February 19, 2008

"I am not saying goodbye to you. I only wish to fight as a soldier of ideas."

Fidel Castro steps down as president of Cuba.

President Bush reacts: "The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty."

70 comments:

thephantomspitter said...

Well, here's a topic all but guaranteed to bring out the frothing wingnut incoherence of the regulars.

Go to it, kids!

rhhardin said...

It's Cuban term limits.

thephantomspitter said...

I mean, it is kinda hard to be so mad at Evil Communist Cuba when the Bush administration is shoulder deep up Evil Communist China's ass.

And people say John McCain isn't a real conservative....

Trooper York said...

HEY, maybe we can get Cohiba's at a reasonable price for a change. I hated having to smuggle them in from Canada. Sweet.

SGT Ted said...

The actual frothing lunacy will be coming from the leftards excusing another Communist dictatorship by lots of handwaving and distraction and subject changing. Or outright mendacity.

Bring it on!

thephantomspitter said...

Unfortunately for Sgt. Ted, "Freedom and Democracy" in Cuba is just code for "give all the property back to the exiles". Which is, of course, unlikely to happen as it's all been bought up by European investors.

Hey Ted -- how about them Chinese?

Middle Class Guy said...

Everyone is weighing in. This is one wait and see situation. What will Raul do or say? What will the anti-Castro emigres think?

There has been too much hardheadedness regarding Cuba on both sides. It is a small island that has not been a threat to anyone since the Russians pulled the cork on the money bottle.

Will the far left radicals demand a holiday if the bearded one dies?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well, here's a topic all but guaranteed to bring out the tears and sobs of Obama volunteers and lefties in general.

/fixed

Sloanasaurus said...

As Hoosier said, Obama supporters must be very upset today to see one of their heroes depart.

JDAXC said...

What happens in Cuba will depend on the military.
Generals in Cuba have been living large for the last 30 years and if a power struggle bubbles-up, all bets are off. The downside of a military power struggle, if bloody, is that the winner could turn out to be worse than Fidel.
Worse than Fidel! Kinda hard to believe.

thephantomspitter said...

Sloanasaurus said...

As Hoosier said, Obama supporters must be very upset today to see one of their heroes depart


Remind me -- who's in bed with the Chinese Communists, Obama or the Bush administration?

Freder Frederson said...

Worse than Fidel! Kinda hard to believe.

Not really. Just look back to the regime Fidel overthrew which was basically a wholly owned subsidary of the Mafia, especially Meyer Lansky's operation.

AllenS said...

Too bad, all those nice beaches.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Remind me -- who's in bed with the Chinese Communists, Obama or the Bush administration?

Wait, I thought Bush was in the pocket of the Saudis and bin Laden.

I just can't keep these BDS talking points straight anymore...

Tim said...

"Remind me -- who's in bed with the Chinese Communists, Obama or the Bush administration?"

Actually, it was the Clinton Administration that authorized the sale of ICBM guidance systems to the Chinese in 1996, as well as secure radio systems, over the objection of the ever-so-bellicose and jingoistic U.S. State Department.

Everyone but the Leftist/Clinton apologist knows that.

downtownlad said...

So noble of Bush to champion liberty abroad while he tramples it in the United States.

Paddy O. said...

What's interesting about this comment thread so far is that the post is about Cuba, but one person has made it into yet one more conversation about American political sides.

Does the world even matter? Or is it really all just like a game of checkers to such people? Such an odd psychology to immediately think about partisanship.

It's like the ultimate political provincialism by someone who almost certainly would claim to be more cosmopolitan. The world simply does not exist outside of a narrow perspective of contemporary American internecine politics (from my Chuck Schumer Word of the Day calendar). Making me think that even policies don't really matter on anything, but that this politics is much more akin to the random choosing of sides in a schoolyard game.

Very slippery because there is no right or wrong, just sides. And it really doesn't matter who is helped or who is hurt either, only who gets the upper hand. Which is really very sinister, isn't it?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Not really. Just look back to the regime Fidel overthrew

And thank God for that too. I mean we could hardly handle the mass of boat people from the Batista regime.

wait...

downtownlad said...

China is more free than the United States. Gay people have been allowed to have sex almost twice as long in China as they were in the United States.

JDAXC said...

Mr. Frederson said: Not really. Just look back to the regime Fidel overthrew which was basically a wholly owned subsidary of the Mafia, especially Meyer Lansky's operation.

I don't remember the Batista government jailing 'political prisoners' for 25 years.
I also don't remember the government nationalizing (taking over) 100% of all businesses. I also don't remember close to 15,000 dead Cubans at the bottom of the Florida Straights trying to get to the US.
I also don't remember Cuba being a 3rd world country like it is today
Care to try again?

rhhardin said...

At least he made the trains run on time.

Freder Frederson said...

I don't remember the Batista government jailing 'political prisoners' for 25 years.
I also don't remember the government nationalizing (taking over) 100% of all businesses. I also don't remember close to 15,000 dead Cubans at the bottom of the Florida Straights trying to get to the US.
I also don't remember Cuba being a 3rd world country like it is today


Well no. Tinpot dictators doing the bidding of Mafioso weren't too big on formal charges or trials. And the U.S. government didn't much bother to track human rights violations of our allies, even if they were thoroughly corrupt, back then. As for nationalization of businesses, do you really think that the Mafia does all its business above board and honestly?

There is no doubt that Cuba is an oppresive society that crushes individual freedom and human rights but its human rights record is certainly better than many of its neighbors over the last fifty years (e.g. Guatamala, El Salvador, Nicaragua) and it certainly has maintained a better standard of living for its people than almost all of its neighbors in spite of the embargo by the U.S.

If the U.S. had treated Cuba like the rest of the Soviet Bloc instead of pandering to the Cuban Exiles in Florida, Cuba would have fallen in a peaceful revolution just like Eastern Europe years ago.

Sofa King said...

I mean, it is kinda hard to be so mad at Evil Communist Cuba when the Bush administration is shoulder deep up Evil Communist China's ass.

Eh? China is quite possibly more capitalist than the United States.

Rich B said...

I'm looking forward to the outpouring of nostalgia for the long-running communist dictatorship. Fair Play for Cuba, anyone? Alumni meetings of the Venceremos Brigades? Retro Che chic? Oh, we already have that.

Of course, there will be big parades in Cuba celebrating the prosperity and freedom the Maximum Leader brought to the island.

thephantomspitter said...

JDAXC said...

I don't remember the Batista government jailing 'political prisoners' for 25 years.
I also don't remember the government nationalizing (taking over) 100% of all businesses. I also don't remember close to 15,000 dead Cubans at the bottom of the Florida Straights trying to get to the US.
I also don't remember Cuba being a 3rd world country like it is today
Care to try again?


You don't remember a lot of shit, apparently. Cuba under Batista was a total 3rd world toilet, as anti-democratic as any other tinpot dictatorship in the region, with lots of people in jail for opposing the corrupt regime.

Castro sucks and his admittedly totalitarian junta deserves to fall, but if Cuba is a 3rd world country now at least they have good health care.

Romanticizing the Batista government, however, is beyond pathetic.

thephantomspitter said...


If the U.S. had treated Cuba like the rest of the Soviet Bloc instead of pandering to the Cuban Exiles in Florida, Cuba would have fallen in a peaceful revolution just like Eastern Europe years ago.



In a word -- duh.

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

and it certainly has maintained a better standard of living for its people than almost all of its neighbors in spite of the embargo by the U.S.

Evidently that free health care isn't incentive enough to keep people from trying to get here in anything that floats.

Then again hopefully none are gay since according to downtownlad gay people can't have sex here. Plus it's a longer boat ride to Shanghai.

but if Cuba is a 3rd world country now at least they have good health care.

So did Nazi Germany.

former law student said...

Trooper York: I hope you haven't been serious about violating the special Cuban provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act, as Schwarzenegger was caught doing not so long ago. Fortunately for all cigar smokers, the prohibition lasts only while Fidel or Raul are in office. Pray that Raul does not succeed Fidel.

john said...

DTL said -
"China is more free than the United States. Gay people have been allowed to have sex almost twice as long in China as they were in the United States."

Why is this? Is it in the tea, or is it that the authorities don't barge in for another 10 minutes? Or perhaps, is it that gay Chinese can keep it up longer due to the discipline of Kama? I don't know, but perhaps Titus' experience could help here.

PatCA said...

Riiiight, good health care. After all, they told Michael Moore that the care they gave his group was the same that everyone else got. What reason would they have to lie?

And what's a few thousand dead journalists, gays, librarians? You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet, or a socialist paradise.

thephantomspitter said...

Hoosier Daddy --

Keep pretending Batista wasn't a brutal corrupt dictator and that Cuba under Batista wasn't a 3rd world toilet.

Seriously -- it does wonders for your credibility on other issues.

MadisonMan said...

How can we miss you if you won't go away?

SGT Ted said...

Cuba has good health care? Are you high? Or is this the mendacity prtion of the leftwing defense of Castro.

Hey, maybe if Castro had allowed actual freedom in his country, instead of jailing dissenters and homosexuals, they would have had a peaceful, democratic revolution. But no I forgot, it's always US foreign policy that makes dictators oppress their own people, and not the action of the dictators themselves. The leftwing dictators are to be excused because the Devil US made them do it. Commies aren't to be held accountable.

Of course, the same people that are for the Right of Return for Palestinians are quick to give the finger to Cuban exiles.

JDAXC said...

Mr. thephantonspitter
Actually I do know a lot of shit about Cuban.
I was born there, have family there, and have had the terrible misfortune of having to 'travel' to that health care paradise a number of times in order to bring medicine to ailing and dying family members. On several occasions I was begged by Cuban doctors to bring and send them Merck Manuals as none could be found in your health care paradise.
You can sit there and circle-jerk, chit-chat about Batista all you want, but the reality is that hundreds of thousands weren't fleeing the Bastista regime and tens of thousands weren't dying trying to get out.
Stick to spitting as that's probably the only thing you are proficient at.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier Daddy --

Keep pretending Batista wasn't a brutal corrupt dictator and that Cuba under Batista wasn't a 3rd world toilet.


I don't recall where I said he wasn't.

So now 40+ years after the revolution Cuba had Castro as a brutal corrupt dictator and is 3rd world toilet but has free health care. I guess that's considered progress by some.

Seriously -- it does wonders for your credibility on other issues.

Coming from you that means...lets see....nothing. You might want to work on not projecting, as in not doing it.

But then that might mean you have nothing to say.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm trying to imagine having the same president for my entire life as so many Cubans have. What a shock this must be for them.

I love, love, LOVE living in a country that has revolution, or at least the potential for it, built right into it's political mechanism, and I marvel at the expense we put to it.

thephantomspitter said...

Jeezus, you guys apparently don't know how to read.

I already said that Castro's totalitarian regime sucks and deserves to fall. I also said that Batista's Cuba was a corrupt oppressive 3d world toilet.

Why are these statements somehow contradictory? I'm guessing because somehow it screws up your Aging Cold Warriors narrative, but who knows?

Trooper York said...

Freder, you had a great idea. Now that the Soparano's are over we can send Johnny Ola down there to set up shop. Plus, there is a spot for the Gambinos to go now that the feds are down on everyone. Maybe Joey Chirico can set up a new Marco Polo restuarant without any more pesky indictments floating around.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Lynch said...

I read the article but could not find any of those "soldier's ideas". Must be a just a soundbite from old Fidel, I guess.

Trooper York said...

Former Law Student said....
I hope you haven't been serious about violating the special Cuban provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act

Now as much as I hate those dirty Canucks, I don't think they are on the Trading with the Enemy Act. So a cigar shop in New Brunswick doesn't really count, does it?
Of course I think we should bomb their hoser asses since they send all that bad weather down, and this hockey crap, don't get me started. As soon as we open hostilities with those Canadian Bacon assholes, then I am on board. But remember, a beautiful woman is a joy forever, but a good cigar is a smoke.

AllenS said...

Trooper York said...

"But remember, a beautiful woman is a joy forever, but a good cigar is a smoke."

Obviously, Bill Clinton has a bigger imagination than you do.

Hoosier Daddy said...

and this hockey crap, don't get me started.

Oh c'mon Trooper! Ease up on our northern brethern. Hockey is a fantasic game and is about the only sort left for middle sized white boys.

Plus Canadian chicks are hot. I mean smokin. Especially Quebecers. Only reason I learned French.

Hoosier Daddy said...

sort should be sport. All that talk of Canadian chicks and...well you know how it goes....

I think I need a cigar

former law student said...

Trooper York, Canada is not the issue; Cuba is. Buying Cuban products outside the US violates Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which Congress cited in Section 110 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996
(Codified in Title 22, Sections 6021-6091 of the U.S. Code)
P.L. 104-114

Specifically Section 515.204: Importation of and dealings in certain merchandise.
top
(a) Except as specifically authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury (or any person, agency, or instrumentality designated by him) by means of regulations, rulings, instructions, licenses, or otherwise, no person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States may purchase, transport, import, or otherwise deal in or engage in any transaction with respect to any merchandise outside the United States if such merchandise:

(1) Is of Cuban origin; or

(2) Is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or

(3) Is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba.

(b) [Reserved]

Trooper York said...

Hoosier Daddy, please don’t get me started on this hockey crap. You’re right that it is the only sport left for white guys. Except competitive beer drinking, I know lots of people hate the NBA but you can’t beat the hotties in their tank tops and short shorts. No ice you see.

The best, the absolute best is now baseball especially when Manny comes to the Stadium with the Saux. Then the Dominican girls come out in force. Long flowing tresses with blond highlights tied in a haphazard bandana. Tight, tight halter tops, with short-short- shorts. Rivulets of sweat dripping between heaving bosoms as they cheer their countryman on. Sucking seductively on a straw in a big class of Coke. Licking a big ice cream cones that I just bought their row. Jumping up and cheering as various naughty bits bounce and wiggle. Bending over the railing in tight spandex as they try to snare a foul ball. Baseball fever Dominican Style. Catch it.

Women missing teeth in mukluks just don’t do it for me. I’m funny that way.

Trooper York said...

Former Law Student said.....
Canada is not the issue; Cuba is. Buying Cuban products outside the US violates Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations

Actually, all kidding aside, the Nicaraguan stogies are just as good as the Cubans. The big planters fled with Batista and took the seeds and cuttings they needed to replant and harvest basically the same leaf. So you are not really missing anything. Now the Sandinistas are just as big a bunch of commies as the Cubanoes, but hey business is business. So let’s sit back, pour a glass of cognac, light up, and figure out a way to oppress our fellow man.

Michael_H said...

Fidel is stepping down? Just as the Dems are casting about for a VP candidate who will excite the base....

I am suspicious.

Middle Class Guy said...

thephantomspitter said...
Remind me -- who's in bed with the Chinese Communists, Obama or the Bush administration?


Actually, it’s the Clintons and that’s proven a fact Jack.


JDAXC said...
Mr. thephantonspitter
Actually I do know a lot of shit about Cuban...



Oh, thank you so much JDAXC.

Pogo said...

From Humberto Fontova: Historians Have Absolved Fidel Castro

"In 1958, that "impoverished Caribbean island" had a higher standard of living than Ireland and Austria, almost double Spain and Japan's per capita income, more doctors and dentists per capita than Britain, and lower infant mortality than France and Germany – the 13th-lowest in the world, in fact. Today, Cuba's infant-mortality rate – despite the hemisphere's highest abortion rate, which skews this figure downward – is 24th from the top.

So, relative to the rest of the world, Cuba's health care has worsened under Castro, and a nation with a formerly massive influx of European immigrants needs machine guns, water cannons and tiger sharks to keep its people from fleeing, while half-starved Haitians a short 60 miles away turn up their noses at any thought of emigrating to Cuba.

In 1958, 80 percent of Cubans were literate, and Cuba spent the most per capita on public education of any nation in Latin America.
Without Castro, Cuba's full literacy would have come about probably as quickly – and without firing squads, mass graves, and a political incarceration rate higher than Stalin's. Most countries in Latin America with lower literacy rates than Cuba had in 1958 have done just that.

The Cuba Archive project, headed by scholars Maria Werlau and Armando Lago, put the death toll from Castro's regime, including deaths at sea and the desperate anti-Communist insurgency of the early '60s, at 102,000."

fstopfitzgerald said...

Middle Class Guy said...

thephantomspitter said...
Remind me -- who's in bed with the Chinese Communists, Obama or the Bush administration?


Actually, it’s the Clintons and that’s proven a fact Jack.


I had no idea the Clinton's had been in power for the last seven plus years.

Thanks for clearing that up...

Pogo said...

"Cuba's GDP, on a purchasing power parity basis, was about $26bn (pounds 14bn) in 2002, implying per-capita income of about $2,300. The UN's Human Development Report suggests a GDP per capita of $3,600 in 2004. This still compares with $6,230 for Mexico in 2003, according to the World Bank, $4,360 for Chile and $3,860 for Argentina. Among its near neighbours, Cuba comes in below Jamaica but above the Dominican Republic, and far above Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere."

Pogo said...

"Cubans complain bitterly that their meagre state rations are not enough to survive, forcing them to turn to the black market, to hustling tourists or to prostitution. Things have improved somewhat since the hungry years that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, until then Cuba’s principal benefactor. But now the country depends on the largesse of Hugo Ch├ívez instead. The Venezuelan President props up the regime with more than $2 billion a year...

...Cubans are well educated, but they cannot speak their minds. Castro does not allow other political parties, rallies or free elections. Those who voice opinions he does not agree with are driven from the country or thrown into jail.

...Amnesty International says that there are up to 70 political prisoners in Cuba; Human Rights Watch puts that figure at more than 300.

...Castro bars Cubans from leaving the country without government approval. Those caught trying to escape are punished with hefty fines or thrown in jail. Cubans are not allowed to read, listen to or view foreign media. Only state-controlled television or newspapers, extolling the virtues of the Cuban leader, are permitted. ...In 2004, there were only 13 internet users per 1,000 people in Cuba, compared with 119 in Brazil and 135 in Mexico."

Pogo said...

"They [Cubans] are far poorer than their eastern European
counterparts were in 1989: the average wage, at $20 a month, can barely feed a single person for a couple of weeks. You cannot spend any length of time in Havana without noticing the lack of food for the majority of Cubans. The mother of a friend, an old lady who lived in one tiny rotting room in a former brothel with her son, gets by selling matchboxes to her
neighbours, having stolen them from the factory where she worked. Another acquaintance keeps pigs on her balcony and sells pork to a few locals. The luckier ones sell cigars or taxi rides to foreigners.

...and the health system is in a ragged state--apart from those hospitals reserved for foreigners--and people often have to pay a bribe to get treated. ...I went into a couple of hospitals for locals on my latest visit. ...I was appalled by the hygiene and amazed at the antiquity of the building and some of the equipment. I was told that the vast majority of Cuban hospitals, apart from two in Havana, were built before the revolution. Which revolution, I wondered; this one seemed to date from the 1900s. ...The building certainly was in a state of filth and decrepitude. This was not a place one would want to be ill in."

Pogo said...

Pardon the multuiple posts, but f*ck Fidel and anyone that doesn't blame him -and him alone- for the disaster he has brought on Cuba.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

You are like a literary Gatling gun. I think Fstop, the Spitter and others had to stop to bandage their many wounds.

Trooper York said...

Pogo:

This time it's personal!

I wonder if you are related to Ricky Ricardo?

steeeeve said...

So does a soldier of ideas still get to shoot people?

sprx said...

So does a soldier of ideas still get to shoot people?

Pogo said...

I wonder if you are related to Ricky Ricardo?


...more like Fred Mertz, heredity-wise, but babaluuuuuuuu! para los cigarros y las mujeres cubanas.

SGT Ted said...

Yet those who unquestioningly parrot the propaganda about the virtues of Cubas' non-existant health care "system" call Bush "dumb".

Maybe it's one of those "it takes one to know one" thingies?

Trooper York said...

So does a soldier of ideas still come with the kung fu grip?

dick said...

If Cuban healthcare is so good, why did Castro, the man responsible for the Cuban healthcare, import his doctor and skip using the Cuban healthcare system. I figure he knows more than Michael Moore about just how good the Cuban system is.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
Actually, all kidding aside, the Nicaraguan stogies are just as good as the Cubans.


Add to that, they are rolled on the thighs of brown skinned virgins. The saltiness from the perspiration is what gives them that something special. So I’ve heard.

The Dominicans are pretty good too. I don’t know about the whole virgin thing down there though.

Just writing about all this makes me want to fire up a stogie. Good cognac, warm wood burning fire, and a good book. Some light classical in the background. Guess my evening is planned. Trooper, any good books on how to oppress Canadians?

Trooper York said...

Arundel by Kenneth Roberts. The story of Benedict Arnold and the invasion of Canada, the last real chance to get those dirty Canucks on the right page. A three cigar book at the least.

PatCA said...

Why did Bush say that in that way? His father said the same thing to the Iraqis in 1991 and then left them hanging.

Roger said...

Trooper York: I grew up reading Kenneth Roberts books--Lydia Baily, the adventures of Roger's Rangers, Boon Island--a great american author. Thanks for reminding me.

As to those idiots like Freeder and Phantom who somehow think that Fidel and Fulgencio Batista were one and the same. I would suggest both you fools read Hannah Arendt's book about totalitarianism to guage the difference between the two regimes. Also I would recomend any course taught by Carmelo Mesa-Lago who was mentioned as one of the authors up thread. Finally, we in public health owe Fidel a debt of gratitude because he taught us that by starving a population you decrease their risk of dying from heart disease.

I only wish you had been able to live for 50 years under Fidel and 50 under Batistisa and then tell us which you would have preferred. Genuine and complete idiots you are--both of you.

Castro sold one generation of Cuban men as mercenaries to push soviet mischief in Africa in return for Soviet Oil and subsidized sugar. When the soviet union fell he sold the next batch of cuban boys and girls out as sex objects and prostitutes for rich visitors in return for hard cash while he indulged his taste for luxury goods and serrano ham. You people, phantom and freder, both of you idiots, have an absolutely warped sense of values. Assholes both of you.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Roger, I figured that Spitter & Freder didn't deserve a response, but if a response was to be made, I'm happy to go with yours.

In any case, two cheers for illness and decrepitude. There are worse ways Castro could have said goodbye.

Hopefully, this begins the end of the regime.