By John Ballantyne – posted Friday, 16 March 2007
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro cruelly oppressed his people, and aided and
abetted terror and genocide in Africa. Yet there are no calls (as there
were with Chile’s General Pinochet) for Castro to be brought to justice.
Only last year, media commentators and human-rights activists were
expressing indignation and outrage that Chile’s former military dictator
General Augusto Pinochet should die without facing justice for the
state-sanctioned torture, killings and disappearances which occurred
under his rule.
But scarcely anything like this indignation has been expressed at the
prospect of Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro dying without being
brought to account for the far worse atrocities for which he was
responsible during his more than four decades of iron-fisted rule in Cuba.
Not content with cruelly oppressing Cubans and driving into exile a
tenth of the country’s population, Castro is responsible for having
exported violent revolution around the world, and for having aided and
abetted terror and genocide in Africa.
All these, and many other of Castro’s crimes against humanity, are a
matter of public record. It is strange therefore that the Western media
and chattering-classes should contrive to overlook them.
Psychopath and serial-killer though he was, Castro was also a superb
self-publicist, and succeeded in winning himself a large and uncritical
following among his bobby-sockser admirers in the West.
It was widely (and wrongly) believed that Castro was originally not a
Communist, but rather a sort of Jeffersonian Democrat, reluctantly
driven into the arms of the former Soviet Union by an intransigent
As a matter of historical record, Castro’s coming to power in Havana in
1959 was due largely to the US withdrawing support from the Cuban
dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The US in fact was one of the first countries in the world to recognise
Castro’s revolutionary regime. Not long afterwards, Castro was given a
ticker-tape welcome by New Yorkers, and delivered a speech at Harvard.
On June 6, 1961, however, Castro declared that he had become a Communist
many years before, at the age of 17. In 1983, he admitted: “No one drove
me into the arms of Moscow. I studied these matters carefully and came
to the conclusion that Marxism-Leninism offered the only logical
explanation for human history – past, present and future.”
Seldom reported in the Western media are Castro’s pre-Communist
political beliefs. People who knew Castro at university recall that he
used to carry with him a well-thumbed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and
was fascinated by Nazi pageantry and paraphernalia. He also admired
Italian fascist dictator Mussolini, and would stand before a mirror
copying Il Duce’s style of delivery and strutting manner.
Historian (Lord) Hugh Thomas observed that Castro’s subsequent
dictatorship was “more than anything the first Fascist Left regime – by
which I mean it is a regime with totalitarian left-wing goals
established and sustained by methods of fascism”.
Castro’s Cuba and Pinochet’s Chile each had populations of approximately
10 million. But Castro’s repressive regime was many times worse than
According to the scholarly French work, The Black Book of Communism:
14,000 Cubans were shot by firing squad alone (almost five times the
estimated 3,000 people killed during Pinochet’s dictatorship).
The true death toll of Cuban victims of Communism is probably closer to
102,000 if one were to include those killed in the anti-Castro
resistance of the early 1960s and those who drowned at sea fleeing
The total number of refugees from Castro’s dictatorship is more than a
million (compared to fewer than 5,000 from Pinochet).
According to Hugh Thomas, the 500,000 Cubans who left the island between
1959 and 1980 were more numerous than those who emigrated there from
Spain between 1511 and 1898. Indeed, more Cubans fled from their
homeland in the course of 1980 than Spaniards emigrated to Cuba in the
first 200 years of the island as a colony.
Castro, throughout his adult career, was unswervingly loyal to Moscow.
In 1968, he supported the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the
suppression of the Prague Spring. He called Czech dissidents “fascists”.
In the 1970s, he dispatched scores of thousands of Cuban troops and
“advisers” to prop up Soviet client-states in Africa, such as Angola and
Mozambique. He backed Ethiopia’s murderous dictator Mengistu Haile
Mariam, known as the African Pol Pot, who for 17 years inflicted red
terror, famine and war on Africa’s second most populous country.
Despite being an accessory to mass murder, Castro has frequently been
praised for supposedly establishing in Cuba a health service that is the
envy of the world. In reality, however, Cuban hospitals have
deteriorated under Castro, as catalogued by www.therealcuba.com.
But whether Castro’s enviable health service is real or exists only in
Cuban propaganda, it is generally held up as a “plus” in Castro’s favour
and apparently covers a multitude of sins, including his complicity in