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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Viva Fidel!

(Above, Fidel around the time of la revolucion; right, a more recent picture)

Jeffrey Goldberg, a correspondent for The Atlantic, reported today that when he asked Fidel Castro if Cuba's economic system was worth exporting abroad, Castro replied, "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."

This is a stunning admission from the leader of one of the last communist countries in the world, a man whose name has been synonymous with communism since 1959. It's not surprising that the Cuban system does not work -- that has been obvious to all observers (except Michael Moore) for a long time. What's stunning is that Castro would admit it.

Maybe because he's 84, he's just tired of maintaining the lies which have propped up his government for so long. (It's actually surprising he's that young, given how long he seems to have been around.)

It is often said, "Out of the mouths of babes..." The idea is that babies aren't sophisticated enough to understand diplomacy, so they just innocently blurt out the truth. The expression is probably even more apt for old people, who know more than babies, and are past caring.

We've all heard the expression, "I'm too old to lie." I find myself using it fairly frequently these days (in connection with this blog). And I'm nowhere near as old as Fidel. When he first rose to power in 1959, John F. Kennnedy hadn't even been elected president yet. And Nikita Kruschchev was in the middle of his reign in the Soviet Union.

In what was perhaps Krushchev's most famous speech, he once said to a group of Western ambassadors, "We will bury you."

(He never did.)

Fidel, however, has buried Krushchev, along with practically all of his other former comrades: Leonid Brezhnev. Chairman Mao. Marshal Tito. Ho Chi Minh. They were his contemporaries, and they're all long gone.

And now Fidel seems to have buried communism, once and for all.

(Perhaps he and Mr. Obama could exchange jobs; that way each would get to govern the way he really wants.)

Addendum, 9/12/10: Fidel said he was misunderstood, and mean the opposite of what he said. You decide for yourself which of his statements is more honest.


Anonymous said...

I would like to think that communism is as dead as Monty Python's parrot, but I fear that totalitarianism is, at best, just sleeping. I have been listening to an audio book of 1984 with my son - an extraordinarily perceptive and prescient book that brings out the radical libertarian in me. I want to get my machete out and hack away at the strangling kudzu of expanding government.

Anonymous said...


John Craig said...

Guy -- Well put.

I think that particular form of totalitarianism is dying, at least the type justified by Marxist-Leninist ideology. But as long as people want power, i.e., as long as they are human, we'll see power grabs of various sorts, mostly in the name of "social justice" or "economic justice." I think we'll see a lot more of that in this country when it goes minority white. Obama is just a temporary taste of what's coming in 2050.

John Craig said...

PS -- Never been a big Python fan, but I get your point.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Your link got me thinking, and I found this link that may interest you:

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
Thank you for sending that, I just read the entire article, it's very good. That writer definitely knows what he's talking about.

I remember the whole "Surly Shirley" era quite vividly, it's one of the greatest travesties in swimming history, and it's probably an equally great travesty that nothing has been done to rectify it even though the facts are now all out in the open. I suspect the IOC doesnt do anything because to them it's opening up a can of worms: they don't want to be bothered with going back and retroactively awarding medals to every athlete who was ever cheated out of their rightful medal by a doper. Plus there's the whole issue of people who were cheated out of medals by athletes who were doping but never caught, and the athletes who were never caught way outnumber the ones who were caught. But the IOC, being the IOC, will probably not even do anything about the proven cheaters. Given which, the USOC ought to step in and award the swimmers gold medals of some sort. It would be much too little much too late, but better than nothing. (And btw, the cheated swimmers include all the Americans who were beaten by any East Germans up until 1988, plus the Americans who lost to the Chinese in '92.)