More on Fidel Castro’s Blog

The previous post focused on the online blog which Cuban Comandante Fidel Castro writes. It noted that:

Fidel Castro is in many ways a throw-back to the past, back in the days when communism ruled half of Europe and nuclear war seemed a distinct possibility. He is more than 80 years old now, and no longer controls the nation Cuba.

Nevertheless, Mr. Castro still maintains a blog (older articles can be accessed here), in which he writes about the latest happenings in this world. To be fair, the postings are probably taken from some sort of written article; most likely they are put online by a government employee rather than him.

It makes for fascinating reading.

There are several other interesting aspects of the blog, which this post will talk about.

One quite surprising thing is the extent to which Mr. Castro follows American politics. The shooting of Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was, for instance, actually given several posts of coverage. This says something about America’s influence in the world. If a crazy man shoots a minor politician elsewhere in the world, nobody would care. But when it happens in America, even Fidel Castro himself writes about it.

Mr. Castro tends to quote speeches and newspaper articles – even those made by his ideological opponents – at length. He then makes brief comments, usually in disagreement. This is quite different from the American style.

In addition, sometimes the wording is not done well or doesn’t entirely make sense, although the general idea is still pretty clear. This maybe due to translation issues into English. Alternatively, Mr. Castro’s age may have led to his writing style deteriorating.

Finally, there are times when the Comandante’s opinions are out-of-whack with even the most radical Americans. The last few articles, for instance, argue that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is currently a hero resisting Western aggression.

Then there is his interpretation of North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean submarine:

SINCE the day of March 26, neither Obama nor the president of South Korea have been able to explain what really happened to the flagship of the South Korean Navy, the state-of-the-art submarine hunter Cheonan, which was taking part in a maneuver with the U.S. Navy to the west of the Korean Peninsula, close to the limits of the two Republics, which provoked 46 deaths and dozens of injured.

The embarrassing aspect for the empire is that its ally knows from reliable sources that the boat was sunk by the United States. There is no way of eluding that fact, which will accompany them like a shadow.

Once again, this conspiracy theory goes against the entire educated opinion of the United States.

All in all, Mr. Castro’s writings offer quite a different perspective from the typical Washington attitude. This is a pretty obvious conclusion, but it is worth repeating. It is also very much worth reading what he writes. As the previous post argued:

All in all, I highly encourage anybody reading this to visit Mr. Castro’s website. One’s understanding of the world is always enhanced by reading what one’s ideological opponents say. With the rise of the Internet, it’s quite amazing that anybody can just go online and check out some of Mr. Castro’s thoughts on current events. One should take the opportunity.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

Reading Fidel Castro’s Blog

Fidel Castro is in many ways a throw-back to the past, back in the days when communism ruled half of Europe and nuclear war seemed a distinct possibility. He is more than 80 years old now, and no longer controls the nation Cuba.

Nevertheless, Mr. Castro still maintains a blog (older articles can be accessed here), in which he writes about the latest happenings in this world. To be fair, the postings are probably taken from some sort of written article; most likely they are put online by a government employee rather than him.

It makes for fascinating reading.

The communist leader actually writes quite similarly to a lot of leftist rhetoric. Were it not for his references to “The Empire” (i.e. America) or occasional meetings with world leaders, Mr. Castro’s column would not be out-of-place on the Daily Kos featured blog list.

Mr. Castro, for instance, is a big fan of environmentalism and stopping climate change. This is somewhat surprising, considering that climate change didn’t exist as an issue for much of the revolutionary’s life.

I could not help but look at how the Comandante views President Barack Obama. On the one hand, he does appear to give Mr. Obama some credit for being the first African-American president. On the other, he views Mr. Obama as the product of American institutions (which he is). Therefore the president is still an “enemy” – “He [Mr. Obama] supports his system and he will be get support from it.”

At times Mr. Castro is quite critical of the president:

When Obama was questioned about the coup d’état against the heroic President Salvador Allende, promoted like many others by the United States, and the mysterious death of Eduardo Frei Montalva, assassinated by agents of the DINA, a creation of the U.S. government, he lost his presence of mind and began to stutter.

Without any doubt, at the end of his speech, the commentator on Chilean television was totally accurate when he stated that Obama had nothing to offer the hemisphere…

Obama now has before him a visit to El Salvador, tomorrow, Tuesday. There he will have to invent a lot, because in that sister Central American nation the weapons and advisors that it received from his country were responsible for much bloodshed.

I wish him bon voyage and a little more good sense.

This is unsurprising, considering just who is writing these words. At the same time, Mr. Castro does seem to have a sense of caution. Before the 2008 presidential election, he wrote:

When these views that I sustain are published tomorrow [after the election], nobody will have time to say that I wrote something that could be used by any candidate to advance his campaign. I had to be, and I have been, neutral in this electoral competition. It is not “interference in the internal affairs of the United States”, as the State Department would put it, as respectful as it is of other countries’ sovereignty.

All in all, I highly encourage anybody reading this to visit Mr. Castro’s website. One’s understanding of the world is always enhanced by reading what one’s ideological opponents say. With the rise of the Internet, it’s quite amazing that anybody can just go online and check out some of Mr. Castro’s thoughts on current events. One should take the opportunity.

The next post will offer more some more thoughts on Mr. Castro’s blog.

--Inoljt

Imagine if We Never Ended the War on Alcohol

Remember we did have a War on Alcohol. It was called Prohibition. In fact, we took that far more seriously than our War on Drugs. We even passed a constituional amendment about it. Of course, the gigantic difference is that we realized that was a mistake and reversed course.

These days it doesn't seem politically possible to ever change course. If you start a war, the only acceptable answer is to escalate it. We can never surrender, even if we should. So, our War on Drugs must go on forever, no matter how futile, no matter how terrible the results and no matter how counterproductive. It would be weak to ever admit we made a mistake.

Over the last two years we spent $1.6 billion on the Merida Project, where we asked the Mexican government to escalate their War on Drugs. The result? Over the last three years, nearly 25,000 Mexicans have been killed in the drug wars. This is madness. The amount of drugs entering our country is not appreciably different. We lost, drugs won.

But the crime and the horrific drug violence are not related to drug users; they're related to drug dealers. It's the prohibition itself that is causing this crime wave. Just like it did during alcohol prohibition, when Al Capone and all the mobsters reigned supreme here. When are we ever going to learn our lesson? We keep spending insane amounts of money on wars that cannot be won.

Like the War on Terror. Who declares war on a tactic? How do you win that war? Until all of the "terrorists" are dead? Which ones? Until everyone promises not to use that tactic anymore? The reality is it's an excuse to spend huge amounts of money on an endless project that will profit the defense industry for decades to come.

But there was one war we decided to give up on -- the War on Alcohol. And thank God we did! Could you imagine if we were still fighting that battle? If they had passed that law, let alone the amendment, these days, we would never reverse position because it would seem unmanly. So, we would be stuck fighting a useless and wildly counterproductive war on a perfectly fine recreational habit. Kind of like we do now with marijuana.

We have to recognize when something isn't working. The Cuban embargo isn't about to breakthrough in its fiftieth year. It didn't work. Let it go. The Castros still run Cuba and it's way past time to try a new approach. It doesn't mean we have to embrace the Cuban government, it just means we have to try something new to tackle the problem.

The same is true of the so-called War on Drugs. If it really was a war, we lost. It turns out people still want to get high, no matter how hard we try to stop them.

We have to end this stupid, senseless war. It's killing us, literally.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
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Imagine if We Never Ended the War on Alcohol

Remember we did have a War on Alcohol. It was called Prohibition. In fact, we took that far more seriously than our War on Drugs. We even passed a constituional amendment about it. Of course, the gigantic difference is that we realized that was a mistake and reversed course.

These days it doesn't seem politically possible to ever change course. If you start a war, the only acceptable answer is to escalate it. We can never surrender, even if we should. So, our War on Drugs must go on forever, no matter how futile, no matter how terrible the results and no matter how counterproductive. It would be weak to ever admit we made a mistake.

Over the last two years we spent $1.6 billion on the Merida Project, where we asked the Mexican government to escalate their War on Drugs. The result? Over the last three years, nearly 25,000 Mexicans have been killed in the drug wars. This is madness. The amount of drugs entering our country is not appreciably different. We lost, drugs won.

But the crime and the horrific drug violence are not related to drug users; they're related to drug dealers. It's the prohibition itself that is causing this crime wave. Just like it did during alcohol prohibition, when Al Capone and all the mobsters reigned supreme here. When are we ever going to learn our lesson? We keep spending insane amounts of money on wars that cannot be won.

Like the War on Terror. Who declares war on a tactic? How do you win that war? Until all of the "terrorists" are dead? Which ones? Until everyone promises not to use that tactic anymore? The reality is it's an excuse to spend huge amounts of money on an endless project that will profit the defense industry for decades to come.

But there was one war we decided to give up on -- the War on Alcohol. And thank God we did! Could you imagine if we were still fighting that battle? If they had passed that law, let alone the amendment, these days, we would never reverse position because it would seem unmanly. So, we would be stuck fighting a useless and wildly counterproductive war on a perfectly fine recreational habit. Kind of like we do now with marijuana.

We have to recognize when something isn't working. The Cuban embargo isn't about to breakthrough in its fiftieth year. It didn't work. Let it go. The Castros still run Cuba and it's way past time to try a new approach. It doesn't mean we have to embrace the Cuban government, it just means we have to try something new to tackle the problem.

The same is true of the so-called War on Drugs. If it really was a war, we lost. It turns out people still want to get high, no matter how hard we try to stop them.

We have to end this stupid, senseless war. It's killing us, literally.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

The Carnival in Trinidad

The carnival came to Trinidad twice this year. It held its festive pre-Lenten rite of carnal debauchery a few weeks ago and a post Easter one filled with verbal excess, mostly courtesy of Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega. Danielito, as we not so fondly call him, went on a near hour long tirade providing an overview of the tragic legacy of  US imperialism in Latin America. To be honest, I am surprised that he could manage it in only fifty minutes. While all Nicaraguans know who William Walker is, not too many Americans are aware that he attempted to install himself top the perch in Managua in the 1850s.

And while the filibustering of William Walker has been long assigned to history if not folklore, events during my lifetime continue to impair US-Latin American relations. It's hard to trust when one thinks that Jaime Roldós and Omar Torrijos were murdered in 1981 on the orders of William Casey. And while the Bush Administration distracted by its global wars of necessity in Afghanistan and of choice in Iraq and the Philippines and who knows where else ignored the region except to demand eradication of coca crops, it is also impossible to ignore in the attempted coup against Hugo Chávez that the United States didn't exactly uphold the inviolability of democratic norms. Tsk, tsk. So forgive us for chiding you because it seems that United States only values Latin democracies when it's convenient for the United States. But democracy in Latin America is ever more vibrant and likely in the near term if not the longer term to be rather inconvenient for the United States. Danielito, Hugo, Rafa and Evo aren't going anywhere so get used to them. I personally don't care for them either but it's not for me to approve or disapprove the electoral choices of my Latin brethren.

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