The Speeches of Fidel Castro
Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:17 pm
Here's a url to some major speeches from Fidel Castro, revolutionary leader of Cuba:
Plenty of food for thought! While successive U.S. administrations obsessively revile and demonize the President of Cuba, often with no other motivation than electoral politicking (with extreme hypocritical positions aimed squarely at getting the votes of the anti-Castro Cuban-American communities, particularly in the state of Florida), Castro takes the high road and points to his extraordinary social achievements and the road to a better world.
This is not at all to say that we should rely on speeches to judge how great a leader is. One must look at the deeds and evaluate the good against the bad. I suspect there is plenty of both, in Cuba as in the United States evidently. It is a fact that many Cubans in Cuba dream of leaving
Cuba and come and live in the United States, just like other citizens the world over. Cuba is no paradise, though it is certainly not the hell that minority-class Haitians (with the generous assistance of so-called Friends of Haiti) have made of their country for majority-class Haitians. But the bottom line in evaluating a leader is to match his vision against what he has accomplished with the resources at his disposition and against all obstacles.
This is the light with which we should study the man or any other leader:
What was his vision yesterday and what is his vision today?
What means did he choose to apply his vision?
Who have been the beneficiaries and who have lost in comparison or have been victimized?
What resources did he have and what obstacles were put in his path?
Were the resources properly managed or unconscionably wasted, mis-allocated or mis-appropriated?
Were the obstacles dealt with creatively and met with unambiguous leadership?
What are the measurable achievements and what are the failures?
What is the legacy of the man, that is his overall impact on the society that he was entrusted to lead?
Yes, those are the questions we should all think about very honestly when attempting to measure the worthiness of any leader or head of state, let it be Fidel Castro, George W. Bush, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela, or Ronald Reagan.
Whether you are the leader of the most powerful nation on earth or the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and whatever other criteria, it still comes to this: have you made a positive and measurable difference in the life of your people? In spite of all the negative rhetoric delivered ad nauseam from various U.S. Presidents, I believe that Castro, for all his faults, passes the test. The question is: do they pass the test? When one inherits the LARGEST SURPLUS in U.S. history and in a few short years turns it into the LARGEST DEFICIT in U.S. history, through t
ax cuts for the rich and war spending, it leaves plenty of room for the electorate and people around the world to wonder.
Leaving aside George W. Bush's mean-spirited speeches on Cuba, we should reflect on the following:
- has the average Cuban benefited or suffered from the Cuban revolution of the past 45 years? On this, Haitian-Cubans are unequivocal: before the revolution, they were less worthy than dogs in Cuba; after the revolution, they feel that they are on the same level as other Cubans. In fact, Castro intervened directly to make sure that first-generation Haitian sugar-cane workers and their descendants would be first in line to receive the benefits guaranteed by the Revolution to Cuban citizens.
- is the average Cuban worse or better off today with Fidel Castro? It is clear that the filthy rich pre-revolution Cubans have suffered greatly from the loss of their excess privileges, and they are people too... but let
us think more globally.
- is the average American worse or better off with George W. Bush? It is clear that Bush has taken care of his "base" very well: the fat cats and mega-corporations, and I guess that multi-millionaires and billionaires are people too... but again, let us think more globally.
On the vision thing, I suspect that President Bush lags so ridiculously far behind Fidel Castro that he is reduced to stutters and ungrammatical nonsense in trying to promote an unconvincing brand of compassionate conservatism. He would likely do much better for himself if he read and at least tried with all the honesty that he could muster to understand Castro's speeches than to listen uncritically to campaign donors with unbridled greed and thirst for power and domination.