Cuba outlaws 'cult of personality' after Fidel death


#1

Cuba outlaws ‘cult of personality’ after Fidel death

yahoo.com/news/cuba-outlaws-cult-personality-fidel-death-230314181.html

Havana (AFP) - There will be no Fidel Castro streets or plazas in Cuba, in keeping with the late revolutionary leader’s wishes, as spelled out in a law Cuban legislators passed on Tuesday.

President Raul Castro, 85, said that before dying at the age of 90 on November 25, his brother Fidel had requested that no monuments or statues be erected in his honor, and that no streets or buildings be named after him.

Lawmakers adopted the bill implementing his wish unanimously on Tuesday.

While he was an omnipresent figure in the lives of Cubans after taking power in 1959, Fidel Castro always opposed the erection of statues in his likeness. No streets or buildings are named after him in the Communist-led Caribbean country.

He also decreed that his name and image not be used for commercial or advertising purposes.

However, he did make an exception that would allow artists to use his name, people to cite it at political rallies and workplaces, and for a research institute on his role in history to bear his name.

Official media reports did not immediately make clear what penalties those breaking the law would face.

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTnDBIImP2N6ykRC8WDlQHK2udjVuG3LbOV77J73O-EYzFQZ1Nu4-3CnQ ?

:whistle:


#2

The story, in its details tries to make a posthumous hero and humble man out of Fidel. If the headline is true, maybe the 56 year lionization of Che Guevara will come to an end?

I’d be impressed if the big portrait of him in Havana’s main square comes down anytime soon.

My laptop keyboard died, so I’ve had to make this my second post (from my tiny phone keyboard. :blush:


#3

So what is wrong with Che Guevara? What is driving the antipathy towards him?

It is a myth that communists (or any sort) encourage personality cults. It is a myth fostered by anti-communists to make socialists states look “totalitarian”.


#4

if you call yourself Catholic you should probably be anti-communist given the fact that communist are intrinsically anti-religious that’s why communism exist.


#5

I am more interested in preventing human rights violations in the name of ideology. I am also interested in the truth. You should remember that anti-communism also killed a lot of people.

For more than 40 years, from 1948 to the early 1990s, the United States used its power and resources to make sure that Latin Americans had governments more conservative (and thus anticommunist) than Latin American voters were willing to elect. The human cost of this effort was immense. Between 1960, after the Soviets had dismantled most of their gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the number of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded that of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites.

wcfia.harvard.edu/publications/degrees-latitude-can-us-latin-america-find-common-ground

Your comment that Poles have been used to considering everything that comes from the West as “the best,” which as far as I know generalizes to the rest of Eastern Europe, raises a question that has puzzled and intrigued me for some time. Poland, of course, was oppressed by Russian tyranny, as were the other countries and the people of Russia itself. But only on rare occasions, such as the invasion of Hungary, did that oppression begin to approach what the US has done routinely to Latin America (to pick only one example) during the same period (and to Central America and the Caribbean, long before). Take, say, the treatment of dissidents.

In Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere in Soviet domains they had a hard time. But they didn’t expect anything like the fate of the leading Jesuit intellectuals who had their brains blown out by elite military forces armed, trained, and directed by the US – and many others like them. One Polish priest was murdered by the Polish police. During the 1980s, there were over a hundred religious martyrs murdered – often after brutal torture and rape – by US-run forces in Central America, including an Archbishop, four American nuns working with the poor, etc. And hundreds of thousands of peasants, working people, and others were murdered, often with extreme brutality, during the same decade, while four countries were devastated to the extent that they may not recover.

But though Latin Americans suffered far more, their reactions where far less self-centered. Central American Jesuits, for example, have been very critical of US power, but that has not led them to be uncritical of Soviet power. On the contrary, they have been highly critical of Soviet tyranny and brutality, and have always expressed great compassion, sympathy, and support for dissidents in Eastern Europe whose oppression, while real, didn’t come close to what they were suffering. Having worked with oppressed people through much of the world, and read a good deal of what they write, I know that pattern holds throughout the world, with one exception: East Europe.

ditext.com/chomsky/kubiak.html

That is the truth. I am also interested in confronting lies that Castro killed and tortured more people than Pinochet. I am more devoted to preventing torture and mass murder than slavish anti-communism.

Also, the communists in India defend Catholics. I could see the benevolence in many of them.


#6

Let us see… He was Fidel’s chief executioner, actually enjoyed personally killing and torturing his opponents, glorified hate and violence, felt no need to due process and didn’t approve of free speech, didn’t think much of religion and was wiling to ignite the nuclear holocaust for his cause (though he criticized the U.S. nuclear bombings).

Some quotes from Ernesto:

“Blind hate against the enemy creates a forceful impulse that cracks the boundaries of natural human limitations, transforming the soldier in an effective, selective and cold killing machine. A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary.”

“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary … These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!”

“I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady, I am all the contrary of a Christ … I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place.”

“What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”

“In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”

“Che” is an anti-Christ. I hope you take the time to learn the truth about “Che” and realize the incompatibility of communism and Catholicism. Like everything there ARE some good elements in communism and some bad elements in capitalism. Capitalism gives you indigestion like a bad Apple pie, while communism kills you like a poisoned Apple pie.

Please see Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical on Socialism (1878): ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/L13APOST.HTM

And Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical on Atheistic Communism (1937): papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11DIVIN.HTM

Also, about Che:

worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/truth-about-che-guevara

ihatethemedia.com/10-che-guevara-quotes-the-left-would-rather-not-talk-about

I’d say that government “ownership” and control of all means of production, lack of free elections, lack of free speech and real due process, and forced labor are among those things which make communist and near-communist states look “totalitarian”.


#7

These kinds of things in communist states always make one wonder what’s really afoot. In the cases of Stalin and Mao, the real objective was to allow one faction to eliminate another faction contesting succession. That’s probably what’s behind this.


#8

Yes, the Krushchev “thaw” comes to mind.

I would enlarge your statement to encompass totalitarian states in general, however, not just Marxist ones.


#9

There is no evidence that Che tortured anybody or glorified “hate or violence”.

“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary … These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!”

Che Guevara never said that. It is fabricated, and its provenance appears to be in Humberto Fontova’s books.

“I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady, I am all the contrary of a Christ … I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place.”

He said that.

“What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”

There are also many hardliners on the US side, willing to escalate and go to the brink too. Che Guevara is simply saying that he would support the use of nuclear weapons if the US invades Cuba. Nuclear weapons in this context are defensive because they deter some action from the enemy.

Guevara witnessed the coup in Guatemala in 1954, and there is no doubt that experience effected him. He was willing to do what ever it takes to defend the revolution in Cuba, and that means not backing down and having the resolve to use nuclear weapons against an invasion.

I’d say that government “ownership” and control of all means of production, lack of free elections, lack of free speech and real due process, and forced labor are among those things which make communist and near-communist states look “totalitarian”.

The point was that the notion of personality cults in socialist countries is a myth.


#10

Even when the people living under one absolutely claim otherwise?

But I would add that personality cults tend most to exist in places that have developed totalitarian systems anyway.


#11

Yes there is. He was a hardened man who viewed hatred as a tool to be wielded against the enemy. But choose to ignore the evidence if you will. I will not get into a fight about sources here.

So maybe this is an indication that he wasn’t such a great guy after all, huh?

There is much more to be said about this, but I haven’t the time nor energy right now. If you’re earnestly interested in finding the truth, please look at the sources I linked to start out with.


#12

Yes, many other people are also “hardened” too. Che Guevara reflects on the utility of hate in combat. Do you really believe that in many major military conflict such as World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam that there wasn’t hate motivating any of the soldiers? Do you think the Latin American death squads weren’t motivated by hate.

Regardless of all the invective and slander towards Che Guevara, this remains to be the truth about Che Guevara. He was a guerilla; he was a soldier who was moved by the poverty in Latin America. He did not sit comfortably like a coward and order the torture of tens of thousands people and killing thousands. That is the truth about Che Guevara.

To say that he is in the league of the murderers of the four El Salvadoran nuns, Oscar Romero, and the six Jesuit Priests is ridiculous. The people demonize Che Guevara never talk about that. They never talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who were slaughtered in Western hemisphere in the name of anti-communism.

So maybe this is an indication that he wasn’t such a great guy after all, huh?

There is much more to be said about this, but I haven’t the time nor energy right now. If you’re earnestly interested in finding the truth, please look at the sources I linked to start out with.

There are certain things that people will use nuclear weapons for. One of them is to defend one’s interests. Defending Cuba from an invasion seems to be a standard case, since nuclear weapons primary purpose is to be defensive. There are other weapons systems that are much more effective at projecting power, such as aircraft carriers, so Che Guevara’s stance was primarily defensive.

Someone told me that the mark of a man is his willingness to die for something. In the case of Che, he was willing to die for the liberation of Cuba and the Western hemisphere. You might disagree with the cause, but Che Guevara was a man!


#13

“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”

“We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. We must never give him a minute of peace or tranquility. This is a total war to the death.”

“If the nuclear missiles had remained, we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City…We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims…We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.”

That sure sounds like a brave soul trying to defend the sovereignty of his homeland. Wait…his homeland was Argentina…but one gets the point.
He started slave labor camps and the secret police in Cuba and, oh yeah, was virulently anti-Catholic. I would think that somewhat problematic for somebody who identifies as Catholic.


#14

I never said “homeland”.

So Che Guevara is the conservatives’ bete noir.

I don’t go around saying that Abraham Lincoln was actually a segregationist and anti-abolitionist who wanted to send the slaves to Liberia. Lincoln was practically a dictator whose military engaged in cruel atrocities and imprisoned many (but he did not torture or disappear people). Yes, the Lincoln myth is wrong, and I still like Lincoln, despite the myth being false. I don’t virulently oppose Lincoln. I do think Lincoln has benefited from embellishment of his legacy, but the real Lincoln still comes out magnanimously in the end.

Why this opposition to Che Guevara (especially since most of it is based on conjecture from anti-communists and especially Cuban exiles)? What is wrong with letting some leftists their own hero and say “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man” even if you really have dirt him? There are many other people in 20th Century Latin America who are more deserving of opprobrium, but for ideological reasons, it has focused on Che Guevara.

Che did not start “slave labor camps”, and many nations have a “secret police”. What about COINTELPRO?

Anti-Catholics who do not torture, disappear people, or commit mass murder are worthy of my approbation because I value human dignity. Jaruzelski and Honecker are examples, but some Catholics such as Pinochet and Videla are not.


#15

From a Cuban refugee (they aren’t exiles, despite your clever attempt to use that language)

Ernesto “Che” Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot. Historically speaking, justice has rarely been better served. If the saying “What goes around comes around” ever fit, it’s here.

“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez, to your humble servant here, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.” As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. "My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while directing his heart-warming movie.

The Spanish word vencido, by the way, translates into “defeated” or "surrendered."And indeed, "the “acrid odor of gunpowder and blood” very, very rarely reached Guevara’s nostrils from anything properly describable as combat. It mostly came from the close-range murders of defenseless men (and boys.) Carlos Machado was 15 years old in 1963 when the bullets from the firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father collapsed beside Carlos from the same volley. All had resisted Castro and Che’s theft of their humble family farm, all refused blindfolds and all died sneering at their Communist murderers, as did thousands of their valiant countrymen. “Viva Cuba Libre! Viva Cristo Rey! Abajo Comunismo!” “The defiant yells would make the walls of La Cabana prison tremble,” wrote eyewitness to the slaughter, Armando Valladares.

The one genuine accomplishment in Che Guevara’s life was the mass-murder of defenseless men and boys. Under his own gun dozens died. Under his orders thousands crumpled. At everything else Che Guevara failed abysmally, even comically.

During his Bolivian “guerrilla” campaign, Che split his forces whereupon they got hopelessly lost and bumbled around, half-starved, half-clothed and half-shod, without any contact with each other for 6 months before being wiped out. They didn’t even have WWII vintage walkie-talkies to communicate and seemed incapable of applying a compass reading to a map. They spent much of the time walking in circles and were usually within a mile of each other. During this blundering they often engaged in ferocious firefights against each other.

“You hate to laugh at anything associated with Che, who murdered so many defenseless men and boys,” says Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-American CIA officer who played a key role in tracking him down in Bolivia. “But when it comes to Che as “guerrilla” you simply can’t help but guffaw.”

Che’s genocidal fantasies included a continental reign of Stalinism. And to achieve this ideal he craved, “millions of atomic victims” - most of them Americans. “The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!” raved Ernesto Che Guevara in 1961. “Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!”

This was Che’s prescription for America almost half a century before Osama bin Laden, and Al-Zarqawi and Faisal Shahzad appeared on our radar screens. Compared to Che Guevara, Ahmadinejad sounds like the Dalai Lama.

So for many, the questions remains: how did such an incurable doofus, sadist and epic idiot attain such iconic status?

The answer is that this psychotic and thoroughly unimposing vagrant named Ernesto Guevara de la Serna y Lynch had the magnificent fortune of linking up with modern history’s top press agent, Fidel Castro, who – from the New York Times’ Herbert Matthews in 1957, through CBS’ Ed Murrow in 1959 to CBS’ Dan Rather, to ABC’s Barbara Walters, to most recently, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg – always had American reporters anxiously scurrying to his every beck and call and eating out of his hand like trained pigeons.

Had Ernesto Guevara not linked up with Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico city that fateful summer of 1955 – had he not linked up with a Cuban exile named Nico Lopez in Guatemala the year before who later introduced him to Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico City – everything points to Ernesto continuing his life of a traveling hobo, panhandling, mooching off women, staying in flophouses and scribbling unreadable poetry.

Che’s image is particularly ubiquitous on college campuses. But in the wrong places. He belongs in the marketing, PR and advertising departments. His lessons and history are fascinating and valuable, but only in light of P.T. Barnum. One born every minute, Mr. Barnum? If only you’d lived to see the Che phenomenon. Actually, ten are born every second.

His pathetic whimpering while dropping his fully-loaded weapons as two Bolivian soldiers approached him on Oct. 8 1967 (“Don’t shoot!” I’m Che!" I’m worth more to you alive than dead!") proves that this cowardly, murdering swine was unfit to carry his victims’ slop buckets.


#16

He is a good communist now, get over it


#17

Then what business did he have murdering Cubans?

So Che Guevara is the conservatives’ bete noir.

He is a murderer. That he’s a hero to the left tells one quite a bit about the leftist vision of tolerance and acceptance.

I don’t go around saying that Abraham Lincoln was actually a segregationist and anti-abolitionist who wanted to send the slaves to Liberia. Lincoln was practically a dictator whose military engaged in cruel atrocities and imprisoned many (but he did not torture or disappear people). Yes, the Lincoln myth is wrong, and I still like Lincoln, despite the myth being false. I don’t virulently oppose Lincoln. I do think Lincoln has benefited from embellishment of his legacy, but the real Lincoln still comes out magnanimously in the end.

Lincoln did not directory the military to engage in atrocities, Che did. That’s a poor comparison.

Why this opposition to Che Guevara (especially since most of it is based on conjecture from anti-communists and especially Cuban exiles)?

They are refugees, not exiles. Nice try with the words. And many saw the atrocities with their own eyes. We call them witnesses. And there are hundreds of thousands.

What is wrong with letting some leftists their own hero and say “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man” even if you really have dirt him? There are many other people in 20th Century Latin America who are more deserving of opprobrium, but for ideological reasons, it has focused on Che Guevara.

This comment is disgusting. You harp on about Pinochet but I don’t see any conservatives wearing Pinochet shirts and touting him as a hero. I would hope leftists who identify as Catholics wouldn’t claim any hero aside from Christ.

Che did not start “slave labor camps”, and many nations have a “secret police”.

There are witnesses reports, including from Soviet agents.

What about COINTELPRO?

Arresting and murdering dissidents?

Anti-Catholics who do not torture, disappear people, or commit mass murder are worthy of my approbation because I value human dignity. Jaruzelski and Honecker are examples, but some Catholics such as Pinochet and Videla are not.

Yes he did all those things. You can propagandize all you want but the truth is a pesky bugger. You identify as a Catholic. You do know you would not be allowed to worship in Che’s Cuba. You know he hated Catholics. Yet you identify as a Catholic. That is sad, friend.


#18

I don’t think it’s particularly useful for socialists to defend people like Castro, but one of the most insidious things about critics of Castro is that they always seem totally ignorant of the horrors of Batista and his regime. The post you’re responding to is an example of this - it was Batista who introduced secret police into Cuba, not Castro! Of course this doesn’t in anyway absolve Castro, who was a dictator, but it does say a lot about western attitudes to dictators, particularly American attitudes. There seems to be this implicit notion that capitalist, pro-American dictators are fine, while socialist (at least nominally, anyway) anti-American dictators are bad. People are either ignorant of the horrors of capitalist dictatorships, many of which were puppets of US capitalism, or defend them.

Still, Castro was certainly a dictator. While Cuba definitely in some ways helps to highlight the strengths of a socialist economy, it certainly would have been a good thing if the Cuban people had ousted him and established some form of workers’ democracy.


#19

You’re totally off-base. Several people don’t advocate for any kind of dictatorship, period. I don’t defend Batista or Pinochet because I completely reject their legitimacy. I don’t have to answer for them because I don’t endorse nor defend them.

Repeatedly bringing up other people who have done terrible crimes, especially when nobody is trying to defend those people, is disingenuous. To that end, your post contained some truth: defending Castro and Che is futile. However, the other bit about pro-capitalist dictators is drivel: not a single post in this thread or in the communism thread endorsed or lionized any of the people continually mentioned by you and Latias.


#20

I do not support any kind of dictatorship either.

I’m not saying you have to actively condemn them every time you want to critique Castro, it’s just that people’s criticisms of Castro often include a subtle defense of Batista. For example, it is factually wrong to believe that Castro was the first to establish a secret police force in Cuba, and to do so absolves Batista of some of the blame he deserves. People are definitely more sympathetic to capitalist dictators, even if they won’t admit it. This makes sense - the US enjoyed a special relationship with Batista and his regime, and helped to maintain it as it secured their economic interests in Cuba, so it would make sense for Americans to be taught a more sympathetic view of him.

I agree. I don’t engage in that kind of stuff. It’s a terrible way to argue. Batista being bad doesn’t make Castro any better. Besides, if you’re a socialist and your only way to defend socialism is to compare it to capitalist countries I’d question why you’re even a socialist in the first place. Socialism is supposed to be better.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.