Fidel Castro, and the end of something

Fidel Castro died today. Farewell, El Comandante. May you rest in peace.

With him also died a beacon, a light that shone in this world. A light that said Cuba would not be ruled by America; become a puppet state, or be threatened and bullied. Cuba would not bow down to harsh blockades and embargoes, or listen to the cries and complaints of the exiles in Florida. There would not be another Batista, and no more Mafia or gangsters to exploit this poor country.

Some have described him as a dictator. Others say that he lived in luxury as his people struggled to survive. His alliance with the Soviet Union almost brought the modern world to war once again, during the missile crisis in 1962. The Soviets retreated, but Castro never gave in. He gave education to his people. He gave them a better health service, more freedoms, and less corruption than they had ever known. He may not have been perfect, nobody is. But anything was better than the Batista regime he replaced, and his determination to see through the Cuban Revolution was an inspiration to all of us on the Left.

The future for his country may now be uncertain. The vultures will be circling, and a Republican is going to be in the White House. But we had Fidel for when it really counted, and he never did less than stand up for what he believed in, and to try to get the best for Cuba. There have been few like him in my lifetime, and in the time I have left, I do not expect to see another.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz 1926-2016. You will be missed.



  1. John Liming's Blog

    Trump is a rare bird — he is a Businessman first …. and an astute one at that …. and I think he knows how to exploit the fiscal potentialities of a new Cuba for the benefit of The United States but as to the idea that Cuba is now safe from Mafioso and othere criminal elements, I think I would take exception to that and exercise my right to disagree because big crooks are big money and big money talks when BS walks and I think there will be plenty of crime-backed financial goings ons in Modern Cuba just like there are everywhere on the globe. — I expect the drug cartels to try to get their bases established there and I am sure ISIS is already licking its chops at the potential for Islamisizing the island nation in times to come and that very prospect is going to eventually become problematic for both Cuban national interests and American Foreign Relations.


  2. Ian Gibson Photography


    I don’t know if you are aware, but a great friend of Cuba died this week as well. Eric Roberts died after a short battle with cancer.

    If your other readers don’t know him (and why would they?), Eric was a London Ambulance Service union leader who became president of Unison this year. He also helped organise the shipment of many ambulances which had come to the end of their life in the UK to Cuba.

    As for those who berate Castro for being imperfect, let’s look at the background of May, Putin, Hollande, Trump….etc.

    Castro may have done some less than good things, I really don’t know, but Cuba had the best literacy rates in Latin America, and the most comprehensive healthcare.

    ¡Viva la Revolución!


    • beetleypete

      Thanks very much for the information, Ian. I did know about Eric arranging the ambulances for Cuba. One of the few things we agreed on, during our long association as Union officers. After I left, I met him (with Kathy) many times, at Billy O’Neill’s house. We always clashed (sometimes heatedly, on my part) over the dispute, and the ‘politics of reconciliation’ that he pursued during that time. Nonetheless, I of course regret his death, and I am very sorry to hear the news. I will send my condolences to Kathy in due course. I am also aware that he leaves a family behind.
      Thanks again mate. Pete.


      • Ian Gibson Photography

        One of the great things about Eric was, that whether you agreed with his words or deeds, you could be sure that he was always acting with the best interests of the membership in mind.

        I met many union reps and officers in my time in the LAS, and you couldn’t always say that about all of them.

        Eric always had a great integrity in that regard, as did you.

        I learned a lot from both of you, and during my time as a rep and as H&S rep, always tried to follow that example.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Doug's BoomerRants

    Golly, Pete.. never would have thought you’d revere the guy. 🙂 Something a tad socialist in all that perchance?
    Actually, the guy was an oppressive communist (which is pretty much what communism is). Half the damn country fled to the States when he took over (dunno if it was exactly “half”). Ok.. he did some typical socialist “providing for the people” stuff but there was nothing democratic about him at all… and all that free medical is hardly cutting edge, although adequate. Yet, one has to give him credit for sticking to his principles in spite of whatever president was in office over here. He’s lived through a lot of history and outlived most of the players.

    BUT.. between the Cuban ex-patriots occupying Florida and likely the Florida businesses heavily into tourism, the State was forever isolating the guy; the ex-patriots who wanted to oust him and return, and the tourism money to be lost from Florida should relations become normal with Cuba (that was a HUGE reason for years). Personally, America’s policy toward Cuba was flawed from the get go. But the damn Cold War got in the way. We should have eased EVERYTHING with Castro long long ago. That country likely would have turned capitalistic long before now had we had normal relations way back. Obama did good here, albeit decades late in my book.
    Trust me on this one, Pete… there are businesses foaming at the mouth over here wanting to exploit international tourism there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      I agree that Cuba was never democratic, Doug. That’s probably why I liked him so much! This is a ‘Totalitarian’ blog, as I am sure you’ve noticed… 🙂
      Many of those who fled Cuba, or were ‘allowed to leave’ were the lowest forms of life there. Criminals, pimps, drug dealers, gangsters, and former Batista secret policemen. Sure, the place was no Utopia, but you have to put it into context of what went before, to appreciate the difference. I respect him for standing up, and for sticking to his guns when it would have been easier to take the money, and to watch them build a Starbucks on every corner, and a casino on every beachfront.
      Lots of people in the UK have already been on holiday there, and enjoyed good value tourism. It is a great regret of mine that I didn’t go when he was still alive, as I feel sure the place will change very quickly now. As for businesses in the US foaming at the mouth to exploit tourism (and other business) in Cuba, I am in complete agreement with that statement. Sadly.
      Thanks very much for the comment, and my best wishes as always. Pete.


  4. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

    Being from the U.S. I have a slightly different viewpoint of the Castro regime, partly due to hearing the stories related from the Cuban refugees who settled here. I will say though that the embargoes were a terrible idea and I fervently hope that Trump won’t close the passageway that President Obama opened between our two countries. It’s time to give diplomacy a chance.💁🏻


  5. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

    We obviously have a somewhat different view here in the States, in part due to multitude of Cuban refugees who fled here from his regime.Given that he was such a polarizing figure, I’ll just say that I hope Trump doesn’t close the passageway between our two countries that was opened by President Obama. I think most of us except a few hardliners agree that the embargoes did not work. It’s time to give diplomacy a chance.💁🏻


    • beetleypete

      Thanks very much for your comments, Kim, which unfortunately slipped into the Spam folder. I have retrieved them, and of course I am very pleased to see them
      I would fully expect most people in the USA to have a different view on Cuba. It is 90 miles from your coast, and for some inexplicable reason it has been seen as a threat, since the early 1960s. Don’t take too much notice of the widely-reported stories dished out by Cuban ‘exiles’. I am not exaggerating when I say that many were criminals and drug dealers. I am sure that the Police in Florida could confirm that statement. They have an axe to grind, undoubtedly. Whatever anyone thinks about Castro’s regime, it was a whole lot better for the Cuban people than the one it replaced, propaganda not withstanding.
      Nonetheless, despite my personal politics, and my European viewpoint, I of course respect your right to have an alternative opinion.
      My best wishes as always, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

        Sorry for sending you two comments Pete. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I commented the second time and thought “Hmm. I’ll bet they’re going to Pete’s spam folder.” What is up with WordPress lately? I think they’ve been invaded by gremlins! Anyway, I know many of the refugees were criminals, but we got a lot of political refugees as well. To tell you the truth, while from my admittedly limited knowledge of Fidel Castro, I never understood the reasoning behind the embargo. We’ve been trading partners with China for decades and their civil rights violations are just as bad if not worse.🤔


    • beetleypete

      I have had a few Spam issues myself, Kim, so have been checking that folder.
      As for trade with China, it has a far larger market than Cuba, and is conveniently situated a very long way from mainland United States. They are not concerned about human rights, that’s just a sop. If they were, there would have been no Guantanamo Bay camp, no ‘Rendition’, and no propping up the governments of El Salvador, Chile, and others, as well as the invasion of Grenada.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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