Fidel Castro Ha Muerto


Castro is finally dead, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be the only one bummed about it. “It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President,” he said. “A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” Trudeau continued.

Everyone else is being a callous jerk! Sure, Fidel was a dictator who tortured and massacred tens of thousands of people. And yeah, maybe he sentenced thousands more to forced labor. And I suppose there are the millions more who fled the country or died trying. And…Maybe we’re still not happy about the time he sent 125,000 refugees over on boats, along with the contents of his prisons and mental hospitals. And I think we’re still sore about the fact that Castro asked Khrushchev to nuke us.

But still! Come on people now, try to look past the mass murders and remember the good times. Here are some New York Times headlines from Castro’s good old days as a young impassioned revolutionary.

SANTIAGO, Cuba, Aug. 1 (AP) — Cuban Army authorities announced today that Fidel Castro, 30-year-old student leader at the University of Havana, had confessed directing the unsuccessful rebellion Sunday against the Government of President Gen. Fulgencio Batista.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

The old, corrupt order in Cuba is being threatened for the first time since the Cuban Republic was proclaimed early in the century. An internal struggle is now taking place that is more than an effort by the outs to get in and enjoy the enormous spoils of office that have been the reward of political victory.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

The Cuban situation has moved into a new and important phase with new political pronouncements from the resistance leaders. The main statement came from the Sierra Maestra, where Fidel Castro and his young rebels continue their successful defiance of the Batista Government. View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Supporters of Fidel Castro, Cuban rebel leader, are selling “bonds” in the United States to help finance their movement to overthrow President Fulgencio Batista.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Representatives of Fidel Castro, Cuban insurgent, asserted yesterday that his only present program was to bring about a provisional coalition government and free elections. Economic and social policies, they said, are still being shaped.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

A year ago today one of the strangest and most romantic episodes in Cuba’s colorful history began. On Dec. 2, 1956, a band of eighty-two Cuban youths, headed by a 30-year-old law graduate, Fidel Castro, landed on a marshy strip of beach in Oriente Province at the eastern end of the island.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Fidel Castro has disclaimed any aspiration to the Presidency of Cuba either in a replacement of the present regime by a provisional government or in the next elected administration.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

HAVANA, Feb. 26 — A rebel leader capable of throwing into battle only 400 riflemen boasts that within a few months he will oust the Batista dictatorship and occupy all Cuba.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Cuban rebel sympathizers ran up the red-and-black banner of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement on the staff reserved for Cuba at Rockefeller Plaza last night.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

It is now obvious that Fidel Castro and his rebels in Oriente Province, Cuba, are carrying out a widespread campaign of kidnapping Americans. Since last Thursday, when ten American and two Canadian engineers were captured at Moa Bay on the north shore, forty-five Americans and three Canadians have been seized. The latest outrage was the kidnapping of four Americans from a United Fruit sugar plantation early yesterday morning.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Elaine: I like how the NY Times calls the kidnapping of 45 Americans a “folly”. Like, taking hostages was an innocent act of youthful indiscretion or whatever.

A vast majority of Americans must have been surprised, shocked and angered this week at the news from Cuba. The surprise came because the most rigid censorship in Cuban history had for months clamped a curtain of silence over what was happening in the island, which is only 100 miles from our Florida shore. View Full Article in Timesmachine »

The Cuban adventure, in which Americans and Canadians were at one time hostages of the rebels, has ended as happily as anything so rash and ill-advised could be expected to end. All the kidnapped men are now back safe and sound, having been treated with a courtesy and friendliness that in other circumstances might have been considered amusing.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Elaine: Heehee! It was all in good fun! If only the Iran hostage crisis could have been so amusing!

HAVANA, Oct. 21 — Cuban rebels have kidnapped two Americans and seven Cubans employed at an oil refinery of the Texas Company, the United States Embassy said today.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Fidel Castro, the rebel leader who has been operating for nearly two years in eastern Cuba, has been tolerantly regarded in this country because most of us did not care for President Batista. Batista’s arrogance as well as his fear have grown with time, and both have expressed themselves in illegal arrests, abuse of prisoners and a good deal of wanton shooting.

At first Fidel Castro, raising his banner against all this from a dreary hideout in the Sierra Maestra, seemed a sort of Robin Hood. But he appears now to be trying to alienate American sympathy. Last spring he kidnaped a number of American civilians, some American sailors from Guantanamo base and several Canadians. These were later released. But last week he picked up several more hostages, including two Americans, and appears to regard our protests as “an act of aggression.” In some other ways he is growing more unreasonable, as when he threatened to shoot and candidates he could catch who were running in the Batista elections set for next Monday.

This country has been patient, even to the point of cutting off arms shipments to Batista’s territory. We would like to see a democratic government in Cuba and a final end to the suppressions, censorships and outrages of the Batista regime. We know that revolutions, like other sorts of wars, are not Boy Scout exercises. But if he wishes to hold our friendship Fidel Castro must earn it by giving up terrorism, threats and misrepresentations. View Full Article in Timesmachine »


” I will be a hero or a martyr!” Fidel Castro said in 1956, the year he launched what then appeared to be a forlorn attempt to overthrow the Cuban dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. View Full Article in Timesmachine »

NY Times. January 4, 1959.
NY Times. January 4, 1959.

In general, Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba has been hailed as another advance of liberalism and democracy over dictatorship and totalitarianism. Perhaps it is all of that. However, it gives me somehow an uneasy feeling reading in the newspapers that the victorious rebels are placing hundreds of persons — men and women — before firing squads after drumhead trials lasting a few minutes.View Full Article in Timesmachine »

Elaine: Back in 1959, New York Times reporter John Billi expressed a bit of unease about the fact that Fidel Castro and his merry men started executing hundreds of people within a week of taking power. Ordinarily, the mass murder of dissidents would draw a stronger reaction, but how could a Marxist-Leninist possibly be a bad guy? Remember, Castro promised to destroy bourgeois decadence and bring free education and healthcare. Sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make a left-wing omelet. Fortunately, under Castro’s rationing system, each adult gets to purchase up to twelve eggs a month.

Leave a Reply