I go back a long way with the Cuban revolution. In the summer of 1957, I mentioned Fidel Castro to one of the Hollywood screenwriters exiled to Mexico City for his politics. My only information about Castro came from the Time magazines that I devoured in that pre-Internet age. Time thought he was a romantic, bearded rebel fighting for justice in Cuba's mountains.

"They'll never let him get into power," the screenwriter told me. He had already excused himself from further support of Soviet communism after Nikita Khrushchev's devastating 1956 speech about Stalin's crimes. But he had no illusions about his fellow Americans. After all, the CIA had recently removed elected governments in Iran and Guatemala, setting Iran on a course toward theocratic dictatorship and toppling Guatemala into decades of right wing torture, repression, and genocide against the Maya indigenous people.

A year and a half later, however, Castro proved the screenwriter wrong by taking Havana. In the spring of 1959, I caught a glimpse of Castro himself on the campus of Columbia University. Thousands of us young Ivy Leaguers had gathered on a sunny afternoon to see and cheer the new rebel, still the bearded romantic in fatigues, who waved to us from the far side of the campus before vanishing into the School of Journalism.

Not long after, one of my brothers arrived in Cuba to teach for a few months as a member of the Conrado Benítez Brigade, which taught over 700,000 Cubans how to read and write. I envied him.

Since Eisenhower in 1959, he (Castro) has seen off 10 American presidents who all wished him ill, and he has retired undefeated. Only the eleventh, Barack Obama, has called bullshit on 55 years of American policy and got a dialogue going with Havana. Even then, Obama waited until the last year of his second term, when he had nothing to lose.

Air Force One, according to a story in The Guardian, descended into Havana "like a chariot of hope," as if the Cubans hoped for nothing more than more consumer goods, tidier suburbs, and newer cars. What the writer didn't notice was that the neighbourhood below was a lot tidier than many North American communities such as Flint, Michigan, and Attawapiskat, Ontario.

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Comments

rs allen 3 years 24 weeks ago
#1

Anyone in the know understands and has always known it's has always been about the money lost by the 'slave owners'.

Legend 3 years 24 weeks ago
#2

Batista was owned by American Corporations and the Mafia. Fidel wanted relations with the USA and we turned him down. Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjpnfDwWd7Y

leontrollski's picture
leontrollski 3 years 24 weeks ago
#3

Thanks for the headsup re: thetyee.ca Look good!

zapdam's picture
zapdam 3 years 24 weeks ago
#4

leontrollski

thetyee.ca is the proverbial diamond in a sea of wasted print.

gumball's picture
gumball 3 years 24 weeks ago
#5

Yet millions have fled the island to America in rickety boats, an unknown number who have died in their journey to escape. Why?

zapdam's picture
zapdam 3 years 24 weeks ago
#6

The most economically and militarily powerful country in the world spent 55 years, 90 miles from Cuba's shores, trying to undermine,subvert and overthrow Castro's Cuban society. There's no doubt hundreds of millions of dollars of American propaganda had a big part in making Cubans believe Americas streets were paved with gold and everyone was rich. The truth was, that on arrival Cuban's were herded into refugee camps of razor wire and harsh oppressive living conditions.

I'm glad Pierre Trudeau ,the father of our present day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during his 15 years in power as Canada's Prime Minister told the US in no uncertain terms, Canada dictates its own foreign policy , then during the 1970's visited, engaged Cuba and encouraged Canadians to add Cuba to their travel destination list.

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