation newspaper and long regarded as among the most prestigious papers in the world. Oh…and it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an editorial castigating Bernie Sanders for his Castro comments. The Wall Street Journal also held a media star-studded luncheon in honor of a visiting Fidel Castro in 1996. If this sounds like classic fake news from a raving tinfoil-hatted nut-case, I invite you to view some videos of the love-fest.
First off, let’s address that oft-swallowed and parroted KGB-Castroite propaganda-meme about Cuba’s health and education. (Yes, technically speaking, all those who parrot it qualify as genuine “Russian-colluders.”)
For the record: In 1958, that "impoverished Caribbean island" had a higher standard of living than Ireland and Austria, almost double Spain and Japan's per capita income, more doctors and dentists per capita than Britain, and lower infant mortality than France and Germany – the 13th-lowest in the world, in fact. Today, Cuba's infant-mortality rate – despite the hemisphere's highest abortion rate, which skews this figure downward – hovers around 40th from the top.
So, relative to the rest of the world, Cuba's health care has worsened under Castro, and a nation with a formerly massive influx of European immigrants needs machine guns, water cannons and tiger sharks to keep its people from fleeing, while half-starved Haitians a short 60 miles away turn up their noses at any thought of emigrating to Cuba.
In 1958, 80 percent of Cubans were literate, and Cuba spent the most per capita on public education of any nation in Latin America.
During its war of independence near the turn of the 20th century, Cuba was utterly devastated, having lost almost a quarter of its population. So Cuba's achievements in national prosperity, health, and education came practically from scratch and in less time than the Castros’ stint in power.
Can any sane person claim that given that record – and given Cuba's expenditures on public education – literacy would not have been eradicated in a few short years? Better still, Cubans today would be not just literate but also educated, allowed to read George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson along with the arresting wisdom and sparkling prose of Che Guevara. A specimen:
"To the extent that we achieve concrete successes on a theoretical plane – or, vice versa, to the extent that we draw theoretical conclusions of a broad character on the basis of our concrete research – we will have made a valuable contribution to Marxism-Leninism, and to the cause of humanity."
I quote "this intellectual, this most complete human being of our time" (Jean-Paul Sartre's description of Che Guevara) exactly. Cuba's prisons aren't its only torture chambers. With such reading assignments, Cuba's classrooms amply qualify for an inspection by Amnesty International.
Without Castro, Cuba's full literacy would have come about probably as quickly – and without firing squads, mass graves, and a political incarceration rate higher than Stalin's. Most countries in Latin America with lower literacy rates than Cuba had in 1958 have done just that.
In brief, among historical figures, Fidel Castro wins hands-down as the most persistently effective liar of modern times. But he couldn’t have pulled off such a worldwide and monumental propaganda con-job by himself. No way.
“Propaganda is vital--the heart of our struggle,” (Fidel Castro wrote in a letter to revolutionary colleague Melba Hernandez in 1955.)
"Much more valuable to us than recruiting military recruits for our guerrilla army was recruiting American reporters to export our propaganda."(Che Guevara in his diaries.)
History records few recruitment drives and propaganda campaigns as phenomenally successful or as enduring as Castro and Che’s. It’s WAY PAST time to expose the scam.
Fidel Castro jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin during the Great Terror. He murdered more Cubans in his first three years in power than Hitler murdered Germans during his first six.
Fidel Castro shattered — through mass-executions, mass-jailings, mass larceny and exile — virtually every family on the island of Cuba. Many opponents of the Castro regime qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history.
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara beat ISIS to the game by over half a century. As early as January 1959 they were filming their murders for the media-shock value. (Oh, and by the way: ISIS also provided free universal healthcare and education in their caliphate.)
In the above process Fidel Castro converted a highly-civilized nation with a higher standard of living than much of Europe and swamped with immigrants into a slum/sewer ravaged by tropical diseases and with the highest suicide rate in the Western hemisphere--and that drove over 20 times as many people to die trying to escape it as died trying to escape East Germany over the Berlin Wall (Oh! And East Germany also lavished its lucky citizens with free healthcare and education.)