Read­ers weigh in on Cuban leader

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE -

Re: “Leader Cas­tro has died,” Nov. 26 news story.

I ar­rived in the United States from my na­tive Cuba in 1961, and in 1974 be­came a nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. I lived through Fidel Cas­tro’s Revo­lu­tion, and was a wit­ness to his tyranny, abuse of hu­man rights, com­plete dis­re­gard for hu­man life, and all the un­speak­able hor­rors that he in­flicted upon Cuba and its cit­i­zens. I am grate­ful that I am still around to be a wit­ness to his death.

When I left Cuba and the plane took off, I looked out the win­dow and saw the lights of Ha­vana, and I knew that per­haps this was the last time I would see the coun­try where I was born. I pray that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion will not undo the ef­forts of Pres­i­dent Obama, and con­tinue to pur­sue the end of the em­bargo, which, as we all know, has not achieved any­thing, and will never achieve any­thing pos­i­tive for the peo­ple of Cuba.

I do not know how much change Fidel’s death will bring, but it is my hope and prayer that I will live long enough to see my coun­try free again and that democ­racy and jus­tice will re­turn.

Car­men C. Gor­gas, Den­ver

Adios, Fidel! Your “La Revo­lu­tion” has been a to­tal fail­ure. Hope­fully this will mark the be­gin­ning of the end of 57 years of bru­tal op­pres­sion of the Cuban peo­ple and your suc­ces­sor, brother Raul Cas­tro, will soon fol­low you. Your Marx­ist ide­ol­ogy ex­em­pli­fied another fail­ure of a “so­cial or­der” as we con­tin­u­ally have seen ev­ery­where it’s been tried. Ex­am­ple: Cur­rently Venezuela is only held to­gether by iron-fisted op­pres­sive dic­ta­tor­ships who gain power on false prom­ises and by brute force take away the peo­ple’s God-given rights and make them slaves of the state. It’s fright­en­ing to see there are in­di­vid­u­als who still ad­here to even mod­i­fied ver­sions of so­cial­ism here in the U.S. and spread the pro­pa­ganda. For state hand­outs, they give away their free­doms. When will they ever learn?

Peter Bruno, Ar­vada

When Fidel Cas­tro over­threw the cor­rupt Batista dic­ta­tor­ship that had im­pov­er­ished the Cuban peo­ple, he was hailed as a modern hero by the me­dia. As it be­came ap­par­ent that he in­tended to build an egal­i­tar­ian so­ci­ety that di­rected the la­bor and re­sources of the is­land for the ben­e­fit of all Cubans rather than for the profit of an elit­ist few, this ini­tial praise turned into alarm. Amer­i­can su­gar con­glom­er­ates, oil re­finer­ies, and mob-run casi­nos no longer had an open ac­cess. This was clearly an un-Amer­i­can, Marx­ist de­vel­op­ment in the Western Hemi­sphere which could not be tol­er­ated. For nearly 60 years, against all odds, the Cas­tro gov­ern­ment has sur­vived trade em­bar­goes, as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempts, a bun­gled CIA-backed mil­i­tary in­va­sion, and the col­lapse of sup­port from the Soviet Union and Venezue­lan oil. It has not been a bed of roses for Cuba. Mankind has never shown it­self to be more than marginally able to man­age its darker im­pulses, which brings up two in­trigu­ing ques­tions: Will Don­ald Trump, rid­ing in on a wave of pop­ulist anger and promis­ing law and or­der, greater pros­per­ity and rad­i­cal in­sti­tu­tional change, turn out to be Amer­ica’s Fidel Cas­tro? And will con­ser­va­tives fi­nally see the es­tab­lish­ment of their lib­er­tar­ian par­adise?

Robert Po­rath, Boul­der

Let’s get real about how so­cial­ism has worked in Cuba. I vol­un­teered there last fall work­ing in Sancti Spir­i­tus, a small vil­lage in the mid­dle of Cuba where the wa­ter is so filthy every­one has cholera. Be­cause of so­cial­ism, peo­ple there re­ceive free ed­u­ca­tion, med­i­cal care and min­i­mal food ra­tions. The gov­ern­ment book­let says “each per­son will re­ceive a min­i­mum in­take of food.” Peo­ple I worked with said they were hun­gry. This is the ra­tion al­lowed: 6 pounds of rice, six eggs, 1/4 pound of beans per per­son per month, 3 pounsd of su­gar, 15 pounds of pota­toes and ba­nanas for a fam­ily of four. Milk is al­lowed only up to age 7. The av­er­age salary is $17 to $19 per month, so out of this they must buy fish or veg­eta­bles. Beef is not per­mit­ted un­der the law; it is re­served for gov­ern­ment use. The Cuban gov­ern­ment con­trols ev­ery­thing, with the in­ter­net al­most never avail­able, and it is ex­pen­sive if you can find it. I saw about five cell­phones and I was told that they had been sent to Cuba from fam­i­lies in the United States. The peo­ple I worked with were hope­ful for the fu­ture, but they all know Pres­i­dent Obama is out of of­fice soon and Raul Cas­tro is done in 2018. They try to live each day and hope the fu­ture will be brighter. I am sure we are all hope­ful for them.

Joanie Jones, Den­ver

When talk­ing about Fidel Cas­tro, Amer­i­can politi­cians and cap­i­tal­ist pro­pa­ganda-com­pli­ant me­dia pro­pound egre­gious in­ac­cu­ra­cies. The most bla­tant false­hood is that Cas­tro brought us to the brink of nu­clear war. Ac­tu­ally, it was the Kennedy broth­ers and Nikita Khrushchev who did that. Fidel, by U.S. ag­gres­sion, in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous at­tempts to mur­der him, was driven into the arms of the Sovi­ets and be­came a pawn in a high­stakes game of chicken.

Af­ter years of sup­port­ing Cuban dic­ta­tor Batista and de­grad­ing treat­ment by the im­pe­ri­al­ist mon­ster of the North, it was clear that Amer­i­cans never cared about the peo­ple of Cuba, but were dis­mayed by loss of ac­cess to Ha­vana rum, cigars, gam­bling and pros­ti­tutes. Fidel wanted to change the lot of his peo­ple by so­cial­ism, and he had to use strong mea­sures to pro­tect him­self and Cuba from CIA agents. Fidel Cas­tro is a hero to Cuba and all Latin Amer­ica.

Walt Hei­den­felder, Den­ver

Hav­ing vis­ited Cuba in Jan­uary and seen first­hand the des­per­ate lives most Cubans seem to be liv­ing, I can only say that Fidel Cas­tro’s depar­ture from this Earth was long over­due. Good rid­dance.

F. Whit­lock, Den­ver

Adal­berto Roque, Getty Images file

Cuban Pres­i­dent Fidel Cas­tro de­liv­ers a speech at­tack­ing me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions and groups op­posed to his gov­ern­ment in the wake of ru­mors of his death on Sept. 1, 1997, in Ha­vana. Cas­tro died on Nov. 25.

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