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Dallas Paper's article on Fidel

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    ================= Begin forwarded message ================= Dear Kevin and everyone, The following article on Fidel Castro in Cuba is from today s Dallas
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 14, 2003
      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      Dear Kevin and everyone,

      The following article on Fidel Castro in Cuba is from
      today's Dallas Morning News. It was on their front
      page and when I saw it I thought I would look it up on
      their website and e-mail it to comrades.

      First, the Dallas Morning News is an extremely
      reactionary newspaper. The local Islamic community has
      an alternative site Dallasnotnews.com which protests
      against its distortions and insinuations. It is
      forever investigating Arab and Muslim charities and
      other businesses trying to link them to Hamas and in
      so doing get them arrested and investigated. It is
      quite possible that the Dallas Morning News was
      responsible for starting the FBI on its investigation
      of the Holy Land organization and the other little
      internet company owned by some members of the same
      family. The Holy Land charity was committing the
      grave crime of sending support to families in occupied
      Palestine without bothering to exclude the children of
      guerrilla fighters from their list of recipients.

      To the Zionists and the US government (which is
      virtually the same thing) that is the crime of support
      of terrorism.

      Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News has its own Cuba
      bureau the main job of which is to spread the
      imperialist message about the island.

      What is remarkable about the story below is that
      although they try their very best to put a negative
      spin on Fidel Castro, they really fail to do so. They
      even go so far as to quote a poll taken among people
      who ran away from Cuba to the USA. Obviously such
      people will be hoping to build careers in America and
      that will depend on their denouncing socialist Cuba.
      So clearly such a poll is worthless.

      Thus despite their desperate attempts not to do so,
      the Dallas Morning News demonstrates that without any
      overt, forced personality cult, Fidel's ideas and
      influence are nevertheless pervasive.

      This reminded me of the article some time back about
      how the Americans supposedly are flag wavers without
      being forced to be so. That also requires some
      exploration because it is also to some extent true.

      But, as I say, the Dallas Morning News story below
      indicates that it is not only Americans who can rally
      around their national symbols, and in the case of
      Fidel he is a symbol not only of the existence of the
      country but of its struggle for certain principles.

      By the way, 13 August was Fidel's birthday as well as
      Karl Liebknecht's.





      In Cuba, one man truly is an island
      At 77, Castro rests beyond a cult of personality and
      inside hearts, minds

      09:47 PM CDT on Wednesday, August 13, 2003

      By TRACEY EATON / The Dallas Morning News

      SANTIAGO, Cuba � Just inside the door is a
      mind-numbing assortment of photos and old books,
      covering the walls in dog-eared splendor.

      Asterio Sarmiento, a retired military officer,
      presides over the treasure trove at La Escalera
      bookstore, which sells such gems as Fidel and Religion
      and Fidel and the External Debt.

      "These books are what Fidel Castro is all about �
      ideas," Mr. Sarmiento said. "He doesn't have to name
      streets after himself to win support. He does that
      with ideas."

      Indeed, not a single park, avenue, stadium or building
      is named after Mr. Castro, who turns 77 on Wednesday.

      An occasional roadside billboard shows Mr. Castro's
      likeness, and his photo hangs in many homes and
      offices, but there are no statues of the Cuban
      president in public places.

      Cuba is unlike prewar Iraq, where huge murals
      glorified Saddam Hussein.

      Nor is it like the Dominican Republic under former
      dictator Rafael Trujillo, who had his country's
      capital city and highest peak named after himself. And
      it's certainly nothing like Turkmenistan, where
      months, days of the week and even such things as
      yogurt have been renamed in honor of President
      Saparmurat Niyazov.

      Mr. Castro needs none of that. He rules supreme. And
      analysts say he is easily the most powerful leader
      Cuba has ever had.

      The Cuban leader has played down his sweeping
      authority, saying his government is led by the people.

      Still, some say he's not just a head of state, he is
      the state.

      "Castro is at the same time the island, the men, the
      cattle and the earth," French philosopher Jean-Paul
      Sartre once wrote. "He is the whole island."

      Mr. Castro has made clear he doesn't want a
      personality cult for himself.

      "The leaders of this country are human beings, not
      gods," he told a crowd earlier this year.

      His government does deify dead heroes. Tens of
      thousands of portraits and busts of Jose Marti, a poet
      and one of Cuba's founding fathers, can be found
      throughout the island.

      Argentine rebel Che Guevara is also revered, and a
      huge image of his face covers five stories of the
      Interior Ministry's headquarters in Havana.

      He's everywhere

      Mr. Castro doesn't need that because his government is
      already a commanding, all-pervading force, some say.
      "Fidel's everywhere. He's in charge of everything,"
      said Hayde� Rodr�guez, 70, of Santiago, who says she's
      a member of the political opposition. She fought with
      the rebels and supported the revolution in the 1950s
      and '60s. But soon her views changed.

      "The revolution took a 180-degree turn for the worst,"
      she said. "There's no economic freedom. No political
      freedom. No freedom of expression."

      Her brother, Antonio Rodr�guez, 62, agreed.

      "This isn't socialism, communism or fascism. It's an
      unknown thing," he said. "And what mortifies us is
      that we don't see an end to it."

      No doubt, the Cuban government has tremendous sway.
      And it begins exercising its influence early on,
      according to "The Children of Fidel Castro," a report
      by Freedom Advocacy, an Arlington, Va., rights group.

      "The individual is born, grows, lives and dies under
      the constant and strict control of the state," the
      report said. "The regime concentrates on even the most
      minute details of a child's education to establish an
      enduring sense of dependency."

      From childhood, there's great peer pressure to support
      Mr. Castro and the Communist Party, many Cubans say.
      And those who do not show their loyalty are often
      shunned by their neighbors. Or they miss out on
      educational or career opportunities.

      Cubans usually talk about these things in hushed
      tones. Sometimes, their words say one thing and their
      facial expressions and body language say another.

      True feelings can be elusive. And when more than a few
      people start talking, discussions are often drowned
      out in a cascade of rhetoric praising Mr. Castro and
      condemning the United States.

      Some Cubans � considered reckless by the rest � don't
      care anymore. When asked about their president, they
      throw up their hands. They let out a muffled sigh. Or
      a growl comes from the bottom of their throat and they
      say nothing more.

      Simply 'Fidel'

      Mr. Castro has ruled for 44 years and remains
      He has a string of titles: president, head of state,
      chief of the Communist Party.

      But for most Cubans, he's simply "Fidel."

      He's a constant presence in state-run media, which
      dutifully records his countless appearances.

      His speeches are often rebroadcast on television and
      radio and later many are reproduced in Granma, the
      Communist Party newspaper.

      So Cubans know Fidel's public life well.

      His private life is taboo and nothing is said in the
      media about his children or Dalia Soto del Valle, his
      wife of more than 30 years.

      Mr. Castro, the target of dozens of assassination
      plots over the years, has said he maintains his
      privacy because of security concerns.

      "In this sense, I have reserved for myself a total
      freedom," he said in an interview for the documentary,

      Mr. Castro is unique among world leaders, said Estela
      Bravo, a New York filmmaker who produced the
      documentary. He has intelligence, courage, stamina and
      unwavering confidence, she said.

      In past elections, Mr. Castro has routinely received
      97 or 98 percent of the vote.

      Just how many people would vote for him if they
      weren't pressured � or had other choices � is unclear.

      A 1999 survey of 1,023 Cubans who had recently
      emigrated to the United States revealed
      dissatisfaction with the socialist government. Asked
      why the economy was in bad shape, 90 percent cited
      Cuban government policies as one reason; 50 percent
      said "people earn very little and do not want to
      work," and 50 percent said they "no longer believe in
      the revolution and would rather fend for themselves."

      The survey was conducted by the U.S.-financed Cuba
      Transition Project at the Institute for Cuban and
      Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami.

      Cuban officials dispute the results. Many Cubans
      worship Mr. Castro, and many, unquestionably, would
      die for him.

      Mr. Sarmiento said he became a believer at the age of
      18 when he went into the hills to join Mr. Castro's

      Now 65, he sells old books, including History Will
      Absolve Me, based on the speech Mr. Castro gave before
      his sentencing in 1953.

      "Already, history has absolved Fidel many times," Mr.
      Sarmiento said. "He eliminated political corruption in
      Cuba. He fought for the unity of the people. And he
      made sure that neither the Russians nor the Americans
      took over.

      "People trust him."

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