Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Mumia on Fidel
8/10/06 Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
The recent news of the illness of Cuban President Fidel Castro, has
unleashed a ghoulish glee in Miami, and also in the White House. The
spectacle of people dancing in the streets of Miami, at news of
Fidel's sickness was disgraceful.
Few of us who have grown up under the propaganda that passes for the
corporate media have any real idea of either Castro's or Cuba's
immense social accomplishments, while under the threat of U.S.
invasion and destruction. As a student of history, I'm often amazed
at what we don't know about other people, even those as close as
Cuba. If Americans truly supported democracy, instead of
dictatorships, the name Fidel Castro may never have become known to
us. That's because Castro, as a young man, newly graduated from law
school, endeavored to run for the Cuban Senate as a 'clean
government' candidate. His platform opposed political repression and
corruption, and how major Cuban institutions had been bought off by
the U.S.-Mafia elites. He spoke out against vende-patrias (sell-outs)
among the politicians, and also denounced the press because
journalists were being bought with botellas (or bribes). He opposed
the corruption of the dictatorship' s courts. Guess who the U.S.
supported? The U.S. supported the dictator, Fulgencia Batista, a man
who was legendary for his brutality and his corruption.
Given the legal challenge posed by the young Castro, his election was
scuttled by the Batista regime, and Castro learned that there was no
'legal' way to oppose the regime. The U.S. has always preferred its
own brutal puppets to democrats, and has done so on every continent
in the world. What we also don't hear about, is the actions of the
U.S. against Cuba, which can only be called terrorism. Under either
"Operation Pluto", "Operation Mongoose", "Operation JM Wave", the
U.S. has bombed factories, plotted overthrow, planned and tried to
carry out assassinations, worked with organized crime, destroyed
crops and other crimes. The famous Church Committee reports unveiled
several assassination attempts against Fidel, which were "coordinated
with the Mafia dons Meyer Lansky, John Roselli, Sam Giancana, and
Santo Trafficante" , all of whom owned businesses on the island.
Before the Cuban Revolution, the island was called a "Mafia
paradise", for the Mafia leaders owned casinos, nightclubs,
whorehouses, and also legitimate businesses, like banks, airlines, TV
stations, and newspapers. For example, in one 8 month period alone,
(in 1961) the CIA committed 5,780 acts of sabotage and terrorism
against Cuba, including several attempts to assassinate the Cuban
The U.S.-supported repression, brutality and corruption forced Fidel,
and millions of other Cubans, to become revolutionaries, instead of
democrats. And, once a revolutionary, it forced him to become an
internationalist, supporting freedom struggles all around the world.
In late 1975, when armies of the racist regime of South Africa
invaded Angola, it was Cuba that sent 18,000 troops to assist the
beleaguered African state. By year's end, Cuba's 36,000 soldiers,
with their Angolan allies, bested South Africa in the field, forcing
them to retreat, for the first time in the history of apartheid. It
was, Fidel would later say, an "African Giron", a reference to Cuba's
battlefield victory over the U.S. in the Bay of Pigs. (The U.S., of
course, supported the South Africans, and several brutal terrorist
armies, the FNLA, and UNITA).
While it may be true that Fidel is ailing, it's also true that he,
and the Revolution that he helped lead, has been a force for good in
the world, on the side of the oppressed, not the oppressors. It has
been on the side of freedom, not slavery.
Consider, if you will, how many people, in Vietnam, in Chile, in
Argentina, in South Africa, in Iraq, in Palestine, have suffered
needlessly, because of the actions, exploitation, support of
dictators, secret wars of repression, by US presidents over these
last 50 years.
How many assassinations, bombings, stolen elections, proxy wars,
etc., etc., have been plotted in the dens of the White House against
the peoples of the world?
So we join our Cuban friends in saying: !Viva Fidel! !Viva el
Revolucion Cubano! !Venceremos!
[Source: Nieto, Clara. *Masters of War: Latin America and U.S.
Aggression* (N.Y.: Seven Stories Press, 2003), pp. 33, 78-9, 217)]