The Worst Latin American

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Has any other Latin American done as much damage in a single lifetime as Fidel Castro? It’s…not even close.

From his roots as a student gangster and two-bit murderer in Havana in the 40s, through a succession of catastrophes on four continents, Fidel Castro punched far, far above his weight. The guy who pleaded with Khrushev to start a nuclear holocaust, who sent tens of thousands of Cuban farm kids to dole out lead in a crazy, murderous war in Angola, thousands to attack Israel in the Yom Kipur War, thousands more to stand with the genocidal communist Mengistu regime in Ethiopia, who tried and failed to destabilize Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, el Salvador, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Guatemala, who tried and succeeded in destabilizing Nicaragua, Chile, Granada and — alas — Venezuela is finally, finally dead at 90.

In the extraordinary trail of devastation Fidel Castro blazed in his lifetime, Venezuela is just a footnote. But it’s our footnote, damnit. In the photo we see a washed up Hugo Chávez, fresh out of jail in 1994, in his first foreign trip after failing to overthrow our democracy by force. Chávez might have — just might have — faded into complete irrelevance, had Castro not latched onto his potential, exploiting his vanity to bankroll his own ghoulish dictatorship for another two decades, pushing Venezuela into its current catastrophe in the process.

Fidel Castro was as close to a purely evil figure as Latin America has presented world history.

He’s dead.

65 COMMENTS

  1. His commitment to the outdated, failed stalinist-leninist communist model never wavered as he became the Al Capone of communism while his people fled in droves and a vibrant Cuban economy and growing country was destroyed. Venezuela is now carrying on his destructive legacy as the oil economy fails and those who don’t support the Maduro regime are systematically starved to death while the rich idiots of Hollywood sings the praises of a bankrupt socialist model where the leaders wear Rolex watches while babies die from lack of medicine. And it is all America’s fault of course. At least he will be cremated so we won’t have to look at his shriveled carcass in a glass coffin!!!!

    • No, his commitment to a wide-ranging criminal enterprise with him at the helm never failed. He, like others, chose the communist ideology to underpin this ego-centred (as also opined in the Miami Herald article mentioned below) undertaking and gain global notice wreaking mayhem in half the planet without, apparently, much thought for a couple of dozen thousand dead compatriots so airily sacrificed on that grotesque altar not to speak of plenty more in other countries.

  2. The worst enemy of Venezuela has finally kicked the bucket, after his friday treatment to live for another week failed.

    And for that, many venezuelans rejoice.

    • This article can in many places be read by substituting “Venezuela” for “Cuba”, as an indication of the tremendous damage done to a country by the Second Worst Latin Americans, HC/NM, faithful disciples of the Worst.

  3. “VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said the death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was “sad news” and that he was grieving and praying for his repose.”

    Sad news? How many deaths, and how much suffering, has this ‘unrepentant’ tyrant brought about?
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB113590852154334404

    From the Vatican archives:

    “1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.23″
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm

    • Actually it was Alice Roosevelt Longworth (daughter of Teddy, wife of House Speaker Nicholas, who outlived her father and husband by many years, as the bitchy but beloved grande dame of Washington society), who said:

      “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”

  4. The regime will make his death into a great theatrical ocassion to grieve and bolster with displays of histerical tears the loyalty of their followers ………!! the better to attempt to distract people from their anger and frustration .!!………

  5. One down, one to go.
    It would be nice to have a double funeral, think of the spectacle and the money which could be saved on a two for. But we’ll take what we can get.

  6. He was also one of history’s greatest con artists.
    And on that: Justin, please man, please. Just walk away from this one. There’s no defence of it. Please. Don’t. Go. Please.

    • Trap question for Justin and assorted PSF:

      Q: Cuba’s Life Expectancy is 5 years greater than Latin America’s Life Expectancy. Does this indicate that Castro has been a good steward for Cuba?

      A. Yes.
      Q: In the 1950’s, Cuba’s Life Expectancy was 8 years greater than Latin America’s Life Expectancy. Does this indicate that Batista was a good steward for Cuba?

      A: uh…….
      World Bank: World Development Indicators
      http://estadisticas.cepal.org/cepalstat/WEB_CEPALSTAT/Portada.asp?idioma=i

      • While I understand the criticism of Justin’s words about Fidel, I think the analysis is misplaced. Trudeau has a personal connection with Castro, through his father. Castro attended his father’s funeral in Montreal. Pierre Trudeau was a thorn in the side of the Americans for his relationship with Castro and for linking Cuba to Canadian business and tourism.

        In that regard, the Trudeau approach has had a lot of support on the left in Canada, and particularly in Quebec, and it would not surprise me if to some degree, Justin, like his father, is aware of this. And when I talk about the left in Quebec, or in Canada generally, I am not principally talking about rich liberals, although they often join the chorus.

        My bet is, Justin Trudeau is either deliberately or by instinct (and his political instincts are nothing to scoff at- a lesson I had to learn), building some political capital within a constituency on the left that he is about to disappoint very soon, on other fronts.

        Makes you angry? Well, that is just reality. It is not a reality limited to Trudeau, or to Canada.

        And in this regard, the Trudeau approach is very similar to the approach that other Latin American presidents, including Venezuelan presidents before Chavez, have historically taken towards Castro and Cuba. It is not an approach driven by elitism by any means. To the contrary, Castro for many decades has been a hero to many, particularly the economically marginalized, and those who have suffered the depredations of the less enlightened aspects of American foreign policy. And appearing with Castro has been a good photo op for world leaders who want to hone their anti-American bona fides to make themselves more popular and more credible.

        It is a great disappointment to me to hear my prime minister’s words. But to label him a PSF is to forget that his paying of respects to Castro is by and large in the mainstream tradition of leaders in the Americas for decades, and that the Trudeau relationship with Castro is a long standing and famous one. You will see, if you visit the Museum of the Revolution in Havana, very concrete proof of that, prominently displayed in a video presentation, as I recall, and as any Canadian who visited Cuba prior to the recent opening with the USA knows, it is the only place on earth where Canadians are not mistaken for Americans, and are warmly welcomed as such.

        To be clear, I am not defending Trudeau. Nor am I opposed to engagement with Cuba, which I think Canada has been right about (just as Pierre Trudeau was right about engagement with China, before it was popular). I just think, before people label Justin Trudeau a PSF, they need to understand the very broad tradition in which he is speaking, which is largely a Latin American tradition.

        And having said all that, I still wish my prime minister would stay away from the funeral. He will be communing with a bunch of thugs, including the ones who rule Venezuela, as well as honoring one.

        • Canucklehead,

          Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I appreciate your perspective and your insight. What you said does give me some pause to think.

          Certainly a part of my reaction to our prime minister’s statement on the death of Castro is rooted at my ongoing dismay for the comments that he made in Toronto several years ago concerning his admiration for the “basic dictatorship” that exists in China. When I combine those remarks with praise for Castro that included statements such as “remarkable” leader, “a legendary revolutionary and orator” it speaks to a potentially troubling underlying line of thought for the leader of a leading western democracy. A democracy that openly that accepts refugees from all over the word, most of whom are fleeing the kinds of brutal regimes that Mr. Trudeau seemingly, at some level, finds admirable. I wonder if the refugees landing at Pearson are aware of his sentiments, when he’s having his photo taken with them?

          I find it a little odd, too, that Mr. Trudeau made these kinds of comments about a notorious human rights abuser, while on his first official visit to Africa, where he was ostensibly selling a message on human rights. As reported by the CBC earlier today:

          “… And what did Justin Trudeau, currently in the midst of a rights themed-trip, have to say about Castro’s well-known human rights violations? The statement only mentioned Castro was a ‘controversial figure.’ Amnesty International uses different language. While also praising increased access to public services, it notes ‘Fidel Castro’s 49-year reign was characterized by a ruthless suppression of freedom of expression.’ Hundreds of people have been detained just for expressing dissent or defending human rights, Amnesty said.”

          It seems to me, at the very least, an odd contradiction that Mr. Trudeau’s statements were made on that particular stage.

          In any event, it appears that Mr. Trudeau has an unspecified “scheduling conflict” and will not be attending the funeral (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/governor-general-castro-1.3870803).

  7. What Castrol wanted, at bottom and forever, was total and absolute control. To divert attention from this power play he needed an enemy to sustain his bullshit revolutionary rhetoric. This lead to a failed state because the nation’s talent and wherewithal was underutilized, repressed, or driven out, and because a centralized control-based economic model puts the wealth of the many in the hands of the few who have no respect for the institutions that sustain life and prosperity. Ultimately, Castro only respected himself, and his followers. Through populists methods he gained a following from the have-nots, but conceded power to them only inasmuch as that power worked to his advantage. Such a force of evil never simply leaves and it never negotiates away it’s right for total control. It dies, or is driven out. It’s always all or nothing.

    Sound familiar.

  8. While I understand where these feelings come from. I personally don`t think that having them expressed in this article is appropriate for the context we`re in right now as a society and as an answer to this event.

    Fidel was a man that caused much pain and destruction, but we need to be above his stage and avoid feeling towards him as he felt about a great part of the world.

    I think his dead has no value beyond a symbolic one, and we need to stop turning this kind of man into icons, a human can`t be translated into an image without deforming his reality.

    We`re having a fictitious happiness that means nothing at a realistic level. And the prize to pay for this small joy is worsening our human condition a bit, by celebrating that a life has been extinguished.

    • “by celebrating that a life has been extinguished.”

      Our society is like a body, and each one of us is a cell. Some people are just like cancer: they are dangerours and seek to take over everything and anything by any means possible and they’re better off dead.

      You don’t negotiate with cancer

      You kill it.

      And when you live because of that, you can bet you WILL celebrate it.

      May the same fate fall upon those whose acts are consciously and willingly harmful to others.

  9. A pretty grim legacy, no doubt. But surely he wasn’t the WORST, i.e., MOST murderous, was he? Did Argentina’s Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla, or Chile’s Pinochet not kill more people than Castro?

    • Nope, the bag of worms was the mastermind behind chavismo, so he’s responsible for all the deaths in Venezuela since 1998, and thousands more since the 60s when he was obssessed to invade Venezuela through armed terrorist raids.

  10. Isn’t it fitting that communist socialist bastard Fidel Castro died on Black Friday, the biggest free market shopping day of the year?

    Castro survived eleven presidents but decided to leave just before Trump takes the presidency. He knew what was coming.

  11. Abajo Cadenas de Chavez periquero, Y si mayuscula por el Said baba por los rolls royec’s el Osho, mira a la pantaleta que es iris, no sabias maduro? los que escuchan todas las convo, quieren cambiar detrabajo!

  12. The man who’s Marine Patrol/Coast Guard pointed a gun at my head in the Old Bahamas Chanel back in 1989 is dead. Today is a wonderful day!

  13. “They say you shouldn’t say nothin’ about the dead unless it’s good. He’s dead. Good!”

    The arguments made about not celebrating a human death strike me as far too pious. I respect them, but it just isn’t how I feel. We are talking about a man that has ruined countless hundreds of thousands of lives and has been responsible for holding back the human progress and advancement of an entire continent! So, yeah, he’s dead. Good!

  14. As for being the “worst”, it would depend on how you measure it. For deaths held responsible for, Francisco Solano López seems to hold the record, since he is held nearly solely responsible for the War of the Triple Alliance which resulted in nearly half a million dead. However, in general, I would tend to agree that Fidel Castro is responsible for more prolonged misery and negatively affecting more territory and lives than any of the other candidates for the “The Worst Latin American”.

  15. Just read the Economists obituary of the man………Economist obituaries are among the best in journalism, this is no exception ……., give it a read…well worth it !!

    Learned something about the man from the lips of someone who studied with him at jesuit school , as mentioned in the Economist obituary he was indeed exorbitant in every thing he did. incredibly ruthless and resolute …..when studying for exams he would stop eating and sleeping for whole days and nights and then after the exam would eat 3 or 4 chickens and countless eggs at one siting, then go to sleep for two whole days ……once his class group saw a lonely athlete running for a long time in a local stadium , he asked who is that man?, ‘the record holder in XYZ athletic specialty’ ,Castro then said next year Ill beat him, the following day he started running every day for close to a year until he beat the athletes record..

    After staging some student protests in Havana he was invited by the president to come with a friend (who wrote this down) to the presidential Palace. the president . an old man. was alone taking a sun bath at the roof of the palace ……Castro inmmediately told his friend ‘.between us two lets drop this old man from the roof and take it from there ‘ he was savage and totally lacking in any moral sense , a true moral monster…as can be evidence by his repeated statements to the press that during the missile crisis it would have been better for Krushov to have started a nuclear war for the sake of soviet dignity than to have avoided it…. even if that had led to the destruction of humanity !!

    He was totally indifferent to his mother who instead doted on her favourite : Raul. when she died Fidel wanted to have her buried rapidly in non religious ceremony . Raul who knew their mother was a devout catholic insisted that she be given a religious burial and then stayed on after the funeral while Fidel quickly absented himself to other ‘commitments’. Locals from the town where the mother lived and was buried told of frequent visits from Raul to his mothers grave but not a single one from Fidel ……they are really very different .

    He not only had thousands of people murdered he also destroyed countless lives , maybe destroying lives doesnt count as bif a crime as murder , but he made life unbearable for millions of people including us 30 million of Venezuelans who must be counted among his millions of victims ……..

    Dont know if there is any truth to the traditional religious account of a hell where the souls of the dammned are tormented eternally , but maybe it is consoling to some to think that maybe such place exists and that Castro has started his sojourn there!!

  16. As a Venezuelan who was educated by Cuban exiles in Maracaibo and who has been living in Miami since 1983, this weekend has been surreal. I am proud to be an American living in Miami and glad I lived to see this day. Cubans are an amazing people. A lot more colourful than Venezuelans here in the States. The Cuban Revolution is dead. There is a lot to be said about freedom and living in America. I would not trade it for anything.

  17. I am an American. I have posted here before and I have described everything that I am doing to alleviate the suffering of at least some Venezuelans. I stand in solidarity with everyone that yearns for freedom and basic human rights.
    I have never been to Cuba. I have however met many Cubans exiles and American born people of Cuban ancestry.
    Anyone that truly seeks the truth needs to talk to the people that have been affected by the ruthless, murdering, torturing, lying Castro regime.
    The people that mourn for Fidel only know what Fidel has allowed them to know. Almost every intelligent and informed person regards the news of Castro’s death as an improvement of the human race. Even his daughter sought exile from the Castro regime and left the country using forged papers.
    “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.”
    This will be very hard for the tens of thousands of people that were jailed, tortured and executed because they had different political aspirations for the people of Cuba. The thousands of people that fled execution and the families of the executed people.
    ” Socialism works until you run out of someone else’s money.”
    The Cuban people have been dependent on foreign aid for almost all of the Castro regime’s rule. With the exception of the 1990’s when hunger and starvation was rampant. Castro was paid by the Soviets to do their dirty work. He sent his countrymen to die on foreign soils. Fighting to oppress other peoples. He had to do it if he wanted the Soviet welfare to keep his insane administration in power. When the Soviet Union collapsed and he could get no more money, he aligned with Chavez and received billions of Dollars from the Venezuelan treasury.
    Chavez and Castro both lied to their people. Stole from their people. Murdered their people.
    The people that mourn Castro are either ignorant of the truth or a corrupt s his regime.

  18. The reaction to Castro’s death illustrates the problem Venezuela has in unseating a leftist government. Among wealthy liberals there is an odd attraction to leftist dictatorships. Oh they give lip service to the loss of individual freedom and they ignore the resulting economic messes that inevitably follow (if Iceland adoped socialism it would soon thereafter need to import ice) because of their love for socialism, it just feels good to them, as long as they dont have to live there. Free education and healthcare to committed leftists are more important than freedom and the imprisionment and murders of the opposition are just the necessary transaction costs of utopia. MUD needs to consult the best political consultants to convince the world that the Chavistas are right wingers…its your only hope. Now I have to get back to reading the major achievements of Castro in Cuba and perhaps learn of his valuable contributions to Venezuela.

  19. Yesterday I watched some documentaries about Castro and Cuba on TV. It turns out that the USA withdrew their support for the cuban dictator Batsits in the second half of the 50ies as resistence among the cuban people began to rise. When Castro´s severals hundred guerilleros had defeated the entire army of the dictator, he even travelled to the USA to look for support (saw him shaking hands with Nixon in New York), but there was no response. When the USA declared the embargo on the cuban economy, he turned to the only power that would support him, the Soviet Union.

    It might all have gone much better with a little more intelligence on the american side.

  20. Castro was going to end up as head of a communist regime anyway , whatever the US did because what he craved intimately could not be gained in a liberal democracy , above all he wanted to be an all powerful super heroe , the saviour of the people , histrionically playing the role of an idolized demigod……, his ego demanded it , and to achieve that he had to make himself into someone who deserved absolute power for ever, the social messiah of the cuban people ….!! In his case character was destiny…..!!

    His personality disorder has been diagnosed clinically and given the name of malignant megalomania , you want to act the great seducer of the masses and at the same time the invincible heroe in a protean struggle against a formidable fiend …in his case of course the US ……..and all it stood for…!!

  21. It’s true that Castro was even worse than Chavez, Maduro, Cabello, etc.. But his brother Raul is just as bad.. so Cuba will still be living hell.. People think it’s just one evil man, but no, it’s an entire evil system with plenty of enchufados.. hundreds, including the military, of course. Much like in Venezuela’s Chavismo, it’s not just Chavez (dead) or Maduro (dumb) it’s Thousands of crooks making tons of money under the table. Get it?!

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