ONTD Political

The Castros: Ian Sansom on a family that's a dictatorship, not merely a dynasty

8:06 pm - 07/22/2011
Fidel Castro and his family have ruled an entire country for more than 50 years. One approaches such an achievement, of course, with a sense of one's own limitations. One dare not be patronising. Nonetheless, as Castro himself is often fond of saying, Hay problemas, hay contradicciones (There are problems, there are contradictions). An Amnesty International report on Cuba, in March 2011, states that "The Cuban authorities are continuing to stifle freedom of expression on the island ... Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have suffered harassment, intimidation and arbitrary arrest ... as the Cuban government employs new tactics to stamp out dissent." The Castros are no mere family dynasty. They are a family dictatorship.

Fidel Castro and his brothers and sisters grew up in a wealthy family in Birán, in south-eastern Cuba. Their father, Angel, owned a sugar plantation. There were nine Castro children in all. Fidel was the family favourite. He was privately educated and became politically radicalised at university. With his brother Raúl, he led an unsuccessful uprising against the unpopular regime of Fulgencio Batista in 1953. Fidel was imprisoned, released, went into exile in Mexico, and returned to eventually overthrow the Batista government in 1959.

Fidel became prime minister of Cuba and then, in 1976, president. Years after seizing power, he continued to style himself as a revolutionary leader, sporting his trademark cap and military fatigues. Cubans called him El Comandante, and Maximo Jefe (Maximum Leader). His sister Juanita thought he was a fool. She disagreed with her brothers and their revolutionary ardour and fled Cuba in June 1964, announcing at a press conference: "I cannot any longer remain indifferent to what is happening in my country. My brothers Fidel and Raúl have made it an enormous prison surrounded by water. The people are nailed to a cross of torment imposed by international communism."

Fidel responded to her claims with characteristic vigour: "The imperialists have not hesitated with their detestable attempts to bribe, corrupt and even recruit close relatives ... as they have done with my own family, to utilise them later as repugnant instruments for hire."

According to Noam Chomsky, Castro is a "Latin American hero" and Cuba a "symbol of successful defiance". This may be so. But it is also the case that under the Castro brothers' regime, corruption continues to thrive, oppression continues and many Cubans have left the country. Information about the Castros, and their activities, is difficult to obtain, but according to the Cuba Transition Project at the University of Miami, the Castro brothers' many children have various roles as government advisers.

Raúl took over as president in 2008, and succeeded his brother as secretary of the communist party earlier this year. Under Raúl, some restrictions on internet use have been lifted. And you can now run your own barber shop, and plough your fields. Fidel is 84. Raul is 80. Raúl's son, Alejandro Espín, is rumoured to be the brothers' likely successor.

One of Fidel's children, Alina Fernández, is a famous critic of her father's regime and Fidel's former brother-in-law, Rafael Diaz-Balart, left Cuba to become a leading anti-communist campaigner. Two of Díaz-Balart's sons, Lincoln and Mario, are American Republican politicians.

In a speech in 1953, Fidel famously declared: "History will absolve me." As someone raised as a Catholic, he will know that absolution requires confession, contrition and penance.

We all know that corruption was all over Cuba during Batista's regime and that Fidel Castro/La revolución get rid of that. The problem? He ended becoming the exact same thing, only instead of capitalist, communist.
But If the people don't realise this, a change will be very difficult.
Source ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/23/fidel-castro-raul-family-dynasties-ian-sansom ) 
hashishinahooka 23rd-Jul-2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
I've never been a Fidel hater like a lot of ABC's (American-born Cuban), but it really disgusts me that some rich kid decided he was going to make things better for the poor and minorities... by oppressing the shit out of them. Thanks, Uncle Fidel!
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